7 Key Considerations for Selecting the Right Reservation and Ticketing System

Choosing the right reservation and ticketing software for your tour or attraction business is an important decision. Here are some top tips from an expert in distribution strategy and connectivity

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For any “Things To Do” operator, from small and medium-sized activities, tours and experiences  to  large scale tours and attractions, selecting the appropriate reservation and ticketing software is a critical decision. The booking software you choose to be the beating heart of your business will be playing a pivotal role in shaping the success and efficiency of not only your ability to manage bookings and the operations of your business but more importantly can impact how and where you source your customers and the experience you provide them before, during and after their visit. 

In an era where technology permeates every facet of our lives, attractions must adapt and leverage sophisticated tools to meet the evolving expectations of their visitors. This article explores why it’s crucial for attractions to meticulously choose reservation and ticketing software (shortened here to “restech”) that aligns seamlessly with their unique business requirements.

Editor’s note: As guest author Martin Harlow’s expertise lies in the attractions distribution and technology sector of travel, that is the focus of his article. For tour and activity operators, refer to our Arival Guide: How to Choose a Booking System and our recently updated Arival Guide to Booking System Pricing for information tailored to tour, activity and experience operators of all sizes. 

Seven Tips for Choosing Your Attraction Restech

1. Automation and Efficiency

Firstly, efficiency and streamlined operations are paramount for attractions seeking success in a competitive landscape. The right reservation and ticketing software can automate various processes, reducing the burden on staff and minimizing the likelihood of ticket related problems. From online bookings to entry management, an integrated system ensures a smooth and hassle-free experience for both visitors and attraction personnel. 

A fundamental challenge for operators is understanding where there is operational inefficiency; just because something has always been done in a certain way does not mean it should stay that way. Internal auditing of all processes from inventory management, to distribution, to customer service and visitor flow should be audited to understand what is needed from a restech solution to provide the best guest experience from the moment they arrive. 

2. Inventory Management and Dynamic Pricing

Where relevant, the ability to manage capacity effectively is an additional fundamental aspect of attraction management, especially in the context of fluctuating visitor numbers and unforeseen circumstances. Some modern reservation and ticketing systems empower attractions to implement variable and dynamic pricing models and optimize entry timings, helping to distribute visitor flow evenly throughout the day. This not only enhances the overall visitor experience but also maximizes revenue potential. 

Dynamic pricing and inventory management features are still largely overlooked by operators and often misrepresented by the industry in many ways, however there are a handful of restechs out there that have developed excellent tools and support for tour and attraction operators who are looking to implement dynamic pricing.

Editor’s note: Dynamic pricing will be a key topic of discussion at the Attractions Forum at Arival 360 | Berlin 2024. Join us in March to learn more!

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3. Data Management and Guest Management

In an age where data is key, the right software solution provides attractions with invaluable insights into visitor behavior and preferences. Analyzing this data allows attractions to tailor their offerings, marketing strategies, and operational approaches to meet the specific needs of their audience. It’s not just about selling tickets; it’s about understanding the audience and creating an immersive and personalized experience.

4. Guest Experience

Guest experience has already featured in this article, something that in this day and age of social media reporting and “live in the moment” sharing is increasingly important and should not be ignored. 

Customer satisfaction is a key determinant of an attraction’s long-term success. The convenience of online booking, flexible ticket options, and seamless entry processes contribute significantly to positive visitor experiences. All operators have some aspect of the above; a well-chosen reservation and ticketing system ensures that visitors can easily plan their trips, make reservations in advance, and enjoy a frictionless entry upon arrival. 

By the same token opting for a restech which is too feature rich for your attraction can add unnecessary complexity causing the opposite desired effect. A positive guest experience will contribute heavily to repeat customers and recommendation to others.

Editor’s note: Learn more about guest preferences around ticketing, timed entry, dynamic pricing for attractions and more in this report from Arival & Go City.

5. Security

Security is a paramount concern for attractions dealing with sensitive customer information and financial transactions. When considering a restech, a robust platform with state-of-the-art security features safeguards both the attraction and its visitors from potential threats. This not only builds trust but also ensures compliance with data protection regulations, a critical aspect in today’s digital landscape.

6. Adaptability and Evolution

The adaptability of your chosen software is crucial for attractions that may evolve or expand over time. Understanding your business and your future roadmap should be a significant part of your decision making process. Implementing a restech platform is a big undertaking and can be disruptive to all aspects of the business. 

Share your plans with your chosen restech provider and ensure they understand what your changing needs might be. The software solution you implement must accommodate growth and changing needs without requiring a complete overhaul of the system. This flexibility is vital to avoid costly disruption and ensure that through your evolution you stay relevant and competitive in a dynamic market.

7. Connectivity 

Integration with other business systems is another important factor that attractions should consider. A seamless connection between reservation and ticketing software and other operational tools, such as CRM systems, financial software, or marketing platforms, enhances overall efficiency. It enables attractions to have a unified view of their operations, facilitating better decision-making and strategic planning. 

One solution for operators to consider in addition to the right restech is channel management, or at least the ability for the restech you choose to enable seamless connectivity to the distribution partners who are key to your business’ success. 

Now, if you find a restech platform that is the perfect solution for your operational business, but lacks connectivity, this should not discount that restech from your consideration. Channel management is a complex and ever-evolving technology; third party channel managers are on the rise within the “Things to Do” experiences sector, and may offer the very best and most up to date connectivity to your distribution network. What’s more, channel managers will help you discover and reach more source markets and build efficiencies around your third party distribution strategy. 

Editor’s note: Learn more about connectivity and channel management in Arival’s Guide to Channel Management. Martin Harlow will also be speaking on a panel about channel management at Arival 360 | Berlin 2024 in March. 

ARIVAL 360 | VALENCIA

28-30 APRIL 2025

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THE event of the year for the European in-destination experiences industry

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Positioning Your Attraction to Thrive

Cost-effectiveness is always a consideration for businesses. While the initial investment in robust reservation and ticketing software may seem substantial, if you fully understand your business needs and requirements the long-term benefits always outweigh the costs. The efficiency gains, increased revenue opportunities, and enhanced customer satisfaction all contribute to your restech software’s overall return on investment.

The importance of selecting the right reservation and ticketing software cannot be overstated for any attraction. It is not merely a technological upgrade but a strategic decision that impacts various aspects of an attraction’s operations. From optimizing visitor flow to enhancing data-driven decision-making, the right software solution can be a catalyst for success in an industry where customer experience and operational efficiency are paramount. Attractions that prioritize this aspect of their business are better positioned to thrive in a competitive and ever-evolving landscape.

Editor’s note: For more on finding the right restech for your attraction, tour or activity business, see the Arival Guide to Choosing a Booking System. Arival Insider Pro Access members can also download a set of Internal Needs Assesssment and Booking System Vendor Assessment checklists to help you evaluate potential software providers and select the one that will work best for you.

About the Author

Martin Harlow

Chief Growth Office

PlanADay

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