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Published by Stephanie Kutschera | Feb 7, 2019 | | 2 MIN READ

The real cost of low cost booking software

Let me tell you the story of TrekkSoft. We were founded in Interlaken, Switzerland by 3 partners - Jon Fauver, who was an experienced rafting guide and co-owner of Outdoor Interlaken, Philippe Willi, who was co-owner of Outdoor Interlaken and Valentin Binnedijk, who was co-owner of an e-commerce and web design agency.

Our software was built at the request of tour and activity operators in the region who were desperate for a booking management tool that could help their businesses to connect together and grow. We like to say that TrekkSoft was built by tour operators for tour operators as they are instrumental to our product development.

Since 2010, we've grown to have offices and staff around the world. We are constantly speaking to our customers, researching industry insights and innovating our product to keep our mission to 'Make the world's activities bookable'. We want to help companies grow as we grow and our pricing models reflect this.

Low cost booking solutions

More often, when we speak to tour and activity companies we are not the only booking system they are looking at. More interestingly, the other system tends to be a low cost alternative.

 

Like most companies, we acquire customers based on the value of TrekkSoft and our product, and some we lose due to price. I thought I'd share some of the reasons that set our operators decision against a low cost booking system.

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1. On-Boarding & Training

Setting up a new system, transferring data from an existing system and educating your team about your new software is no easy task. It takes time, training and a dedicated integration/support manager to set your business up for success.

A low cost solution tends to be aimed at mass volume, so most likely you are one of 100+ other companies each month who need dedicated support, and because of the volume that support won't be available. This can cause a delay in your set up times, slow response to queries, training that isn't adequate and most importantly a loss of potential income.

2. One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Does a newly created tour company with one team member use booking software in the same way as a multi-regional company with a turnover of €1 million +? Does an adventure company have the same requirements as a city tour operator?

Last year at TrekkSoft, we realised that what we were promoting as an all-in-one booking solution really wasn’t for all tour and activity operators. We then spent time researching, speaking to our customers and instead chose to focus on specific verticals. This allows us direction and focus to build our system, features and tools to support these businesses.

Recently, we also introduced package volumes that will support business growth. If you aren't going to use features why should you pay for them? If you need features, they should be available when require them.

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3. Product Development 

The tours and activities sector is constantly evolving, especially with developments in technology and automation. Linking in to the all-in-one solution above, if solutions are offering a product for everyone in the travel industry then they can't focus on improving features specific to your operations such as resource management, multi-channel connectivity and automated messaging.

All-in-one booking solutions will also receive a mass volume of reported bugs and requests from a range of company types. This can overwhelm their development team and won't allow dedicated time to be innovative, which is something we pride of our fantastic product and development team at TrekkSoft. We are always building the next tool or feature that we know will support our operator's businesses to grow.

4. Prices Can Change

If the price of the booking solution is low to aim at building market share, then it won't remain at that price long-term. A price change could affect your forecasting and planning in future.

If the booking fee of your system is off-set to your customers, this could put your business in a less attractive position for direct bookings. The price to book direct on your website could be higher to the customer than booking the same tour via OTAs or with your competitors.

Lastly, there are always add-ons to low cost packages, so it might seem low initially but this will go up when you require a website builder, training support or a channel manager.

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What is the real cost of a low cost booking solution? 

My opinion (maybe biased) is that you get what you pay for. A low cost solution might be right for you if it ticks all the boxes, but if it doesn't, then look at the real cost of the features or tools you have to give up. If you have to invest more in administration, your bookings are prone to human error or you have strong growth plans for the future, then I recommend taking 30 minutes to speak to our experienced team today

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Stephanie Kutschera
Published by Stephanie Kutschera
Stephanie is Head of Marketing at TrekkSoft. She has worked in marketing for over 8 years in various business sectors across the UK. She loves exploring and taking part in tours & activities around the world.
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