Worried about overbookings? Hotels and airlines might be able to get away with overbooking intentionally, but for most tour and activity providers, overbookings are nothing but a negative–a source of stress and unhappy customers. If you’re spending time trying to prevent overbookings, we have good news: when you manage your bookings through the right platform, those worries disappear.
It’s no surprise that overbookings are a common problem with so many sales channels available to providers. You might be taking bookings over the phone, at your office or activity site, on the web, through affiliates and resellers, and from multiple Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). For some operators, direct bookings make up as little as 20% of their business. Without an effective booking management system, some of those channels are bound to overlap.
So how do you manage overbooking your tours and activities? It might be tempting to simplify and limit the number of sales channels you use, but there’s no need to let good sales go to waste.
The best solution for overbooking is a centralized booking system that lets you keep track of all your bookings. With Rezgo, you can manage all your channels in one place. Every single booking will be checked against your live, up-to-the-second availability, no matter where it comes from. Even when they arrive at the very last minute, you’ll be ready to handle it.
If you’re already using Rezgo, there are a few smart, simple steps you can take to avoid overbooking clients — even when things get complicated.
Use the power of the Point of Sale
The Rezgo point of sale (POS) is the best tool for avoiding overbooking. While your web bookings are automatically added to the system, you’ll still end up with overbookings if you don’t get your channels into one place. And the problem only gets worse when you bring more staff into the picture.
When you use the Rezgo POS, you can input your bookings from every offline channel. Each new booking will be checked against live availability, and each booking will automatically adjust your events’ availability. It doesn’t matter how many staff members and agents you have in the system: if they’re entering bookings straight into the POS, there’s no chance of booking the same spot twice.
And by entering bookings into the POS, you’ll also get the many benefits Rezgo offers: automated customer and staff notifications, interactive event manifests, waivers, payment requests, comprehensive reporting, and more.
Connect directly with OTAs
With Rezgo, you can connect your inventory to major OTAs like Expedia, Viator and GetYourGuide. Once you’re connected, every booking that comes in through those channels will be tracked and managed through your Rezgo account, giving your partners access to live availability and allowing you to use Rezgo’s flexible suite of booking management tools.
Hook up your resellers
If you work with other resellers or affiliate programs, the Rezgo reseller system allows you to share your choice of inventory with them directly. Your resellers can sell your activities however they want, using the live availability you provide them. In exchange, you’ll automatically get all the booking details you need to run your tours and activities–along with your share of the money, of course.
Prepare for capacity changes
Not all overbookings are caused by communication and coordination failures, of course. Even if you only have a single sales channel, you can wind up with overbookings due to capacity changes, shared capacity, holidays, or customer service issues. Rezgo offers a flexible collection of tools to handle all of these scenarios.
- If you have a capacity change coming up, you can easily adjust the availability of upcoming events for a specific date, date ranges, or the whole event going forward.
- If you have multiple events that share capacity, linked availability can keep you from overbooking any of them.
- Taking a break? Black out your upcoming dates so no bookings can be placed.
- When a customer has a conflict, it only takes a few clicks to move them to another date, time or activity so their spot gets freed up for others.
What if overbookings happen?
You might be wondering, “what should we do in case of overbooking?” Even with the best technology, overbooking can happen. Maybe a phone booking accidentally got left out of the system, or you forgot to make adjustments for an upcoming holiday. Or maybe your capacity changed at the very last second for reasons outside your control–we’ve all had experience with that recently.
First of all, don’t panic. Overbooking isn’t the end of the world. Consider whether you can accommodate the extra guests. Is your availability the absolute maximum number of people you can safely take, or is there a little wiggle room in there?
If you can’t accommodate the extra space, you’ve still got lots of options. All of them start in the same way: with an apology. You might be surprised by how accommodating guests can be when you reach out and acknowledge the inconvenience the overbooking has caused them. Once you’ve won their understanding, the rest is easy:
- Try to find a suitable alternative. With a few clicks in Rezgo, you can move someone to another time slot, another date, or another activity all together.
- Sweeten the detail with a promo code, gift card, or other way of showing your appreciation for their flexibility.
- If all else fails, refunds are always an option. You can even refund to a gift card that will allow the customer to rebook the same event when they’re able.
Of course, the best way to deal with overbookings is to avoid them in the first place. And the best way to do that is to make sure all your bookings–across all your channels–are safely managed in your Rezgo account.