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Minimize No-Shows With Six Simple Techniques

No matter how well you plan your tours and activities, there will always be factors out of your control — and we’re not just talking about the weather. As much as we love and rely on them, guests can also be the biggest headache in the business, particularly when they don’t bother to show up.

And no-shows aren’t just disappointing. They’re also disruptive, leaving you with empty seats, too-small tours, wasted expenses, and other hassles. Across the tourism industry, everyone is looking for solutions. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to minimize no-shows and the impact of unreliable customers — and online bookings can help.

1. Reminder Messages

Customers don’t usually mean to be malicious when they skip out on a booking. Often, they don’t even realize they’re doing it until it’s too late. They double book themselves, get busy, and get forgetful — and by the time they check their calendars, they’ve missed out on a great tour or activity.

Rezgo makes it easy to keep your events on the top of your guests’ minds. With scheduled notifications, you can send out friendly reminders both after bookings are placed and before the day of the event. When you regularly pop up in their inboxes or text messages, guests will have a hard time forgetting about their bookings.

Just make sure the messages are useful. Spamming guests may keep you in their thoughts, but those thoughts probably won’t be friendly ones.

2. Pre-Payments and Deposits

Taking payment on the day of the tour might be simple — no need to worry about cancellations or refunds — but it makes it incredibly easy for guests to neglect their bookings, too. By taking bookings and payments online, you have leverage and a great tool to minimize no-shows. Wouldn’t you be more likely to show up to an event if you’d already paid?

If you aren’t comfortable taking a full payment up front, take a deposit instead. As long as you have some way to enforce your cancellation policy and fees, you have some protection when no-shows happen.

3. Purchase Protection

A good cancellation policy will take you a long way, but the truly dedicated no-show has a secret weapon: chargebacks. Credit card providers keep making it easier for dissatisfied customers to get their money back, even when those customers are in the wrong.

By offering ticket protection, you can bypass the whole problem. If a customer doesn’t show up, it might be an inconvenience, but it won’t be your financial problem. Rezgo lets you offer ticket protection through TourShield for no additional cost. It covers customers for the 15 most common reasons for cancellations. You keep the money from the booking, the customer files a claim, and TourShield handles the rest. No need for a messy disagreement.

4. Data Analysis

Most no-shows are due to factors beyond your control, but sometimes there are improvements you can make to take a bit of that control back. Using Rezgo’s reporting system, you can easily keep track of whether you’re encountering more no-shows with certain inventory — or certain customers.

If certain inventory options stand out as being unusually rife with no-shows, it might be worth considering the reasons. Is traffic especially bad that time of day? Could your customers be confused about pick-up locations, or unsure of what to do in bad weather? A small adjustment might make all the difference.

As for problem customers, well, it’s always good to know whose bookings require extra scrutiny. Banning customers is a drastic step, but it’s worth considering if they’re making it impossible for you to plan events.

5. Fraud Protection

Fraudulent bookings lead to all sorts of complicated situations, but they can also lead to no-shows. Using an online booking system helps protect you against many common types of fraudulent transactions, particularly when you take payments through a good payment gateway.

As for chargebacks and other types of friendly fraud, the more information you have recorded about a booking, the better. Rezgo gives you detailed records that may help you defend yourself from a fraudulent credit card chargeback, helping to discourage future no-shows in the process.

6. Overbooking

For hotels, airlines and restaurants, no-shows are a reliable problem. To protect their profits, companies in those sectors often book more spaces than they have available.

It’s a gamble. If everyone shows up, you’re all but guaranteeing that some customers will have a bad experience. That’s one reason it’s less common in the tour and activities sector. But if you find that no-shows are regularly disrupting large group activities, it might be worth making a little extra space. Rezgo gives you the flexibility to adjust your availability whenever you’d like, so you can cope with the uncertainty customers so often provide.

Remember: It Happens to Everyone

Strong policies, insurance and good communication can make a major impact and help minimize no-shows, but there’s no trick that will make every customer show up for their bookings. There will always be someone busy enough, distracted enough or just plain inconsiderate enough that they fail to even inform you.

Rezgo has a host of tools to empower tour and activity providers, and while the best tools can’t change human nature, they can make adapting to unexpected changes easier. No-shows happen to everyone, and they don’t have to ruin your day. We can help you minimize no-shows.

Written by

Nissa Campbell is an author and blogger who covers tourism and technology . Since 2014, she has been documenting booking software at Rezgo and working with tour operators at all levels of the industry to help them find solutions to their technical needs.

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