"As estimated by the Statista Mobility Market Outlook, more than two-thirds of the revenue in the global travel and tourism market came from online sales channels" - Statista
This article is for tour and activity operators looking for resources about integrating an online booking widget into their tours.
If you are one or are planning to have one, then these resources are perfect for you.
As a tour operator, you surely want to get more direct bookings, have more happy customers, manage well and have an efficient team workflow.
Do you know that having a booking system can help you do all in one go?
So we'll be helping you out starting with your online storefront - and it is all about the booking widget.
What is a booking widget?
Simply put, a booking widget is a widget you can add to your travel website (on your homepage or your booking page) where guests can book appointments, rentals, and tours. It works with a 'Book Now' button or a CTA (call-to-action) button.
With it, your guests can see which tours or rentals are available via an online booking calendar, tour prices, and additional products you are selling. Most booking widgets also show the currencies available - allowing international guests to have more options to choose from.
An online booking widget is like your 24/7 tour receptionist. It can accept bookings and reservations while you are sleeping. It is your tour company's first impression to first-time guests, and a great opportunity to showcase what you have to offer.
Why do you need a booking widget?
Embedding a booking widget to your website is helpful for many reasons.
#1 Improves the customer experience
First, it streamlines the customer experience. As guests don't have to reach out via emails, DMs, or phone calls when they want to book something.
Instead, they can just book online - choose an appointment slot, fill in the booking form, pay through available payment gateways, and confirm their booking - all in just a few clicks!
So if you're looking to attract more customers, then offering more online booking options could be the answer.
An astounding 94% of people would be more likely to choose your service over others if they had this convenient option.
People love convenience - thus online booking is what makes them tick.
Sales channels where guests can book tours online:
- Social media channels (Facebook and Instagram)
- Travel website
- Via Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) - TripAdvisor or Viator, Airbnb Experiences, or GetYourGuide
#2 Simplifies your back-end
Second, it eliminates the need to manually input bookings on your end.
All you have to do is integrate with booking software or a tour reservation system, like TicketingHub. Then the reservation system will integrate you with payment method providers, install the widget on your CMS or website builder, and everything else is automated.
If you are sick of managing all your sales (in-person, online, and from OTAs), then your booking software does it for you now.
It can synchronize all your bookings and reservations in one - so you save time from manual spreadsheets and log books.
Moreover, booking software can enable automated guest messages. Not only does it save you time, but it also gives your guests a better experience!
#3 Grows direct bookings
Third, it increases direct bookings as more people are likely to book directly when they don't have to leave the page.
As the booking process is simpler for them, they are likely to book with you directly over others (via OTAs or other tour providers).
#4 Revamps brand presence
The booking widget also gives you an opportunity to revamp your brand presence and make you look more professional.
With customization and display options, you can make sure your widget matches the look and feel of your website as well as your brand's style. This helps create a sense of unity between what customers see on-page and what they expect from the tour operator.
#5 Secures guests
Knowing that they are directly booking from the tour provider increases the guest's sense of security.
Besides, a booking widget like TicketingHub's is SSL-secured. Simply put, it is certified to secure guest details - personal information, credit card details, and such - from malicious users online.
Letting your guests know their information is protected increases their confidence in your tour company.
What is the difference between a booking widget and a booking page?
A booking widget and a booking page may both be used for online bookings, but there are distinct differences between the two.
Booking widgets are small, self-contained pieces of code that can be embedded in websites or emails. An online booking widget embedded on your website provides an easy way for customers to see available slots and make a booking in just a few clicks.
This means customers don’t need to leave the website they’re already viewing and can select their desired time slot at any time without having to visit another page, browse, or fill out additional forms.
Additionally, with some advanced features such as custom messaging, a calendar widget, dynamic pricing, and one-click payments, embedded widgets can provide an improved customer experience over other methods of making bookings online.
On the other hand, booking pages are standalone web pages providing customers and clients with all the information and descriptions, or answering more questions about services offered by businesses together with options for selecting dates/time slots and availability.
As such, they require more visits from potential customers before completion compared to booking widgets which also leads to longer loading times depending upon how it has been designed or coded.
While users do have more information at their fingertips regarding services offered on these dedicated web pages, in general, these pages might not always provide as smooth an overall experience when compared to embedding a widget since most users would need more steps (i.e., multiple clicks) before proceeding further towards completion of their final selection.
How do you find a great booking widget for your travel website?
The best way to know this is to know what features are best for you and your guests.
Easy to book with
The booking widget you should choose should serve its purpose - simple, direct, and straightforward.
For instance, TicketingHub's booking widget makes it fast to complete a booking process. With only 5 steps, a guest completes his booking from tour availability, and customer information, down to the payment process.
Easy and fast to integrate
As it should be simple for your guests, it shouldn't be hard for your back end. It should save you time on client onboarding and the team's software adaptation.
Customizable and SEO-friendly
To withstand your brand, a customizable yet lightweight widget is best. It should let you customize font colors, styles, and sizes; background color settings; and even language and currency options.
Since you will be adding this to your site or homepage, it should also load fast so it will not hurt your SEO.
Try a Demo with TicketingHub
TicketingHub can be your tour brand's booking widget. We can show you how a fast-integrated, SEO-friendly, yet simple-to-use booking widget can level up your tour business.
Our widget can be integrated into your website with only a single line of code. Yes, you've heard us right - it's that fast and easy. We can attach a booking widget to your homepage or in your booking page - whichever you like it to be.
If you find this article helpful, let us know! We'd love to hear from you too.