As the old saying goes, you don’t want to put all of your eggs into one basket. As a tour operator, this cliche can be applied to your business during your distribution process. You know that you need to utilize a variety of agents and sales channels in order to generate bookings from a diverse range of customers. You offer online booking on your website in order to increase your direct bookings. You partner with local hotel concierges and visitor information centres in order to sell your products to visitors who have already arrived in your destination. You work with distribution platforms and OTAs in order to expose your brand to a global audience.
So now that you have connected to all of these sales channels, the trick is managing your bookings effectively.
If you receive your bookings from your various sales channels and in turn try to create a manifest from that information, you are probably wasting a lot of time and effort that could be devoted to furthering your business. Not only is manually creating manifests a time-consuming process, but it can also put you at risk of inputting errors into the manifest. You would hate to leave someone off of your tour because of an administrative error! The best option is to implement an online booking system that automatically updates your manifest for you. This technology takes all of the booking information from each sales channel, and instantly updates the manifest for you. Whenever you log on to check the status of your upcoming tours and activities, you will be able to see the latest information available.
Overbookings are a common occurrence when they are many different distributors involved and the manifest must be updated manually. This can be costly for your business, as customers will not have a spot on your tour and they may feel frustrated with your brand. In addition, it is time-consuming to cancel a reservation, provide customer service to the traveler who was overbooked and hopefully book them on another tour. With an effective channel manager and online booking system in place, all of your agents will have access to your real-time availability. They will know immediately when your tours are sold out, which minimizes the risk of overbooking significantly. You will not have to devote as much administrative time to managing your bookings or dealing with overbookings, which allows you to focus on growing your business. In addition, your brand will earn a reputation amongst your agents and your customers for being reliable and trustworthy.
You might be surprised to find out that you can manage all of your bookings — from all of your sales channels — in one convenient location. This is the best way to keep track of your reservations and prevent overbookings for your business.