Throughout the last decade, research studies have shown that tourism businesses lack technology and that this has been hindering success both online and through distribution. Key advancements in tourism ecommerce software technology have changed all that and now enable tour providers to manage their businesses more efficiently so they can take advantage of both online sales as well as sales through distribution.
Why Tour Businesses Have Struggled To Get Online
A decade ago, PhoCusWright, the leading travel industry research firm, released a study that showed that a mere 14% of in-destination tour and activity providers used an electronic reservation system. The reasons for this lack of adoption vary but the major ones include a lack of understanding of the benefits, a lack of available technology, and the costs and complexity of existing solutions.
Traditionally, tour management systems were designed to serve the needs of larger tour and excursion operators. Generally, these systems were very expensive and quite complicated. Smaller tour operators, sightseeing companies, and activity providers have had to make due by using paper calendars and spreadsheet software. Because of the lack of real-time inventory management, the fear of overbooking caused many providers to avoid taking online bookings or sell through potential distribution partners. In addition to lost revenue opportunities, these businesses also lost out on valuable reporting opportunities.
How Rezgo Helps Tour Businesses Transition to Online Bookings
Today, the tourism technology landscape has changed. Since 2007, Rezgo has worked to shift the tide and help small tourism businesses move online. In the same way that OpenTable helped restaurant owners maximize the potential of online bookings and increase revenues, Rezgo is helping tour and activity operators to manage their availability, capture valuable customer information, take more bookings, and generate more revenue.
Rezgo, a cloud-hosted SaaS platform, allows businesses to sign up without any upfront capital investment or recurring subscription costs. Once activated, tour and activity businesses can use the software to add or edit tour details and upload images, manage their tour or activity inventory and schedule, receive bookings through a mobile friendly booking engine, and handle phone or in-person bookings. They can also connect to major merchant banking systems around the world, so tour businesses are able to use their own credit card processors to take payments for online and offline bookings. The business pays a small transaction fee for each booking made through the system but all other features are free to use and do not incur additional costs.
In addition to managing supply, tourism businesses that use Rezgo can create their own distribution opportunities and manage third-party bookings from resellers such as Viator, Expedia and others. More advanced businesses can also use the available XML API to create custom shopping experiences, direct connections, and more sophisticated integrations.
The Future of Online Tour and Activity Bookings
But a cost effective and simple to use technology only solves part of the challenge for small tourism businesses. Resources for tour and activity providers remain as limited as technology once was. To help solve the last major part of the challenge, Rezgo has been providing educational and best-practices content for many years. Over the years, Rezgo has produced hundreds of articles, eBooks and presentations–not just for tour and activity providers, but for the travel industry at large. Rezgo has also sponsored important industry research.
With the release of each new version, Rezgo makes it even simpler for tourism businesses to benefit from online bookings and tourism best practices. As more small businesses embrace management and ecommerce tools, more marketing and distribution opportunities present themselves. The tour and activity market is larger than car rentals or cruises, and it’s still growing. With 68% of travel and tourism sales now happening online, it’s vital that tour and activity operators have the tools and resources they need to thrive.