Updated July 2023 – Whether you run a kayaking rental business on the island of Maui or you’re a tour guide operator working in Australia, you will want to provide your customers with a state-of-the-art online booking system. Once you’ve found an effective software, it’s important you have the correct booking system features to get more bookings and streamline your operations.

Why? These systems allow customers to easily reserve your services for their upcoming vacation from the comfort of their own homes. Today, travelers want to know they can head to their destination, ready and prepared simply with a few clicks. After all, a core purpose of online booking is its ability to actively enhance your customer’s experience.

What is an online booking system?

An online booking system is a web-based software that allows tour operators and activity providers to offer their services for reservation online. The features of an online booking system help to streamline the booking process for customers, enabling them to conveniently book tours and activities from the comfort of their homes. For tour operators, an online booking system serves as a central hub to manage bookings, track availability, and process payments efficiently.

Benefits of an online booking system for tours and activities

The benefits of an online booking system are incredibly diverse for tour operators. First and foremost, it caters to the preferences of modern travelers who seek convenience and ease in making their vacation plans. By providing a seamless online booking experience, you can attract more customers and increase your bookings significantly.

An efficient online booking system also grants tour operators greater control over their business operations. With booking system features like real-time availability updates, automated confirmations, and instant payment processing, you can save time and reduce the risk of overbooking.

Another key benefit offered by online booking systems is the fact that they provide valuable insights into your business performance through reporting and analytics tools. This data-driven approach allows you to understand customer behavior, identify popular products, and make informed decisions to optimize your offerings and marketing strategies.

11 must-have features for a booking system

purpose of online booking system

Understanding the key features of a good online reservation system is crucial for tour operators looking to optimize their booking process and enhance customer satisfaction. 

Here’s our pick of the top 11 must-have features of an online booking system that tour and activity operators should look for when considering which software best suits their business.

1. Ease of use

A user-friendly online booking system is essential for both tour operators and customers. Navigating through the booking process should be intuitive and straightforward, ensuring that customers can easily complete their reservations without any confusion. A clean and simple interface, along with a step-by-step booking flow, can significantly enhance the overall user experience.

2. Scalability

You don’t want to upend your entire booking process once your business expands or changes. That’s why your chosen online booking system should be capable of handling tours of all sizes, from small-group adventures to large-scale excursions. It should adapt and scale with your business growth, accommodating an expanding inventory and customer base without compromising on performance.

3. Security

A must-have feature for a booking system is security. After all, security, especially concerning payment transactions, is of paramount importance for any online booking system. Ensure that the software adheres to industry-standard security protocols to protect sensitive customer information. Booking system features like SSL encryption and PCI compliance are essential to instill trust and confidence in your customers.

4. Reporting and analytics

Understanding the performance of your business is a vital element of your business’ growth. To be able to see what’s working and what’s not will help you gain a clearer understanding of your customers and will help you make informed business decisions. It’s beneficial to have a system that will automatically collate clear reports in order to strategize for future campaigns.

Reporting tools for tour and activity business plans

For instance, an online booking system like Rezdy has reporting capabilities that allow you to take a deep dive into your products. With Rezdy’s reporting tool, you’ll be able to see what sells, how far in advance they sell, and how likely they are to sell out. Rezdy’s reporting tools ensure that you get actionable data quickly and efficiently.

5. Third-party integrations

A comprehensive online booking system should offer seamless integrations with other essential tools and services. These integrations may include payment gateways to process transactions, distribution channels to reach a wider audience, and customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage customer data effectively.

6. Multilingual support

Catering to a global audience requires providing multilingual support, especially regarding currency and language. A robust online booking system should be able to display prices and content in various currencies and languages, ensuring that international customers can easily understand and engage with your offerings.

7. Mobile-friendly design

Chances are, your days as a tour manager aren’t spent sitting in front of a desktop computer all day. You probably manage bookings over smartphones or tablets too, so ideally you’ll want to have a ‘cloud’ compatible booking system. Consider an app that allows you to access and manage bookings on the go, ensuring smooth operations from any location.

8. Customer support availability

As with any technological addition, tour and activity operators might need support when it comes to their online booking system. While taking advantage of the many free trials out there, make sure to test out the helpfulness of their support and aftersales team. Make sure you invest in a system that offers both online and over-the-phone customer support, ideally, live chat as well.

9. Customizability

Each tour operator’s business is unique, so having a customizable online booking system is essential. Look for a software solution, such as Rezdy’s, that allows you to tailor the booking process, branding, and communication to align with your specific business needs and brand identity.

10. White label option

Similar to customizability, a white-label option in your booking system allows you to present the entire booking experience as an integral part of your brand. This means your customers won’t be redirected to a third-party site during the booking process, creating a seamless and cohesive experience that reinforces your brand identity throughout.

11. Live availability

Users should be able to see booking numbers that are as up-to-date as possible. Real-time availability updates give customers confidence that the tour or activity they are interested in is still open for booking. This feature helps prevent customer frustrations due to outdated availability information.

benefits of real-time availability

Make your life easier with more features in your online booking system

The purpose of any good booking software is for the customer to be able to reserve services with ease. Not only that, it allows tour and activity operators to manage their business in the simplest way possible. An organized, cohesive, and functional online booking system is essential to surviving in the ever-growing tourism market.

Since it allows people from all over the globe to find your company and book your services, you will want to make sure you can tick off all of these features on your booking system checklist to enhance the experience for both you and your customers.

Ready to take your tour operator business to the next level? Rezdy is a state-of-the-art online booking system that offers all of these essential features and more, empowering you to streamline your operations, boost bookings, and provide an exceptional customer experience. Start your FREE 21-day trial or book a demo today.

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