By Blake Ng — 17 Dec 2015
It’s the moment that every tour operator dreads. You are preparing your itinerary for the morning, and you have a full busload of people booked for the upcoming tour. You know exactly what resources you need in order to provide each traveler with an amazing experience, and you are happy knowing that you will be earning a nice profit on the day. Then, you get the phone call. Three of your passengers won’t be showing up. Now you are scrambling to figure out how this will impact your tour as well as your bottom line.
However, panic doesn’t have to be your first option anymore. There’s a better way to deal with those pesky last-minute cancellations.
Create a policy that encourages your customers to make a commitment when they book your tours. You may want to allow customers to cancel up to 24 hours in advance, and offer them a partial refund if they cancel within 24 hours of the scheduled tour. You may want to take a more strict approach and refuse to refund your customers who cancel within 24 hours, or who do not give notice and do not show up. You need to make a policy that fits your business model and makes you feel comfortable as a business owner.
A waiting list allows you to have a back-up plan for your tours in the event of last-minute cancellations. Inevitably, you are going to have tours at certain times that are more popular than others, and those tours will sell out. Provide your customers with an opportunity to enter their names on a waiting list. If a spot opens up, you will have information about customers who are ready, willing and anxious to get out on one of your tours. A waiting list allows you to use your available resources more efficiently.
These agents can help you fill up spots at the last minute, which can help alleviate the frustration of those cancellations.
Through Rezdy, you can display your live availability to these agents, so they will know when a spot has opened up on one of your upcoming tours. By partnering with these agents, you may even be able to relax your cancellation policy. This can improve your image as a business, as you will come across as friendly and understanding. In addition, it might encourage customers who needed to cancel to book at a different time during their vacation. This improves your overall customer service without sacrificing your resources, your efficiency and your bottom line.
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