A travel business’ success will be determined by how well it understands and adapts to its potential customers’ worries, needs, wants, challenges, and more. This is the first of many steps you’ll need to take for your travel company to grow to its full potential.
Everyday life for a travel business entails a significant compilation of tasks: small and strenuous, creative and repetitive, easy and stressful. These tasks may seem daunting, but with the right tools, you can take care of them almost automatically and leave some room to focus on your travel business expansion.
Between trying to look for more customers, being in touch with the ones that have already booked a tour, managing all the bookings on your pipeline, sorting out payments that are coming in or outstanding, paying your suppliers and collaborators, running quality assurance processes on your operations, conducting marketing efforts to build your brand, and more, there’s often little to no time to focus on innovation and improvement.
Travel Payment System: The Cornerstone For Your Travel Business Growth
One of the most significant travel businesses’ needs is software, especially for tour bookings and payments. According to Statista, 68% of all travel and tourism-related sales in 2022 happened online, and this tendency is likely to keep growing in the upcoming years. If your current travel payment system is hard to use for both users and your team, you may be losing potential sales and precious time.
The right travel payment system can help you make processes more efficient by automating tasks based on your set parameters, enabling a self-service system for your customers to book and pay at their own pace, and covering all areas of your booking and payment management so you can proactively focus on growing and improving your business.
This blog will walk you through the main travel business's needs and what these improvements could mean for your company and clients.
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1) A secure payment system that provides customers with a seamless experience and payment options
For both travelers and businesses, safety is the number one thing to look out for in a payment gateway. On the client-facing side, travelers don’t want to add their credit card details to a scammy or unsafe website. On the business side, the reputation of your business is at stake, but also your cash flow if you can’t locate a payment or access your funds.
Regarding safety, you should prioritize this when looking for a travel payment system and what your clients expect you to deliver.
- Ease of mind: Always know where your funds are located, how to access them, and the estimated time it’ll take for your to withdraw, transfer, or move them.
- Support: Having a team on your payment gateway’s side that helps you navigate the process -and ideally win- when dealing with disputes and online fraud attempts.
- Personalization: Accepting payments in any currency you wish or works best for your target market.
- Flexibility: Have the ability to choose a payment plan that suits their needs and choose the best method to pay for their travels, like credit card, bank transfer, cash, etc.
- Confidence: Have access to a reliable booking platform that inspires confidence to book without fear of getting scammed.
- Ease: Access to easy cancellations that don’t require much effort from them or the travel organizer.
2) An effective hub that enables control and visibility of all parts of the booking process
A big pain point for travel organizers is managing effective processes to handle all booking and payment-related tasks like tracking payments, communicating with their travelers, issuing refunds (if necessary), checking new leads that may be coming in, etc. Toggling between platforms may not be an effective solution for traveler organizers, especially if you want to minimize errors in the process leading up to their customer’s trip.
Having your organization well sought out will also ease your travelers because they’ll receive timely communications from your business, payment reminders, and more, solidifying their image of your company as reputable and customer-centric.
This is what you always need to be on the lookout for and what it’ll mean for your travelers:
- General overview: Having a hub that centralizes all the information so you know where to find contact information, details regarding the booking, and payment reports without toggling between platforms or manually distributing the data between the software you use.
- Excellent management: Having easy access to information about how your payments are coming in, like who paid in full or who has outstanding payments, so that you can communicate with your clients efficiently.
- Upselling and cross-selling opportunities: Ability to offer trip personalization or additional packages and services right off the bat through optional add-ons to seize the moment your clients book their trips.
- Lead capture: Enabling email capture channels for potential clients at the early stages of the customer’s journey that are not ready to book yet so you can nurture them into a sale.
- Organization: Accessing all the details of your trip and booking on a single hub without having to hunt down important information in your inbox.
- Personalization options: Having the ability to enhance your trip by booking transportation, meals, extra activities, and more on one go and without having to book them separately.
- Communication channels: Having a practical and direct line of communication with the travel organizer to ask any inquiries about the trip before booking.
3) An automated travel payment system that reduces and simplifies your operational tasks
Automation is one of the significant cornerstones of business productivity. Travel organizers used to spend countless hours logging manual payments on their bookkeeping system or Excel spreadsheets, manually setting up a client’s information on their database, looking through thousands of emails to piece together important information, and more. Now, with automated triggers, when a customer books your trip on their own, you can have that information added automatically to Quickbooks, your CRM, mailing platform, and more in seconds.
New travel payment systems employ no code automation tools to ensure you have a clear and easy-to-navigate roadmap when managing your operational tasks. Having the right tools to distribute information across the platforms you use will save you a lot of time and reduce the error margin in client-facing communication, and give your team more time to focus on other critical tasks.
These are the top things you should prioritize when looking for an automated travel payment system and what your travelers will gain from it:
- Collect funds: Having a system that automatically collects payments based on your traveler’s chosen payment plan and method, so you don’t have to send manual reminders when a payment is due.
- Support business operations: Having vital information spread across your marketing, finance, and client management platforms automatically after a traveler has sent you their information. This will allow you to take action based on relevant information, set up campaigns, have a better overview of your business and clients, etc.
- Availability management: Automatically set your tour’s availability so you don’t have to worry about updating your website or removing the trip once it’s full to avoid overbooking it. (Pro tip: Look for a travel payment system that enables waitlists so you can capture more leads that are interested in what you offer)
- Automated payments or reminders: Have payments automatically charged to your credit card or bank account based on the payment plan of your choosing, or get reminders of upcoming payments.
- Timely communication: Receive timely and automated booking and payment confirmation to avoid uncertainty.
4) A system that offers you data and insights to support your marketing and sales operations and campaigns
All data-driven decisions you make for your travel business will always be the more fruitful. When you’re creating a strategy, tailoring your tours, creating new trips, etc., you need to do so based on what your customers are actually interested in, not what you suppose. Some travel booking and payment systems help you build stronger foundations for your actions based on potential clients’ intent.
Features like downloading a brochure or asking a question not only provide you with touchpoints with people who are showing interest in your offers but can reveal crucial information for your tour’s success. For example, if you see there are many people downloading a brochure for one of your trips, but you’re not seeing many bookings, there may be something on the package you need to change or perhaps provide an incentive for people to make the final decision.
It’s important to know if the travel payment system provider you’re doing research on has these features that will enhance your decision-making process and help you get better results for your business.
Here are the top functionalities that should be on your list as a travel organizer and how these can help your customers to make a booking:
- Touchpoints: Have enabled touchpoints for potential customers that may not be sold on booking with a trip yet. This allows you to collect potential customers’ contact information to start a conversation that could lead to a sale.
- Waitlists: Having a waitlist allows you to retain high-intent leads, people that want to travel with you or like the tour packages you’re offering, so you can target them on future marketing campaigns or reach out to them with other options for their travel plans instead of handing them to your competition.
- Top-of-funnel resources: Offer top-of-the-funnel resources for people who are in the early inspiration or investigation stages, researching different options, or are not the decision makers to engage with them and get their contact information to follow up.
- Social proof: Collect and display reviews to boost your travel business’ reputability and build more confidence in potential customers.
- Request information: Have options before booking for asking questions or analyzing the information with more detail, with your travel party, comparing prices, and more.
The final goal: Having a streamlined and simplified booking and payment process
After going through these points, it’s more than clear that a smooth and efficient travel payment and booking system will bring many benefits to both your business and your customers; ultimately, it’ll bring satisfaction and ease on both ends.
A streamlined booking process enhances customer experience; plus, it gives you a unique value proposition that can differentiate you from other travel businesses. By simplifying and expediting the booking process, businesses can provide a seamless and hassle-free experience for their customers while showing them their satisfaction is at the very core of all your operations.
On the business end, a streamlined booking process leads to increased operational efficiency for travel companies that need more time to grow and expand. By automating various aspects of the booking process, such as availability checking, payment processing, and confirmation generation, travel businesses can save significant time and resources; apart from reducing the likelihood of errors or misunderstandings, ensuring that customers get the reservations they desire without any unnecessary complications. With streamlined processes in place, businesses can handle a larger volume of bookings, improving their revenue potential and overall productivity.
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