Need a Tour Booking Software? Here's How to Choose the Best

Tour operators should know that tour booking software is necessary for their tour business. Tour booking software can make tour operations more efficient and help tour operators save time and money, sell more direct bookings, and reduce the risk of errors.

What Is a Tour Booking Software?

Tour booking software (online booking system) is a computer program that helps tour operators run their tour business- more efficiently.

It can help you manage the whole booking process. Common features include scheduling tours, selling multiple tours, growing online sales, growing direct bookings, processing payments, sending invoices, payment details, booking data, and customer data.

Are you setting up a travel booking website? Check this out!
What Is A Tour Booking Software
What Is A Tour Booking Software
  • Channel management
  • Product management
  • Customer relationship management

You need to choose a software program that will match your unique needs among the many available on the market. When selecting an online booking system for tours and activities, it is wise to consider your tour operator's business size and your budget.

How to Choose the Best Tour Operator Software for Your Business

TicketingHub has been helping more than 200 tour operators and businesses in different industries for over six years. We have compiled what tour businesses should consider before deciding which booking platform to integrate with - to ensure that you have picked the top tour operator software platform that meets your current needs and future goals- and step ahead in the travel industry.

Step 1: Define Business Goals

It doesn't mean that software works for someone else and will work for you too! Each business has its unique needs, operations, and goals.

So when selecting an online tour booking software, tour operators should first define their business needs and goals.

Here are four ways of assessing your business goals:

1. Talk to Your Team

talk to your tour business team
manage the team with good communication

Talk to your team about their needs before you start researching which online system to use.

  • Consider and analyze every crucial part of your business, from administration to finance, marketing, operations, and sales.
  • Figure out which of the critical requirements they have at the moment are not being met.
  • Then, align this list with your company's overall goals.

Doing so helps you understand what your company needs from tour and activity management software. This first step helps to give you a foundation for your research.

TicketingHub offers a Team Management feature: Easily assign guides to specific tours, multi-day tours, and activities and automate sending manifests directly through their emails!
team management feature
Manage staff shifts with TicketingHub booking software

2. Align Your List with Your Company's Goals

After your team has provided their input, you compile your must-haves and nice-to-haves list. Next, add your business's goals to this list to create a clear distinction between the two columns.

Although it's helpful to have a particular feature for a tour booking system, you shouldn't invest in it if it doesn't align with your goals. Again, keeping your focus on what matters to your business is the key.

“Overall profits in the year 2021 came to $260,000, a stark contrast compared to 2020s $50,000 with a nearly 40% increase from 2019’s overall totals.” What helped? “This increase came largely from ticket sales … by using TicketingHub, which made the ability to cater to park-goers more efficient and helped with providing more detailed data on customers compared to previous years.” -Kinston's The Free Press.
Lions water adventure using a tour booking software
Lions Water Adventure Park growing with TicketingHub
Read Case Study: Lions Water Adventure Park Earning More Than 400% Profit Growth in a Year Integrating TicketingHub.

3. Consider Existing Management Tools

Taking stock of all of your business' various tools will assist you in determining how much money you're currently spending.

Most destination management companies use various tools to meet a wide range of demands. Before you know it, there are up to ten tools in circulation that don't even communicate with one another. Your data is stored in various formats across various platforms, and you're paying for multiple subscriptions on your credit card each month.

Tour and activity operators love TicketingHub because of its all-in-one solution with super easy access and intuitive design and interface- from team and customer management to inventory/resource control, automation tools to POS systems, and from in-depth analytics to upselling products and gift certificates!
dashboard and complete booking management tools
TicketingHub's all-in-one solution and complete dashboard

4. Consider Your Budget

When looking for tour operator software, remember to consider your tour operator business' budget. All booking systems are not created equal, and some are more expensive (consumer fee, booking fee, and pricing plan) than others. So make sure you select affordable solutions that will meet the activity bookings needs of your business.

TicketingHub offers the most advanced tour operator software with no consumer fees and charges only 3% of online credit card bookings with free set-up fees and without monthly fees and POS costs. Alternatively, for small operators, if you prefer a more customized pricing plan, contact us for a customized payment plan with a monthly fixed charge or a lower percentage.
budget-friendly booking system
advanced tour operator software with no consumer fees

Step 2: Check Available Tour Operator Software Providers

After you have assessed your business needs and goals, it's time to research tour operator software providers.

Many online reservation systems are available, so it's wise to research the right one for your business.

The most popular in today's market are:

  • FareHarbor
  • Rezdy
  • Checkfront
  • TicketingHub
  • Peek Pro

Consider the following questions when looking for the right booking software:

1. First, is the company stable and growing?

When looking for tour operator software, it's critical to consider the company's stability.

Some companies are growing quickly and expanding rapidly, while others are more established and have been in the market longer.

The world's smartest room, Electric Gamebox, now sells tickets and tours with TicketingHub. Know what made them switch: Reasons Why Electric Gamebox Chose TicketingHub Tour Scheduling Software

It is crucial to choose a stable, fast-growing company with a reliable reputation.

  • Are they expanding rapidly?
  • Are they well-known and respected in the tour operator industry?
  • What type of tour operator software do they offer?

Not all online reservation systems offer the same type of software. Some providers offer more comprehensive software, while others provide more specific software that may better fit your business.

It's imperative to research all of your options and find the most suitable provider for your specific needs.

Industry leaders in the U.S. and Europe trust us with their ticketing systems and online bookings, including CitySightseeing, Egyptian Pyramid Show (Sound and Light Show), Secret Food Tours, New Europe Tours, London Bridge, Chivas Events, Sipsmith Distillery, and more!
tour operators and businesses using a tour booking software
CitySightseeing, Egyptian Pyramid Show (Sound and Light Show), Secret Food Tours, New Europe Tours, London Bridge, Chivas Events, Sipsmith Distillery

2. How about customer support?

Some providers have a customer support team available 24/7, while others have one available during certain hours only.

Also, consider the quality of customer service.

  • Is it worth it?
  • Is it easy to get in touch with them?
  • What do their customers say?

TicketingHub's customer service team offers a fast response time, helping clients keep track of their tours.

  • On-site help and how-to guides
  • Live chat support
  • Customer agent
24/7 customer support of Ticketinghub
Customer reviews of TicketingHub's booking software

3. Is the checkout flow trustworthy?

The checkout flow is the process of completing a purchase. But, first, make sure it is trustworthy and easy to use.

This will ensure that customers have a positive experience when purchasing tickets and increase the likelihood of returning.

TicketingHub offers a 5-step checkout flow that's quick, easy, and trustworthy to ensure a smooth customer experience.
quick checkout flow of booking software
Quick and easy checkout process

4. Is the backend software easy to use for staff?

Backend software is the program that runs the company. If it is not easy to use, staff will not be able to run back-office processes effectively. Instead, they will likely find other ways to complete tasks, such as using unapproved software or even pen and paper.

Ensure that the online booking software you select has an easy-to-use back end so that staff can manage tasks effectively.

TicketingHub's online booking software is easy to use and helps tours and activities efficiently manage resources and direct bookings with ease- all in a single centralized dashboard!

Step 3: Examine the Features

1. Ease of Use

Suppose you intend to use it every day. It should also be easy to navigate, so you won't spend more time learning how to operate it than actually using it.

Especially for users, your scheduling software should have a user-friendly interface allowing easy checkout flows, so you won't be given any chance for them to change their minds.

2. Inventory or Resource Management

The tour operator software you select should have an online portal for robust inventory and resource management capabilities. These can help you effectively manage your resources, even on your mobile devices.

Intuitive resource management allows you to add and edit booking data easily. It should also reflect ticket real-time availability with a live calendar feature; for instance, if a customer books tours and pays online or in person, your dashboard will automatically show the booking, customer information, and payment details.

  • Live booking Calendar - Suitable for group tour bookings and time-slotted events. It makes it easy for your guests to find and schedule trip planning and dates for their chosen food tours, multi-day tours, or tour packages, for instance.
  • Live Analytics- Compare sales from social referrals from TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook, etc.
  • Data Sync- All multiple channels are updated simultaneously with the current tours, dates, pricing, and capacity.
  • Availability Calendar- Create upcoming dates and time slots to accommodate the demand for popular booking days when you know exactly how many tickets have been sold at a glance.

3. Customizable Interface and Versatile Layout

Ideally, you should be able to customize your tour booking engine to meet your needs. Therefore, the layout should be versatile to allow you to manage and view your data however you see fit.

With TicketingHub's tour operator software, you can choose to manage tours the way you need them.
  • Embed your checkout on a static page or a popup button (default).
  • Change the foreground color or button color, or replace the button with your design to improve your checkout experience.
Citysightseeing Budapest uses Ticketinghub
Cityightseeing Budapest uses Ticketinghub
Read City Sightseeing Budapest Selling More Tickets with TicketingHub.

4. In-depth Analytics and Reports

In-depth analytics and reports are imperative for tour and activity operators as they allow you to track the success of your tour and activity business and grow tour bookings in less time. With the right software, you can view data such as:

  • Guest History- View a detailed list of guests (name, email, phone number, and booking date)
  • Ticket Sales- See a breakdown of ticket sales by tour, date, and time.
  • Booking Sources- Discover where your guests find your tour details and booking forms.
  • Revenue- View a detailed summary of revenue generated from tours.
With TicketingHub tour operator software, you can view all of this data and make more informed decisions about your tour business.

TicketingHub allows you to:

  • Identify returning customers based on their email addresses, allowing you to get started with a robust loyalty program for your most loyal consumers.
  • Analyze performance ticket sales and product sales, and measure growth over time.
Ticketinghub's integrations with Facebook Pixel, Google Tag Manager and Analytics
TicketingHub integrations with Facebook Pixel, Google Tag Manager, and Analytics

5. Automation Tools

The convenience of scheduling software is that it reduces the time it takes for activity providers to complete many time-consuming chores involved in appointment-based enterprises.

  • Automated emails
  • Waiting lists
  • Scheduling
  • Automatic notifications
  • Onboarding process

So if your tour operator company aims to function as quickly as possible, you must automate as many operations as feasible.

TicketingHub offers the Magic Link and the Waiting List features.
  • Magic Link- allows customers to change their booking without having to call customer service or wait in line at the front desk. Simply have them follow the link provided in their confirmation email to get to the booking page where they can make all the changes to their booking requests they need right there online!
  • Waiting List- see if people would be interested in booking dates that don't currently exist and see what dates they prefer to schedule. This way you can focus on scheduling saleable tours and skip the ones where no one wants to book or schedule.
  • Message Broadcast- automate push SMS and email messages to keep your guests informed of updates and changes to their reservations and also with double bookings.
change customer booking
broadcast messages to tour business clients efficiently

6. Payment Integration

When it comes to an online reservation system, payment integration and payment processing are critical. With TicketingHub, you can easily process payments and integrate with various payment processors to accept online payments for your tours.

TicketingHub integrates with up to 130 payment gateways, allowing your guests/users to proceed with the payment reservation process the way they want to!
booking system Payment Integration
TicketingHu booking system payment Integration

What Is the Most Effective Tour Operator Reservation Software?

Selecting the right booking software for your tour operator business can be an intimidating task. However, by considering relevant factors such as budget, business needs and goals, checkout flow, and features, you can decide which tour scheduling software is right for you.

tour operator booking software
looking for tour operator booking software?
TicketingHub's online distribution and booking software offers all of these features and more to help tour and activity operators in the tourism industry run their businesses more efficiently.

Check TicketingHub Today!

TicketingHub software solution offers a distinctly different booking experience and solution to each user. Our online booking engine uses the most innovative cloud-based technology.

In addition, our online booking engine allows your tour operator business to upgrade your offerings, sell with dynamic pricing, and connect with third-party integrations to establish your brand and services better in one place.

Our world-class online booking platform has been helping over 200 tour and activity providers sell more direct bookings, streamline online reservations, and generate more revenue in less time.

If you're looking for a complete tour operations management solution with all the features and best value you need to run your tour operator business, look no further than TicketingHub.

With our user-friendly software, you can manage your resources, integrate with management CRM, automate tasks, view in-depth analytics and reports, monitor sales in real time, and integrate with various online payment processors, sales channels, multiple channels, and your chosen CRM software provider.

Sell More & Manage Less with TicketingHub!

  • Customizable Booking Widget
  • Best Customer Support
  • Automation Tools
  • 5-minute Ultra-Fast Integration

Try TicketingHub today! Get your free demo and experience the TicketingHub difference!

Check our free guide on growing online bookings organically here: Here Is Our Comprehensive 6-Step Guide To Drastically Improve Tours And Tickets Website Conversion Rates!

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a tour booking system?

A tour booking system is an online software solution specifically designed for tour and activity companies like TicketingHub. It allows tour and activity operators to manage reservations, payments, and day-to-day operations of their business, streamlining the booking management process. Many systems operate in the cloud, providing a cloud-based solution for companies to manage and grow their business.

How do you do a booking system?

To establish a booking system, especially an adventure booking software for tour and activity businesses:

  1. Research top tour operator software to compare and save on features that match your business needs.
  2. Ensure the software offers real-time availability, payment processing, and seamless integration with other solutions.
  3. Set up online booking functionalities, making sure the system is optimized for mobile devices to increase direct sales.
  4. Implement payment gateway solutions to process payments securely.
  5. Integrate with tools like Google Analytics for tracking and marketing software to attract more customers.

Why is a booking system important?

Booking systems, especially online booking software, are essential for tour and activity providers as they:

  • Simplify the reservation process.
  • Provide a unified platform for managing bookings, customer information, and payments.
  • Offer centralized invoicing and calculations, saving time and reducing errors.
  • Enable businesses to receive online bookings, increasing sales.
  • Offer seamless integration with sales channels, travel agencies, and destination marketing professionals.

What booking software do travel dealers use?

In the activity industry, travel dealers, often referred to as travel agents, require specialized software to streamline their operations and grow their business. The responsibilities of these travel specialists encompass:

  • Scheduling: Coordinating with tour and activity operators to create optimal schedules.
  • Excursion Application Creation: Utilizing tour operator software to craft unique experiences and tours for clients.
  • Consultation Services: Advise clients on the best tour and activity options based on their preferences.
  • Activity Booking: Using advanced adventure booking software to reserve spots for clients in various activities.
  • Vendor Negotiation: Collaborating with tour and activity providers to get the best deals and packages.
  • Personalized Tours: Crafting chic, customized itineraries that cater to individual customer needs.
  • Budget Management: Finding top tour options that align with a client’s budget.

Given the diverse nature of their tasks, travel dealers lean on several online software solutions. Typically, these fall into four main categories:

  1. Travel Booking Software: Centralized solutions for reservations, online payments, and managing bookings. This cloud-based tool aids in direct sales, enabling real-time availability and seamless integration with other platforms.
  2. Tour and Itinerary Builders: Software designed for crafting cutting-edge itineraries and tour packages, ensuring customers get a unified platform for their travel needs.
  3. Accounting Software USA: Essential for the financial side of the business, helping dealers keep their finances up-to-date and streamlined.
  4. CRM Software and Marketing Software: Tools that store customer information, track interactions, and launch marketing campaigns. This software integrates with other online booking systems to ensure a cohesive strategy for attracting more customers and managing bookings effectively.

How do I set up a travel tour?

For tour operators setting up a travel tour:

  1. Understand your target customers and craft chic, cutting-edge itineraries.
  2. Collaborate with destination management companies and travel specialists.
  3. Use tour operator software to manage bookings, create custom events, and operate multi-day tours.
  4. Promote via various sales channels, including direct sales on your website and through travel agents.

How does a tour operator package a tour?

Tour operators can package a tour by:

  1. Research destinations and activities, often liaising with activity companies and destination marketing professionals.
  2. Use tour operator software to craft packages, incorporating pricing, availability, and itinerary details.
  3. Collaborate with travel companies, travel agents, and other partners for package distribution.
  4. Offer options for multi-day tours, using software to manage and keep information up to date.

Here's our guide to help you create tour packages that sell: 8 Tips on How to Sell Tour Packages That Will Surely Pay Off

What are the 3 main functions of a tour operator?

Tour operators primarily:

  1. Design and package tours, incorporating activities and destinations suitable for their target audience.
  2. Use cloud-based tour operator software to manage reservations, real-time availability, and customer information.
  3. Collaborate with destination marketing professionals, travel agents, and other activity operators to market and sell tour packages.

What booking software do travel agents use?

Travel agents utilize a variety of online booking systems, including:

  • FareHarbor
  • Eventbrite
  • TicketingHub
  • Peek
  • Checkfront
  • Orioly
  • Rezgo
  • TrekkSoft

The ideal software streamlines the reservation system, integrates payment processing, and offers real-time availability to ensure seamless bookings.

What is the difference between a travel agent and a tour operator?

While both are pivotal players in the tourism industry:

  • A travel agent primarily deals with selling and organizing tours provided by tour operators or other providers. They are the intermediaries between customers and travel service providers.
  • A tour operator creates and packages the tours, directly dealing with the various components like accommodations, activities, and transport.

How do travel agents make bookings?

Travel agents:

  1. Use booking software optimized for the tourism industry, providing real-time availability.
  2. Collaborate with tour and activity operators, accessing a unified platform for product management and reservations.
  3. Process bookings and payments, often via integrated payment gateways, ensuring a smooth experience for customers.

What are the 5 types of tour operators?

There are various types of tour operators in the tourism industry:

  1. Inbound Operators
  2. Outbound Operators
  3. Domestic Operators
  4. Ground Operators
  5. Specialist Operators

Each type serves specific roles, catering to different segments of travelers and destinations.

How might a tour operator use CRM?

A tour operator might use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool to:

  • Track interactions with potential and existing customers.
  • Store customer information, preferences, and travel histories.
  • Integrate with online booking systems for seamless reservations.
  • Analyze data for marketing campaigns, aiming to attract and retain more customers.

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