It’s clear that mobile technology is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, sales of web-enabled mobile devices are outrunning computer sales (GigaOm). Tour operators can no longer ignore this trend, and instead must adapt to it.
Here are 5 ways that mobile technology has evidently impacted the tour and activities sector.
If you are a part of the tourism industry today and aren’t offering online bookings, then chances are you aren’t getting any reservations. According to Statistic Brain, more than 148.3 million people use the Internet to make reservations for their accommodations, tours and activities. That’s more than 57 percent of travelers each year.
Of those travelers who are booking their reservations online, many are opting to use their smart phones and tablet devices rather than a traditional computer to make their reservations. This means that mobile booking options aren’t the way of the future — these mobile booking systems are the way of today.
Mobile smart phones and tablet devices allow people to conduct their daily business wherever they are, making daily chores far more convenient than they were before. Rather than sitting down after a long day at work to look online for travel arrangements, many travelers are using mobile apps to quickly locate tour and activity operators, read reviews and book their reservations.
According to New Media Trend Watch, 52 percent of travelers that took part in a JiWire study used a smart phone or tablet to complete travel bookings. Of those 52 percent, 23 percent opted to use their smart phone while 29 percent made their reservations on their tablet.
With the use of mobile booking apps on the rise and more people using their smart phones and tablets to make reservations, it’s more important than ever for businesses to develop a prominent web presence.
This means investing in search engine optimization strategies that get your business listed on Google and other major search engines. People will use map apps, such as Google Maps, to find out which businesses are in the area. There they can read reviews, link to the business and make a reservation — all within a matter of seconds.
Developing a presence on search engines and on the web is only one part of a successful online marketing plan. Travel businesses — whether you offer guided tours of your city or specialize in activities and excursions for travelers — need to have a well-developed presence on the best social media sites at the same time.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TripAdvisor and YouTube are just a few of the networks that many travel businesses use every day.
Social media presents an opportunity for travelers to research a company and get real time reviews about the company’s performance. For instance, if someone is hoping to book a tour with your company they are likely going to check out TripAdvisor, like your Facebook page and follow your Twitter updates.
After monitoring your activity and your customers’ activity on your pages, they will be able to make a better decision about their own travel plans. An expert social media strategy is necessary, as according to 2012 data published by Media Bistro, about 52 percent of travelers change their plans based on social media activity and responses.
Travel companies, including tour and activity operators, are taking note. More than 50 percent of travel-related businesses have found that social media has resulted in a direct increase in bookings each month.
Today’s tech-savvy travelers don’t just want a quick and easy way to book with your company, they still expect you to maintain a professional appearance and provide them with excellent customer service.
You should have easy instant booking available directly on your mobile website, allowing your customers to click a button and save their spot.
The second a person makes a reservation with your organization, they will go to their e-mail where they expect a confirmation to be waiting for them.
That confirmation should include all of the relevant information about the reservation — including the date, time and activity that was booked as well as the participants’ information and the payment information.
The numbers can’t be denied, and tour operators are taking advantage of the mobile device trend for their own business. Many tour operators and activity providers are investing in online booking systems that offer easy-to-use mobile platforms.
For example, Rezdy offers tour and activity operators an online booking system that can be used easily on a computer or laptop as well as conveniently on a mobile device.
When investing in an online booking system, tour and activity operators should make sure their system is equipped for mobile devices – from a user perspective and from the customer’s perspective.