If you are considering an Online Booking system or are considering changing yours, then this blog article is for you!
Why do I need an Online booking System?
6 reasons why tourism businesses may not use a booking system
- Management is stil not convinced that “their” customers use online bookings
- The business simply hasn’t had the time to get it done
- Owners are apprehensive about using a new technology (it’s not that new! I would consider it ‘old’) especially when it involves financial transactions
- Businesses are overwhelmed by the number of options available and which one is for them
- The owners have been put off by overzealous sales agents
- Finally, management is convinced that if someone really wants their service they will call or email
You have two options when it comes to choosing and implementing a booking ssytem for your tourism business: you can do it yourself or outsource to a professional.
Like most things it’s easier but more expensive to outsource and the Tribe can assist but. However,
If you want or need to do it yourself here are some tips!
- Assign some time to get this done, set a goal and deadline
- Price: online booking capability will cost you money, but so does manually handling bookings
- Add all the things you want the system to do to a list
- Try and try again, you’re not committed to an existing system for life, if it isn’t working change
- Have a plan
- Your responsibility – yes it’s yours
Here are my simple steps to success
- Write down a list of all the things you need your booking system to do
- Record where your bookings are coming from and what they are costing you in terms of fees and commissions
- Do your own research, look at competitors websites, play consumer and see how easy it is to book using a particular system
- Talk to your local Visitor Information Centre, Regional Tourism Organisation and State Tourism Organisation, find our if they have any alliances or policies that might impact your decision
- Read the articles about online distribution
- Conduct the process like a new employee, shortlist your tourism booking systems to 3 and then do more research, call an operator whose using it and ask them what they think
- Check out the support provided by the booking system, is it all online, do they have a help desk, do their times suit you?
- Take the plunge, make a decision on a Booking System and set a deadline
- Set the changeover from manual to online bookings at an “off peak season” to minimise the stress on you!
- If you are nervous, move one room or tour to online bookings and test the system and your market, but remember to put a note on your website that there may be other rooms available if they call.
- Carefully read the contract you sign with a vendor and don’t sign a “forever contract”
- Review your decision every year to make sure that a new system won’t suit you better.