Managing Capacities During COVID-19 as a Tour Operator


3 Aug 2020     |    Blake Ng

We get it, with the global pandemic, bookings are not where they used to be, so why would you need to manage capacities? Some tour operators are temporarily hibernating to wait out this crisis while others are taking special measures to remain open.

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, things are changing very quickly, just recently Europe began lifting travel bans.

So here are 4 steps to managing your capacities in a COVID world:

However, these are only suggestions, remember to always check with your local government before implementing changes, especially with regards to social distancing and hygiene.

Calculate your new capacity

Managing Capacities During COVID-19

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?

Stay organized

Managing Capacities During COVID-19

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.

Communicate frequently

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:

  • Reminder Emails
    The worst thing that could happen is you customers showing up late or unprepared and throwing your entire schedule out of order. This could all be prevented with a simple reminder email. Remember to include, what they need to bring and where they need to be and what time they need to be there.
  • Confirmation Emails
    As soon as a customer makes a booking, send them a confirmation email so they know the booking went through. This will allow them to solidify their travel plans which also means they’ll be less likely to modify their booking, which also means less of a hassle for you. And even if they do change their plans, this will give them the springboard they need to notify you earlier.
  • Follow Up Emails
    These are great for getting feedback. While most operators are great at reading the room and understanding the customer, there are often little things that can be missed. These emails are a great opportunity to receive that feedback.Maybe your customers felt uneasy with how close they were to other people or how clean the equipment was. Maybe they had to wait a little too long in a waiting room with other people. This feedback will help you better plan your resources to keep your customers feeling happy and safe.

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.

Identify the bottle-necks

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. Every country is going through its own ups and downs but we all know that eventually, travel will recover, the only question is when.

Making the most of Rezdy

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.

If you need help figuring out your hygiene and social distancing procedures, we recently partnered with hygiene and sanitisation certification provider, SanSee. SanSee offers a bespoke COVID-19 certification program that includes a custom safety audit to suit your business needs, on-going on-demand & live training sessions, and much more. 

#together4tourism

Written By – Blake Ng– Acquisition & Content Marketing, Rezdy

Blake is a travel videographer with a love for storytelling. He has years of experience in sales and marketing from multiple travel startups and a cricket farm in Cambodia. He is currently a content marketer at Rezdy.

 

Managing Capacities During COVID-19 as a Tour Operator

,

We get it, with the global pandemic, bookings are not where they used to be, so why would you need to manage capacities? Some tour operators are temporarily hibernating to wait out this crisis while others are taking special measures to remain open.

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, things are changing very quickly, just recently Europe began lifting travel bans.

So here are 4 steps to managing your capacities in a COVID world:

However, these are only suggestions, remember to always check with your local government before implementing changes, especially with regards to social distancing and hygiene.

Calculate your new capacity

Managing Capacities During COVID-19

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?

Stay organized

Managing Capacities During COVID-19

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.

Communicate frequently

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.

Identify the bottle-necks

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. Every country is going through its own ups and downs but we all know that eventually, travel will recover, the only question is when.

Making the most of Rezdy

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.

If you need help figuring out your hygiene and social distancing procedures, we recently partnered with hygiene and sanitisation certification provider, SanSee. SanSee offers a bespoke COVID-19 certification program that includes a custom safety audit to suit your business needs, on-going on-demand & live training sessions, and much more. 

#together4tourism

Written By – Blake Ng– Acquisition & Content Marketing, Rezdy

Blake is a travel videographer with a love for storytelling. He has years of experience in sales and marketing from multiple travel startups and a cricket farm in Cambodia. He is currently a content marketer at Rezdy.