Updated April 2023We 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, but it also helps them convert visits into money through online booking (or reservation) systems.

So, what is an online reservation system?

Essentially, an online reservation system will let you accept bookings for your services online, at any time of the day or night. It typically includes practical features such as availability calendars, payment processing, confirmation emails, and reminders.

One of the major benefits of an online reservation system is that it streamlines the booking process for both your business and your customers, reducing the need for manual booking and providing an efficient and reliable way to manage reservations electronically.

How online tour booking systems improve your operations

benefits of online reservation system

With the right platform that balances the benefits and challenges of online booking systems, 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 of the many benefits of an online reservation system from our own platform.

Marketing and advertising platform

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.

Real time tours and experiences manager

There are many advantages of online reservation systems, but this feature is probably one of the top tools. 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.

advantages of online reservation system

Website and content management system

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. This handy feature helps you get more bookings with your online booking system.

Tour reseller and travel agent platform

As well as taking bookings directly, most tour and activity operators now resell their tours and activities through resellers such as 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 dashboard

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.

Benefits of online booking systems for tour operators

Get ahead of the 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 the booking will be almost completely effortless.

Get bookings and payments 24/7

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!

Secure online payments

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.

benefits of online tour bookings

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!

Set up coupons and discounts easily

One of the many advantages of an online reservation system is the ability to set up coupons and discounts easily. For tour and activity businesses, offering discounts and promotions are an essential part of attracting new customers and building loyalty with existing ones. With an online booking system, businesses can easily create and manage coupons and discounts with just a few clicks. This is one of the must-have features of an online booking system for any tour or activity company looking to stay competitive in today’s market. By offering discounts and promotions through an online booking system, businesses can attract new customers, encourage repeat business, and increase revenue.

Additionally, an online tour booking systems allows businesses to track the effectiveness of their promotions, enabling them to adjust their marketing strategies as needed to maximize their return on investment.

what is an online tour booking system

Should you adopt an online tour booking 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’sAlternatively, many booking software providers offer free demos to see how their products can fit within your business.

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 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.

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