WordPress is the content management system for over 16 millions sites worldwide, and thousands of tour and activity companies use it as the main online platform to present their product offerings.
However, in order for a company to plug into the power of WordPress as a distribution channel for their tours, these 10 online booking features are essential.
1. Your website needs to have access to live inventory
If you only have twenty places available on a tour, you might get thirty requests for one particular day. This will result in overbooking if you're using a simple contact form as a booking form.
But have live inventory and you won’t encounter this problem – customers can only book what you have available. By integrating TrekkSoft's online booking engine with your website, you can view upcoming departures, adjust available seats and open new tours. This means that your business is always up-to-date.
2. Your website should be optimized for mobile
The shift from desktop to mobile will continue in 2016. In 2014, 38% of web visitors and nearly 40% of page views were generated from non-desktop devices. Commercially, nearly 21% of hotel bookings and 17% of room nights came from tablets and mobile devices.
NB: This is an analysis by Max Starkov, president and CEO of HeBS Digital
With these statistics in mind, your booking engine must work on mobile devices. TrekkSoft's mobile solution helps you sell and manage a mobile optimised booking process.
3. Your booking system should be prominent on your website
If you have a booking engine on your website, you need to let people know it’s there. Here's how you can let people know your website is an e-commerce site:
- Make sure you use a ‘Book Now’ button which stands out
- Ensure sure this is above the fold
- Check that you use a simple call-to-action in the text.
4. Online booking should be as seamless as possible
Nobody wants to have to spend 15 minutes or more making a booking online. Customers want it to be as seamless as possible. When choosing a booking engine, make sure it transforms booking into an effortless process with as few steps as possible.
5. You should not redirect customers to an external booking website
One of the biggest mistakes tour companies make on WordPress is redirecting potential customers to a third party website. This is a huge no-no when it comes to your booking engine.
You want your customers to be in an environment they are familiar with and can trust from start to finish. If the booking process starts on your website but finishes on another, it will reduce your conversion rate. With TrekkSoft's booking system, users start and end the booking on your website.
6. Your booking engine should be PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant
If you were to ask people who don’t book online why they don’t, nine times out of ten they’ll tell you it’s because they’re wary of security – they want to know their details are secure.
Whatever booking engine you choose to have on your WordPress site, make sure it is PCI compliant. These security standards were developed to protect card information during and after a financial transaction.
7. Customers should be supported in multiple languages
It's important for your website to be available in English, but it doesn't mean that it’s the only language your booking engine should be available in. You need to give Spanish, French, German and speakers of other languages the facility to book in their native tongue.
8. Online booking should have custom fields to tailor customer needs
If you’re the operator of a pub crawl and you’re offering the facility to book the tour on your WordPress site, you’ll need to collect different data from customers to the operator of a scuba diving school.
With this in mind, you’ll need to be able to customise the data capture fields. This is why we ensure TrekkSoft's Custom Fields function allows tours and activities to collect unique information.
9. Your booking engine should have an automated email follow up after a reservation
An automatic email is a huge part of the booking process. Customers need to know their booking is secure instantaneously. If they don’t, they’ll wonder if their booking has gone through and is secure.
Customers should also receive an email after they’ve experienced your tour or activity. In a world where anybody with access to the internet is a publisher, everyone is a critic. Give your customers the option to leave their thoughts after they’ve bought a service from you.
10. Your website should capture and display tour reviews
90% of online shoppers online are influenced by reviews. Reviews can be the difference in whether or not a customer buys your product. To ensure you’re giving your customers the potential to be swayed by these decisions, you need to have reviews beside your product.
Using the Trekksoft TripAdvisor integration you can harness the power of reviews and boost your rankings and sales.
What's your number one must-have for a booking engine?
Looking to integrate a streamlined booking process to your WordPress website?
Written by Marcel Whelan
Marcel grew up in Ireland but is also half Dutch. He has a BSc. in Marketing and is a Google AdWords Professional and Google Partner. After working for an Ad Tech startup in NYC, Marcel moved to Interlaken, Switzerland to manage all PPC advertising for TrekkSoft.