So you heard that online booking is one of the most important deciding factors for travelers.
Maybe you are among the more than half of all activity and tour companies currently not using online booking systems (according to Arival research). Or maybe you are dissatisfied with your current system and making plans for a change.
Deciding which tour operator software or activity booking platform to use is one of the most important decisions you will make for your business and for your guests. Tour booking systems play a crucial role in enabling businesses to manage and facilitate online bookings. Investing in good tour management software is essential to your business’ growth, as it can provide benefits to your operations including improved efficiency and enhanced customer experience.
But with so many options out there, how do you decide which one to choose?
This article walks you through what operator software is, some key benefits and tools it provides, and how to choose the best one for you. Then, we provide a roundup of some of the best available tours booking software options out there right now.
What is Tour Operator Software?
Tour operator software is a type of technology that is used by businesses in the tourism industry to manage and facilitate the booking of tours and activities. Also referred to as tour reservation software, reservation technology (or restech), booking systems, or some combination of those terms, booking software for tour operators and activity providers encompasses a wide spectrum of solutions that help optimize various aspects of tour management, as we will explore further in this post.
Tour booking software is used by businesses in the tourism industry, such as activity and tour operators, attractions, travel agencies, and destination management companies in a variety of ways. For tour and activity operators specifically, some of the most relevant applications include: online booking management, integrations with online resellers such as OTAs, payment processing, customer service, and reporting and analysis, as outlined below.
Finding the right tour booking software for you can be the key to your success as a tour business, especially as more and more experience travelers are looking for the flexibility, convenience and cost-saving that online booking can offer.
Key Features of Tour Operator Tools
There are myriad features and functions of tour booking software, such as the ability to create and manage tour itineraries, process payments, and track bookings and customer information. Here are a few of the most important applications:
- Booking and Reservation Management – tour reservation software can help streamline your booking management by enabling your customers to book online, either directly through your website, or through integrations with resellers such as OTAs. It can also help you manage bookings made via emails, a call center or through a direct point of sale such as a storefront or activity desk, and ensure consistent pricing across all sales channels.
- Itinerary and Resource Management – some systems also include functionality to help you build and plan itineraries and proposals for custom tours, and can double as tour scheduling software to help manage products, calendars, availability and other resources such as guides/staff scheduling and equipment allocation.
- POS and Payment Processing – a robust operator software can help you manage all of your accounts, payment processing for POS (point of sale) and online bookings, invoicing, receivables and connect to a third-party accounting system.
- Customer Relations Management – many tour softwares also include CRM elements that automate emails or texts to customers before and after the tour or activity for better customer service and upselling. For example, you should be able to send a message with meeting point information the day of a booking, and automate requests for reviews post trip.
- Reporting and Analysis – tour operator software can enable you to better track and analyze booking data, costs and other key metrics across your business.
- Customer Feedback Platforms and Review Management – many tours booking software facilitate integrations with customer feedback platforms, such as Tripadvisor and Google for reviews.
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Benefits of Using Tour Operator Software
One of the key benefits of incorporating software in your business operations is: having a single source of information for your products, pricing, inventory availability and confirmed bookings, updated in real time, reduces the chances of overbooking and helps your team streamline the booking process.
Other benefits of using tour booking software include improving efficiency, saving on costs, enhancing your customer experience, and informing your business with data about your customers and sales. The usage of tour management software can increase bookings, make personalized marketing easier, and allow for a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t.
How to Choose the Right Product for Your Company
Selecting the right tour booking software is essential for your business. Here are some tips and guidelines for evaluating and comparing different software options.
There are several factors you should keep in mind when choosing a tour booking software for your business, such as functionality, user-friendliness, integration with other systems, and security. Start by determining your current pain points and biggest needs in order to work out which of the features outlined above are the most important for you to have. Here are a few of the top factors to consider:
- Cost: Different systems come with different pricing plans and models, most notably the fee-per-booking model, where you pay a percentage of every booking; or the subscription model, where you pay a set monthly or annual fee. Remember, though, that there is more to cost than price: the best solution should save you costs in other areas as well as increase your sales. (See also: the Arival Guide to Res System Pricing which provides a complete explanation of different tour operator software pricing models.)
- Customer Support: How responsive will the software provider be to you when you require assistance and support? How quickly do they respond to your messages or emails? What is the turnaround time like for requests? Keep in mind the process of contacting companies to demo their systems and ask questions can be a good early indicator for this.
- Integrations: Which ones will make managing your bookings easier? For example, while large tour operators may be looking to streamline their connectivity with a variety of resellers and payment platforms, for small tour operators software that streamlines the waiver signing process for guests could be an important need.
- Ease of Use: How easy is it to learn the new software, and how many different ways will your team need to use it? Will guides need to be trained to use the system on tour, and if so is it accessible enough for them to use in their environment — for example, on a phone while on a bus or boat or in a busy downtown area — and not just on a desktop computer in an office?
- And so on… the top factors will differ by company depending on your specific needs.
As the booking software you choose can have a major impact on your business management, operations and your team, be sure to take the time to conduct a thorough evaluation of different tour booking software options. Creating a list of desired features and functions, request demos from vendors, and ask for references from other businesses that use the software.
A forthcoming report from Arival — a comprehensive guide to choosing a booking system — will include some resources to help you through this process in more detail, including an internal needs assessment checklist, a vendor assessment checklist, and a full list of the booking and reservation system providers for tours, activities and attractions.
In the meantime, you can begin the process by exploring and demo-ing a few of the options out there. The following list should give you some ideas for where to start!
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35 Activity Booking & Tour Operator Software Options
Please note: Although some but not all of the providers listed here have been Arival sponsors, no company has paid Arival to be included here. The list is presented in alphabetical order.
Also, we know there are a lot more than 35 tour and activity operator software providers out there! This list focuses specifically on booking systems for day tours and activities (and does not include systems primarily focused on ticketing for attractions or multi-day tour operators*) and is intended to give you a good place to start and a bit of a flavor for each, but is by no means exhaustive. We will include a full list, including more details about the features and pricing structures of each, in our forthcoming booking systems guide and directory.
*(Multi-day tour operators: For a review of multi-day booking tech, visit this comprehensive resource from Arival: https://arival.travel/the-state-of-booking-tech-for-multi-day-tour-operators/ )
All that being said, operators: if you have had a positive experience with any tour booking systems that you don’t see on this list, or ResTechs: if we missed you, please let us know at [email protected] and we’ll be sure to include you in the full list when it’s out!
Part of the Hornblower group, Anchor is an operations and reservation management system for tours, activities and attractions that includes features like dynamic pricing functionality, a customizable dashboard for guide and shift scheduling, and customized mobile apps for audio guides & augmented reality.
Try it out: Contact Anchor to schedule a demo.
Singapore-based BeMyGuest offers a booking system, called Xplore, for tour, activity and attraction operators that includes a B2B portal to consolidate third party transactions, and a distribution network consisting of online travel agents, airlines and online marketplaces, who connect directly to their products through the company’s proprietary API.
Try it out: Fill out a form on BeMyGuest’s site to inquire.
Headquartered in Iceland, Bókun is a booking platform for tour and activity operators. Features include a “one-click website” that updates automatically when products are added or updated, a B2B marketplace to connect with resellers and channel management to connect to global and regional OTAs. Limited functionality available on a free membership, or upgrade to pro.
Try it out: Bókun offers a 14-day free trial of their “pro” model.
Australia-based Bookeo is a booking software and reservation system for tour operators and activity providers. Bookeo’s booking widget integrates into your website so customers can book without leaving your site or going to a pop-up window. Bookeo automates customer management tasks such as booking confirmations and post-activity follow-ups.
Try it out: Try a live demo on their website and/or sign up for a 30-day free trial.
Headquartered in Australia, Booking Boss is a ticketing and booking management software for attractions, tours and activity providers. It includes channel management, tools to update availability and reallocate passengers and allows customers booking online to combine your tours into a package.
Try it out: Booking Boss offers a 14-day free trial.
Berlin-based bookingkit provides booking software for small and medium operators of tours, activities and attractions. Bookingkit includes features for channel management, software integration, marketing and administration, and customer support in five languages.
Try it out: Use bookingkit’s online form to book a meeting and schedule a demo.
Headquartered in Naxos Island, Greece, CaptainBook provides a booking engine for small tour and activity operators. CaptainBook also focuses on channel management and offers features such as a website builder, real-time availability and integrations with a variety of softwares and distributors.
Based in Victoria, Canada, Checkfront is a booking software and reservation system for tours, activities, accommodation and rentals. Checkfront works for a range of booking types, from daily to hourly to multi-day bookings, has built-in options for payments, waivers and website building, and over 50 integrations.
Founded in Hawaii, Fareharbor is one of the largest reservation technology companies for the tours and activities sector with offices in Australia, Europe and the U.S. Fareharbor’s features include managed websites including support for SEO and analytics, mobile payments including tap, and access to a large distribution network.
Oregon, U.S.-based Flybook is a booking and reservation system for tours, activities, and rentals, with a focus on the outdoor industry. Flybook has custom features for adventure parks and zipline tours, and includes tools for staff scheduling, group management, and virtual line-ups for rental equipment.
Try it out: Register for a weekly demo webinar, Thursdays at 10am Pacific Time.
Singapore-based GlobalTix is a ticketing software and booking platform designed for attractions, tours and activities. GlobalTix features include a channel manager to connect to resellers, automated guest communication tools, and integrations for payments in all major APAC currencies.
Try it out: Try any of their pricing plans for free “for a limited period.”
New Orleans, U.S.-based GoDo is a booking and ticketing software for tour, activity and attraction companies. In addition to their online booking software and features such as abandoned sales recovery, GoDo offers an in-house web design and marketing agency as well as managed customer support through website chat and their call center.
Try it out: Schedule a demo or consultation with GoDo.
Indexic is an online booking and waiver software for tours, activities and attractions based in the U.S. Indexic’s booking software features include dynamic pricing functionality, automated text reminders, and smart scheduling that facilitates setting activity and tour times based on local tide, sunrise, and sunset tables.
Try it out: Schedule a demo with Indexic.
Based in Greece, Kleesto is a booking management system for tour operators as well as travel agents and destination management companies (DMCs). Kleesto’s features include tools to automate booking and communications, sync online distribution channels, and allocate equipment and staff.
Colorado, U.S.-based Origin offers a booking system tailored for adventure and outdoor tour, activity and experience operators. Origin’s features include compatible online checkout to keep customers on your site, automated communication with guests and guides, and fully integrated free digital waivers.
Based in Croatia, Orioly is a tours and activities booking and management platform for operators as well as travel agencies and destination management organizations (DMOs). Features of Orioly include a booking and inventory manager, channel manager, and tools for email automation and analytics.
Try it out: Sign up for a 14-day free trial with Orioly.
Switzerland-based Palisis is a ticketing and reservations online booking software originally built for large attractions and hop-on hop-off bus tours but which now also has pricing options for small and medium-sized tour businesses. Palisis features include global distribution connectivity, advanced analytics, and whitelabelling (customers only see your brand).
Try it out: Email Palisis to request a call.
Based in Utah in the U.S., Peek Pro is a booking platform for tours, activities and rentals. Peek Pro’s features include an optimized online booking flow, POS (point of sale) functionality, and an app that includes offline mode, waiver signing and photo sharing with guests.
Try it out: Schedule a free demo with Peek Pro.
Headquartered in the Netherlands, Prioticket is a booking and ticketing platform for tours and activities that features a marketplace to connect with resellers with tools for dynamic pricing and capacity allocation. Prioticket features include a customizable web widget for online booking and POS options for mobile, cashier and self-service.
Try it out: Contact the Prioticket sales team to learn more.
Munich, Germany-based Regiondo is a reservation system for tour operators, activities and attractions, as well as DMOs and DMCs. In addition to the online booking platform, Regiondo also offers a website builder, marketing tools, and a POS system built for tours and activities.
Try it out: Book a demo with Regiondo and get access to a 30-day free trial.
Based in Utah in the U.S., Resmark is a booking system for tours and activities. In addition to tour booking and activity reservation software, Resmark also offers tools for lead generation and follow-up, marketing automation, digital waivers and distribution channel management.
Try it out: Schedule a demo with Resmark and get access to a 14-day free trial.
Australia-based ResPax is a tour management system for online booking and reservations, including a product specifically built for skydiving reservations. ResPax includes channel management, as well as features to support operations, accounting, and customer relations.
Try it out: Request a demo.
Taiwan-based rezio is an online booking system for attractions, tour and activity companies in Asia. Rezio acts as a channel manager and distribution manager in addition to online booking, and also offers a booking website and support in multiple languages and for multiple currencies.
Australia-based Rezdy is online booking software for tour and activity businesses. Rezdy’s booking management platform includes tools for operations, marketing, customer service, and a booking website builder. Rezdy also acts as a channel manager and offers an integrated booking payment system “RezdyPay.”
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Rezgo is a tour booking platform for tours, activities and attractions, as well as adventure companies, DMOs and DMCs. Rezgo’s features include inventory management and dynamic pricing, review control, and the option to boost ancillary revenue by selling physical merchandise through your website.
Try it out: Sign up to schedule a free demo with Rezgo.
From Winnipeg, Canada, RocketRez is a reservation and ticketing platform for attractions, tours and transportation. RocketRez features include dynamic pricing functionality, timed ticketing, a guest experience platform, and the option to add on modules for things like staffing and photo management.
Try it out: Contact RocketRez to view a demo and schedule a consultation.
Based in Nashville, U.S., Singenuity offers a booking software for tour, activity and attraction operators. In addition to the common booking software features, Singenuity is designed to be mobile-first, supports multi-lingual capabilities, and includes a built in photo system for photo sales.
Headquartered in London, U.K., TicketingHub is a tour booking software and ticketing platform for tours, activities and attractions. TicketingHub includes features such as mobile optimization, multi-lingual and multi-currency options, and a countdown clock. TicketingHub also integrates with a range of programs and OTAs.
Try it out: Book a demo.
Based in Greece, Travelotopos offers a booking system for activities, things to do and attractions, as well as vehicle rentals and transfers. Travelotopos offers a booking engine as well as business intelligence tools, channel management, and connectivity to resellers through an online marketplace and travel agent portal.
Try it out: Book a demo.
Switzerland-based Trekksoft is a booking software for tour and activity companies. In addition to online booking, Trekksoft also functions as a channel manager, and includes tools to help with operations management and trip planning, automate pre- and post-trip notifications, and connect with resellers such as travel agents, concierges and OTAs.
Try it out: Request a demo.
Based in Ireland, TripAdmit offers a booking software for tour and activity providers as well as attractions and venues. TripAdmit includes an online booking engine and integrated payment gateway as well as features for channel management, online and content management, and sales and operational reporting tools.
Try it out: Request a demo.
U.S.-based TripWorks offers a booking system for tour and activity operators, with features for online and POS bookings and payments, dynamic pricing, and integrations with resellers such as OTAs, tools such as Mailchimp and Zapier, and ad networks such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
London, U.K.-based Ventrata offers a booking platform and ticketing system for high-volume day tours and attractions, as well as hop on hop off bus tours and transport operators. Ventrata’s features include a free website builder with customizable themes, POS sales that work offline, and a built-in partner sales portal.
Try it out: Book a demo.
Based in San Francisco, U.S., Xola offers an online booking software for tours and attractions. Xola’s software includes an online as well as phone and in-person reservation system, and features for scheduling, resource management, marketing and managing distribution networks.
Try it out: Book a demo.
Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, Zaui Provides reservation management software for the tourism industry including single and multi-day tours, activities, attractions, transportation, rentals and tickets. Features include a tour builder, inventory management tools and an option for custom booking portals for private groups.
Try it out: Book a demo.
Choosing Your Tour Operator Software: What’s Next?
This article is intended to be a bit of a primer on tour operator software and activity booking systems, sort of like this social media primer. We’ve looked at what tour operator software is, some of the key features and benefits of software for tour operators, how to choose the right software for your company, and a list of some of the top tour booking systems out there currently.
We are in the process of preparing a more comprehensive step-by-step guide to choosing a booking system, which goes deeper into the evaluation process, from assessing your needs to evaluating booking system providers to understanding the different pricing models and plans, and will include a more in-depth directory of tour and activity booking systems (as well as ticketing systems for attractions). Look for this guide scheduled for release in early 2023!
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