We all know that travel companies plan their year around the high season. Every travel activity search & booking company maintains a calendar that marks which time of the year will bring them the maximum number of bookings, based on the market they serve.
This is the time to unleash all the resources and device all the tactics to attract the maximum number of travelers and reach some big revenue milestones. This is the time to ensure profitability & increase it leaps & bounds.
But to ensure all that, as an online travel activity booking startup, you need to ensure that your website is packed with certain features that not only help you attract traffic during the peak seasons, but also bring the capabilities to handle & process a huge amount of bookings.
Below are the features you need to ensure in your travel booking marketplace for high profitability during the peak season.
Robust Booking Management
When you are in the middle of a busy season, it seems impossible to stay updated with everything. It almost becomes a nightmare to manage bookings and traffic on your website. Usually, all this requires a lot of man power, efforts and time.
A better way to cope with that is to have a robust booking system embedded in your marketplace, which can easily manage multiple bookings, queries, and payments. Whether you are having your travel booking marketplace built from the scratch or using a ready-made script (which is actually a better approach), ensure that the booking management tool has following capabilities:
- Concurrent users handling– The system should be able to easily handle multiple concurrent users, as during the peak season there will naturally be a lot of traffic on the website. Make sure it is built using the latest technology and doesn’t crash or slow down due to heavy traffic.
- Error tolerant– Online users often tend to make spelling & other mistakes. Your website should be error tolerant &understand the requirements to process the query quickly for customers.Processing orders quickly will also help in relieving the website from unnecessary load.
- Easy & quick– For the user, the entire checkout process of the website should be intuitive. Shopping cart abandonment is a huge challenge in ecommerce retail. Your travel booking marketplace will face the same issue if the booking process is not easy enough.
Social Media Integration
Social media is no longer just a social networking platform; it has also become a powerful marketing tool. Integrating your Travel booking website with social media helps in acquiring new customers, increasing the revenue and retaining the existing customers.
According to a survey by Social Media Times in the year 2016, 52% of users stated that pictures of friends on social media inspired them to make travel plans. During the peak season, it can be a great asset in attracting customers to your travel booking marketplace. Here are the key features to ensure associated with social media integration:
- Get more visibility– When you integrate your website with social media, you implicitly implement a practical and faster way to promote your services. Being highly active on social media during peak season will help you gather more and more customers.
- Attract social media followers– People don’t want to fill long forms to able to book a travel. Social media integration also allows visitors to log in to the website through their social profiles, which speedup the entire process of booking travel.
- Easy sharing tour recommendations– Most importantly, social media integration allows customers to share packages/tour plans with other travel buddies. During the peak season, this is all the more important, so that most customers come to your website only to book, not to browse around or explore your offerings.
Activity Host Management
During the high season, the travel booking marketplace owner needs to maintain a continuous communication with the activity hosts/vendors. The more the number of hosts, the more the business a travel activity booking marketplace gets. However, it also makes the job more difficult for the web admin as he has to overlook bookings of hundreds or even thousands of vendors at once.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance that your travel booking website is packed with certain features that allow admin to manage different aspects of the marketplace in respect to the hosts.
- Commission rate setting– Throughout the year, you can have a standard commission rate for all vendors. But during the peak seasons, you need to come up with innovative ideas to encourage activity hosts to bring in more business. You can strategically set a threshold number of bookings beyond which commission rate decreases.
- Discount setting– Discounts are one way to encourage customers to book through your website and not through your competitors. And during the high season, discounts play the role of catalyst to increase sales. Since the owner alone cannot decide the discount on the entire inventory, hosts should be given the authority to manage discounts on their offerings.
As mentioned before, every travel company maintains a calendar that also list popular destinations & activities during the high season. The website owner needs to make sure these popular destinations are easy to find. That’s where Smart cataloging feature comes into picture. Through this, the admin gets to make necessary changes to the website to make those popular destinations & activities easily accessible. Here are some particulars about this feature:
- Highlight popular locations/ travel activities – The platform you choose to set up your online travel booking website should allow you to update the activity categories in website navigation, featured destinations/activities on the homepage, and other areas where customer might be looking at to find activities.
- Recommendation– Once a customer has shown interest in a specific location or activity, the website should have the functionality to recommend them similar or related activities. These activities must be in accordance with the choice of destination and should include additional benefits. For example, if a person is looking for historical tours in Paris, you can recommend them to book a food tour around the same time.
Content Management & Marketing
Peak seasons are high times when you need to make regular updates on your website. Sometimes offers get updated; sometimes tickets for a featured event are sold out; and so on. It is essential that customers get informed about these updates in real time. For that, your website needs features that allow the admin to make necessary website changes easily and convey the updates to registered users. Here are the features your marketplace needs to ensure these capabilities:
- Content Management System– Make sure the platform you have selected is integrated with a powerful and intuitive CMS that allows website owners to easily update the content and images on the website without the help of a programmer.
- Blog– Most travelers look for travel activities on search engines, and that’s why blog is essential for your travel booking marketplace. Besides helping you attract the traffic during the high season, a blog can also be used to make important announcements.
- SMS integration– It is very important for travel booking websites to stay connected with their user base. Email & in-app notification are some ways to keep customers updated about latest discounts & deals. But since your customers might be travelling to far-flung areas with poor internet reach, it is good to have SMS module integrated with your marketplace that allows you to broadcast details through text messages.
As mentioned before, peak seasons are the best times for a travel booking business to materialize its revenue goals. Customers are ready to make the bookings and you have them listed – but if your website fails to perform, it would be a shame.
By ensuring that your travel activity booking marketplace has above listed features and capabilities, you can eliminate any chances of failure and boost all the chances of increasing revenue.