It’s every business owners dream: to grow and scale up operations. However, with growth often comes growing pains and one of the most common pains is the strain on your team. Overworked travel agents, less attention given to your customers, and the constant feeling of scrambling to get on top of the workload…it’s a scenario that’s all too common among tour operators.
The solution is simple: hire more staff…right? Perhaps not.
It’s 2018, and the knee-jerk reaction to increase your workforce doesn’t have to be the only answer to business growth. In this resource, we’re exploring the sometimes intimidating world of software and how it can help your business scale up while allowing your team to thrive and your customer service to flourish.
The elephant in the room
Machines taking people’s jobs. It’s a very real threat that the media have been covering heavily over the past few years and has undoubtedly created fear for many people across an array of different industries.
There’s no denying that as technology advances we’re finding new and innovative ways to bring it into our businesses. But there is, and always will be, areas where machines simply can’t add value like humans can – and that is all too true for the tourism industry.
That being said, there are areas where inefficiencies in your tour operator business can be solved with machines. Yes, technically it means technology would be taking the job that a human once had, but what it also means is that your business will have room to grow in other areas and your staff can be freed up to be of better use in more value-adding roles.
Making better use of your humans
Your staff are extremely valuable assets. They have a wealth of knowledge and are the key to relationships with your customers. Ultimately, the desire to interact with real people is why they are choosing to come to you in the first place. Opting to invest in tour operator software before you expand your team will ultimately allow your staff to focus on adding value for your travellers, while the software does the grunt work in the background. It’s a win-win for you and your customers.
Taking the most budget-friendly approach
Adopting tour operator software into your business has its obvious associated costs, but its ability to recover those costs and become profitable happens a lot faster than the traditional approach of hiring staff. When it comes down to it, tour operator software will save you time and money, automating tasks such as itinerary creation, quotation and database management where previously human errors could be costly. Allow tour operator software to take care of the straightforward but time-consuming tasks and leave your employees to do what the software can’t – share their expertise and delight customers with creative and inspiring tailor-made itineraries.
Hiring a new staff member isn’t always a quick fix. Getting someone up to speed can take months. The training process not only means that they’re not yet efficient, it also means at least one of your team members is also operating below capacity as they help get your new team member trained up.
Human resources can be expensive – and unfortunately hiring mistakes can (and do) happen. There’s no guarantee that your new staff member will be a fit for your organisational culture, even after months of training. Tour operator software is designed to take some of the load off and may negate the need for a new staff member at all. Taking the first step by adopting tour operator software can also allow you to take your time with your eventual hiring plans. It will allow you to cast your net wider and end up with a new team member that fits your team like a glove.
This section wouldn’t be complete without addressing the fact that software needs TLC in the early days too. Afterall, tour operator software is designed to be the hub of information for your business. Taking time initially to load your suppliers, create your CRM and build packages is the software equivalent of ‘staff training’…the plus side? Other than basic annual maintenance the hard work is complete and your new tool should be set to serve your business well for years to come.
Taking some of the pressure off of your human employees really can improve their productivity and profitability. Research states that increased stress directly results in lost time from work, reduced levels of engagement and decreased productivity. Unsurprisingly, doing monotonous tasks like data entry and spending hours tediously creating quotes, proposals and itineraries are all the types of tasks that are more likely to invoke feelings of stress, unfulfillment and job dissatisfaction.
Fostering a working culture where staff can enjoy their work without a high level of stress means that your employees are more likely to go above and beyond for your organisation and for your customers. Using software to take away the burden of those tedious jobs will ultimately free up your team to spend their time working on more meaningful, value-adding jobs.
It’s not just about reducing stress either. The health of your organisation relies on your employees to be able to take sick leave when it’s needed, have personal holidays, and take parental leave. Employing the right software for your tour operator business means that when your staff take their well-deserved breaks, the software has your back and will keep your business running smoothly.
Focussing your business on customer service sometimes easier said than done. Read our top tips on how to delight your customers.