So, you've finally decided to put the excessive contemplation to rest and go through with your dream of owning a tour/travel business. Good choice! The travel and tourism industries are rising in popularity, especially given the COVID-19 situation. The pandemic has been hard on the public, and many want to enjoy a well-deserved holiday at last. However, if you wish your new venture to succeed, it is crucial to adopt the latest shifts and trends in the industry.
Technology has now become an integral part of the tourism/travel industry. You simply can not do without it. Embracing this technological change will also prove to be highly beneficial and help with day-to-day operations and customer experience. Consumers now expect online booking, contactless payments, and overall, a seamless experience. By taking your travel/tour business online and developing your online travel booking site, you can cater to these needs and more!
To help you start your exciting journey to creating the best online travel booking site, we have composed a guide listing the essentials. Keep on reading to learn what you need to run a successful online booking website.
1. A travel business with tours/activities you would like to sell online.
Before creating an online booking website to showcase your services, you should already have a travel business plan with tours/activities in place. Make sure that you have:
- Checked the requirements of starting a tour/travel business. Ensure that you abide by the health and safety regulations and understand the city and activity you offer completely— local or international.
- Chosen your target market. You have probably done the market research to become more familiar with your target audience, potential customer requirements and how they will acquire information.
- Designed your tour fully, including choosing a name, creating a logo and including enticing pictures and descriptions of what to expect.
2. An existing website or the requirement of a new simple marketing website.
In this step, you might find that you already have an online booking website up and running for your tour/travel business — a crucial requirement for your company's success. However, in our experience, we notice that the website does not represent the full potential of the supplier's services. To make sure your booking website and services match the current trends, booking software companies like TripAdmit partner up with digital consultancies to provide you with an updated website that showcases your services accurately. The results are almost immediate.
When customers land on your website, they will be instantly drawn to how convenient and effortless it is to book a tour/activity. However, this is only possible once you have a functional website up and running.
3. An online booking system such as TripAdmit.
In the current industry climate, operating without an online booking system is difficult. An online tour booking software is a facility where tour and activity suppliers/companies can display their services, activities and experiences to customers (tourists, travellers, vacationers) for purchasing all under one roof. Online booking software and booking websites go hand in hand.
TripAdmit's online booking software allows tour/activity suppliers to automate their day-to-day key tasks such as reservations, payments, waiver signing, insurance and more. Not only does it allow the business to stay open 24/7, it is highly efficient for tour/activity suppliers since customers can now book more activities in less time. Most of all, it is convenient for both clients and suppliers. Sit back and watch as the Smart Calendar fills up with reservations once the booking software widget is integrated.
To learn more about what an online booking software is and why you need one, visit What are Online Booking Systems and Why You Should Get One. (link to July 2/2 once published)
4. An online marketing strategy.
You have your tours/activities designed and planned out, your booking website up and running, and the ideal online booking system. Now, it is time for you to sell your services to the customer. Having a great online marketing strategy can yield profits and build long-lasting customer relationships, so investing time, energy and money into one is well worth it.
-Personalize your content and services: creating your own unique 'brand' is essential. Don't be afraid to build your persona and focus on things that aid in making your company stand out from others. Personalize customer relationships and remind your clients that they come first.
-Use social media: Social media can give you a huge edge by connecting your brand to different target audiences. Having online presences on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram can allow your content, promotions, and information about your tour/travel company to reach a wider range of audiences.
-Rely on reviews: Use review websites like Yelp or Google+ Local to help build your reputation online. Remember, you might not always get the best reviews, and there will be a mix of positive and negative ones. Take the time to respond to each accordingly, and ensure you make the customer feel heard. Adopting a customer-friendly approach will positively impact your customer service and let potential clients know that you care.
-Go mobile: It is crucial to consider the convenience factor that all clients look for nowadays. More and more people have begun to rely on smartphones and tablets rather than desktops and laptops. Making sure you have a mobile-friendly website is essential. An app could also be a great alternative.
5. Drive, enthusiasm and faith in yourself.
'The things you regret in life the most are the risks you didn't take.' Finally, after all the technicalities are out of the way, having faith and believing in yourself is the final step to launching your online booking tour/travel website. Being nervous and anxious is normal — you are taking a huge leap of faith here. However, stepping out of your comfort zone is what you or any brand or company needs to thrive and flourish. Experiencing failures, loss and unsuccessful trials are a part of every business, and it shouldn't affect your drive and enthusiasm to keep pushing forward. Keeping your confidence levels high throughout your career will allow you to keep achieving your goals and milestones. Therefore, never stop believing in yourself and your capabilities.