You most likely know about the advantages of booking software. But how do you know when your tour and activity company is ready to invest in it? You might be wondering if the additional cost is really worth it, especially when you have things like seasonality to deal with.
Here's our advice to help you know when it's time to make the call to get set up with a booking system like TrekkSoft.
1. Your business is processing bookings
When you're still putting effort into driving your first bookings, you're most likely not ready for booking software. We'd encourage businesses here to focus on building a great product and generating word-of-mouth advertising locally and online.
But if business is going well, you're processing bookings, and customers are coming your way, this is the best sign that you're ready to take a step up and invest in a booking and management solution.
2. Staying on top of resources and availability can be troublesome
Not knowing your exact availability sucks. It's a real pain for your customers too.
By choosing a booking system like TrekkSoft with built-in resource management, you know exactly how many resources (e.g. kayaks, guides, vehicles) you have at any one time – as well as how many guest bookings for those resources. Once you hit your limit, customers need to book another activity or time slot.
With booking software, you'll be able to max out your capacity and make the most of your resources, while making sure you don't end up with overbookings (and frustrated customers!)
3. Overbooking has been a problem for you
Have you had an overbooked tour or activity in the last six months? That's even more of a sign that you will benefit from a booking system with resource management.
4. You manually validate tickets and vouchers
Manually validating tickets and vouchers, or letting them pile up to check later, is a risk. Without the QR code of an e-ticket and mobile voucher, you're likely to be hit by fraud – a focus point of Phocuswright's latest Special Report into the industry.
Phocuswright has found that the larger suppliers ($1m+ revenue) are being hit hardest by fraud, among which 38% reconcile vouchers and tickets later. Geographically, emerging markets are worse off. The solution is tech!
Using a system like TrekkSoft enables automatic reconciliation for tickets and voucher codes. It's the best way to hold on to honest bookings.
- Read more: Our take on the opportunities to go after in Phocuswright's "Global Travel Activities 2014-2020: Tours & Attractions Come of Age"
5. You need to implement cancellation and no-show policies
Fed up of guests cancelling last minute? Suffered from no-shows? By introducing a down payment or deposit, you can reduce the impact this has on your business and encourage full attendance.
6. Email = your life
How many emails are you sending a day? Does the phone just keep ringing? A growing tour and activity company that relies on phone and email to process bookings just isn't sustainable. Sure, you can hire someone to process bookings for the season, but that comes with a cost.
One seasonal employee for admin at $10 per hour for 5 months is equivalent to $8,000. Booking software like TrekkSoft only costs you $995 for 5 months.
A booking that takes 10 emails instead of zero (with booking software in place) costs time and money. Pre- and post-trip emails that aren't automated cost you more.
These days, many of your customers want to be booking online. A lot of them simply don't want the faff of having the pick up the phone. Booking software is a good investment to give them that option and free up time for you and your team.
7. You have a team
Investing in booking software can help you to make sure that your team energy is best directed. TrekkSoft allows your full team to have access with the appropriate user rights for their role. With less phone calls and emails needed, they'll be able to spend more time on stellar customer service, business development, and marketing.
8. You want to upsell customers, but it's logistically tricky
Ok, so you want to be able to upsell customers and increase basket value. But how? The easiest way to do this is with booking software. You can offer customers add-ons in the checkout process and show them which extras you have on offer.
But what about...
High seasons, low seasons... it's how your industry works. It might seem counterintuitive to keep using an online booking system year-round (we hear you asking "why would I pay when I'm not open?") But booking software is a cost that's worth budgeting for. The main reasons to stick with your software provider all year round:
- Tourists don't always think in terms of high and low season, they want to book a tour when they're ready, they don't care if you're not.
- You can keep selling through marketplaces.
- You can drive interest with vouchers and gift codes.
- Low season is prime time to up the hype with clever marketing efforts (and then convert these web visitors!)
- Yearly price plans for booking software often make more business sense.
Finding the best booking software for me?
There are several booking software options out there. Your job is to decide which best suits your current needs and your plans for the future (and it helps to find a support team you can get on well with!)
We recommend you take advantage of the free demo calls and consultations offered by most of the leading software providers, just like TrekkSoft does.
To help you out with your consultation, here are 20 questions to ask during a booking software demo to make sure you're making the right decision for your business. You might also want to check out our guide to choosing the best booking software as a tour operator.
Want to talk it through with our team in a consultation call?
Written by Lucy Fuggle
Lucy is Head of Content Marketing at TrekkSoft. She tries to read a book a week, travel solo every month, and share ideas on lucyfuggle.com. You can usually find her in Switzerland's Berner Oberland.