Without a doubt, the most exciting aspect of the digital revolution is the democratization of information. Let me give you an example. If you think about it, you probably don’t have the marketing budget of Expedia or Booking.com, but you have access to the exact same tools they use to run their advertising campaigns. If you’re really motivated to grow your business, the only limit is the amount of hard work you’re willing to put into it. On the other hand, keep in mind that each one of your competitors can leverage the same resources that are readily available to you on the Internet. This means that, in this day and age, it is not enough to know what the best strategies are to run a successful business. To stand out from the crowd, efficiency is paramount. After all, your main goal is to offer your customers the best possible experience while also managing your resources, costs, and profits. On top of that, you have to juggle multiple tasks at once, from scheduling your tours and activities to processing invoices, from helping your clients to updating your website. With so much on your plate, streamlining your operations while keeping your customers happy can seem like an impossible challenge. Luckily, there’s a simple solution to this problem: using a booking system. At this point, you’re probably wondering what the benefits of online booking systems are and how they can help optimize your workflow. In the following few paragraphs, we’ll answer all your questions on this topic in detail.
What’s an online booking system and what are its benefits?
As the name implies, a booking system is a software that allows you to take reservations online.
More advanced booking solutions typically include a full suite of tools to help you manage every aspect of your business. For example, Regiondo – Europe’s leading reservation software for tour operators and activity suppliers – includes
- A Channel Manager that can distribute your offers to over 200 OTAs and resellers;
- A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to track your sales, manage your customer data and get statistics on your performance;
- A dedicated app to scan tickets and manage attendees on the go;
- The ability to collect payments in a variety of methods and currencies;
- A POS solution to accept on-site bookings from a smartphone or tablet;
- A website builder that allows people without technical knowledge to create a full-fledged website in minutes…
…and much more!
With so many tools at your fingertips, it’s easy to see the benefits of online booking systems and how they can help travel professionals streamline their operations.
The benefits of online booking systems
Your business is open around the clock
One of the main benefits of online booking systems is that they allow you to accept reservations 24/7. This means that your customers can book your tours and activities anytime, anywhere, without you having to do a thing. It’s like running your business on autopilot! The main advantages are:
- Manually accepting reservations by phone, email, or on-site is a huge time sink. With online bookings, you can save a lot of energy and focus on more important tasks, like running your tours and giving assistance to your customers. This is even more useful if you’re understaffed and can’t afford to hire new employees.
- In the digital age, more and more customers prefer the convenience of booking online and getting instant confirmation of their purchase without having to wait for an email or waste time on the phone. According to recent statistics, 83% of Gen-Z and Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996 and 1997 and 2009, respectively) prefer to do business with travel companies that allow them to book online.
- It will help you get many more bookings! In the last 12 months, the more than 5000 tour and activity suppliers that use Regiondo as their booking system have generated almost 40% of their online sales between 6 pm and 9 am, i.e. outside of regular business hours. Being able to accept bookings when your office is closed is especially important if you want to attract visitors who live in different time zones than yours, such as people from the United States and the Asia-Pacific region.
In the end, taking reservations online represents a win-win situation for everyone. You will be able to stop wasting time on a menial task and increase your profits, while your clients will enjoy a better customer experience.
Automate your booking processes
In the previous section, we discussed how accepting online reservations can save you valuable time, but that’s not the only benefit! In fact, manual tasks such as answering phone calls, responding to emails, and managing bookings in spreadsheets (or even worse, on a notepad) are prone to human error, which can lead to customer dissatisfaction and lost revenue. When it comes to business, even the smallest mistake can have a disastrous effect on your bottom line: just think what can happen if you make a blunder when handling payments or receipts. The good news is that online booking solutions like Regiondo are specifically designed to automate these processes in a reliable and effective way so that you can run your company with peace of mind.
Simplify your calendar management
As you know, correctly logging the reservations you receive and processing payments is only a small part of the job. What you need to do is carefully schedule them according to the availability of your staff and the inventory of any equipment, such as the number of Segways for a Segway tour. Managing the calendar can be challenging for professionals in the travel industry, especially for those companies that offer experiences with different schedules, capacities, and locations. And what happens if there’s a cancellation or you need to reschedule a certain activity? Of course, you need to revise the calendar accordingly!
It goes without saying that if you do this task manually, it is easy to make a mistake that can lead to overbooking or double booking, resulting in customer dissatisfaction, complaints, and refunds. In addition, automatic updating of your availabilities is required to be featured on OTAs and resellers, which is paramount to get more visibility on the web.
Improve customer communications
Communicating with clients is another task that consumes a lot of time and resources. In fact, talking to your clients to register their bookings is just the beginning! Other than that you need to:
- Send them all the information they need to enjoy the activities you offer,
- Remind them of their reservation to avoid a no-show,
- Invite them to write a review after they have experienced your tours.
These are just a few use cases that came to mind: depending on the specifics of your business, there are likely many other communications you need to send to your customers. Doing this manually requires your team to send dozens of emails and make dozens of phone calls every day instead of doing something more productive. With software like Regiondo, you can streamline this workflow by creating templates for booking confirmations, cancellations, and review requests that are automatically sent to your clients based on the date of their reservation. In our humble opinion, that’s easily one of the best benefits of online booking systems.
Understand your customers better
Understanding your customers is essential to running a successful tour or activity company. You want to know who your customers are, what they want, and how they behave. You also want to get their feedback and use it to improve your operations and marketing efforts. But collecting and analyzing customer data can be difficult, specifically if you rely on manual methods such as surveys, forms, or emails. You may not get enough responses, or the responses may be inaccurate.
A booking software can help you understand your clients better by tracking and storing sales data and providing you with reports and analysis. The system can collect customer information such as name, email, phone number, and products purchased. At the same time, it analyze the data and generate reports to help you understand, for example, which resellers are helping you sell more tickets. You can use these statistics to improve your business, for example, by tailoring your tours and activities to your customers’ needs and wants. You can also use them to refine your marketing strategy by creating targeted campaigns or using reviews and testimonials to promote your business.
Connect your software tools
As a tour operator or activity provider, you may use a variety of software tools to run your business, such as CRM, accounting, marketing, or communications programs. But using multiple applications can be inefficient, more so if they are not integrated. You may have to enter the same information multiple times or switch between different platforms and interfaces to complete a task. You may also have to deal with compatibility issues, data inconsistencies, or security risks.
A reservation software serves as a central hub for your business by interfacing with the other programs you use. For example, you can connect it to your favorite email marketing service to send newsletters to your clients. Besides that, Regiondo’s channel manager integrates with over 200 OTAs and resellers, so you can automatically manage all your offers from one place and update your availability in real-time. Regiondo also supports Google Things To Do, which allows you to publish your offers on the popular search engine for free!
How to leverage the benefits of online booking systems
In the digital age, online booking systems have become an indispensable tool for tour and activity operators. These programs offer numerous benefits, such as streamlining operations, automating reservation processes, simplifying calendar management, improving communication with their clients, providing valuable sales insights, and seamlessly integrating with other software tools. By leveraging the power of online booking solutions like Regiondo, travel professionals can save time, reduce the risk of human error, increase revenue, and ultimately deliver a superior customer experience. Using these systems not only keeps companies competitive in the ever-evolving digital landscape but also allows them to focus on the most significant parts of their business. To learn more about Regiondo, book a free demo with one of our consultants.