By Kevin Tjoe — 23 Nov 2021
Chances are if you’re working in travel or tourism you’ve asked yourself ‘what is an online booking system?’ at some point. In just a few years, these systems have utterly transformed how tourism bookings are accepted, managed, and maximized. Online booking systems have also saved thousands upon thousands of admin hours for tour and activity operators. Game-changing is not an overstatement
An online booking system is a software solution and reservation system that makes it simple for guests to book and pay for your tours and activities online. Some online booking systems also include user-friendly tools to help you improve efficiencies and boost bookings for your business.
The online booking system concept has been around for years, but it’s rapidly become a necessity for tourism operators. And here’s why.
If you’re not already working with one you might be wondering, “Why do we need an online booking system?”. After all, phone and email bookings work just fine. But consider where and how guests are booking these days.
As of 2020, 65% of revenue in the global travel and tourism market came from online sales channels.
The key purpose of an online booking system is to help capture that demand, with the ultimate objective of bringing in more bookings for your business. Of course, there are a few other reasons:
So how does an online booking system work exactly?
The first thing to know is that your guests will see is the front end booking website, which provides a polished and intuitive booking process to guide them through booking and payment. Meanwhile, you’ll have your own VIP access to the system’s back-end via your business dashboard, which streamlines all the handy behind-the-scenes information to help you meet your business needs.
Here’s how that looks in practice.
Potential customers could be located anywhere and be booking at any time, so a booking platform that can take bookings 24/7 makes a whole lot of sense. Who doesn’t want bookings while they sleep? All you need to do is add your tours or activities, set pricing, and choose if you’d like to take bookings on your own website and through other distribution channels. Then you can relax, knowing your online reservation system is available for bookings right round the clock.
You can easily add a booking widget and booking form to add to your booking page on your existing website. Some online booking systems even provide a tool to build your own branded, mobile-responsive website with a click or two.
Your dashboard is where all guest bookings and guest data will be available to you and your team in real-time. You can even capture phone and walk-up bookings in the same system, so it’s all in one place. No more manually updating spreadsheets – just smoothly synced data!
Depending on your choice of online booking system, you’ll be able to:
Prepare to take up a new hobby or two, because an online booking system can free up hours of standard admin time in a tour or activity business.
You could automate booking confirmations and reminders for guests with polished, branded emails or SMS notifications– this really helps to minimize no-shows.
You can also automate follow-up requests for guests to leave you a glowing review, to spread the word on social media about your amazing guest experiences.
And some online booking systems also let you integrate with other tools and software providers use an API or plugin to automate marketing, digital waivers, bookkeeping, and a whole range of other processes. Why do the tedious jobs when tech can do them for you?
There are countless benefits for a tour or activity operator using the right online booking system, but here are the three major advantages that no business owners can’t ignore.
The right online booking system can help you significantly cut down your workload and improve general time management. Automation and integrations are here to help, so you can spend less time on customer support and more time with guests and growing your business – in normal business hours.
Double bookings? Forget ‘em! Hundreds of appointment bookings a day? No problem! Even last-minute cancellations are made simpler through clear policies and pre-paid deposits. Live scheduling software makes it a cinch to manage staff, inventory, and guest information in one central place.
This is the vital reason most tourism operators now use an online booking system: it can lead to more business. You can grow your customer reviews, use in-built analytics to advertise more accurately, get paid for bookings faster, and expand your network for growth selling via Online Travel Agencies (OTAs).
Put simply: you can use your online scheduling to improve your guest experiences, and to gain more interest in those experiences. Travelers have by now come to expect a seamless online booking process, so if you don’t have the right type of booking system in place yet it’s well and truly time to consider it for your business. What’s not to love about more time, more convenience and more bookings?
There are many different online booking systems available to choose from, but they won’t all offer the same ease of use or functionality. Here are a few essential features to look for when choosing an online booking system:
Capterra compares different online booking systemsso you can assess the different features and benefits of each solution. And, be sure to take advantage of Rezdy’s FREE 21-day trial or request a demo
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.
Be sure to also check out our latest Youtube video that explains the details and the benefits of an online booking software for tour operators.
Enjoy 21 days to take a look around and see if we are a good fit for your business.
Get started today
No obligations, no catches, no limits, nada