Have you set and forgotten about your booking system? As your company grows, you need to reevaluate its systems — and your booking system (also called reservation technology software, or restech) is one of the most important ones.

If you are spending too much time in the nitty gritty of juggling different spreadsheets, subscriptions and software “solutions” — time which you should be spending on your business itself doing things like designing new experiences and focusing on bigger picture priorities — it might be the case that you’ve simply outgrown your booking system and need to look for one that will better suit your needs as your business continues to grow.

Change can be hard, though, especially for a system so deeply ingrained in your business. So you want to make sure making a move will be worth it. Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking it might be time to move on from your current booking system setup:

5 QUESTIONS TO ASK IF YOU’RE CONSIDERING CHANGING YOUR BOOKING SYSTEM

1. Are you stuck organizing information between spreadsheets and different software?

If this is you, you’re not alone. We speak with operators every week who are still using spreadsheets! This is mainly because they haven’t found a system that is a good fit or do not want to move digitally. As Arival research has found, more than half of tour operators and three in 10 activity operators do not even have a booking system at all.

Many other operators may have a booking system, but also have 4-5 different software tools or more, and have to switch between multiple systems as their stack is not fully integrated, or their booking system doesn’t have the capability to handle these functions in house.

If this sounds like you, it might be time to make a change. Get a booking system that has the built-in organizational and operational capabilities you need so that everything is in one place and no one is updating the wrong version of a file. And if you’ve moved beyond spreadsheets to different software, get yourself a restech that can fully integrate all the tools you are using or want to use.

 

Do you and your team spend too much time sorting through spreadsheets and different software? | Photo: Pexels / Mick Latter

2. Are you spending too much time and money on an external CRM?

Having an external customer relationship management (CRM) system brings additional costs and time invested and can be overly complex to manage. Most operators will have to use an external CRM as their reservation system only has basic functionality regarding mailouts and profile management. Some CRM systems may also have limitations in terms of customization to suit the unique needs of tour operators.

If you’re spending too much time manually importing and exporting data from an external CRM that’s also costing you money, it might be time to consider cutting out the middleman and getting yourself a booking system that has built-in CRM functionality. Thinking critically about what you are wanting to use a CRM for, and choosing a restech platform that has that existing functionality means that you will have an easier workflow and will not have to manually export and import data.

 

Do you spend too much time and money on an external CRM? | Photo: Pexels / Cottonbro Studio

3. Are you juggling different dashboards and subscriptions to manage your company’s different brands?

As your company grows, you may add or acquire different brands, and find that it is increasingly difficult to manage these different brands as financial entities, with multiple subscriptions and dashboards to handle.

If your restech requires you to have multiple subscriptions to manage multiple financial entities, this is costing you unnecessary money in subscription fees as well as time and organizational capacity spent switching between dashboards.

As you grow your company and expand your brand portfolio, you should make sure you have a booking system that can keep up with your growth, and help you keep things simple. ResPax, for example, allows you to set up multiple financial entities within one account to ensure that companies with multiple brands can manage them all from one dashboard.

 

Are you losing more money on booking fees and software subscriptions than you’d like? | Photo: Unsplash / Melissa Walker Horn

4. Do you want more control over the visual appearance of your customer-facing communications flow?

Many booking systems built for smaller companies provide stock themes and templates for customer-facing communications like emails and booking windows. As you grow, you’ll want to differentiate yourself from other companies using similar templates, and establish a clearer, personalized sense of your brand in every aspect of your customer-facing marketing and communication.

This level of personalization — the branding and theme of the checkout page very closely matches the operator’s own website — has a notable impact on conversions for operators using ResPax.

If you are tired of stock templates and want more control over the colors, theme and flow of your booking process, it might be time to move to a booking system that can offer a higher degree of personalization and customization.

 

Do you want to add your own colors and branding to your booking flow? | Photo: Unsplash / Mika Baumeiste

5. Do you feel like your restech is getting more of your money for less value as your bookings grow?

As your business and booking levels have grown, the pricing model you signed on to might seem less worth the cost. Some booking system pricing is structured to benefit smaller operators doing lower volume of bookings. However, as your booking levels grow, it can be beneficial to switch to a system with enterprise pricing, or pricing structures designed for larger companies with higher volumes (for example, look for a pricing model where the booking fees get lower as your volume of sales increases).

If it seems like your booking system is getting more of your money for less value, take a look at how it compares to other pricing models. Check out Arival’s Guide to Booking System Pricing to learn more about different pricing models and see how different restechs compare.

 

Are you losing more money on booking fees and software subscriptions than you’d like? | Photo: Unsplash / Melissa Walker Horn

SO YOU’VE OUTGROWN YOUR SYSTEM… WHAT NOW?

If you answered “yes” to the majority of questions above, you may have outgrown your booking system, and the time has come to decide what’s next.

With the growing number of reservation technology and booking system providers out there, it can be difficult to navigate and evaluate which system will work best for you. Arival’s guide to choosing a booking system is a good place to start.

If you’re curious how ResPax measures up against your needs, we’d love to chat: contact us today!


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