Online Booking Advantages and Disadvantages for Tour Operators | Orioly

Online Booking Advantages and Disadvantages for Tour Operators

Are you in the tourism industry? The challenges and difficulties of managing and tracking your booking flow must be stressful.

So, how do you make your life easier? Are you still thinking about implementing a reservation system on your website and setting up an online booking process?

You’re in the right place. We’re here to help you by showing the online booking advantages and disadvantages for tour operators.

What is an online booking system? 

An online booking tool, or reservation system, is basically a type of program that allows you to manage important dates online. Such as appointments, meetings, reservations, etc.

Some online booking systems, like Orioly, come with a scheduling tool that can be installed on your website. This means your customers can manage the online booking process themselves, as well as pay for an activity directly from your website.

Online booking advantages and disadvantages

Pros and cons online booking advantages disadvantages

From the 50s when the first computerized booking system was created to nowadays, a lot of things have changed I the industry, most for the better.

If you consider true the saying “time is money”, implementing an online booking process on your website is what you are looking for. The reason is simple, one of the greatest advantages of online ticket booking systems is saving your time.

That is a noticeable benefit of running a travel company. Not only you are saving your time and energy, but also making it easier for your customers to book a tour with you.

Let’s dive deeper into the online booking advantages and disadvantages. After reading them all, you should be able to decide if this is a feasible solution for your travel business.

Advantages of an online ticket booking system

1. Accessible 24/7

Using an online booking system means that you’re open to your customers 24/7. That’s because the system operates autonomously.

Customers who have decided to book a tour don’t want to wait until you are in the office. Having a booking now button on your website a way to let them book your activities on their own schedule.

Statistics show that more and more bookings are made during the evening when your target customer is at home. An online booking system allows you to receive booking 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

2. Reduces your workload

Processing all your bookings manually means a lot of work, and often you can make mistakes that cost you money.

A good online booking system will handle all the aspects of the booking, but often much more than just that:

  • It will ensure that bookings can only be received when you have availability. So, there’s no over-booking. And no need for cross-checking of booking statuses on emails and spreadsheets.
  • Send an automated email to your customers after they finish the online booking process. They immediately receive a guarantee of obtaining services.
  • Also, get all the information needed from a customer together with the reservation. Thus, no need for you to bother guests asking for further details about their trip.
  • Have all the information you need in one place. Promotions, bookings, customer information, payments and analytics.
  • Set up and manage all invoices, taxes, terms and loyalty programs with ease from a central position.

All mentioned above have a direct impact on the administrative workload of your business, leading to an increase in productivity.

3. Allows you to offer add-ons

When talking about online booking advantages and disadvantages, the easy addition of add-ons by your customer during the booking process is a big pro. That is a mandatory feature of online booking systems, simple as that.

You must be able to offer your customers extra services. And it’s then up to them to choose whether they want additional features. By adding extra perks to your customers, you can easily boost the revenue for your business.

4. Provides you with important analytics and insights

An online booking system with automatic analytics helps you figure out what works and what doesn’t for your travel business.

Determine your most requested time slots, the most popular tours and which partnerships bring you more profit. Take advantage of knowing what your customers want most.

Keeping track of your analytics dashboard is the best way to optimize your business. Save time and money on offerings that don’t bring you enough growth.

5. Don’t pay abusive commissions

Commission-free means shifting bookings from OTAs to your own sales channel. There are OTAs charging commissions as high as 30% per booking!

By implementing an online booking system you get rid of the middleman. That means you are dealing straight with your customer.

6. Collect online payments

With an online booking system, your customers can prepay for your tours or activities. This puts money straight into your account without the lag time.

Don’t worry about receiving payment on the day of the tour. With this, you reduce manual workload even more.

The risk of credit card fraud or scams is extremely low for online payment gateways. Making it an easy and safe way for your customers to both, book and pay.

7. Gives you a clear overview

All your customer data is in a structured system, in one place. You can check your reservations and availability from any device at any location.

Always know the status of your business and effortlessly manage your calendar. There’s no need for using excel sheets, and your reception staff can easily check the availability of your products.

Orioly makes this overview even simpler by using different colors on your calendar. Red, orange or green color will immediately tell you the level of your occupancy.

Cons of online reservation systems for tours and activities

Nature laptop outside macbook online booking advantages disadvantages

1. It needs internet access

You’ll need constant access to the Internet, which could be a problem if you run tours and activities in remote areas.

If you’re not a fan of technology or you don’t have internet access, it might not be for you.

2. You don’t have direct contact with your customers

Direct conversation with customers via phone/mail has some good sides. You can build trust and answer some doubts your customer might have that are holding back their decision to book.

You can also receive precious feedback that will improve the quality of your products. Also, some customers may prefer direct, real contact rather than doing all the online booking process virtually.

3. You might face technical issues

All software is subject to technical problems. That’s why there are whole teams of developers testing and fixing bugs before the final user can ever notice those issues.

For example, due to a bug, a customer may pay twice for the same ticket. That is a rare issue, but you should know that it’s possible to happen.

4. A fast growth can be challenging

If you run a small business without enough staff members or resources, too many new customers may be a problem. That is a side effect of broadening your audience from local to global.

Expanding your activities and growing too fast might be frightening. But I’m sure this is a challenge you are willing to face.

5. Not every online booking software might be the right one

You must find out which online booking system suits your business better. Not all of them will offer you all the features and commitment that you are looking for.

There is nothing more frustrating than hiring a service that doesn’t fulfill your needs.

Numbers don’t lie

Online booking advantages disadvantages represented by a man booking using a tablet.

Knowing the online booking advantages and disadvantages might not be enough for you to make a decision. For that reason it’s important to check the numbers, after all, numbers don’t lie.

The statistics show that 90% of people do all their holiday research online, whereas only 80% of people book online.

Online travel booking has been increasing around the world before the pandemic hit. In 2019, around 148.3 million travel bookings were made by people online every year. This number is expected to recover in the upcoming years.

The use of mobile devices is increasing with time. For the travel industry and tour and activity providers, this means the growing need to have mobile-ready websites. And, of course, the ability to take online bookings through mobile devices.

In the US, 48% of smartphone users are happy to plan, research and book their trip to a new destination just using their mobile phone.

Conclusion

All that was presented in this article comes down to: the world is going forward, and so should you. Like any other tool, online booking has advantages and disadvantages—which you can overcome with planning and setting up a good business strategy.

For example, not having direct contact with customers during the online booking process doesn’t mean there can’t be one. You can still be open to all the extra questions your clients may have, for that purpose you can set up a chatbot.

If you are convinced that having an online booking system connected to your website will help you increase your profits, I invite you to try Orioly for free.

Otherwise, we have an ebook that dives even deeper into the advantages of using online booking software in your travel business.

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Ultimate Guide to Chinese Outbound Tourism

In this book, you are going to discover the best practices to attract Chinese tourists to your location and more about their culture and how to reach them.

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