By Taz Bareham — 25 Apr 2014
Updated November 2021 – As a tour operator, you’re often challenged with many different obstacles and tour operator problems. However, your process for accepting online bookings is central to your ability to run and grow your business. If that online booking system process is good, then you can be confident that you’re as efficient as can be. If not, then it can cause more problems than it’s worth.
Let’s take a look at what your biggest tour operator problems are in the daily running of your business without an appropriate online booking system.
Last-minute changes to the schedule are common tour operator problems many operators face. Whether that be a last-minute change to the booking, a sudden cancellation, or worse, no-shows.
Without an online booking system, you have to manually adjust your resources to accommodate for the change (for example: shuffle staff schedules), and you can’t apply a cancellation policy to make sure you’re compensated for that loss of business. An online booking system will help alleviate the need to manually rearrange schedules and manifests. It will automatically update and notify your team of any changes, so everyone can prepare for the next booking.
Also, if you’re the one that needs to change your availability, you can update it immediately with an online booking system. This means people will know that they can’t book during that time. Things happen, and bookings need to be rescheduled. An online booking system just makes it that much easier.
If you rely on resources to run your business, such as vehicles and guides, it’s easy to overbook your resources. Without an online booking system, you run the risk of overbooking without which can lead to limited resources to deliver.
In the case of overbooking, it can be difficult to adjust availability if multiple tours rely on one vehicle or instructor. The risk of overbooking leaves you stuck with the admin hassle of adjusting it all.
With an online booking system that allows you to manage your resources, it’s done automatically for you, so that if your resource is scheduled for a particular session, availability is blocked for the other tour sessions during that time period.
Without an automated online booking system, you’re are probably taking all bookings or reminding customers of an upcoming booking over the phone. After all, people want instant confirmation that their booking has been made. Plus many people usually don’t want to give their credit card details through email.
This is a hassle because it means you need to take notes and make sure that it’s been booked in and communicated to everyone who needs to know. This allows more room for human error.
An online booking system such as Rezdy will help reduce time spent on the phone by allowing your customers to easily book via your website. With Rezdy, you can showcase your real-time availability, accept payments instantly and send out reminder emails to all your customers. To see if Rezdy is right for you, sign-up for a FREE 21-day trial or request a demo today.
If someone makes a booking while you’re out, you can’t immediately see the booking details to prepare accordingly. Either you wait it out, or someone back at the office needs to alert you to it and pass on all the details.
This is especially tough if you have to do a lot of work on the go. With an online booking system, you can manage your bookings from your desktop or mobile devices as long as you have internet access. An online booking system will help you stay on top of your bookings and automatically update your manifests. This gives you room to plan ahead and reduce your tour operator problems.
Without an online booking system, reserving a booking is a manual process. This means that while you’re having dinner with your family or sleeping, customers can’t self-serve.
But if you have an automated booking system, customers can book and pay at their own convenience, 24/7. You don’t need to be there on the end pushing every booking through.
On top of that, with an online booking system, you can easily feature add-ons or other packages to upsell. This can be add-ons such as meal packages, equipment hire, or vehicle hire. By being able to up-sell your other products, this maximizes your potential revenue and also reduces the human intervention needed. It’s a win for both you and your customers.
Administratively, a payment that requires paperwork often results in getting paid late. You can also lose customers if you can’t accept credit card payments online to OTAs or agents that do, as many customers will be looking for flexible payment options.
With an online booking system, you can get instant credit card authorization for people who want to buy your product or service online. This means that your customers have a safe way to pay, and they can be confident they’re paying the right amount because automated calculations are more reliable.
This means you’ll get paid faster as there’s more money in your pocket. You don’t have to pay for rental space or hire an extra hand to manage your customers, and the money goes straight into your account. Instead of lagging behind, your cash flow is up to speed.
On top of that, an online booking system provides you with accurate reporting tools so you can monitor your cash flow. These reporting tools also give you a clear insight into what’s working and what’s not, so you can better plan marketing campaigns to boost your bookings.
It’s important to remember that not every tour operator software program is created equal. An online booking system that can be customized to meet your needs can help you grow your business and tackle common tour operator problems.
Curious to see if Rezdy is right for you? Sign-up for a FREE 21-day trial or request a demo today.
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If you are interested in educating yourself on your online booking options, the information in our Buyer’s Guide to Online Booking Software Selection for Tour Operators can prevent you from picking a system that doesn’t suit your tour or activity business: