When celebrating Milestone birthday celebrations, family get-togethers, and team-building exercises, it normally involves large group reservations. They’re all great opportunities to get together in a group and share an amazing experience. But if you’re the operator taking and handling those group bookings, then there can be a lot to manage including: 

  • Contact details such as email addresses and phone numbers
  • Individual dietary restrictions and fitness levels
  • Cancellations or changes for individuals
  • Unique arrival and departure times, and more. 

How do you provide an amazing, personalized experience to every guest in a large group? You get smart about how to handle group reservations with effective planning and group booking technology. Below, we cover five essential tips to optimize your group bookings.

First, what is a group booking?

A group booking for your tours or activities might vary from four people up to 20, 50, or beyond. Depending on your operation and location you might have several coaches full of people arriving every day. If this sounds like your business, perhaps you just want an easier way to manage family and social bookings. If so, read on!

5 tips to make sure group bookings run smoothly

These five key tips will help you ace every large group reservation and increase your group bookings over time. 

Automate your processes

This should be step one, and it’s so simple to do. If you’re using an online booking system, make sure you’ve automated guest communications including reminders and follow-up review requests. This will ensure every person in the group that you receive contact details for will receive clear and personalized messaging, without you needing to lift a finger. Automated messages can support positive guest experiences, minimize no-shows and increase your guest reviews and testimonials.

It’s also a great idea to customize your booking form to gather information on any dietary restrictions or allergies for guests in a group. If you require liability waivers for your tours or activities, you can gather these automatically and ahead of time by integrating your Rezdy booking platform with Wherewolf’s online waiver solution. As you can imagine, this can save a significant amount of time on the day, without pens or clipboards required!

Make it clear you welcome group bookings

It can sometimes be tricky to find tour and activity operators who are set up well for group bookings, so if you actively want more large reservations then it’s definitely worth spreading the news. Consider:

  • Designing and promoting group packages that might be longer in duration or include catering, depending on customer demand.
  • Offering discounts or deals on group bookings over a certain minimum pax.
  • Posting videos or photos of past group experiences on your socials, so others can see how fun those experiences are.
  • Offering commercial rates for team building or corporate getaway options.

As you become known as large-group-friendly and people see more reviews about how fantastic their group experience was with you, you’ll be perfectly positioned to grow your group bookings and minimize vacancies on any given day.

Welcoming large group reservations

Offer experience-enhancing extras

Offering extras can help you create a fun, social, and memorable experience, and also boost your revenue from group bookings. Groups may be more inclined to add these extras when they’re booking for special occasions. For example:  

  • You might offer an optional champagne upgrade to the breakfasts you offer after your hot air balloon flights. 
  • If you have a company bus, you might offer transfers to and from city locations. 
  • You might also offer an extras package where every participant in the group booking receives photos or video of their experience, via an integration such as PicThrive

Families and friendship groups might be particularly keen to invest in a photo package so they’ll be able to look back on that anniversary or birthday celebration.

Consider adding an extra guide

If you’re able, having two or more tour guides or staff members on hand to assist a large group booking has a number of benefits you can:

  • Optimize the customer experience
  • Optimize your risk management strategies
  • Delegate staff to handle different aspects: for example, one focused on safety, and the other one providing commentary to guests

Some online booking systems will include the ability to allocate staff and resources to specific tours, making this type of management simple.

Be prepared ahead of time

Large group reservations can take extra time and preparation, but this is much more straightforward with the right booking software. Before the day, be sure to: 

  • Check your booking dashboard and daily manifest to see if you need to arrange any gluten-free or vegetarian fare.
  • Plan out experiences based on different age groups or fitness levels within the group. 
  • Learn names and preferences to provide personalized service.

An extra tip for group management: If you’re integrating Rezdy for booking and Wherewolf for waivers, you can use their Active Dashboard to manually check guests out as they leave. This makes it much easier to manage your onsite safety and ensure that no one in a large group gets left behind.

How can group reservations benefit your tour business?

Group bookings can help to fill capacity, increase business in the quiet times and give you many more happy customers who can spread the word about your brand. The outcome is more bookings and more business!

Once you’re set up to receive and attract groups with the above tips, you’ll be able to welcome each group reservation without the stresses that can otherwise go hand-in-hand with these complex bookings. 

Our free Master Class provides in-depth articles on advertising, analyzing, and reselling your tours or activities through leading travel agents and OTAs. To get started, visit the Master Class page and browse through the different chapters at your own pace. And as always – if you’re looking for powerful online booking software with flexible integrations, we’d love to show you around Rezdy with a free guided tour or you can start a FREE 21-day trial today.

If you enjoyed this article then make sure to follow the Rezdy blog. There are a lot of marketing tools and tour operator tips designed with businesses like yours in mind.

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