Admin, operations, managing guides and staff... when you run a tour and activity company, you can never fully get away from business management and back-office tasks. But you can simplify and automate many of your processes.
Here's our overview of the best ways we're seen to streamline admin, manage tours and activities more effectively, and free up time for providing great experiences and thinking about your bigger picture goals.
It's also worth keeping in mind that managing your business also looks very different when you're just starting out, perhaps as a sole-owner or with a partner, and when you scale your team. We've tried to cover the different stages here.
Quick tips to spend less time on admin and be more productive
To manage your tour and activity bookings more effectively, your first step is to optimize how you're processing bookings.
Make sure you're not relying on a contact form or email address for booking enquiries – these cost you a lot of time and have a high potential for error. Use a booking system like TrekkSoft and let people book on your website as soon as they’re interested in your trips.
With TrekkSoft, you can have a “Book Now” button on your website that leads your customers directly to a booking and payment process on your website. With live availability for each trip, you're also always showing your up-to-date capacity.
A booking system also allows you to easily view upcoming bookings and manage them from one place, which keeps life simple as your business scales and you bring in more bookings across a range of channels.
If one or more trips you run depend on the same set of resources like bikes, guides or boats, you can prevent overbookings by limiting your trips to available resources. This is possible with a booking system that has resource manager functionality.
Should you need to block off a resource for a few days for routine maintenance work, you can do that too.
If you want to accept online payments or take down payments on your website, you need to use a payment gateway, like PayPal or Stripe, with your booking system. TrekkPay is another payment gateway, built and designed for the tour and activity sector, and includes a dashboard overview of all your transactions and payouts to help you improve your accounting and reporting:
You can read about the features of the back office dashboard here.
If you're using online travel agencies and marketplaces, such as Viator and Expedia, one of the simplest ways to streamline your management is to use a channel management tool.
With the TrekkSoft Channel Manager, you can partner up with the world's best distributors and adjust your availability on one dashboard. This means you can quickly upload your trips to marketplaces without having to copy and paste every trip description, schedule and price.
The TrekkSoft API connection allows 3rd party marketplaces to check your availability before accepting a booking. Take bookings from multiple marketplaces and view them all in one dashboard.
If you're manually managing your calendar for tour and activity bookings, it's easy to overbook or make mistakes... especially if you add multiple tour guides and activities per day to the mix. On the other hand, you might not make full use of your capacity because you're worried of overbooking your guides or resources, and instead err on the side of caution.
The best way to stay up to date is to use a booking system with live inventory: this means that your bookings are updated on all channels. You can also sync with your Google Calendar or iCal.
As your business grows, you'll bring in new guides and staff. It's essential to let your operations and management processes evolve in order to avoid extra complexity.
Use a booking system that allows your guides to see how many people they can expect in an upcoming trip, provides any specific requirements of their guests, and gives them all the information they need to deliver a great experience.
When it comes to onboarding new staff, especially your seasonal hires, we've created a printable checklist to cover what they need to know to get started. It's created with TrekkSoft in mind, and will show your staff how to use the software to take and manage bookings.
With a Booking Desk for your agent and resellers, they are able to view your availabilities, book trips, sell add-ons, and generate widgets to use on their own website.
Let hotels and tourist information centres resell your trips with minimum admin work. Create agent accounts, adjust account permissions and let them access your availabilities to book directly into your system without a single phone call or email. Our POS desk and booking desk work on both tablets and laptops, giving your resellers the flexibility to pick a sales tool that suits them.
This keeps your involvement as company owner to a minimum – and you don't have to play phone and email tag.
If you choose a booking system with pre- and post-trip notifications, you can notify your customers of any changes to an upcoming trip, or automate email and SMS reminders to your guests so they bring what they need to have a good time. After a trip, you can also setup emails to collect reviews and feedback from happy guests.
You can easily track your sales, turnover and cash flow with TrekkSoft. Share this information with your accountant by exporting the data or granting them access to your back office.