The way your staff spend their time directly impacts your bottom line. Using process automation, your staff are effectively multiplied – one staff member can do the work of multiple people if process are automated and done for them. This allows you to provide more tours and activities using the same number of employees.
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You might be surprised exactly how much time you can save with process automation, as well as how much of running your business you can actually automate.
The importance of process automation is further-reaching that it may appear at first. If you and/or your staff are spending hours each day doing admin work, not only is that boring but it can cost you money as well. Either you need to pay staff to spend that time doing the work or it is taking them away from doing revenue-generating activities.
The first touchpoint that you could consider automating is social media. Social media interaction is very important for tour operators because, in the travel industry, feedback and reviews are extremely important so you want to build a good relationship with your customers. There is no substitute for social media for a person looking to find accurate information about a particular place, so if you have a good Facebook or Twitter page with positive reviews, photos and videos and a decent-sized following, people know that you are a quality, professional, legitimate business and they will have a good experience with you.
The importance of building a good social media presence cannot be understated, but the problem is that it takes a lot of time to build and maintain that presence. It can take a lot of time out of your day to post enough content to stay relevant on your followers’ newsfeeds, especially if these updates need to be posted across multiple channels. However, some of this work can be automated through a tool called HootSuite. This lets you schedule posts for up to five social media accounts in advance – you can do more but you’ll need to start paying a subscription. Obviously this can’t automate everything – you still need to make the posts yourself where you upload photos after an activity, and you need to be the one to respond to comments, but HootSuite can deal with the promotional posts.
This means that when you have the time to write the content, you can just write a bunch of posts, schedule, for example, a month’s worth of them, and then let it sort itself out. This saves you the possibility of forgetting about it if you’re busy and lets you deal with the social media effort at a time that suits you.
Another way process automation can help with customer communications is to automate email booking communications. These email communications are a must – you need to use them to address customer concerns, send them reminders, payment requests and other things you need to communicate to them. Having someone do all of this manually can be very cumbersome because they (or you!) have to keep track of every customer who has booked, remind themselves when to send out certain emails, and then remember to follow up afterwards. It makes sense to automate this process because so many of these emails can be standardized, but at the same time it gives your customers a lot more faith in your booking system.
In addition to emails, you can use SMS to send reminders and follow up messages as well. These make you look really professional and they can help you to drastically reduce your no-show rates by keeping you top of mind wth your customers as well as impressing them with your professionalism.
Automating the database of bookings that you keep also makes a lot of sense. When people book online and you collect their details, you need to export that contact info to the database you keep, upload it to the email software you probably already use and then remember to send the reminder and follow-up emails. It’s not impossible, but it does take a fair bit of time and effort.
Rezdy doesn’t automate your social media posts for you – we recommend HootSuite for that – but it can and does let you automate and personalize your emails and SMS to customers. A step-by-step walkthrough of setting up emails and SMS in the Rezdy app is in the webinar at the top of the page.
While automating emails and SMS is an important way to save heaps of time, it is still important to personalize them. People hate receiving messages that start ‘Dear Customer,’ it makes them feel like they’re not important to you at all. It may seem like automation and personalization are mutually exclusive concepts, but they’re actually not. When you’re setting up your message templates, you can add custom text and images to make sure that, while your emails are automated, they are still engaging and feel personal.
When setting up your reminder and follow-up messages, you can also determine when they are sent out. You can schedule a reminder email three days beforehand, and a reminder SMS the morning of, for example. All of this can be customized to fit your requirements.
You can also set up and personalize promotional emails, such as gift cards. We’ve written a fair bit about gift cards and vouchers and how you can use them to boost your customer network, so they’re definitely something worth checking out.
Rezdy integrates with Zapier, which automates tasks between Rezdy and more than 250 other services, including MailChimp, Xero and Twilio. Twilio, for example, can link to Rezdy and send you an SMS every time you receive a booking on Rezdy.
Rezdy also links to MailChimp, which is how you can automate and personalize your emails. When you create a customer profile in Rezdy, you can send these details to MailChimp so they can import things like the customer’s name into the emails. This means that you can send an automated email to 1000 people, and each one of them will start with the person’s name.
Another integration Rezdy has is with Xero accounting software. When you receive a booking through Rezdy, it sends this information to Xero, which then generates an invoice automatically for you. You can check out the full list of apps that Zapier supports here.
Quite possibly our best integration is with Viator – the largest Online Travel Agent for tours and activities. Viator sells its products to a global consumer database with 60 extra customer-facing websites, mobile websites and apps. The benefit of this integration is that Viator customers can access your availability in real time. This means that your activities can be booked from Viator by people from Viator’s massive network all over the world, and Rezdy can automate the process of entering customer data, generating invoices, notifying you and customer communications. For our Australian and Kiwi readers, we also have the same sort of integration with RedBalloon.
The point of all this is that Rezdy can automate these processes so that you can spend more of your time actually conducting your activities rather than doing admin work. This saves you time and a surprising amount of money.
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