4 Huge Advantages of an Online Reservation System

We now live in an era where everything is practically inseparable from the internet, including business. It’s now crucial that every business – no matter what sector it belongs to – has a recognizable web presence since Google has replaced the phone book. Not only does internet technology help tours and activity operators get found online, it also helps them convert visits into money through online booking (or reservation) systems.

Essentially, an online reservation system will let you accept bookings for your services online. Amongst the many benefits, here are four of the biggest advantages of an online reservation system – and four very real reasons you should at least consider putting this type of system in place!

#1 It puts you a step ahead of your competition.

There’s a multitude of tour and activity operators out there who have a website and enlist on Google Places, but only a few have an online booking system in place. By having an online reservation system, you’re one step ahead of the game, tipping the scales in your favor as prospects research and compare your capabilities against your competitors.

Of course, the presence of an online booking system itself is not enough to make or break the sale. You’ll still need to make sure the other aspects of your site (like imagery, for example) are in the best shape to minimize the amount of visitors that bounce off it. The idea is to both keep people intrigued and make the booking process as smooth as possible, so the customer’s journey from awareness to booking will be almost completely effortless.

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#2 It’s convenient and fast – for you and your customers.

Location is not an issue and neither is time with an online booking system, and your business becomes available for reservations 24/7. The virtual set-up means you won’t need to wake up at unholy hours to take booking calls from potential clients halfway around the world, and there won’t be bottlenecks as can often happen with phone booking systems. With an online booking system you can also point your customer support people and resources towards providing the very best guest experience, rather than simply taking bookings. As you focus on being the best tour or activity operator there is, people are going through the process of finding your site, browsing through its content, and finally booking a tour.

Travelers veer toward tour and activity sites that support online bookings not only because it’s easy, but also because they usually find some great discount deals. They can read up on your business, look at your options, and make a booking without being hassled by a pushy sales representative. This enables you to provide a seamless and enjoyable guest experience, from the moment they find out about your experiences to the moment they hopefully recommend your offerings to family and friends!

#3 It speeds up your cash flow.

The old barrier in the way of online payment systems was trust, but this is no longer an issue. The risk of credit card fraud or scam is now extremely low for online payment gateways. The online booking system you choose should have an “SSL certificate” on its payment page to ensure users that you are legitimate.

So what is an online reservation system going to do for your cash flow? An online booking system can bring in additional business just by being there in the virtual space, and available from anywhere. There is less capital outlay on your end, because you don’t have to hire staff to manage customers or pay rent for a physical location close to the customer. Also, once customers book through the system, money goes straight into your account before you’ve provided the service – no lag time here. Even if there are no-shows, you’ll have been paid upfront and you’ll be in control.

Online reservation systems are also more accurate when it comes to mathematical calculations. You can set up coupon codes and discount offers without triple-checking whether you got the maths right. And if you use Rezdy Marketplace to sell your experiences via resellers, you can update each product listing just once and the smart pricing system will update across all resellers. Simple!

#4 It can give you a whole range of invaluable business and marketing tools

With the right online reservation service you won’t just have the tools for a modern booking process – you’ll also gain some great tools to help you manage and optimize your customer experiences, and to boost your bookings. Here are just a few examples from our own platform.

  • Marketing and advertising
    Rezdy offers the ability to cross-promote other tours, experiences and products from your business so you can enjoy increased revenue via upselling. Gift cards and promo codes are incredibly simple to set up. It’s also easy to integrate MailChimp and other third-party platforms within the system to set up automated email marketing, before and after guest experiences. As such, you can maintain greater synergy between marketing and sales.
  • Tour and experience management
    Rezdy’s real time scheduling software helps you to eliminate any old issues of double-booking tours or tour leaders, because there’s one up-to-date source of data for all users. This platform offers a mobile app that you can use to view session times, check-in participants, contact no-shows, scan ticket QR codes, and chase unpaid orders. Not to mention, the system (and your customer and business data) is far more secure than spreadsheets!
  • Website and content management
    An online reservation system such as Rezdy can also provide a content management system to help you create and update your website content. In fact, we have a 1-click website creation tool built right into Rezdy that makes it simple to create your professional online presence if you haven’t already.
  • Reselling through OTAs and travel agents
    As well as taking bookings directly, most tour and activity operators now resell their tours and activities through resellers such as the large online travel agents (OTAs) and/or local travel agents. You can find and sell through all the important resellers using Rezdy Marketplace. Best of all – the centralized system works by updating availability and product information in real time for these resellers, which saves you time and headaches while bringing in business.
  • Analytics and insights
    You can also set up Google Analytics and cross-domain conversion tracking to gain valuable insight into where, how and when your customers are booking. Gain smarter insights into your business and booking trends, and both your bookings and customer reviews will likely benefit.

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Should you have an online reservation system?

Small tour or activity operators wonder whether an online reservation system is needed badly enough to invest some money in. Take time to make your decision since it will completely change your business processes. Even though this change is for the better, it will take time to train everyone to adapt to it. Make sure you undergo a free trial on any reservation system to test out the learning curve, and ensure that free trial conditions include these “no’s” — no lock in contract and no credit card required, like Rezdy’s.

Also, you should be able to make a decision, backed up by analytics data, on whether or not it will benefit your business. We recommend trying it out a new booking platform for a quarter at the very least – otherwise it’s just not long enough to fully explore and embrace the benefits. If you’d like to know which specific functions to look for in an online booking platform, here are five of the most important features, and here are 10 more detailed features to seek out.

Dive into the research

Did you know that 86.43% of respondents from our latest Australia and New Zealand industry survey said they are using real-time bookings through their online reservation system website as their primary tool to take bookings for tour and activity operators? To learn more, why not download the eBook below:

Tour Operator Trends ANZ 2018

Interested in learning more?

Get your hands on the Global Industry Survey results here: Download here

Or grab the latest United States and Canada Industry Survey results here: Download here

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