HOW SOUTHWEST WILDLIFE CONSERVATION CENTER INCREASED REVENUE AND IMPROVED EFFICIENCY
- How Xola helps streamline daily operations
- Gaining clarity and confidence to make data-driven business decisions
- Xola as a growth partner
Jamie Haas, who is the marketing and education coordinator, started her new job at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center at the end of March 2020, when the entire world collectively went on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is on a mission to save native Arizona wildlife, like coyotes, foxes, bears, mountain lions, and javelinas, one life at a time. And they host tours to educate the general public Tuesday through Saturday.
Jamie embraced the extreme uncertainty of starting a new job at the beginning of the global pandemic and used it to throw herself into the nonprofit’s mission as well as understand all of the systems and processes of the nonprofit.
“Once I got there, the pandemic gave me an opportunity to learn the processes that they had and learn that if we wanted to grow, we had to make some changes, ” says Jamie. “We’re a non-profit, so we want to help more wildlife. And, one way we can do that is spending less money and less staff time doing things that could be automated.”
For example, the team was currently running their entire tour schedule through a hybrid event management system as well as using pen and paper.
So in the pandemic, it gave me an opportunity to learn what was going on in my new role and really have a conversation like, ‘Hi, I know I just got here. There is a better way. We can do this. You’re scared of software, but I promise you, it’s going to be good,’ says Jamie. “So, we started an analysis of what products were out there, and that’s how we came across Xola.”
SWITCHING TO XOLA
Jamie knew switching from their heavily manual system to Xola would be an asset for the nonprofit. And the onboarding process was a breeze.
“We chose Xola because it does everything that we need it to do,” she says. “Everybody we worked with was super friendly and helpful. We were confident that it was going to be a simple onboarding process, which it was. I am still floored at how easy it was.”
A particular feature that made a big impact from the get-go was Xola’s reporting capabilities.
“We liked the user interface and that Xola had some custom reporting capabilities that we really wanted,” says Jamie. “Again, we’re in a big growth phase, but we’re also starting from zero. So we didn’t have any data. Nobody could tell for sure what our busiest tour days were when we needed more staffing, less staffing, anything like that to make smart business decisions as far as tours go.”
This meant that Jamie and the team could have confidence in the tour schedules and data. Something they lacked before.
“I think the most valuable part about using Xola for me personally is being able to know that it’s accurate on a dime,” says Jamie. “So, when our tour guests manage and update their own bookings, then instantly, it updates. So at any point, it gives my colleagues and me the ability to be on the same page about what’s going on that day.
And also, the accuracy in knowing how many people were here this week, the kind of business we did, and then being able to make decisions from this data is huge.”
In addition, Jamie quickly saw additional value when she combined the responses from Xola’s questionnaire feature with additional reporting data.
“We’re in a pretty remote area in far North Scottsdale,” she says. “When you have hundreds of coyotes, you don’t want to be in the middle of a city or anything. We were curious to find out how our tour guests find out about us so we can better utilize our limited marketing resources.” So, at the end of each booking, everyone gets presented with a questionnaire.
One of the surprising things that I have learned is how many people just see our sign on the road and then look us up after that. I would expect it to be a pretty small number, but apparently, it’s a decent amount of people who respond to the survey.
So, we recently got new signage as a result because we talked about things like, ‘Well, hey, apparently a lot of people are seeing this sign, and we should make it bigger and easier to read, and we can put our website on it because that wasn’t on there before.’ It directly ties to the questionnaire, and seeing how people hear about us is really valuable for our decision making.”
While the reporting capabilities were a major selling point, when she dug into Xola more, she realized how many additional features could not only save the team time but also improve guest experience, like Xola Waivers.
“We use Xola to check guests in, and we love, love, love the waivers feature,” says Jamie. ” We were using so much paper for liability waivers before.
Now, It’s also easier for my tour guides to see who needs to sign waivers and who doesn’t. So the guest experience improved. When they pop open the roster to check people in, if they see three waivers have been signed and there are three people in the party, they can just greet them, thank them for coming, show them where the bathroom is, and tell them any other information that they need before the tour starts. Whereas if they haven’t signed waivers, they just tell folks where the iPad or the paper waivers are. And they can tailor the guest experience to not be redundant.”
XOLA AS A GROWTH PARTNER
Switching to Xola meant a big revenue boost for the nonprofit.
“We have been able to really increase revenue,” says Jamie. “We do more tour business than we did previously because it’s super easy for travelers or locals to book online.
As a result, we can have more tours because we have more free time to be giving the tours,” she says. “We don’t have to sit in the office. We can manage our volunteer staffing to accommodate the capacity of guests that we have that day because we aren’t trying to figure out who these people are that showed up and did we actually sell them tickets to this tour or anything. It’s just incredibly easy and crystal clear to open up an app on our phone and see the reservations for the day.”
This increased efficiency also means they have more time to update their programming and educate even more people in the community about native Arizona wildlife.
“We can spread our mission to more visitors and spend less time in our office and more time outside interfacing with guests,” Jamie says. “So we’re extremely grateful that Xola has been such an effective partner with Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.”