Updated January 2023 – As the tourism and travel industry begins to recover, it’s necessary for tour and activity providers to be prepared for the influx in available bookings. By choosing the right booking software for your tourism company ultimately boils down to discovering the right reservation system features that suit your needs.

With an array of reservation system features now available in the market, how do you find the right one for your business? We broke it down for you. Here are the must-have features that you need in your online booking system:

1. Real-time booking

In today’s fast-paced world where almost everything is instant, so is the modern-day booking process. Travelers nowadays don’t want to wait hours or days for a confirmation. They want to be able to instantly book a slot that works best for them.

Real-time booking is not only an essential feature for travelers who want to book directly with you, but also for those distribution agents who utilize your channel manager. With real-time booking, you are always broadcasting your live availability and you minimize the risk of overbooking or double-booking your services.

By utilizing a booking software that equips you with real-time availability viewer, not only will you be saving yourself the hassle of added admin duties, but you’ll also be simplifying your customers’ booking process. It’s ultimately a win-win solution for both parties.

2. Consolidated and automated communications

reservation system feature checklist

As tour operators, you probably spend a big sum of your time sending repetitive emails. A booking engine that offers your consolidated and automated communication features will instead do the hard work for you.

An automated communication feature will allow you to automate your repetitive, but crucial communication. This could be from booking confirmation emails as well as notifications and reminders of upcoming reservations.

This feature will be triggered based on the parameters you set. For example, if you’d like automatic reminders to be sent 3 days before the reservation, you can set your reservation system to trigger an SMS or email within that certain time frame.

Furthermore, with the right online booking system, you will be able to find all of your customer communications in one convenient portal. This decreases the risk of forgetting to respond to a customer or missing a message entirely.

3. Resource manager & automated manifest updates

One of the greatest challenges for tour and activity operators is managing resources effectively. Knowing how many tour buses you need on any given day can be difficult without the right booking system in place. A resource manager reserves the equipment that is necessary for any given day, ensuring that you have everything you need for your travelers when they arrive.

Furthermore, with automatic manifest updates and a resource management tool, a booking software can help shuffle your inventory and staffing schedule around in the instance of cancellations or booking changes. This saves you the hassle of needing to reallocate your resources back online for other people to book.

4. Simple web integration

website health checker

Your website is generally one of the first points of contact your customers has with your business. And it’s crucial that your website features essential elements that make it look professional and easy to navigate.

However, anyone that has run a website knows how hard it is to manage, especially if you’re constantly having to update information and availability. By utilizing an online reservation system that has a seamless web integration process, you’ll be able to easily reflect your calendar and availability automatically on your site. It also allows you to promote your products effectively to your target market segments.

When looking for an online booking system, seek for one with easy, yet advanced API (application programming interface) integration. This will allow you to seamlessly integrate your operating system with theirs.

5. Social media booking options

In the past few years, social media has become a prominent marketing tool for the tourism industry. Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook are now one of the first avenues travelers seek to find travel inspiration and recommendations. By harnessing this powerful tool, you’ll be able to broaden your reach and create another channel of bookings.

Any online booking system is going to provide you with direct booking capabilities through your website, but only premier systems, like Rezdy, include social media booking options as well. Reservation softwares offer you the ability to integrate your system into a “Book Now” button on Facebook, Instagram, and other powerful social networking sites. Thus, allowing you to capture more bookings through power reservation system features like this one.

Harnessing social media as extra reservation system features

6. Cloud-based technology

Being a tour and activity operator is no conventional job, and generally requires you to be able to operate on the go. However, operators that don’t utilize an online booking system may find it quite limiting when it comes to working from different locations.

Utilizing a cloud-based online booking software, it allows you to take your business on the go and gives you a chance to access your daily manifest, occupancy rate, and customer communications as well as perform check-ins from mobile apps on your smartphone or mobile devices.

7. Payment gateway integration

With 70% of global online shoppers now opting for digital payments, and close to 70% of travelers now booking their travel arrangements online, being able to accept online payments is essential if you’re looking to boost your conversions. And the only way you’ll be able to accept online payments is via a payment gateway.

Payment gateways are an important feature if you’re looking to get started on your online payments journey. These tools make payment processing not only simple but secure. This is because payment gateways perform vigorous security checks and ensure the payment details of your customers are encrypted. This protects not only your customers but also your business from potential liability issues.

Furthermore, payment gateways provide your customers with an array of payment options such as credit card and mobile wallet payment methods. By offering them the option to pay how they’d like, you’ll have a higher chance of securing the booking.

If you’d like to learn more about payment gateways for tour operators, check out our Learn with Rezdy video.


8. Connectivity and distribution

Broadening your distribution channels is vital if you’re looking to maximize your sales. Utilizing a reservation management platform with distribution capabilities is definitely an added bonus.

Software like Rezdy not only simplifies your reservation process but also provides you with access to Rezdy Channel Manager. This distribution platform connects you to over 25,000 active resellers such as OTAs (online travel agents), local travel agencies, and even complimenting businesses within the hospitality industry and hotel industry.

With Rezdy Channel Manager, you’ll be able to manage all your distribution processes such as payments, pricing, bookings, and commissions all from one central dashboard.

How to search for reservaton system features

Using Rezdy Channel Manager is as easy as:

1. Listing your products
2. Setting your commission rates
3. Letting thousands of agents and resellers resell and promote your products


Rezdy is the world’s leading independent online booking and distribution platform designed specifically for tour and activity operators. Not only does it have all of these necessary features, but it also offers many more additional features that will allow you to streamline your administrative tasks while also increasing your direct bookings.

Furthermore, Rezdy’s tools are designed to be user-friendly and we offer 24/7 customer support whenever you need help or assistance.

Ready to start accepting online bookings? Start your FREE 21-day trial or book a demo with our team today to find out how Rezdy can fit within your business.

If you enjoyed this article – The Ultimate Checklist for Reservation System Features – then make sure to subscribe to the Rezdy newsletter. There are a lot of marketing tools and tour operator tips designed with businesses like yours in mind.

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