Don’t Miss Out on Revenue: Why All Your Activities Should Be Bookable Online
Historically, tour and activity operators were able to rely on word of mouth and in-destination bookings such as walk-ups or concierge desks. However, due to the rise of online search engines and social media, the travel and tourism industry has seen a massive increase in online bookings, making it vital to have an optimized website with all of your available tours and activities bookable online.
It is very common for tourists to research their travel destination online before planning a trip itinerary, and social media is a big part of the way they conduct research. For example, who wouldn’t be enticed to book after reading a raving Facebook review or seeing a stunning Instagram photo? These platforms encourage and educate travelers by sharing real experiences that were had by other travelers, and can often provide the push needed to make that final booking. Social proof is a huge factor in customer opinion and highly affects other travelers considering whether or not to spend their money on your tour or activity.
Advance booking makes trip planning easier and ensures that travelers can do everything on their list. If your company doesn’t offer online booking options or doesn’t feature all of your activities online, you will lose potential customers to the competition in your area that makes it more convenient to book their adventures online.
In this guide, we’ll go over the many benefits of making all of your activities bookable online so you can cater to all kinds of customers and receive bookings for your activities 24 hours a day, seven days a week, giving you more time to do what you do best — running your business and providing customers with an incredible experience!
Benefits of making activities bookable online
From increasing booking opportunities and crushing the competition to freeing up more time to focus on improving your tour or activity, making all your activities bookable online is good for both you and your customers.
Expand potential booking opportunities
When all of your availabilities are listed online you are able to reach a much larger audience at any time of the day or night, with no additional work on your part. This is essential not just for local or regional visitors, but particularly for visitors overseas who may not be able to contact you during your regular business hours. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and remove as many barriers to entry as possible.
Imagine that a customer sends you an email with questions about a specific tour or activity. Perhaps you are unable to get back to them for a full day or longer, and they, in turn, don’t respond with further questions until a day later. This back and forth can be endless and most potential customers will lose interest and stop responding. This can be avoided in many cases by making your activities bookable online and providing thorough information about your services so customers can book with confidence (more on this later).
Overall, offering online bookings opens your company up to a wider audience. Today, people expect to be able to get tasks done quickly and efficiently, with the push of a button, and many people prefer to book online rather than calling. Give people the opportunity to reserve a spot on your tour online, without having to pick up the phone and call. There will always be those customers who prefer to call to book and that is fine! But don’t shut out the chance to service those customers who don’t want to call. Cast a wider net and reap the benefits!
Compete with others in your industry
According to Phocuswright, online bookings are expected to account for one-fifth of gross bookings by 2020. However, 30% of tour operators do not plan to implement an online booking system.
The good news is that as a FareHarbor client you already take bookings online. However, if only some of your tours can be booked online, you could be seriously losing out on booking opportunities to other businesses that offer online reservations. When you consider the fact that 39% of travel bookings are made outside of office hours and only 1 in 3 people leave a voicemail when they call (Acteavo), it’s clear that not offering online bookings is a recipe for losing business.
Save time and stress less
Another benefit of making all of your activities bookable online is that you don’t have to be on top of managing your bookings all the time. If you find yourself or your employees constantly answering the phone, responding to emails, and answering customer questions, you’re using a lot of precious time and resources that could be invested in growing your business and improving your services. Think of all the extra time you’ll have to engage with walk-in customers and focus your efforts on your tours and activities.
The bottom line is that when all of your activities are bookable online, it cuts down on the number of phone calls you could receive in a day and also helps increase bookings. Customers are happy, and you are too.
Pro tip: Reduce the number of redundant phone calls you receive daily by including a detailed frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on your website. You know your business the best: Think about the most common questions you get about your tours or activities, whether on the phone or in person. Perhaps people aren’t sure what to wear, have questions about your cancellation policy, or want to know how many people go on each tour. By providing all of this information in one easy-to-find place, visitors to your website can find all the answers they need – and make a booking – without having to pick up the phone and call you directly.
Similarly, your activity descriptions should also provide all of the relevant information potential customers need to book a tour or activity (such as the 5 Ws: who, what, when, where, why, and the bonus, how). Learn more about how to write amazing activity descriptions.
Now that you know the benefits of making all of your activities bookable online, we’re sure you want to set up all of your activities for online availability right away! Contact FareHarbor Support to set up online availability in your Dashboard for any items that are not currently featured. In the meantime, be sure to create a thorough FAQ page and make sure your tour and activity descriptions are as detailed as possible in order to cut down on the number of phone calls you receive and increase online sales.