The strains of Christmas bells are an alarm clock to the Australian travel industry. As the rest of Australia winds down, it’s time for us to wind up. Hopefully, you’ve been able to spend the low season thinking about your plan of attack: You’ve got your marketing message on point, your website has enjoyed a refresh and your processes are optimised so that your staff and your systems will handle the onslaught with aplomb.
However, you may not have had the time to sort out your processes. Given how overwhelming it is, you may have decided that that’s a job for another day. Except you’ve blinked and now it’s November. As the first strain of ‘Jingle Bells’ hits stores, and bookings are coming in faster than a one-horse open sleigh, you may be feeling rather jangled yourself, as information is getting mixed up and happy holiday makers are starting to become irate.
Happily, you don’t have to suffer through the chaos, because streamlining your booking system isn’t that hard, nor is it time consuming. Before that wave of tourists come crashing down on your business, now’s the time to consider whether you need to onboard an online booking system. Below we’ve looked at three reasons why you might need to consider making a switch.
1. An online booking system can create reports immediately
An online booking system will allow tour and attraction operators to access business reports in seconds. It captures information in one place so that you can:
- measure and test how promotion and pricing strategies are working
- discover how profitable various revenue streams are
- gain insights into your distribution channels.
Being able to access this information in real-time is important, because it enables you to instantly understand what channels are performing (or not) and adjust your approach accordingly.
For example, if you’re looking at your reports in conjunction with Google Analytics, you might notice that you are getting high volumes of website traffic from Expedia, but you are not converting them to customers. In this instance, you may want to create a special promotion for Expedia visitors to increase the chance of conversion. Having an online booking system that feeds you real-time information allows your business to be agile and proactive.
2. An online booking system creates manifests instantly
Real-time data is also useful in creating manifest reports. It allows you to find out:
- who is booked in
- when they’ve booked in
- what they’ve purchased
This is handy because the dashboard is easy to navigate so you can immediately see what your capacity is, which prevents overbooking and mix ups.
An example of a tour operator who had great success with making the move online is Ocean Eco Adventures, a boutique cruise company in Western Australia, specialising in Ningaloo Reef tours. Before using the Booking Boss solution, they relied solely on phone or email bookings, which were then recorded in diary. The company moved their bookings online when the Office Manager, Elisa, realised that many of their day-to-day tasks were unnecessary. After Eco Adventures onboarded the platform, Elisa described their situation as: ‘Everything is brilliantly different.’ She loves the new system because:
You can tailor the platform to your own company’s needs. It saves you so much time and has all of the resources you need in just one system. We find it incredibly user-friendly for both us and the customer. It’s made an incredible difference to our business.
The system has allowed Elisa and her team to:
- broaden their reach into overseas markets. As a result they’ve noticed a jump in online bookings
- see availability online. All staff can go in and block out dates on the availability calendar
Streamlining these operations also had another great knock-on effect: happier staff who can get on with what they love to do, being on the water and interacting with their customers.
3. An online booking system helps you to provide better customer service
Say goodbye to rifling through heaving spreadsheets. An online booking system stores all your customer information in one place. Having all your customer details, their health, safety and dietary requirements in one, easily accessible dashboard allows for a better customer experience for two reasons:
- It minimises the risk of mix-ups
- It frees up the admin time so your staff can focus on other things; like making sure your customers are having an amazing time
What does this look like in practice? Derek Whittingham, Head Instructor at Rap Jumping realised that to take his business to the next level, he needed to consider onboarding a booking system. Part of the reason was so that they could broaden their distribution reach, but an equally important consideration was to make sure that the office time was reduced, so that they could put their all into their first love: rap jumping. As Derek says, ‘I don’t have to deal with huge amounts of emails. I have all the information in one place. It has made the admin side of the business so much easier to deal with.’
Is an online booking system for you?
If you’re juggling spreadsheets, emails, phone calls and the paper diary, and are dealing daily with mix-ups and double-bookings, then it’s time to consider a different road. If you want to see how an online booking system can transform your business, then try our free trial and get set up before the peak Christmas season!Booking Boss is an online booking system for tour operators and attraction providers. Trusted by many in the tourism industry, Booking Boss is about getting you out of the spreadsheets and into the sun. We provide free education resources for operators like you, to make your business the best it can possibly be.