6 Online Booking Best Practices for Tour and Activity Operators

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August 18, 2020

5 min read
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Online Booking Best Practices

Online booking matters more than ever now. Statistics from 2020 show that U.S. and Canadian consumers preferred to book or plan travels online rather than with in-person interactions. 

When your customers land on your website, they are genuinely looking for things to do for their next trip. They expect to get all the details to plan their itinerary, access the availability calendar, and have a frictionless booking process.

It means your website should be top-notch to attract potential customers. It should also provide an easy online booking process for them to reserve a spot, if they are interested. 

So, here we are talking about the online booking best practices to make sure no one leaves your website without making a booking.

Make Your Website Outstanding

The first stop for your potential customers will be your website, and that’s your primary online booking platform. It should have all the information that can equip a customer to make a decision:

  • Well-written description of your tours and activities
  • Price and Availability
  • Social Proof

However, cramming your website with just written content may not be enough to secure a new booking. Make your website outstanding with the right mix of images, videos, copies, and empty space.

Add eye-catching images of your tour and activities (think of Instagram-worthy pictures) to draw customers to your website. The pictures should tell a story about what you offer and who you are. Always remember to avoid stock photos.

Customers rely heavily on video content during their online research. Videos allow them to see how others enjoyed your products in real-life settings while building excitement for their own visit to your destination. Again, think of what makes an excellent social media post. Create short, stunning videos of tours and activities, capturing the fun and excitement you offer. 

Potential customers want to see the real-life experience. Rely more on user-generated content (UGC) as they appear to be more authentic. And website visitors can relate to it. 

UGC is also a great way to inspire FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) among your audience. Beautiful photos and videos from previous guests make prospective customers think that there’s something they miss out on if they don’t buy your tours.

Highlight Call To Action (CTA)

You don’t want to confuse your website visitors about what to do next. It should be easy for them to see the Call to Action—Book Now or Check Availability. Do not make them navigate back and forth through the web pages to find out the CTA (there should be a booking link on every page of your website). Make sure your Book Now links and links to key information stand out.

  • Use clear calls to action
  • Make CTA bold, visible, and easily accessible.
  • Add the Book Now button to every page
  • Ideally, the top right corner of the page
  • Make fewer clicks to bookings

Allow your customers to book immediately from your homepage. Don’t make your customers dig into your site to find your Book Now button. Sometimes they may be returning to your site just to finalize their reservation. Make it easy for them.

Keep Your Website and Booking Engine Mobile Responsive 

Searches for activities happen across devices months before a trip, but it shifts significantly to 54% mobile when travellers are at their destination. It underlines the importance of having a mobile-responsive website. 

As almost half of the experience bookings happen once travellers arrive at their destination, you should have a website that works well on their mobile devices. Many of these travellers use their tablets and smartphones to search for things to do and book their spots. 

Make sure your website is mobile responsive, which means that the web page seamlessly adapts to a guest’s mobile screen. 

You can check whether your web page is mobile-friendly or not, using Google’s mobile-friendly test tool. Drop your URL in the tool search box, and the result will let you know how easily customers can use your page on their mobile devices.

Not just your website, your online booking engine should also be mobile-friendly. If the online booking engine is not quick to load or cannot display booking details fast enough, the guest will likely abandon the purchase out of frustration. 

If you want to dive deeper into mobile bookings, head to our blog, How to Enhance Mobile Booking Experience for Tours and Activities.

Earn their Trust

Building trust is vital when travellers book a tour or activity with you. When they feel they can trust your company, they will choose your service above any other. 

Adding reviews to your website can gain your customers’ trust. Displaying your badges (such as TripAdvisor), industry association logos, or your trusted partners also makes customers confident about your business.

An example of displaying badges from a tour operator's website.
Proudly displaying their awards—An example from Pure Africa.

Create a FAQ page answering their most common questions in detail. Website visitors will have several queries; about safety regulations or about tour preparations. Having their questions answered right on the website will make them confident enough to continue with booking. 

Also, revisit the About US page. This page shouldn’t be filler content, not worthy of people’s time. Write about your company’s journey, displaying your genuine interest in the tour industry and entertaining guests. This is where customers can connect with you and make them feel that they are going to deal with an honest company. 

And for sure, highlight links to your active social media pages. Even if visitors don’t end up booking, social media pages will help you nurture these leads. It makes sure that they won’t completely forget about your tours.

Add Multi-Language and Currency Converter 

Pricing can be confusing for customers, especially when it’s in foreign currency. They will have to do the mental math, and the chances for cart abandonment are high. The multi-currency feature allows overseas guests to make payments effortlessly in their local currency. Letting them pay in their local currency increase conversions and your bottom line.

A gif showing how multi-currency feature works on Zaui online reservation system for tour and activity operators

That’s the same case with language. Who doesn’t feel comfortable reading in their language? Display your tours and activities in a language familiar to your guests.

Your online reservation system will most likely have multilingual and multi-currency features. For example, the Zaui reservation system enables tour and activity operators to sell their products in more than fifteen languages, including Norwegian, Portuguese, Japanese, and Russian.

A screenshot of multi-language feature from Zaui online reservation system for tour and activity operators

Seamless Booking process

Simple, quick booking process—that’s what you need to get that sale.

With a customizable booking engine, you can achieve this. Customers shouldn’t be jumping through hoops of clicks, slow-loading pages, and endless detail entries to finalize their spot. Make the process streamlined and as easy as possible. 

Try to simulate the booking experience on your website and any mobile device as a customer. The first-hand experience will let you know a customer’s troubles during the online booking process.

Wrapping Up

Poorly optimized websites and booking engine can cause travellers problems when browsing and booking online. Your potential customers prefer to reserve their spot online quickly without making calls or sending emails.

Direct, online bookings are always crucial for tour and activity operators. It is no small feat to achieve that. It is vital to arm your business with all the needed features to turn your website visitors into bookers. 

It’s best to have an online booking system to equip your business to accept more online bookings. If you don’t have one and if you are overwhelmed with the market choices, you can use our ebook, A Buyers Guide for Tour & Activity Operators: Choosing a Booking Management System. It clarifies how to go ahead with your online booking system shopping.

Or you can chat with us. As one of the longest-standing reservation systems in the industry, we help tour and activity operators improve their operational efficiency and boost their direct bookings. 

Talk to us to know more about the Zaui reservation system!

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