An online reservation system for tour operators is going to do more than make your job easier — it’s going to grow your bookings and allow you to take your business to the next level. Find out what is direct booking and how it is different from indirect booking here.

Part 1: Direct ways that reservation technology boosts your bookings

1. Increases your booking conversion rate

3 bookings for every 100 visitors. 

That’s the average website conversion rate. Imagine, bringing that number up to 6, 8, or even 10 bookings for every 100 visitors. Improving conversion rates is one of the easiest and fastest ways to get more bookings.

The key to improving conversion rates is a simple and frictionless customer experience. Having a complicated booking process, such as one that requires customers to open separate browsers to send an email or make calls that may not even be picked up just to check on availability, creates gaps within your reservation process. These gaps open up the possibility for your customers to get distracted and not follow through with the booking. 

Two ways reservation technology increase your conversion rates are through:

Simple and effective online booking forms

different types of booking with simply booking processes

The faster visitors can book and pay for their tour, the more likely they are to make a booking. Fortunately, online booking forms are optimized to help quickly convert your customers on the spot.  

Online booking forms, which can be designed and customized to fit your business needs using your reservation technology system, can be used to track and manage your bookings. They also provide your customers with a simple and effective booking process that allows them to finalize their reservations instantly.

Using online booking forms ensures that you quickly and effectively capture customers during their decision-making process. Complicated booking forms that don’t provide customers with this efficiency may deter them from finalizing their bookings with your business. Furthermore, your potential customers may even choose to seek operators that use an online booking form for the efficient process. 

Fast and secure payment gateways

Payment gateways are necessary if you want to accept online bookings at your tour and activity company. Without a secure payment gateway, your customers may not have the confidence to book with you. Especially given the continued rise in online frauds and security breaches.

accept payment options with reservation technology

Payment gateways offer various benefits to you as a tour and activity provider, such as:

  • One-click payment options such as Apple Pay and Google Pay that make it easier for customers to book instantly. This is especially useful when your customers don’t have their credit card on hand. It allows them to book without the need for their physical credit card
  • Two-factor authentication completely removes the risks of fraud and chargebacks for your business
  • Capturing more bookings by allowing your site visitors to make instant and secure payments at any given time of day from any location in the world
  • Allowing you to accept multiple currencies, which attracts international travelers who prefer to pay using their local currency
  • The ability to accept and offer customers multiple payment options of their preference
  • The ability to set, process, and accept deposits to secure bookings. Especially on higher ticketed products and/or bookings

Secure payment gateways such as digital wallets are becoming preferred by travelers around the globe. The latest data shows that allowing travelers to pay with a payment gateway such as ApplePay can increase your conversion rate by as much as 250%. If you’d like to learn more about choosing a payment gateway, you can compare payment gateway fees here.

2. Enhances your website and boosts your search engine rankings

Who doesn’t want organic (non-paid) direct bookings? You pay no advertising fees or commission and therefore keep all your margin. 

The best way to achieve this is through SEO (Search engine optimization). Your online reservation system will have tools available that allow you to enhance your own website and boost your website’s search engine ranking,  allowing you to appear higher on Google or Bing’s search results

An example is mobile optimization. Google tends to favor mobile-optimized websites, meaning that a reservation system that optimizes your website for mobile will help you rank higher on Google’s search engine results page.

It’s also important to have a website design that is more than just appealing to the eye. You need a website that is fast, responsive, and user-friendly because it:

  • Helps drive conversions for your tour company
  • Is one of Google’s ranking factors for SEO

According to Google, maintaining a fast site speed of 0.1 seconds can improve your conversion rate by more than 10%. 

Creating a website through a reservation technology platform like Rezdy that partners with tourism digital marketing experts such as TOMIS allow you to create appealing and responsive website designs that are both desktop and mobile-optimized and that seamlessly integrate with Rezdy.

3. Expands your revenue streams by broadening your distribution channels

What’s better than 1 person selling your tours and activities? 

The answer is 2 people selling your tours and activities. And of course, having thousands of agents selling your tours and activities is better than 2. 

You get the idea. The more organizations there are seeking to sell your tours, the more tours you’re going to sell. The key is to create a diverse distribution network.

To set up a successful and streamlined distribution network, you need a reservation management technology that opens up those possibilities through a channel manager or connectivity capacity.

different types of resellers

Several reservation technology companies today offer API connections to major online travel agencies. However, reservation technology like Rezdy offers connectivity to thousands of reputable reseller agents, including local in-destination agents and regional resellers, who are actively looking for experiences to sell. By being a Rezdy booking software customer, you have instant access to Rezdy Channel Manager, where you can list your tour products while still staying in control of your listing. Using Rezdy Channel Manager is as easy as these simple steps:

  • Set your price
  • Set your commission rate
  • Choose the agents to resell your tours and activities
  • Switch the connection on and off whenever you want to

A diverse distribution network should include different types of resellers.

Here are five of the most important resellers that you can work with when you utilize an effective channel manager like Rezdy’s Channel Manager:

  • OTAs — Online travel agents attract thousands upon thousands of interested travelers each day, all of whom are looking for great products at affordable prices. OTAs can help you increase your booking numbers quickly.
  • Local Travel Agents — Local travel agents are still considered to be the most trusted resource by travelers around the globe. With the right technology in place, you can connect with local travel agents who want to promote reliable products to their clients.
  • Concierges — Concierge professionals work at local hotels and often provide recommendations to guests who are staying at their property. Concierges want to be able to offer all-inclusive service that is seamless, so they will be more apt to partner with a tour operator who has access to live booking through a channel manager.
  • Visitor Information Centers — Visitor information centers are a valuable distribution partner, particularly if you are looking to increase your last-minute bookings. They often work with travelers who have already arrived at the destination and are looking to fill their itinerary with exciting activities.
  • Tour Operators — It may seem strange to partner with the competition, but other tour operators who offer complementary experiences will want to resell your tours for a small commission rate. Reservation technology that includes a channel manager makes it easy for them to resell your products to their existing customers.

4. Reservation technology optimizes the buying experience with vouchers and gift cards

reservation technology provides gift card options

Have you ever had trouble deciding on whether or not to make a purchase when you’re at the checkout page? It’s human nature to have hesitations due to uncertainty.

Some of the biggest uncertainties are “Will I get a better price later?” or “What if I or they can’t make it for this particular date?” Many of these uncertainties can easily be overcome with promo codes vouchers and/or gift cards.

Gift cards are a tool to increase your revenue and grow your bookings. It allows you to generate revenue in advance of providing your services all while building relationships with your customers.

Gift cards help generate bookings by:

  • Enabling you to tap into a market that you typically wouldn’t reach
  • Providing a highly targeted tool where the receiver is certainly motivated to use them
  • Offering an efficient method of spreading your services to others
  • Building your business’s credibility and reputation as gift cards are a reflection of satisfied customers
  • Boosting your visibility as it enables customers to do more research into your company’s offerings

Promo codes and vouchers are unique discounts that you can offer your guests to entice them to book with you. However, if you are going to offer promo codes and vouchers, you’ll want to have a reservation technology in place that streamlines the process and makes it easy for you to apply the promotions and offers during the check out process.

Promo codes and vouchers are one of the most effective ways to secure bookings. Due to the exclusivity and timely element, your customers will be more inclined to book if they have a code. This is because they know they have the possibility of a discount, and are aware that it’s a fleeting opportunity.

Promo codes and vouchers help generate bookings by:

  • Creating urgency through limited-time offers
  • Generating buzz about less popular tours and activities
  • Targeting return customers and increases customer loyalty

5. Allows operators to make informed business decisions with advanced reporting tools

Reservation technology can help you stay ahead of the bookings game by becoming more familiar with your customers and aware of your business’ performance. This type of technology includes reporting tools that will uncover patterns in your customers’ behavior. This allows you to market to these customers based on their interests and travel-related goals.

Reporting tools for tour and activity business plans

These reporting features will benefit you in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Giving you the chance to create effective marketing strategies that will generate results
  • The ability to see your business’s overall performance in greater detail
  • Allowing you to make informed decisions about your business operations. For example, Rezdy’s reporting tools can highlight session utilization. This tool gives you insight into the percentage of a session’s occupancy and whether it’s fully booked. It allows you to know when you can create discounts and offers to drive bookings for other sessions

In addition to maximizing your use of the reporting features, you also will be able to rely on your reservation technology to implement your marketing strategies with automatic emails. Automatic e-mails decrease your administrative duties, allow you to promote your business efficiently and effectively, and gives you the chance to personalize the experience for your travelers. It also provides your customers with a form of notification and reminder to prepare for their upcoming booking.

Reservation technology companies such as Rezdy even provide certain customers with a dedicated account manager that foresees their overall business performance. These account managers will provide Rezdy customers with an in-depth analysis of their business performance to help them strategize for greater success.

Part 2: Indirect ways that reservation technology grows bookings

In addition to offering you the innovative tools and features that increase your booking rate, reservation technology also offers added support that boosts efficiency, increases revenue per booking, simplifies your revenue management, and improves the guest experience, which will in hand help you boost your booking levels.

1. Automates your operations and increases efficiency 

reservation technology increases efficiency

Imagine having the freedom to be able to focus on areas of your business that truly matters to you. Whether that be developing business strategies to grow your booking levels, nurturing the customer experience to boost positive reviews, or simply spending more time providing amazing experiences.

As an operator, admin duties tend to get in the way of achieving the goals above. Fortunately, with simple reservation software, you can streamline your administrative tasks, reduce the amount of time you spend sitting at your desk, and focus more on the long-term goals that will help you grow your bookings.

Some of the features and functionality that will help you increase efficiency in your operations include:

  • Real-time availability viewer that allows customers to book based on real-time availabilities – this helps to avoid overbooking or double bookings
  • Automatic e-mail communication (i.e instant confirmation, reminders, etc)
  • Secure payment processing that allows your business to accept multiple forms of payments via integration with various payment gateways as well as perform easy refunds when needed
  • Mobile booking apps that help you run your business on the move
  • Automatic manifest updates so the whole team is aware of any last-minute changes

Automation and efficiency are extremely important, especially during these uncertain times as a result of the pandemic where last-minute changes are prevalent. Having the tools to help your business stay in control of any changes will help your business operations run smoothly.

2. Increases revenue per booking with the ability to upsell and cross-sell

upsell and cross-sell with reservation technology

Imagine being able to increase your revenue by 10% to 30% solely by providing simple upgrades and offerings such as airport pick-ups, or souvenir photos. That’s the average increase in revenue operators reported when they began implementing up-selling and cross-selling techniques.

Up-selling is the technique of selling a higher and more expensive version of a product (or experience) that the customer already has, or is about to buy. For example, more leg space on a plane, or a more premium version of an experience such as VIP passes. 

On the other hand, cross-selling are add-ons related to the product the customer already owns or is about to buy. For example, added transportation services, equipment hire or meal packages.

With the assistance of reservation technology, up-selling and cross-selling are possible. It’s also super easy to set up so you can increase the chances of maximizing revenue per booking.

3. Focus on what you do best, a great guest experience

Initially, it may feel like you, as the tour operator, are the only one who enjoys the benefits of online reservations. However, your guests also will have a better experience when you have reservation technology in place.

longer tours are major customer expectations

Reservation technology improves the overall guest experience by providing a seamless and efficient booking process. The features that your guests will love the most include:

  • An online booking portal that allows them to book at their convenience 24/7, regardless of the time or location
  • Updated real-time availability viewer that allows them to plan their trip with confidence
  • Fast and secure payment systems that make it both easy and convenient for them to finalize their bookings and pay in their preferred payment method and currency
  • The automatic confirmation e-mails and reminder messages that help your customers stay prepared for their upcoming experience
  • The quick-and-easy check-in process before or at arrival

Remember: The booking process is your customer’s first experience with your brand, and it will have a significant impact on their first impression of your tour company. By simplifying the process and eliminating any inconveniences, you’re boosting your customer relationship. 

Providing a great booking experience combined with amazing tours will leave your customers happy and satisfied. This will further entice them to provide positive reviews and recommend your business to others – ultimately growing your bookings through confidence in your brand.

4. Access to local and available service/support that will help you upskill and optimize your business

local support

When you invest in an online booking system for tour operators, you are getting more than a technology solution that provides you with access to innovative features. You are becoming part of a team, one in which you can rely on other members for support, advice, and guidance as you seek to increase your bookings and grow your brand.

At Rezdy, we are proud to be a res tech company that has a dedicated team of professionals that provide global, 24/7 coverage. We’re motivated to set our clients up for success and offer a variety of support.

When you become a Rezdy customer, you instantly have access to benefits such as:

  • Access to onboarding specialists that provide training and guidance while setting up your new reservation technology system
  • An IT team that will address any issues that arise as promptly as possible. This helps to eliminate the frustration and stress from glitches and errors
  • Access to a support and success team that provides marketing and operational advice through training sessions and webinars. These resources cover topics from tips to optimize your business to paid search, understanding how to advertise on social media, and how to create an effective reseller strategy. These sessions are mostly exclusive and prioritized for res tech customers. Some examples of training sessions include webinars that feature guest speakers such as TOMIS – tourism marketing specialists that help with improving your online visibility and website optimization
  • Dedicated account management solutions with experience and expertise in the industry to help you grow your business*

We can’t talk for everyone but at Rezdy, we always provide our customers with instant updates about the innovative features and cool updates that become available and how they can best use them within their businesses. As our technology expands, we set our customers up for success as well so they can maximize their use of our product.

*Account management solutions are only available for certain-sized customers.


When you invest in the right booking engine, you will be able to reduce the amount of time that you spend in the office dealing with administration tasks. Beyond that, your bookings will continue to grow — even as you spend more time away from your desk focusing on customer service and your long-term goals. Res tech provides advanced tools that you would not otherwise have access to as a tour and activity operator. It allows you to benefit from the same resources as larger corporations while still offering personalized service to your customers.

No matter what stage your tour and activity business is at, the team here at Rezdy is dedicated to helping all our customers grow. With every innovative feature that is included within our booking solution, it has been specially designed to generate more bookings and higher revenue levels for our customers. Want to learn more about the benefits of an online booking system? Explore our article on what is an online reservation system.

Are you ready to increase and boost your booking levels with Rezdy? Start a FREE 21-day trial or book a demo so you can test-drive a high-quality reservation technology for yourself.

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