Streamlined booking will be essential in a post-COVID-19 era because the travel industry will never be the same. While travel has dropped significantly, it will bounce back. When it does, tour guides and operators need to take advantage of the available modern technology.
People rely on technology for everything, especially booking tours and other travel-related purchases.
For example, people research before they travel. They read reviews, look for the best pricing, create their schedules, and find contact information. Because of this, they also want convenience. When they come to a website and they are ready to enter their card details to make their purchase, you want to be able to accept that payment and process their booking hassle-free.
The past several months have hit the travel industry hard. Now, more than ever, tour guides and operators need to be more efficient makeup lost revenue. A streamlined checkout and booking process helps solve this problem. Here’s how:
People will research more before they travel
In a Consumer Search Behavior Insight Report by Google, they list three reasons why people conduct research before an experience: 1. It helps them get excited. 2. It helps them feel more confident. 3. It helps them create the best experience.
The research itself becomes part of the experience.
Researching a trip and finding tours that will take you on an adventure you’ve never experienced before is exciting. They say planning a trip is half the fun and it’s because of the anticipation.
When researching, travelers learn more than they would have otherwise. Because of the knowledge they gain (whether or not to tip a guide, for instance), they have more confidence in their trip.
Getting excited about a tour and having the confidence in their purchase creates a better experience for them overall.
Knowing that people are researching online before booking means it’s important to have the most up-to-date and modern booking software online so when they’re ready to buy, they can.
Streamlined booking software creates a better user experience
People want to do things themselves, like booking tour guides, hotel rooms, and airfare. They are less inclined to go through a travel agent or reseller who bundles trips and activities together. It’s a lot less personal.
Searching online is less pressure than speaking on the phone or negotiating in person. Online booking offers the convenience of browsing and booking at their own time, pace, and in the comfort of their own home.
When people are searching and are ready to book, they want to book right then and there. If they are ready to book but forced to call, and it’s outside of business hours, they are more likely to book with someone else offering similar services who process bookings online. They don’t want to wait. Therefore, having your tours, activities, experiences, calendar, and payment options online and ready to browse, increases the probability of someone finding what they want and booking it.
A streamlined booking process reduces administrative work
We’ve learned a fair number of tour operators are keeping track of bookings manually, even while using existing online payment or booking solutions. The problem with these methods is that things can get out of hand quickly.
For example, if you have a traditional eCommerce system or collect payments through something like a PayPal checkout page, you might not be able to keep track of your availability. You may only have 20 available spots but 100 people called, emailed, or even paid you through your checkout or PayPal link.
If you don’t have a way to track your availability and automatically marking your service as unavailable or sold out, you’re turning away those 80 people and offering them all refunds. That’s a lot of frustration (on both ends) and lost business.
With online booking software, there is improved accuracy of tracking your availability both for guides and people booking. In other words, your staff can see what their schedule looks like, what’s been booked, update their own availability, and they can do this 24/7 365 days a year.
There’s also less scheduling-related errors such as double-bookings or misplaced bookings. With streamlined booking software, schedules can be updated quickly in a couple of clicks. Having all your information in one, easily accessible place reduces the amount of tedious work that comes with traditional booking processes. Instead of flipping through spreadsheets, calling staff, rescheduling bookings, and refunding would-be clients you can focus on growing your business and getting more people outside.
Online tour booking software increases profits
Google says 84% of Americans are shopping for something at any given time and nearly one-quarter of shoppers go to their smartphone first. Having your business available online, 24/7 means you can receive more bookings than you normally would during business hours alone. This means that when a customer is browsing your website at 9:00 PM, they can book a tour immediately. They’ll see the available dates and times and safely enter their payment information into the booking system.
Another benefit of using a modern and streamlined booking software is fewer steps for the customer to go through in order to book. When barriers to booking are removed, this streamlines the customer journey so they get to the checkout page quicker.
Origin bridges the gap between tour operators and users. We know that people research tours before they sign up and because of this, they are looking for convenience. Origin is a tool specific for tour operators who want a simplified and easily accessible online booking software. It’s intuitive, so there aren’t hour-long tutorials you have to watch or training webinars to attend. This isn’t 2008.
Our streamlined booking software organizes tour operators’ calendars and reduces the administrative burden that comes with running a tour guiding company. We would rather see tour guides doing what they’re passionate about (actually leading tours) instead of sitting at a desk all day answering phone calls and emails.
We’d love to help you streamline your booking process. Reach out to us here.