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12ish Task Automation Tools For Busy Tour Operators

Hoca

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As a tour operator, you’re busy. And that’s probably an understatement. You don’t have time to work on those annoying and repetitive tasks, but you also don’t have the extra funds to hire someone else to do it for you. Instead, save your money and your time by using these different automation tools that will help overwhelmed tour operators like yourself.

As we all know, tour guides and operators manage a million tasks to run their business successfully, and some of these tasks can become repetitive and annoying. Coordinating with clients, confirming reservations, and making last-minute adjustments takes a lot of time. Same goes for dealing with customer inquiries, booking confirmations, and updates. It’s all super repetitive, especially when managing multiple channels such as email, phone, and social media.

Instead of doing all of this manually, why not use these task automation tools so you can reclaim your days? Let’s go over different tasks and our app recommendation to automate them.

Table of Contents​


1. Managing and Scheduling Trips With Origin Booking and Scheduling Software

2. Guide Scheduling Automation With Origin

3. Automate Communication With Customers

4. Streamline Payment Processing

5. Transportation Logistics Automation

6. Automate Waiver Signature Requests

7. Inventory and Equipment Management

8. Collect Customer Feedback and Reviews Easily

9. Automate Marketing and Promotion

10. Monitor Weather Conditions Easier

11. Streamline Customer Data Management

12. Guide Permitting Process is Still a Mess

13. Conclusion

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Managing and Scheduling Trips With Origin Booking and Scheduling Software​


Creating and updating tour schedules, trips, and itineraries for each group of tourists is time-consuming, especially if you offer multiple tours. Not only that, but you’re coordinating with clients, confirming reservations, and making last-minute adjustments.

Origin​


If you’re still creating and managing trips manually, we suggest jumping on Origin. Not only can you quickly create trips in Origin, but you can schedule them months in advance, automatically assign available guides, and track all of your customers.

Clients like the Atlantic Climbing School are saving over 15 hours per week because they use Origin as one of their task automation tools.

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Guide Scheduling Automation With Origin​


Did we mention that you can use Origin to automatically schedule your guides as well? Origin has guide availability texting, personal guide calendars, automated guide priority, and client-to-guide ratio settings.

It’s difficult to get in touch with your guides, especially when you’re trying to schedule dozens of them across multiple places, even states, for different activities. With Origin, your guides can create and manage their own calendars. They can automatically accept or reject trips through the system or text messages (so no one has to be at a computer).

Origin automates nearly everything you do to manage and schedule your guides for trips right now.

Three standout features:​


1. Guide Availability Texting

Guides receive a text message to accept or reject a newly booked trip based on their availability and priority. When they accept, they receive an email invite to add the trip to their calendar.

2. Personal Guide Calendars

Origin frees up your time by helping your guides manage their own schedules. You’ll always know who’s guiding what trips, their availability, and where they are.

3. Automatic Guide Priority

The software can automatically assign guides according to their priority or rank determined by you.

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Automate Communication With Customers​


You can’t not communicate with your customers—but having to deal with customer questions, booking confirmations or reschedules, and updates can be repetitive, especially when you have to do it over email, phone, in person, and social media. Responding to similar questions from different customers can also be time-consuming (and annoying).

Intercom​


If we had to pick one task automation tool for customer service, it’d be Intercom. Intercom provides a suite of tools and services that helps businesses communicate with their customers at every stage of the customer journey, from acquisition to engagement and support. The platform offers features such as in-app messaging, email marketing, and a help center, all integrated into a single unified interface.

One of Intercom’s key innovations is its “Messenger,” which allows businesses to have real-time conversations with customers, providing personalized support and assistance. This platform is particularly popular among SaaS companies, e-commerce businesses, and other customer-focused organizations.

Three standout features:​


1. In-App Messaging and Real-Time Conversations

Their real-time chat functionality allows businesses to engage with customers and website visitors while they are actively using their platforms.

2. Customer Segmentation and Targeted Messaging

Their segmentation and messaging capabilities enable businesses to categorize customers based on various criteria and send highly personalized and relevant messages to specific segments.

3. Custom Bots and Automation

You can create custom chatbots for automating routine tasks, including lead qualification, scheduling, and basic support.

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Streamline Payment Processing​


Managing payments, invoicing, and following up on overdue payments is another time-consuming and repetitive task, especially if you do this manually. When you use Origin for booking and scheduling, we’ll collect deposits and payments automatically for you.

Origin​


We’re in the business of making your life easier as a tour operator and one of the ways we do that is by managing your payment processing: collecting deposits and payments automatically. While many booking and scheduling platforms process payments and collect deposits, some of them hold onto your money. Origin doesn’t.

Three standout features:​


Deposits go directly to your account

It’s then paid out every 24 hours. The remaining balance is collected automatically on the terms you set during your onboarding. This could be the morning of the trip, 2 days before, 60 days before, etc.

You’re the merchant of record

With Origin, your customers will see your business name on their bank statements. During Origin’s onboarding, you will set up your Stripe account which is where you customize what this statement descriptor looks like so it is clear to your customers who they booked with.

You get paid whenever a trip is booked

Much like deposits, reservation software decides when you’ll get paid too. Some companies pay you days (or weeks) after the trip while others pay you as soon as the funds are available. Just like deposits, your money goes straight to your Stripe account and then to your bank account every 24 hours.

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Transportation Logistics Automation​


Coordinating transportation for tours, like arranging shuttle or van rentals, making sure drivers are punctual, and confirming pick-up and drop-off details for each group is a hassle.

Origin​


We have to plug ourselves again because we help with this too. While we can’t make your driver show up on time, our software can manage a chunk of your transportation logistics like knowing how many shuttles you have, if any are getting serviced, and connecting them to drivers.

Three standout features​


An Inventory System

Smaller vehicles will fill up seats first, leaving larger vehicles to be filled up last so you can optimize for the biggest group (and the most money possible. It’s easy to switch vehicles around, for drivers to see what vehicle they’re driving without needing to contact the office.

Timelines For Inventory:

You can see timelines within the Origin platform to determine what and when vehicles are available for trips.

All At Once

Origin also assigns guides, drivers, and vehicles to bookings all at once—which becomes a task automation tool on its own.

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Automate Waiver Signature Requests​


Completing necessary paperwork, such as permits, waivers, and other legal documents for each tour or activity is yet another time-consuming task that no one wants to do, but it’s essential to keeping yourself on top of things, legally.

Origin​


While we can’t streamline the permitting process (although we wish we could because it sounds like a lot of red tape), we can automate creating, collecting, and storing waivers for your customers.

Four standout features​


Get on the same page

Both your admins and guides know who signed and who still needs to sign liability waivers before their trip.

Automated email reminders

Origin sends reminder emails to guests days before the trip starts, and notifies your admins of any missing liability waiver signatures.

Keep in touch with guests

Every member of a party receives the liability waiver link, and the system collects their details for future marketing and informational purposes.

Secure waiver storage

Origin securely stores signed liability waivers on the platform for easy access.

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Inventory and Equipment Management​


Ensuring that all necessary equipment and supplies for your tour are in working order, well-maintained, and available for each tour group takes incredible attention to detail and time. Again, we got you. Much like managing vehicles and drivers, Origin can manage inventory and equipment too.

Origin​

Three standout features​


An Inventory System

Smaller vehicles will fill up seats first, leaving larger vehicles to be filled up last so you can optimize for the biggest group (and the most money possible. It’s easy to switch vehicles around, for drivers to see what vehicle they’re driving without needing to contact the office.

Timelines For Inventory:

You can see timelines within the Origin platform to determine what and when vehicles are available for trips.

All At Once

Origin also assigns guides, drivers, and vehicles to bookings all at once—which becomes a task automation tool on its own.

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Collect Customer Feedback and Reviews Easily​


Collecting and managing customer feedback and reviews, as well as responding to both positive and negative feedback is repetitive when dealing with multiple reviews. And don’t get us wrong, reviews are important—you need them to gain trust and credibility with future customers. But it’s time-consuming to collect and respond to them.

Origin​


While we cannot respond to reviews for you, our system can automatically request and post reviews to your trips for you. So, the only thing you have to do is respond to them!

Three standout features​


Automate Review Requests

Origin requests reviews from previous guests after their trip via SMS and email with a gentle reminder one week later.

It’s free

All the tools—automatic review requests included—within the Origin platform are free to use.

Display Reviews On Your Website

Our no-code widget seamlessly integrates with your website and shows all your previous guests’ comments about their experience.

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Automate Marketing and Promotion​


Continuous marketing efforts to attract new customers and retain existing ones involve repetitive tasks like creating social media content, email campaigns, and managing online advertising. There are full-time jobs dedicated to each of these tasks, which is something SMBs can’t afford.

Instead, tour operators can reach their target audience without the need to hire extra staff by using marketing automation, a valuable solution for streamlining marketing processes.

Because this encompasses a wide spectrum of tasks (email marketing, social media, ads, analytics, etc.), you should check out our post, Ultimate Marketing Automation Guide For Tour Operators. It covers a ton of different ways automation tools for busy tour operators who also believe in the power of marketing.

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Monitor Weather Conditions Easier​


Monitoring weather conditions and making adjustments to the tour schedule or informing customers of cancellations or rescheduling can be time-consuming and challenging. Unfortunately, this seems to be one of those human-oriented tasks and there aren’t that many automation tools available.

Wireless Emergency Alerts​


Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier. Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA, the FCC, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service. Alerts are sent automatically to WEA-capable phones during an emergency. Here’s how to set it up on your phone.

Add Weather Widgets To Your Site​


Another option is adding weather widgets to your site so your clients can see what the weather will be like for their trip. From there, they can request to reschedule their trip with you via Origin or vice versa, you can cancel trips based on the safety which Origin automatically sends these notifications to your clients.

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Streamline Customer Data Management​


Keeping track of customer data, preferences, and contact information for future marketing and outreach efforts is another time-intensive task that guides and admins have to carve out time for. Luckily, there are plenty of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system task automation tools you can use to streamline all of this information. Take Origin for instance.

Origin > MailChimp​


While Origin is not a CRM, the system collects your customer’s information and integrates with MailChimp, which is a CRM platform.

Origin > MailChimp Standout Features​


Integrate with MailChimp or other email marketing platform

Origin syncs your guests’ information automatically to your custom lists for future marketing.

Personalize emails to guests within Origin

Add more details to transaction and thank you emails to connect further with your guests, like discounts. If you need to send the entire group an email, you can do it in a couple of clicks.

Access customer notes fast

Know your guests’ skill levels (and personality), preferred meals, deposits paid, or if they need rental gear—all in one location.

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Guide Permitting Process is Still a Mess​


Ensuring that your tour operation complies with local, state, and national regulations and renewing permits or licenses is repetitive and bureaucratic. And unfortunately, we can’t automate it for you, but we wrote a very lengthy post about licenses and permits to make sure your guiding company is legit.

Coalition For Outdoor Access​


COA isn’t a task automation tool, but it’s an organization working to streamline the guide permitting process. Their mission is to increase access to public lands for guided outdoor recreation and education activities. We suggest following them to see what new resources they publish to help with your licensing and compliance.

Conclusion​


To reduce the annoyance and burden of these repetitive tasks, tour guides and operators should implement task automation tools and software solutions. Automation can help streamline many of the processes you hate to do, which lets you focus more on delivering amazing tour experiences and less on administrative tasks.

The post 12ish Task Automation Tools For Busy Tour Operators appeared first on Origin.
 
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