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Published by Jenny Chang | Sep 23, 2020 | | 3 MIN READ

Guide: How to Choose the Best Online Booking Software for Your Tour or Activity Business

Booking a tour has never been this easy thanks to the internet. With just a few clicks, anyone can start making plans without the hassle of back and forth emails and calls. This instantaneous interaction between you and your clients opens up more opportunities for your business in the process.

However, this continuous flow of bookings can have its downside. For one, this might make it harder for you to keep track of all of them in the process, resulting in missed appointments, double reservations, accidental cancellations, and more.

Fortunately, you don’t have to handle this task alone. Online booking systems help you keep all your bookings and schedules in order. With its help, you’re sure to never miss out on opportunities while also keeping your schedule streamlined and organised. It’s not like your typical planner where you jot down dates, time, and clients. It has more advanced features like automatic scheduling, channel management, and cancellation and refund management.

 

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To help you decide which one would best suit your business, here’s a guide to start you off your hunt.

1. Identify your company’s needs

Before you go out there and start your search, there are a couple of factors to consider in choosing an online booking software. It’s best that you look inside first. Evaluate your business’ needs and consider your resources on hand. This way, you have an idea of what features you need and how much you can spare in implementing the software.

First, consider your resources. How much are you willing to shell out on your software? You should also think about whether this is more of a personal use or if you would like it to be capable of accommodating team collaborations. There’s also flexibility and scalability to think about.

For example, if your company is only starting out, you should first look into the best online booking software for small business. Its features would most likely fit your current needs and capabilities compared to other solutions tailor-made for bigger operators.

 

2. Read and compare reviews

Now that you know what your business needs, it’s easier to identify what tools you will need for your booking software. However, there are a variety of choices out there with their own sets of software features to choose from.

To narrow down your list, start off by checking out the best ones in the market. Read listicles on the internet or ask for recommendations from other people.

Reading reviews will also give you an idea of what they can do for your business. By reading insights of those who have experienced the software first-hand, you get a glimpse of how it could fit with your business and how it measures up with other software.

 

3. Check for internet connectivity

Nowadays, almost everyone and everything is on the internet. In fact, a study by Statista says that there are almost 4.57 million active internet users in the world. Hence, having an online booking system would come in handy. 

An online booking system allows you to take bookings any time, anywhere. Integrate it to your website to let customers make a booking themselves, or share Agent accounts with travel agents and resellers and let them book directly into your system from all over the world. The best part is that you don’t have to manually manage capacity for each tour or send out confirmation emails - your booking system can sort it out for you. 

As a manager or business owner, this makes it easier for you to keep track of daily sales and bookings. The system automatically tracks and updates bookings, while notifying you of any cancellations or outstanding payments. 

 

4. Consider device compatibility

In a time where flexibility has become one of the top priorities within businesses, it is important that your bookings can be accessed on multiple devices. 

Currently, you have an array of devices you can use for added flexibility in your work. You now have your laptops, smartphones, and tablets that make it easier to continue work outside of the office.

A booking system that comes with a mobile or tablet app allows you to take bookings and payments outside of the office, wherever your customers are. With your smartphone always in your pocket, your booking software can also remind you of upcoming tours , anytime and anywhere.

 

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5. Evaluate integration capabilities

Often, businesses have to juggle several softwares at once to accommodate different aspects of their operations. After all, there is no one solution that can cater to all your business’ needs.

Hence, integration capabilities have become an important feature to consider when looking for any software. An online booking solution that integrates with your digital waiver solution, for example, can save you hours of manual checking, copying and pasting. Software integration can give you a degree of personalisation and freedom in how you want your booking software merged with your other systems.

Another form of integration you should consider is your booking system’s integration with Online Travel Agents (OTAs). You want to work with a booking system that is integrated with top global OTAs, niche OTAs that align with your services, and domestic OTAs or even local destination management organisations (DMOs).

 

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6. Don’t forget customer support

Whether or not you have your own on-site IT specialist in your company, it’s always good to check out the service provider’s customer support. This gives you extra assurance that you have someone to contact if ever you encounter a problem with the software along the way.

Reliable customer support from the booking solution provider can further enhance your overall experience. Aside from resolving issues faster, they will also provide continuous updates for your software to improve performance and add more features.

This is especially useful for small businesses or startups since it can help reduce costs in the long run. The extra support means you don’t have to worry about outsourcing costly IT specialists to assist you.

 

A future-proof booking system

The days of ringing up a customer or back-and-forth emails with a travel agent are gone. Nowadays, everyone wants it to be fast, instantaneous, and convenient. To make sure you never lose out on potential bookings, it’s high time you check how an online booking software can benefit your company.

With it, you can let customers book a tour with you via your website any time, any day. You also don’t have to worry about overbookings because the system will automatically organise your schedule for you.

Unlike spreadsheets and emails, the software changes the way you plan out your schedule. It opens up to more possibilities and functions. For one, it can ease and streamline collaborations especially for large teams by creating a centralised planner or calendar for the team. It also allows real-time notifications and reminders, so that you are always aware when and where a tour will take place.

So, take advantage of what technology has to offer. The variety of online booking software available out there means there’s one bound to be the perfect fit for your company’s needs. Just keep these tips in mind during your selection to help you along the way. By equipping yourself with the best online booking system, you can start planning ahead for your business.

 

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A guide to choosing the right booking solution

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Jenny Chang
Published by Jenny Chang
Jenny Chang is a senior writer specializing in SaaS and B2B software solutions. She has covered all the major developments in SaaS and B2B software solutions, from the introduction of massive ERPs to small business platforms to help startups on their way to success.

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