3 Tour Operator Action Items to Get More Direct Online Bookings in 2015

27 Jan 2015     |    Taz Bareham

Every tour operator wants more direct online bookings, because they are convenient for everyone involved.

For you, all you have to do is sit back and watch the bookings pour in, with your booking software doing all of the work. Plus, if you’re using Rezdy, they’re 100% commission free! For your customers, it’s easy to learn about you without any pressure, at their leisure, and they can self-serve to lock in their booking.

While there is still a gap between those who find businesses online and those who actually book online (Forbes reports that 97% of people prefer to find business online), the shift to booking online is consistent. Over time, more and more people are choosing to book tours and activities online, directly with the tour operator.

In fact, almost 40% of all tour and activity bookings are being made online, based on an analysis of our database of roughly 1000 tour and activity operators at the end of 2014.

Drilling down on this data, we can see that of all direct online bookings, 30% are made on mobile devices (tablets and smartphones).


So how can you maximise direct online bookings in 2015?

1. Enhance your website

Web design is a fast moving space, where trends get old quickly. The technical and aesthetic aspects of your website need to be on point in order to keep up.

  • Check your website’s speed! Slow sites get ranked lower and turn visitors off.
  • Use large, beautiful background images and videos of customers enjoying your tour or activity. These are visually stimulating and quickly communicates what you offer.
  • Allow for scrolling over clicking to learn more about your tours, so almost all the information needed is available on one page.
  • Allow for instant booking, payment and confirmation with your booking software.

Here’s a snippet from an infographic posted by Chris Torres:

website speed

Keep in mind that while your site should definitely be aesthetically pleasing, usability is more important and should take priority. For more tips download our website checklist.

2. Adapt to the mobile trend

Mobile devices are highly relevant for tours and activities, because busy travellers like to book on the go. Our statistics show that people are increasingly comfortable making online transactions. The failure to adapt on your part can hurt your revenue.


  • Use responsive design (where the site automatically adapts to any screen size) because it is now the norm.
  • Use mobile friendly navigation (eg. with your menu).
  • Have big, easy to click buttons.
  • Make sure that booking via mobile device does not take more than a couple of minutes.

For more tips download our Mobile Strategy eBook.

3. Engage through content

Content like photos, videos, and customer testimonials are highly effective at getting people to book. However, it can be tough to keep your site updated with a stream of fresh, interesting and exciting content.

One type of content to keep an eye on and make more of is video. Not only can videos help you appear first on Google searches, but they easily and quickly give people a feel for what you do.

video content

Content you post must at once relate to your business and compel your prospect to act. You sell an experience in the form of a tour or activity, meaning that your customers come to you with a desire to which you must appeal, be it for relaxation (unwind with a wine-tasting tour), education (learn a new skill with a martial arts class) or excitement (experience that adrenaline rush).

For a complete range of tips (including examples), check out this blog post.

If you enjoyed this post, why not download our online marketing ebook?

We also have an online distribution ebook where you can learn how to get more agent bookings online.

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