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Custom made tours are often a part of tour operators and travel companies offer. Great! But, some feel like having an online booking button takes away from custom tours.
Is that really so?
Let’s think about it. Here we’re going to take a look at the matter from the tour and travel company’s customer point of view. That means travelers and tourists they want to satisfy with their great offer.
1. Generations Have Different Travel Preferences
Look at your tour, trip, and activity offering – who are your customers now? Who will your customers be in 5, 10, 20… years from now? Generations will age. Their desires, needs, and habits – less likely.
People of different generations have different travel preferences, including how they like to book.
Generation X (born somewhere between 1960 – 1980) and older, are generally more inclined to calling or coming to your office to book and pay. Although, there are ‘telephonophobics’ among older generations, too. 82% of Gen X book travel online.
Millennial generation (1981 – 1995) and younger, Digital Natives, are less comfortable with phones. In fact, 90% of Millennials book travel online. To them, it’s a matter of manners. Growing up with so many methods of communication available to us, they’ve gravitated towards the less intrusive ones.
Millennials will drive 50% of all business travel revenue by 2020. Soon they will make the majority of tourists and travelers. Hence, they will simply be – travelers. Their preferences will prevail.
2. Attentive Travel Agents Don’t Make Your Custom Tours Stand Out
There are tons of travel agents. Basically, they all respond to specific requests and quickly. They all try to be as nice and as helpful as possible.
Booking online gives the travelers an extra option to do it at their best convenience. They can rely on their own judgment and not someone else’s. Online customer reviews are more trustworthy.
3. Direct Online Booking Is Cheaper
Having your custom made tours and trips bookable through your website, is cheaper for travelers. This is a much better deal for them. In addition, it saves your time spent on administering their booking. Thus, why not include it in your offer as an option?
4. Flexible Online Booking Button Assists Your Custom Made Tours
Online booking button is the desired option. I’m expecting to be able to book online. In the digital age, there are no excuses for not having the option. If I have more questions or want extra services tailored to me, I can do it through the online booking button.
5. Relying On One Travel Agent Can Sometimes Limit Options
Online user ratings and reviews are nowadays one of the top recommendations. Tour and Travel marketplaces collect all the user ratings and reviews from online travel agents. As a result, they give a larger and more accurate overview of tour and travel offering. Again, more opinions of a single tour or travel package are worth more in a traveler’s view.
6. Tour and Travel Marketplaces Help to Generate Bookings
Together with direct booking on your own website, travel marketplaces also help you to generate bookings. A price comparison feature allows travelers to scan over 250 online travel agencies. A traveler can quickly find the best deal that suits their specific needs. Another benefit for travelers adding to your custom service.
There’s also more flexibility there for customers. This includes free cancellation, no booking fees, ‘pay after you stay’, and best price guarantee before the booking. Their customer service is available 24/7, often in different languages.
Online Booking or Agent Booking?
One might find it hard to judge which is better. When booking a big trip or entire vacation planning, an experienced agent’s advice is welcome. It adds the soft touch to your service.
Still, it comes across odd not having the online booking on the tour and trip company’s website. Speaking from the millennial point of view, it makes you look old fashioned. It can appear like you’re not the most updated travel or tour company a traveler would like to be advised by.
Along with other benefits for tour and travel companies, Orioly provides a simple solution. Travelers can send a custom inquiry during their online booking process on your website. Therefore, they can ask whatever they want, even for custom made tours or additional services. It’s no different than if there was only an email or a phone contact on your website. Having more options is better than only one. Having a book now button means adding value.