Founded in 2012, Bokun is a booking software for suppliers (tour operators, activity providers, rental companies) and agents (travel agents, resellers, OTAs).
Based in Iceland, the company was co-founded by CEO Hjalti Baldursson and CTO Olafur Gauti Guðmundsson. Before 2018, their client base was predominantly located in Iceland.
In April 2018, TripAdvisor announced their entry into the experience software space with the company's acquisition of Bokun.
"Until now, TripAdvisor’s Experiences unit relied on third party integrators such as FareHarbor, Peek, and Bokun, which has been working with TripAdvisor since 2016, to connect tour suppliers to its platform, but now it will be able to handle booking, inventory management and tour operations through its in-house tech company." Skift 2018
Bokun offers the standard tools required for a small to medium sized tour company with an extremely low price point of just 0.1% introduced just after the TripAdvisor acquisition.
In August 2019, Bokun announced a change in pricing with a 2.9% service fee added for bookings via their online booking engine. For now, there would be no service fees for bookings via Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), resellers, Bokun Marketplace and offline.
Where Bokun outperforms other software solutions
- The most obvious is cost. A price tag of 0.1% was a very lucrative offer for suppliers to try Bokun as 'they weren't losing any money'. The price jump to 2.9% for direct bookings has brought their pricing closer to that of other booking solutions. They do however still offer free bookings via OTAs which reduces additional fees paid.
- Bokun's Marketplace is well established. When they first started out in Iceland, local operators could connect with one another to resell products. This was a huge reason for operators to stick with Bokun. Since its acquisition, the Bokun Marketplace, led by TripAdvisor, has focused on building marketshare and now any Bokun users from around the world can connect with one another.
- It's part of the TripAdvisor family which means better listing position on both TripAdvisor and Viator. TripAdvisor as we know is the largest travel review website in the world and Viator is currently the largest OTA for tours and activities.
How TrekkSoft outperforms Bokun
1. We're independently owned
Firstly, it is important to point out that TrekkSoft is completely independent and it's something we like to shout about. We are not owned by or hold preference to any Online Travel Agency.
2. We promote direct bookings to protect your profits
TrekkSoft is focused on providing the tours and activities industry with the tools, knowledge and support to grow sustainably. A big part of this is maintaining direct business.
Today, we can see that the tours and activities industry is following a similar pattern to the airline and hotels industry where OTAs first increased their marketshare and then increased their commission rates.
In our webinar with Amrita Maakar, Director of Revenue Management for The Standard Hotels, she shared how OTAs should be used as an advertisement tool to reach potential customers who you would be unable to reach on your own (e.g. your business is in Europe but your target customer is in America). Customers you have the ability to reach yourself through your website, including the 48% of experience booking customers who are currently in your destination, should not book via an OTA.
Hear how hotels work with OTAs from expert Amrita Makkar:
3. We provide personal support
Booking systems are complex, regardless of who's providing them.
With TrekkSoft, we provide personal on-boarding and training with an Integrations Specialist. They will learn about your business and teach you how to set up the system to meet your requirements. You will then receive a dedicated Account Manager and have access to our development team to make suggestions for new features.
Our customer service team is fluent in English, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese.
These are some of our features we like to shout about
A dedicated Point-of-Sale Desk for agents and resellers
TrekkSoft offers a Point of Sale (PoS) Desk for sales agents and partners to sell tours on your behalf. This has been designed so it is easy to use by resellers and provides them with both direct access to your booking calendar in real-time and the ability to take bookings. By booking on their account, bookings are tracked alongside their due commission.
Manage your resources
We think that it is important for your booking system to have a resource manager. It can be used to manage your bikes, coaches, kayaks, boats and any other resource you need to run a trip.
With a resource manager, you can ensure that there will be no over-bookings, you can set limitations (e.g. 4 adult seats and 2 child seats) and you can simply block out resources for private events or repairs.
Upsell your customers
You can add shop items or create add-ons for customers to purchase additional offers when booking any of your tours. This could include a photo package, merchandise or anything else that can increase your revenue before a customer arrives for your tour.
Accept and update bookings on the move
We have a mobile app that is available to all users. Every employee with access, including your guides, managers, admin team; can accept, update and check bookings on the move. Guides can have the most up-to-date information, take payments and scan tickets all from a mobile device.
A payment gateway created for experience providers
Since Bokun does not have their own payment gateway, operators will have to source yet another service provider to take payments online.
TrekkPay, is our very own payment gateway that accepts payments in 60 currencies. It was created specifically for the tours and activities industry so you won't have to pay exorbitant bank fees or transaction charges. TrekkPay will also manage your refunds and chargebacks for free.
An ever-growing channel manager
TrekkConnect API connects your business to large distributors like GetYourGuide, Viator, Klook and Musement. The TrekkConnect channel manager provides a reliable and fast connection to your OTAs, allowing you to manage all your OTA connections on one platform, while speeding up booking confirmations too.
You'll be able to map new products to OTAs which automatically notifies you of your latest bookings and updates the OTA with your latest availabilities. Automating a large part of your booking process allows you to reduce cut-off times and maximise revenue per tour.
Gain insights from your booking data
We offer a business intelligence tool so you can really understand your customers. Your reports will let you compare past performance, collect customer data and plan for a successful year ahead.
"We created Business Intelligence to give our customers a deeper understanding into their business. They now have the tools to analyse past business performance, use that insight to predict future demand, and effectively plan for the upcoming season."
Viktor Sobor, Product Manager