Is Your Online Booking System Ready for the Peak Season?
Travel is back!
An exciting peak season is around the corner for the travel industry after missing a few seasons due to pandemic-driven restrictions. It’s time for tour and activity operators to get the ball rolling.
The first thing that needs to be taken care of as the season begins is your booking system.
If you’ve invested in a booking system, take the time to review it to ensure your software is as ready as you are for the peak season. Your reservation software should reflect the changes in operations and staffing.
Before you spin up for the new season, here are five things to consider to get your reservation software up and running.
Question 1: Have you set up your activities correctly?
The way you use your reservation system is unique to your business needs. Yet, the basic functionalities remain the same across the board.
Activity configuration in an online booking system is crucial in determining the ease with which customers book your offerings. If your customer faces any difficulty making a booking, they may move quickly to a competitor. So, make sure your activities and their components are all in place, that your pricing is up-to-date and your activities are published where people can buy them.
It is best to go through all the listed activities and their components to make sure they are in sync with your new schedule, pricing, and distribution strategy for your operation in the upcoming season. There should not be any confusion around available activities, dates, and times.
Question 2: Has your pricing changed?
Pricing strategy is bound to change every year or season. Your pricing strategy and structure may also be impacted by any capacity changes, rising operational costs, and cancellations. Edit your prices listed on your website to match your current rates.
For our Zaui customers, we recommend adding new price code(s) each season. It ensures that your historical bookings will remain unaffected, should you need to make a change to one.
Zaui transportation operators can take advantage of our new pricing table, which makes it easier to input and update locations and fares.
Question 3: Do you have a clear refund or cancellation policy in place?
Reevaluate the policy to address cancellations and cancellation deadlines. A clear refund and cancellation policy that works for you and your customers can guarantee you a hassle-free new season.
The policy should be clearly stated on your website, activity details and even in your booking confirmation email to avoid ambiguity for your guests. You can also incorporate a checkbox next to activity booking to ensure your guests know and acknowledge your refund and cancellation policy.
An alternative solution to tackle uncertainties around refunds and cancellations is to offer credits to guests for postponing their activity instead of cancelling it.
Zaui customers use Customer Credit Balance to issue credits to guests deferring travel and looking to redeem their already-purchased tour or activity at a future date.
Question 4: Do you have new staff, and if so, what do they need to succeed?
With the new season, there might be new faces on your team. If you’re using an online booking system, create users for all your staff or guides. While you give access to new employees, confirm that the profiles of non-returning employees are inactive.
Also, make sure that you have given the right level of access to the staff. Giving an employee unnecessary access can cause confusion for some operators.
And, of course, onboarding your team with your reservation software is something you can’t afford to ignore. Whether new or returning, all the staff members should be familiar with the system to avoid any delay or confusion as the season unfolds.
Question 5: Do you have any new sales channels to resell your tours?
As part of tapping into the pent-up travel demand, you may have plans to explore new avenues to attract customers, and your distribution system may look different this time.
As an example, you may consider selling some of your offerings through partners like Hotel Concierges or Travel Agents or reselling via Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) like Tripadvisor, GetYourGuide, and Viator.
These sales channels can be a great way to reach more customers without spending marketing dollars upfront.
If you have expanded your sales channels, ensure that the connections are established with your new partners using the online booking system. Check whether you have all the required information to activate these sales channels and that your activity listings are consistent anywhere your experiences are sold.
Within Zaui, the Manage Channel Partners section will provide you with visibility into which channels are enabled. Zaui users can pop into Insights for some reporting on the performance of historical distribution channels to help guide decisions around where to sell.
With these areas thoughtfully reviewed and addressed, you and your team should be well-positioned to meet the challenges of the upcoming busy season.
Not a Zaui user yet? Request a demo and learn more about how Zaui can help you with online booking in the upcoming season.
If you are still researching online booking systems, we can help you. Our latest ebook, A Buyers Guide for Tour and Activity Operators, gives you insights into choosing the best reservation software for your company.