What was it that made you first start a tour or activity business? Was it your love for the outdoors? Meeting new people? Or seeking new adventures?Most likely it wasn’t dealing with all the admin work and other realities that come with running your own business. Managing staff, updating spreadsheets and keeping track of invoices can be a lot of work - and at times keep you from doing the fun things that made you want to start your own business in the first place.
We here at Booking Boss are passionate about helping tour operators spend more time in the sun, sand or snow (and less time in spreadsheets). Here are our 5 tips to help you get outside more.
1. Make the most of the afternoon lull
Did you know that the hours between 2pm and 4pm are the worst time to do work that requires intense focus? No matter whether you consider yourself an early riser or a night owl, you’re unlikely to do your best thinking during the afternoon lull. In other words, it’s not the best time to do your business planning, set your rates for the next year or come up with creative new ways to market your tour.
On the other hand, it’s the perfect time of the day to do the boring admin work that you normally like to push out to the last minute (and then end up sacrificing your evenings or off days for). Use the afternoon lull to manage your expenses, send emails and manage your bookings. Getting on top of it now will free up some time for the fun stuff later!
2. Automate your booking management
Staying on top of new bookings that are coming in, managing reschedules and reservations coming in through your distribution channels can be time-consuming and tedious. Luckily booking management doesn’t have to be that hard!
An online booking management software can do a lot of the dreaded admin work, help you streamline your business and free you from the nightmares of spreadsheet version control.
3. Take your office outside
While software can definitely make your life a lot easier, having to do some admin work is an irrevocable fact of every tour and activity operator’s life. But thanks to modern technology it doesn’t mean that you have to do your admin week whilst chained to a desk in a windowless back room.
If you get your technical setup right, you can send emails from the ski slopes, do your accounting from the beach and manage your bookings from your backyard.
4. Share the load
Understanding what kind of work you need to do yourself and what jobs you can delegate can be a really difficult lesson to learn. Of course, it’s your business and you want to feel in control of everything that’s going on, but that doesn’t mean you actually have to do everything yourself.
Training at least one or two people in your team in all the admin processes will make it easier to delegate tasks to them when things get busy and reduce the amount of days that you’ll have to stay in the office until late.
5. Make up for long hours during peak times
Running a tour and activity business is a seasonal enterprise and it’s only natural that your own time in the sun or the snow is going to be limited at those times. If you’re not busy guiding a group you’re probably just making sure everything is ready to go for the next activity on the schedule. It’s something that’s part and parcel of running a tourism business - but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any fun time during the peak season.
There are many tactics you can employ to prepare your business for the peak season. For instance, if you know you will be flat out on the weekends over a three month period, schedule your day (or even just a few hours) off on a Tuesday when you know things will be quieter and get some well-deserved playtime.
Want to learn more clever ways to help you run your tour and activity buisness more effectively? Download our ebook "Make the most of the low season: a 7-step action plan for tour operators."
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.