You may feel like everything that you have built and worked so hard for over the last few years has flown out the window. And while business as we know it, particularly in the tourism space, has changed forever, tour operators need to focus on making smart business decisions to get back on track.
Launching into the new year, we are firm in our belief that a comprehensive itinerary builder software is the most powerful tool a tour operator can have. With the right tour operator software solution, your business will be equipped and primed for the upcoming rejuvenation of tourism globally. The best tour operator software will offer simplicity and affordability when it comes to itinerary creation and booking trips for customers.
As we learnt from 2020, the certainty of retaining staff is not guaranteed, nor is the promise that valuable skills will be transferred from one staff member to the next. That is why software is something that will make the world of difference to your business in the wake of COVID-19. Not only will it stay with you over the course of staff changes and turbulent times, but it will help make onboarding new team members smoother when business ramps up again.
To steer you in the right direction when it comes to choosing the best tour operator software solution in 2021 we have put together our top considerations that we feel you should not compromise on or overlook in the coming years. If you are going to invest, then you should do it wisely and with confidence in your investment.
There is no doubt that the entire global community is pinning their hopes on the development and rapid distribution of successful coronavirus vaccines to ensure that we are free from the pandemic that is currently gripping the world. While it may appear that the administration of a vaccine will give great life back into the tourism industry, this is simply just the beginning of the solution.
The first step, yes, is to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible for travel to take place safely. But this must be followed up with accurate record keeping. Knowing the vaccination status of your travellers is going to be one of the most, if not the most, important piece of information you as a tour operator can have going forward. As we have learnt, COVID-19 is relentless and there is no room for complacency or human error. If the tourism industry is to be successful once again, then the vaccination statuses of travellers must be methodically recorded, securely stored and easily accessible at all times.
We recognise that keeping track of such intricate health details will put a lot of extra responsibility and pressure on tour operators as they navigate the different rules, regulations and documentation of various countries. For this reason, the best tour operator software in 2021 will have the in-built functionality to accurately record this information. Not only will this take a load off your plate but choosing an itinerary builder software that tracks individual health statuses will help your business stand out from the competition, and to put it quite bluntly, save lives.
The advantages of customer record keeping goes far beyond vaccinations too. The best tour operator software to take your business into 2021 will be capable of categorising, segmenting and sorting groups of travellers to provide unparalleled tailored levels of customer service. Whether it be in the way of dietary requirements, personal interests, demographics or travel preferences, travellers will appreciate the level of detail that you have on hand to create highly curated experiences, in a fraction of the time it would typically take.
As we have learnt more about the pandemic, its infection rates and the lasting effects it will have on every sector of society, we have come to realise that the return of tourism is going to be staggered. Already there is great variation between countries and provinces as to what government and border restrictions are in place, along with the status of vaccination administration. But the reality is that most of the world will spend the first half of 2021 promoting their business to prospective tourists, rather than actually selling itineraries (we promise that this will come later).
How you portray your product and business online, how you are perceived by potential customers, and what you are selling therefore becomes of the utmost importance. In a tour operators line of work, compelling example itineraries are the hook to draw customers in. Tour operator software that allows you to embed or connect your example itineraries onto your website, will garner the greatest amount of attention from future customers. Your website communicates the essence of your brand, and your software should give you the ability to showcase stunning itineraries with beautiful images on your website.
Tourists crave simplicity during the research phase of their travel journey, with it being proven that the fewer number of clicks by a consumer leads to higher conversion levels. Instead of redirecting customers to multiple pages and websites, the ability to promote itineraries on your website will streamline the user experience and clearly (plus let’s not forget, beautifully!) display your offering.
A topnotch itinerary builder software should also have the functionality to easily share your breathtaking itineraries on your social media profiles. Your itineraries are your most powerful marketing tool with a social share function taking brand awareness and marketing activities to the next level. For one, your product should be proudly shown on various social channels, and for another it shows the ample knowledge you have for a specialised tourism niche.
When it comes to finding the best tour operator software in 2021 it is crucial to ensure that the solution you choose is priced to suit your business. Gone are the days where you have to be locked into a lengthy contract with an exorbitant cost just to get the bare minimum; today, there are various tour operator software solutions on the market that are sympathetic to fluctuating cash flows. Whether it’s a low base and transaction fee model, or pay per user monthly pricing, tour operator software doesn’t have to break the bank.
With 2020 being the year of penny pinching, spending within your means should be a big focus for you going forward. That is why partnering with a tour operator software solution that offers flexible pricing is paramount. Working in the tourism industry themselves, your chosen software company should be aware of the ebbs and flows that are hanging over the industry like a dark cloud right now. For instance, by offering a transaction fee model, itinerary builder software can be scaled up and down depending on your current sales levels. Monthly pricing plans also assign greater control to tour operators as access and functionality can be adjusted depending on workforce sizes and changes. Don’t forget to also look into the additional costs of itinerary builder software. Find a company which includes support services in their offering to ensure you don’t get caught out with unexpected bills.
Just like tourism businesses, software companies have taken a significant financial hit in the wake of COVID-19. While the pandemic could not have been predicted, the businesses that had the nouse, strength and smarts to withstand the tough times, are the ones that you want to do business with. You can assign a greater level of confidence to their product and business practise; if they can do it once, then they can do it again.
We truly believe that the best itinerary builder software you can select is one that has proven longevity or tenure. If you are protecting your cash flow going into 2021 then we recommend investing your money and time into a software solution that will support your team and scale up with you as needed.
Software companies that have stood the test of time have the experience and strategies to ensure their success, and yours.They are also more likely to be equipped with a support team that understands what it takes to survive and will be better situated to help you get back up and running.
We see the relationship between a software company and a tour operator to be like a partnership; with you both capitalising on the tourism rebound together.