Even with the vaccine for COVID-19 rolling out, bookings for a lot of tour operators are still not where they used to be.
If your tour operation is open, chances are you’re taking on less staff, implementing social distancing methods & better hygiene procedures. This means you’ll be operating with a much lower capacity than before. Even if you’re not receiving bookings at that level now, you want to be prepared for when you do, and with Easter and Spring Break coming up, this maybe be sooner than you think.
However, these are only suggestions, remember to always check with your local government before implementing changes, especially with regards to social distancing and hygiene.
What social distancing protocols have you put in place? Depending on how strict your protocols are, you’ll very likely be able to take on much fewer customers than before during your trip.
What about your hygiene procedures? Most tour operators are now cleaning and sanitizing their equipment after each tour or activity. This takes time and would lower the number of trips tour operators can do in a day.
And with fewer staff, this will again, further lower the number of customers a tour operator can take per trip as well as the number of trips that can be done in a day.
Also, consider the journey of the customer on your trips. Are there any bottlenecks? Do you have a check-in area or a waiting room, what about a briefing room? You’ll be able to take on fewer customers in these areas, and they’ll all need to be cleaned very regularly too.
Once these are all taken into account, if you were to get as many bookings as you wanted tomorrow, how many would you be able to handle?
When operating at a lower capacity, the margin for error increases, especially with double bookings and resource availability. Ensure you know how many spots, staff and resources you have available each day. It would be best to have all this information available in one place so you can prevent any double bookings, especially if you have multiple resellers. This has always been important, but it’s more important now than ever before. If you don’t already have live availability, we highly recommend setting up a software solution that allows for it.
Live availability allows for everything to be updated in real-time, so the system automatically prevents any double-bookings. Every time a booking is made, the spot will fill and your availability will be updated. This update will also be sent to all your resellers to ensure that they do not fill that same spot. Yes, this means you can stop ringing up your agents to tell them how many spots you have left, and instead spend your already limited time on your tours.
Most live availabilities also come with a calendar that’s updated with the numbers automatically. This allows you to see what you have ahead everyday, and better plan your resources accordingly.
Stay in touch with your customers as often as possible. For example, if someone was double-booked, let them know as soon as possible so they can find an alternative time. With so much uncertainty going on in the world, communication is the best tool for reassuring your customers.
With that being said, here are 3 emails you need to have in place:
If they seem like a lot of work, consider using mailing solutions like mailchimp that can send those emails automatically. Once you’ve set them up, you can rest assured that each customer will receive those emails. Automated emails are also a feature on booking solutions like Rezdy.
Often there is one part of operations holding everything else back. Maybe the check-ins take too long, with social distancing measures in place, maybe the waiting room or the briefing room is too small.
Are your tour guides always waiting on equipment, vehicles or other parts of your operation? Perhaps there aren’t enough resources dedicated to cleaning.
Try to be your own customer for a day, or ask your friend to do it. Where did you have to wait? Which part of your trip did you not enjoy?
Even if you’re not receiving many bookings right now, it’s best to be ready. The general public are desperate for experiences right now, where ever they can be done safely.
Did you know that Rezdy offers free-onboarding and training to all new Rezdy customers to get setup? This includes all the features mentioned above such as live-availability and automated emails. Sign up today for a free 21-day trial.