A guest blog by Convoso

If you are a tour operator, knowing how to provide vacation solutions that delight your customers—and keep them coming back for more—is paramount. The travel industry, though, has experienced major changes these past couple of decades.

Most people no longer head to their trusted travel agent, browse through catalogues of pristine beaches, snowy mountain peaks, or charming cities, and then book their dream holiday there and then. Today, most people use their mobile devices to book a holiday.

That’s why embracing mobile booking is a winning strategy for travel and tourism companies. Within the realm of mobile booking, though, not everything will always work. For things to truly hit the mark, you need to be in the know of the latest mobile booking trends. But what are these, exactly, and how can you implement them?

These are some of the questions that we’ll be answering in this article.

Why mobile booking trends matter

Before we discuss eight important trends, it’s worth understanding why it’s so crucial to keep tabs on them in the first place.

1. Better customer reach

With a jaw-dropping 7.41 billion mobile users—and counting—around the world, being able to interact with travellers via mobile devices is paramount if you want to thrive as a tour operator.

This will enable you to expand your customer reach and interact with people whenever and wherever they are.

Mobile booking trends

2. Boosted brand recognition and recall

If you want to be top of mind for travellers looking for anything from direct bookings to secure mobile payments and seamless customer service, then a mobile booking option is essential. By combining convenience with a great customer experience, you’ll be able to create a positive and lasting impression of your brand, which will make you stand out from your competitors.

3. Improved sales and conversions

Allowing customers to book your experiences quickly and securely via mobile will also help you boost sales and conversions. Why? Because when you offer a safe, seamless booking experience, you reduce friction and potential cart abandonment, while at the same time encouraging more purchases and bookings. Talk about a win-win!

8 Mobile booking trends tour operators need to know

Now, let’s dive into eight of the most exciting mobile booking trends that you should know if you want to supercharge your tourism business.

1. Mobile-friendly platforms for seamless booking experiences

First things first: for a winning mobile booking strategy, you’ll need a mobile-friendly platform that can deliver seamless booking experiences.

Through a platform that’s user-friendly and easy to navigate, you’ll be able to boost discoverability for your tour business, as well as reach more mobile users.

If you don’t know where to begin, try Rezdy. Our comprehensive software is optimised for mobile and desktop and offers impressive booking capabilities through clever booking widgets for your website.

2. Instant bookings for spontaneous travellers’ needs

Mobile bookings systems

Not everyone likes to plan their vacation months or weeks in advance. Spontaneous bookings, in fact, are on the rise, with 78% of people preferring them to pre-planned trips.

By offering an instant booking feature, you’ll be able to cater to this growing demographic and grow your customer base as a result. Redzy has a live availability tool that allows users to see the real-time availability of their chosen vacation or experience and make an instant booking—all from their mobile.

3. Personalized recommendations based on user data

Personalization is everywhere, from call centre scheduling software enabling contact centers to customize interactions, to your favourite video streaming platform suggesting the next binge-worthy series. We all want and expect bespoke experiences from the brands we love.

The same applies to the travel industry. When you’re able to craft customised customer experiences by offering recommendations based on customer data, you’ll automatically boost satisfaction and loyalty. But how do you know, exactly, which data to use, and how?

Rezdy offers an advanced reporting tool that gives tour operators an in-depth overview of their business performance and customer trends. This includes the ability to:

  • Increase sales and revenue: gain insights into sales and revenue performance to make informed decisions and optimise offerings
  • Identify areas for improvement or opportunity: analyse transaction data to pinpoint improvement areas and untapped opportunities
  • Enhance resource and inventory management: optimise resource allocation and inventory management through product performance insights
  • Comprehensive business overview: consolidate data into an easy-to-understand interface for a holistic business understanding
  • Product performance analysis: gain insights into individual product performance for data-driven marketing and pricing decisions
  • Transaction insights: analyse transaction patterns to optimise sales strategies and identify upselling opportunities
  • Voucher usage tracking: track voucher usage to refine promotional strategies and boost customer engagement
  • Miscellaneous metrics: access insights into RezdyPay performance and data integrations for a 360-degree business view
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4. Integration of secure contactless payment methods

Imagine having just found the best deal for your dream vacation. You’re ready to book flights and experiences through what looks like a trusted tour operator, but you get stuck at checkout. Things seem complicated, and you’re not quite comfortable with making your online payment.

Something like this would not just completely ruin the customer experience—it would potentially result in losing a customer altogether. Of course, being able to offer mobile payments is crucial, as is being able to offer a simple, secure, and streamlined way to complete those payments.

With a payment gateway like RezdyPay, you’ll get a fully integrated payment solution that offers full support, low fees, and top-notch fraud protection—exactly what most travellers want.

5. AI chatbots for instant customer support

Getting the best person on the case every time a customer query comes up is great; just look at what successful call centers do thanks to skills based routing. But if you’re a small tour operator on a budget, hiring a large team of travel experts might simply not be feasible.

Cue the friendly, knowledgeable, and affordable AI chatbot. By incorporating a bot into your website or app, you can provide instant customer support without breaking the bank.

Instead of having to rely on humans to be available round-the-clock, you’ll be offloading these tasks to a trained, efficient little helper who’s always around.

If you still want to provide that human touch to your interactions, you can couple a bot with a small team of service agents. The bot can deal with simpler or out-of-hours queries, whereas the agents can take on more complex cases that may require a more in-depth type of conversation.

6. Real-time updates via push notifications

Staying up-to-date in real-time is often more of a necessity than a nice-to-have, especially when it comes to things like flight times, tour updates, and weather forecasts. By enabling real-time updates via push notifications, you can not only keep your customers informed, but you can also nurture an excellent brand experience, building trust and transparency and creating repeat customers.

With Rezdy, you can take advantage of an automated communication feature that lets you manage anything from booking confirmations to cancellations and payment requests at the touch of a button.

7. Accessibility features for inclusive booking experiences

Showcasing commitment to crucial aspects such as diversity and inclusion is fundamental for all companies today,  including those operating in the travel sector.

In this case, you’ll want to add accessibility features to your website or travel app in order to streamline the process for customers with specific disabilities, as well as expand your customer base.

8. Highlighting sustainability initiatives for eco-conscious travellers

Did you know that sustainable travel (or eco-tourism) is an increasingly important aspect that more and more travellers pay attention to when booking their next vacation?

According to Statista, in 2022, as many as 80% of people surveyed stated that sustainable tourism was vital to them and that they “were willing to adopt sustainable travel incentives.”

So, if you operate, for example, e-bike tours or have implemented any other ethical and sustainable practices, you should definitely highlight that, as it will help project a sustainable image of your brand that can entice customers to book with you instead of with a competitor.

Conclusion

In 2024, travel companies must be ready and willing to adapt to the different needs and expectations of travellers if they want to keep thriving in a saturated market. For this reason, staying on top of the latest trends in the travel sector is a must.

In this guide, we explored the eight top mobile booking trends that you, as a tour operator, should be aware of and incorporate into your business. From embracing AI to enabling easy and secure checkouts, from offering real-time updates to highlighting the sustainability of your offering, there are many possibilities.

With an online booking system for tour operators such as Rezdy, you begin to implement and integrate these eight mobile booking best practices into your business and website today!

Curious to see how you can leverage the rise of mobile bookings? Start your FREE 21-day trial today or book a demo with our team to see how we can tailor our software to suit your business needs.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to subscribe to the Rezdy newsletter, where you’ll receive up-to-date learnings and news from the experiences industry straight into your inbox.

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Cory Plachy is the Senior Marketing and Communications Manager at Convoso, the leading contact center software for powering sales and lead generation As an adaptable and naturally curious Marketing Communications Manager, Cory channels years of content creation, marketing and sales experience into the world of SaaS communication. Here is her LinkedIn.

Written By – Cory Plachy - Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications, Convoso
mobile booking trends
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