When Jason Bryant stepped into his new role as Director of Sales and Marketing for WESTCOAST Sightseeing (WCS), he was tasked with managing 4 different brands, running on 5 different systems with 3 different websites. His first project was to pull that all together to make one brand.
A Vancouver Tourism Landmark
For 30 years, WESTCOAST Sightseeing was a family run business focussing solely on tours. The company was purchased in 2009 and then merged with Big Bus Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing, combining four operational product segments; Guided tours, Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing, SNOWBUS transfers and charters. Each segment ran on a separate reservation software and used two manual voucher systems. “It used to take us 21 days to know how the business did last month, and even longer to break down client sales and activity reporting” Jason said with a grimace. With Zaui reports the business operations are consolidated and reviewed on a daily basis.
“When it was just a guided tour business, it was easy. A client makes a reservation, you check them in, they get on a bus, and it’s good. Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing is quite different. We have hundreds of passengers with 15+ buses and 24 stops going on a daily basis.”
Hop-On Hop-Off sightseeing buses are a tourist staple. A customer buys a ticket that is valid for 24 or 48 hours and can catch any bus from a number of branded bus stops in the top areas of the city. The open roof bus offers an audio tour via headset and when you find a stop to explore, you hop off the bus and travel by foot. When ready, you hop back on and continue the tour.
Hop-On, Hop-Off Goes Digital
When Hop-On, Hop-Off migrated to the Zaui platform, all sales channels started funneling into one central software. A guest can buy tickets from their hotel (purchasing through an affiliate login that automatically tracks the sales commission), from the WCS street team selling at popular bus stops (through the Zaui POS system), directly through the website (on Zaui’s online booking engine), or through one of their wholesale partners (through API integrations).
The Zaui Point of Sale technology (POS) allows WCS to sell anything from their brochure directly to the customer at the street level. “Maybe the guest wants a Hop-On ticket but they also want to do the Victoria tour or the Capilano Bridge tomorrow” Jason explains. Both tickets can now be purchased from WCS and printed off instantly from our bluetooth printer.”
The Introduction of Third Party Barcodes
Zaui now allows vendors to link-in barcodes from third party activity and tour operators. Third party ticket barcodes are automatically delivered in an email attachment (if booked online) or printed off directly (when purchased through the POS system). This all happens behind the scenes which was a painful operation in the past. With the thousands of additional ticket vouchers WCS can be reconciling with a partner on a monthly basis, this was previously next to impossible to manage.
When a Hop-On customer also purchases a tour to the Capilano Bridge for example; That extra barcode gets scanned upon entry and notifies Capilano’s accounting system. The system recognizes that particular ticket has been redeemed for an adult, senior, or child, and is automatically invoiced to WCS at the end of the month. “We no longer need to perform voucher counts when we sell for our third party operators, who can nowutilize the barcode option.” Jason explains.
“The third party barcode system didn’t exist until we sat down with Zaui in September. Within 3 or 4 months we were able to see these ideas in action in our software. The number one thing in dealing with Zaui was being able to work together and say…ok here is the problem, how do we fix this? This has been a huge, huge success for us with Zaui,” states Jason.
“Zaui is always coming up with new ways to make our business more efficient and automated. At the end of the day we just want the button to work” Jason concludes.