Distribution Technology for Tour Operators: What You Need & Why

9 Jun 2015     |    Taz Bareham

You might have the most unique tours and activities available in your destination, but if you don’t utilize the right distribution technology, no one will know about them.

In order to access the largest possible customer base and make your products available, you need to utilize distribution technology.

Here’s what technology you need, as a tour operator, to increase your distribution both online and offline.

Technology #1 – Online Booking System

What is an Online Booking System?

An online booking system is a reservation software system that can and should be used by tour and activity providers in order to automate the booking process.

An online booking system allows tour operators and activity providers to minimize the amount of administrative responsibility that they have, and reduce the risk of overbooking their tours.

Why Do You Need One?

You need an effective and efficient online booking system in order to manage your business well and ultimately increase your bookings.

Travelers and agents want to be able to reserve tours and activities online, and they want to be able to access your real-time availability.

When you are choosing an online booking system, you should look for one that includes the following features:

  • Website integration — The booking system would integrate with your existing website, allowing your customers to make reservations with you on your main website.
  • Currency and language options — A booking system should help your business appeal to a global audience, and should adjust the currency and language of the tours accordingly.
  • Real-time bookings — The booking system should automatically update whenever someone makes a reservation with you, allowing potential customers to see your actual availability at any time.
  • Online payment options — Your customers want to be able to pay for your services at the time of their booking, which is why secure online payment options are essential.

These are only the most basic features you need. Click here for a comprehensive list.

Technology #2 – Channel Manager

What is a Channel Manager?

A channel manager is a system that allows tour and activity operators to manage all the various channels that they distribute with.

For example, as a tour and activity provider, you likely work with OTAs, the local visitor centre, a global distribution system and hotel concierges in order to sell your products.

A channel manager ensures that your availability is updated instantly with all of these channels simultaneously.

Why Do You Need One?

An effective channel manager virtually eliminates the risk of overbooking your tours and activities. Any customer would be frustrated to find out that they are not actually booked on the tour that the reserved, which is why you need a channel manager.

With a channel manager, you can update your black-out dates, provide real-time information about your current inventory and availability, and make sure that you book tours based on the resources that you have available.

Without a channel manager, the process of updating your availability would be complex and time-consuming, ultimately taking away from your ability to grow your business.

Rezdy is an online booking system that also offers an integrated channel manager, ensuring that you maximize your distribution potential with one system.

In order to try out this system, sign up for a free trial today.