Ryan Russo is the Managing Director & Guide of Walk SF Tours, who offer a unique tour of San Francisco by foot. On each tour, customers are guided through the city and enlightened with unique stories that bring San Francisco’s rich history back to life. Whether they want to learn about the Gold Rush, Chinatown, or The Beats, tourists and locals alike are taken on a journey that allows them to discover San Francisco in a whole new way.
We were lucky enough to tag along on a tour and have a chat with Ryan about his experience using Rezdy.
When thinking back to the time you engaged with Rezdy, what was your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge I would say is the fact that I run two brands. I have a brand for French speakers only called A Pied Tours. I also have Walk SF Tours for everyone who speaks English, and I market those businesses separately. I have different websites, I have everything localized into French for the French brand, but ideally I want everything to be on the same backend, and that was my biggest challenge. Rezdy has helped me solve that challenge through the creative use of the different catalogues that I can submit through different websites with all the information still being organized through the backend.
Can you summarize the points of frustration you faced before you started to use Rezdy’s online booking system?
So probably unlike many of your customers currently, I started out using Rezdy. I created my company while I was working full-time somewhere else, and I knew that I needed a strong booking and reservation management system.
My background is in technology, at one point I was working for a cloud-based solution startup for online registration and class management. I was familiar with the types of challenges that businesses face, especially small businesses, when trying to accept online registrations or bookings, and then manage the backend software, and no one was really doing anything specifically geared towards the travel and tourism industry that I had found, certainly not walking tours.
I did research online, and I found Rezdy. It seemed like it was probably founded by somebody who had experience with those pain points and was able to address those in a way that a tour operator would, so that’s what spoke directly to me.
What were the implications for your business if you hadn’t managed to fix this problem?
Well I would say that without a strong booking system I would be wasting time. Not only would it be a cluttered experience for customers trying to book online, but often times people just have forms that a customer can submit, so then you have to deal with the payment aspect of things, all of the different confirmation emails, and follow up that goes along with that.
It not only could create more of a challenge for a customer, but as a small business owner, not only do I guide but I manage operations of my business. So any time that I can be more efficient and more productive with my time, that’s what I try and do. A system like Rezdy enables me to save a lot of time and be more efficient with the booking process, tour manifest, and so on and so forth.
Did you try to fix the problem in other ways before you settled on Rezdy?
I just explored different software providers and Rezdy seemed like the best fit, so it wasn’t even an option to just get started with an online booking form, I knew I needed to manage all of the customer information and payment – get it streamlined.
You settled on Rezdy in particular as a solution to your problems, why was that?
It was the best fit. It handled all of the challenges and pain points that I could see in my personal business and ones that probably plague the industry, so for the price and the amount of support you receive, it seemed like a good fit.
Once you bought our product, how did you get Rezdy implemented?
From what I recall, I did a free trial that seemed to work out really well, so it was just a matter of turning a free trial into a paid subscription, and I ended up upgrading my subscription to have even more functionality which made the most sense for my business.
It was just a matter of setting up my different tour offerings as products within the system, setting up all my company information, how I wanted follow up emails to go out, any sort of additional extras and add-ons like that, it was very straightforward. It was very easy, any time I had questions I could easily reach customer support which is important when you’re implementing a software solution, and it’s straightforward.
What are the top three features you like about Rezdy?
So I’d have to say
Did you experience any direct business benefits that you can share with us?
It’s hard to say since I started with Rezdy. I would say I’ve had people tell me that the booking process was seamless and I think that’s important these days. We live in an instant society where people expect results instantly, right away with all the social media, with all the web applications and being able to book directly from your phone.
Rezdy is automatically mobilized to run the app on a mobile friendly version through an iPhone for example. So being able to just find my website, book directly through their iPhone, pay through their iPhone, and be able to capture that business right away without any sort of convoluted pain point showing up where it’s hard to see what they’re doing, it’s hard to pay, and then you lose the sale in that way, so [the benefit is with Rezdy it’s] a very straightforward streamlined process, keeping it simple.
What would you say to other businesses in your sector thinking of trying Rezdy?
Well, they give you a free trial if I remember correctly, so what do you have to lose, give it a shot. Play around with the backend, see if it works, if it doesn’t then at least you gave it a shot, but it definitely worked for me and I would imagine it would work for you as well.
What’s the single biggest reason that you would recommend Rezdy?
Due to the fact that it really is a platform that’s been built with tour operators, attractions, and all of that in mind, it’s clear that there’s a lot of thought going into it. In that way it’s not packed to where you try to make it work for your industry, but it really does have the type of tools necessary and the type of reports necessary to make life easy for a small business tour operator.
Have you found working with the team at Rezdy to be a positive experience? Why is that?
Yes, they have a robust form where you can submit tickets and support requests and whatnot, and they’re responsive, with very quick turn around time on emails. If that doesn’t work you can always give them a call and you’ll get somebody on the other end of the line who will walk you through whatever you’re doing.
“Rezdy really does have the type of tools and reports necessary to make life easy for a small business tour operator.”