Tour Operator Booking Software

Deposit Functionality Is A Must For Tour Operators — Here’s Why

entering credit card information

Tour deposit functionality, especially those that are higher-priced, makes it more appealing to customers when they can book now and pay later. With the uncertainty of travel currently, especially with airlines, deposits give travelers peace of mind —knowing that they don’t have to pay in full right now in case a trip is canceled outside of their control.

The Problem – Without Deposit Functionality

When you don’t have automatic deposit functionality, you can take the initial deposit, but collecting the rest is a pain. It becomes a manual and insecure process of charging a credit card.

For tour operators who don’t have automatic deposit functionality, you fall into two groups:

  1. The first group ends up having to write their guest’s credit card information down on a sticky note and save it for the future.
  2. The second group may be a bit more technologically advanced and will have an HTML text field, but it’s just a text field. It’s nowhere near secure to enter credit card information. Then someone in your office prints off this information to charge your guest.

Neither of these two methods is safe or efficient. There’s the possibility of losing the sticky note with your guest’s credit card information on it. Hackers can access unsecured HTML fields.

This is your life without deposit functionality. It’s manual. It’s labor-intensive. And it’s a dangerous way to handle your guests’ private information. It leaves you, your company, and your guest in a vulnerable position.

How Deposits Should Work

How deposit functionality should work for guests

When your potential guest finds an exciting trip they want to book, but don’t have the money on hand to purchase the trip in full, they’ll likely leave your site. It’s something they want, but can’t afford it at the time.

Alternatively, they may be able to afford the price but with how unstable travel (airlines, especially) is right now, they don’t want to put all their eggs in one basket. Or in this case, all their dollars in one check-out. Having deposits lets your customers secure their spot for a future trip without having to go ‘all-in.’

Book Now, Pay Later

We see ‘book now, pay later’ with hotels, airlines, and Expedia. Why wouldn’t guided trips also offer this? It eases travelers’ minds when they know they can put some money down and if the tour gets canceled, not only will they have put just a small percentage of their money down, but they will be refunded that amount. 

It’s intimidating to put hundreds of dollars down for something for it to get canceled later without a refund. And with the uncertainty in travel, it will actually help curtail that fear when you offer deposit functionality. 

Maybe they need to stick within their budget but don’t want to lose out on a spot with you. This gives them that flexibility to pay for what they can afford now and pay the rest later (when they’ve saved up more).

Refund Certainty

According to the “Pay When You Fly” study by Amadeus, 81% of travelers said the increased risk of cancellations because of the pandemic is a barrier to booking travel this year. Respondents were also concerned about refund uncertainty (46%) and the inconvenience of the refund process (38%).

While this study focused mainly on booking flights, it’s also applicable to the guiding industry as well. Travelers don’t want to pay for a guided tour in full should it be canceled in the near future. On the other hand, they want to secure their spot so they can attend (if it doesn’t get canceled). 

An automatic deposit functionality allows for down payments on a trip. Pay half of the trip now and pay the other half later. Plus, offering a refund in case the tour gets canceled gives them yet another reason to book with you now.

How Deposit Functionality Should Work For Company Admins

Automatic Deposits Prevent Scams

It should prevent companies from getting scammed by customers who book with a credit card they know won’t be able to cover the second half of the trip. 

Automatic deposit functionality should be able to charge the card the morning of or the day before a trip to ensure the card is legitimate and the company gets paid the remaining balance.

They’re Flexible

Deposit functionality should also be flexible. We have a number of fishing guides on our platform who won’t charge for a fishing trip until after the trip. They do this to account for additional costs during the trip such as bait, flies, broken rods, or tips. 

A system should be able to add more costs post-trip and charge the customer appropriately. 

Deposit Functionality Is Customizable

Deposit functionality should be customizable for every trip. Bigger ticket items should be able to be booked with $100 down while smaller ticket trips should be bookable with a 10% down payment. 

If you have a trip that costs $5,000, $100 is more affordable at checkout than 10% of $5,000 ($500). A flexible deposit tool will be able to take dollar amounts or percentage amounts

Breakdown of what’s been paid so far

A smart deposit functionality tool will display what your guest paid at checkout and what’s still owed. It will also be trackable within a system so you’re not writing notes on paper to remember.

What Origin Does To Keep Deposits Secure And Automatic

Origin Has A Customized Deposit Schedule

Don’t leave collecting remaining deposits up to chance, or even worse, to memory. It’s too easy to forget who owes what. Using our customizable deposit tool, you can charge your customers their remaining balance anywhere from the day of the trip to three, five, or seven days before the trip. 

It’s entirely up to you how close to (or far from) the trip you want to collect all remaining deposits. This assists you in knowing if a card was declined and you can contact the customer immediately. It’ll help prevent any frantic last-minute calls the day of the trip to collect remaining deposits while also making sure your guides show up on time while also welcoming guests. 

You can even keep the deposit collection open so you can charge guests for any additional charges made during the trip, like renting gear.

Origin Gives You The Ability To Charge Different Amounts For Different Trips

Some trips cost more than others but charging the same percentage on each trip may not work well with your customers. A 50% deposit on a $1,000 trip is less shocking than 50% on a $10,000 trip at check-out.

With our system, you can choose a 50% deposit on a $1,000 trip and a $500 deposit on a $10,000 trip. Origin gives you that adaptability needed for the various trips you lead.

Deposit Breakdown at checkout

You’ll see on some sites that you pay a deposit but have no idea how much you still owe. The hidden deposit can invoke anxiety around payment, and the last thing you want to do to your clients is causing them anxiety over what they still owe you. It not only evokes emotional insecurity but financial insecurity as well.

We may not be balancing checkbooks, but we all have to live within our means and that means not spending more than what’s in your bank account. 

With Origin’s online booking software, your guests will never be guessing how much they still owe you before the trip. Plus, you don’t have to worry about losing their credit card information, getting scammed, or missing out on bookings because you don’t have an automatic deposit functionality.