Choosing the best tour management software for your tour or attraction business can feel overwhelming. With so many options on the market, you might be wondering where to even start looking.
Tour management software will help you manage every aspect of your business, from new reservations to tour guide schedules. You want to find a booking solution that supports your business now and in the future. Ideally, it’s a booking solution made with companies like yours in mind.
In this post, we’re sharing the key features tour and attraction operators should look for in their tour management software.
- 1. Easy setup
- 2. Secure, optimized checkout
- 3. Mobile-friendly
- 4. Automated marketing
- 5. Integrations
- 6. Reporting
- 7. Customer support
What is tour management software?
Tour management software helps tour and activity operators manage essential booking activities like new reservations, tour availability, guide management, and equipment / inventory.
With booking software, your website becomes a 24/7 booking engine. It allows guests to book and pay for their tours directly on your site, with much of the process automated for you.
It makes it easy for tour operators to keep track of customer information, payment activity, guide schedules, and more.
Why is tour management software important?
Certain tools are indispensable when running a travel business. Online booking software is one of them. Whether you’re running an escape room or a snorkeling tour, an online booking system removes the hassle of manually managing your bookings with pen and paper — which results in more direct bookings.
Let’s explore five reasons why tour management software is important:
- Tour management software makes it easy for customers to book online. Travelers often research several tours or attractions before making a decision. When they’re ready to book, they want to do so on the spot. If your website doesn’t offer them the opportunity to book online, they may just navigate to a competitor’s website.
- It keeps you organized. Your staff availability and equipment inventory will be updated in real-time. This helps eliminate the risk of overbooking. The software also keeps track of customer information and ensures that guest rosters are up-to-date. You and your staff can quickly access this information from a single dashboard, ensuring everyone is always on the same page.
- Automates your guest communications. Help your guests prepare for their visit by sending them customized emails. Automate your booking confirmation emails, tour updates, and same-day reminders to keep guests in the loop.
- Optimizes your website for more bookings. Offering guests an easy and intuitive online booking experience will result in more sales. Your booking page will be easy to navigate, with clickable “Book Now” buttons and calendars showing availability.
- You have valuable data at your fingertips. The software stores customer data, analyzes booking trends, and helps you make decisions based on real data.
When do you need it?
As a new travel company, you’re trying to keep your starting costs as low as possible. Many operators begin managing bookings on their own, at least until they reach a point where the booking volume is too much to handle.
If you’re waiting to invest in tour management software, here are three ways to know you’re ready:
- You’re receiving more bookings than you can handle. Your phone is constantly ringing and your inbox is full of booking requests. There are so many bookings coming in that some start to slip through the cracks. Sometimes you lose potential revenue because you didn’t get back to a customer in time.
- Overbookings become an issue. Without a proper booking system, tour and staff availability becomes blurry. If you overbook an experience, you are forced to cancel reservations or risk overworking your tour guides. Frustrated staff and upset guests can negatively impact your brand and drive future guests away.
- You’re struggling to make it past your slow season. With booking software, your website is optimized to drive more bookings even during your slowest months. Whether it is through lightning deals, coupons, or affiliates, these are just a few ways you can encourage more off-season bookings.
What to look for when choosing tour management software
Your booking software will help you manage nearly every aspect of your day-to-day operations. You want to find a booking solution that meets your team’s needs right now, yet is flexible enough to grow with your company.
As you’re researching different software providers, here are seven key features to look for.
1. Easy setup
It shouldn’t be difficult to set up booking software on your website. You want to have as little downtime as possible to ensure your business continues running as usual. It only takes one line of code and a few seconds to integrate Xola with any site, for instance.
2. Secure, optimized checkout
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and go through the booking process on your website. The checkout page should load quickly and be easy to fill out. It should also securely store your customers’ credit card and personal information.
The software should work across all platforms, especially mobile. It should be just as easy for customers to book a tour on their phones as it is on a computer. When your website is optimized for mobile bookings, you can capture last-minute bookings from travelers already in your destination.
4. Automated marketing
In what ways does the software help you attract and retain new customers? With Xola, for example, you can automatically request a customer review, sell gift vouchers, set up coupons, and re-engage past guests.
Consider the tools you already use, such as your email provider and accounting program. Does the software integrate with your current tech? The more apps your software integrates with, the easier it becomes for you to manage your operations from a single platform.
If your software doesn’t make it easy for you to tap into customer and financial data, you’ll have to invest in additional business intelligence tools. The best booking solutions break down your transactions, allow you to see cash flow and realized earnings, and help identify your most valuable listings and booking channels. These reports help you make strategic decisions about your tour schedule, new hires, and equipment investments.
7. Customer support
Does the company offer 24/7 support? If something goes wrong with your booking software, you want to be able to contact someone as soon as possible. Inquire whether the company assigns dedicated account managers and what kind of support is offered. For example, will the account manager help you train your staff?
In sum, there are seven key features to look for in your booking software. You want to ensure the software has an easy setup, a secure checkout, and 24/7 customer support. You also want to ensure the software is mobile-friendly and helps you drive more direct bookings across all platforms.