The beginner’s guide to resource utilization

Carla Vianna
Carla Vianna
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The beginner’s guide to resource utilization

An influx of bookings came in today: Is your team equipped to handle the extra demand?

Knowing whether you have the resources to meet your current — and future — booking volume is crucial for operating a sustainable and profitable business.

Resource utilization is a metric used to keep track of employee workload and productivity. It’s a way to measure how much work your team can handle before it finds itself underwater, which is something every attraction should be aware of.

ProSymmetry, a resource management company, says that companies should aim for a utilization rate of around 80%. Anything above that risks employee burnout, and anything below means your resources aren’t be used to their full potential.

In this post, you’ll learn about why resource utilization matters for tourism attractions and the capacity planning tools used to measure it.

What is resource utilization?

Resource utilization is a metric that’s typically used to measure employee workload and productivity.

An employee’s resource utilization rate takes the total hours that employee was scheduled to work and compares it against the number of hours he or she actually spent working. The metric is shown as a percentage of that employee’s utilization.

Then there’s the billable utilization rate, which similarly measures employee utilization but in a slightly different way. This metric focuses on the total billable hours employees spent on a task, compared to the hours spent on non-billable work like administrative tasks.

Businesses use both of these metrics to make important pricing and staffing decisions.

Tracking employee utilization rates helps businesses understand if their teams are over- or under-staffed. For example, if all of your tour guides are at a 90% capacity, it might be time to hire a new one.

Resource utilization tools can also help you better assign tasks to your employees based on their current workload. This way, you’ll never run into the issue of assigning a tour to a guide that’s completely booked. Or worse: Selling out a tour and not having the staff to run it.

Why is it important for travel and tourism businesses?

There are numerous benefits from understanding how your resources are being used — such as being able to distribute the workload more efficiently.

Resoure planning ensures that you you make smart hiring decisions and evenly distribute tasks based on your employees’ skills and availability.

If you’re gearing up for your theme park’s busy season, it’s helpful to know if your current staff can handle the influx of visitors.

By tracking employee utilization rate, attraction operators will know if most of their employees are at capacity. Then, that’d be a good indicator that it’s time to hire more staff ahead of the peak season.

A tour operator should also be tracking this. Imagine all of your guides are completely booked, but you aren’t aware of it. If there’s an influx of bookings, you won’t have enough staff to meet guest demand.

That could result in tour cancellations and lost revenue, which could be detrimental to your company — especially during your high season.

Attractions and tour operators that track employee utilization will always have a bird’s eye view of their employee workloads.

This applies to all employees, including sales and customer service roles. Resource planning helps businesses balance employee workloads, which helps reduce burnout and excess turnover.

When you calculate your resource utilization rate, you also become acutely aware of how productive your team can be.

Then, you can then allocate tasks based on skill set and availability, instead of simply choosing the first name on your staff list.

If you have a new tour listing, for instance, you’ll have a much better idea about who to assign it to.

This helps you refrain from assigning too many tours to a single tour guide. Distributing work fairly to guides is key to running a sustainable tour business. If one of your guides is overbooked, it can lead to disruptions in your tour schedules. 

Key differences between resource allocation, resource utilization, time utilization, and project management

Project management is the process through which your company achieves its goals with the resources available. Project managers are tasked with defining the goals of a project and determining the resources needed to complete it within the set timeline.

Time utilization, resource utilization, and resource allocation are key components of project management. These metrics and processes help define the terms and scope of a project.

  1. Resource utilization: A measure of your team’s productivity compared to available working hours.
  2. Resource allocation: The process in which you distribute the workload among your staff, such as assigning tour guides to specific tours. As you continue to monitor your resource utilization, you might find the need to shuffle a few workers around or adjust their schedules.
  3. Time utilization: A measure of how much time a piece of equipment — like bikes for a bike tour operator — is being used or rented. This allows your company to make quicker, more accurate decisions on what equipment to have in your inventory.

How do you calculate resource utilization?

The simplest and most common way to measure resource utilization is by taking the actual number of hours worked and dividing it by the total number of hours that the employee could have worked.

  • Resource utilization rate: (Total Hours Worked / Total Hours Available) x 100

For example, if a staff member is on the schedule from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week, they’re working a 40-hour week. Yet perhaps this employee only worked 30 hours this week. That employee’s resource utilization rate is 75%.

  • Billable utilization rate = (Total billable hours / Total available working hours) x 100

For example, if a tour guide on your team works 8 hours a day, 3 days a week, then their availability is set to 24 hours per week. Let’s say the guide spends 20 of those hours giving tours, while the other 4 are spent cleaning equipment.

This means the guide is spending 83% of their working hours on performing tours. This percentage is known as the utilization rate. It can be found by dividing the total billable hours by total available working hours, then multiplying by 100.

Capacity planning tools

You don’t need to manually calculate your resource utilization. A good capacity planning tool can automatically track this for you.

Xola offers the ultimate solution. It’s the leading online booking and marketing solution for tour and activity operators and also offers capacity planning.

Features like real-time capacity utilization reports as well as guide and equipment management help companies stay on top of their resources.

The benefit of using your booking software for capacity planning is that you won’t need to invest in a new tool. Instead, you can learn the ins and outs of resource planning and train your team in a single software.

Resource utilization benchmarks 

What’s a good resource utilization rate? 

It helps to first understand what it means when your utilization rate is low or high.

When it’s lower than expected, this might mean that your attraction is overstaffed. You have more employees with available hours than you have tours booked.

A higher-than-expected utilization rate, on the other hand, can indicate that you’re understaffed. It can also serve as a red flag that someone is overloaded with work.

If you’re counting in all time spent working at your attraction, including both billable and non-billable hours, then an appropriate utilization level would most often be near 100%.

However, if you’re measuring billable utilization, an appropriate level to target would be between 70% to 80%. This is because the rest of the time will likely be spent on important tasks, like administrative work, that isn’t directly tied to a specific guest or tour.


In conclusion, tracking your resource utilization allows your attraction to always be prepared.

You’ll be prepared to hire new employees when you need to and make schedule changes when necessary. Your employees won’t be burned out or overworked. Instead, they will be performing at their best.

Moreso, your team will always be equipped to meet guest demand.


Writer Carla Vianna

Carla Vianna

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