As a tour and rental operator, your website is your best (and perhaps only) marketing tool you have. Your website is a reflection of you and your offerings, so if you haven’t checked in with your site since it was created, now is the time to do so. Check out these tips to help your website with its makeover.
Update your Content & Pictures – Having great descriptions of your offerings along with beautiful pictures is essential. Review your content on your site, and make any updates to descriptions and images to ensure you are presenting your business in the best way possible. Don’t forget to proofread! Spelling errors and incorrect grammar is a huge turnoff to potential customers.
Be clear and concise – When a visitor goes to your website, make sure the information is clearly laid out in an easy to understand manner. If your site is confusing or difficult to navigate, then visitors will likely leave right away. Get ideas from other websites when it comes to design and content. Find what you like about other sites, and incorporate the best aspects into your own site. Review your site with the customer in mind, and make adjustments as needed.
Mobile Friendly is your Friend – How does your website look on a phone or tablet? A high percentage of customers looking for your services will be uses these types of devices for find you, so it’s crucial that your site it mobile friendly. Many website builders (such as Wix, Weebly or Wordpress) have template designs that are responsive. Responsive means that when your site is viewed it will resize itself to look good on that device. Make sure your site is either responsive or have a separate site that is specific to mobile users.
Work on your SEO – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website so it results in your site’s higher ranking when doing a Google search. It’s crucial for you to make certain that your site comes up at the top when folks are searching for activities or rentals that match your business. Simply put – if your website comes up first, chances are that visitors will click on your site and book with you. Do your homework to ensure your SEO is at it’s best.
Call to Action – As a tour or rental business, you want to make it easy for potential customers to book with you. This means you’ll need to have the ability to book online through your website, and make the process seamless with an easy to use checkout process. A Call to Action is button or link on your site that gives them this option to “Book Now” or “Contact Us”. Adding these buttons to each page of your website is ideal.
Updating your website from time to time is a great way to stay on the top of your game. If you’re not sure how to go about doing this, and you have it in your budget, hire a professional. There are many great and talented website designers out there that can assist you in building or updating your site.
Getting paid. It’s an important part of your business, right?! As a small business owner, you went into business because you LOVE what you do AND you wanted to get paid for it. It’s a wonderful match, so you’ll want to make sure you know how to achieve this. In order to get paid for the service you provide, you need a payment gateway.
What’s a Payment Gateway, you ask? In short, the payment gateway is what allows you to take online payments, and is the bridge between your booking platform and your bank account. If you own a rental business or a tour company, and want your customers to not only book online, but also pay online, then getting a payment gateway is the way to go.
Payment Gateways are a great asset to your business and gives you and your customer the piece of mind that is needed when purchasing a service online. Some of the key features are Security, Convenience, and Compatibility.
Security: This is probably the most important feature when considering taking payments. This means choosing a payment gateways that is equipped with fraud prevention and one that is compliant with PCI standards such as data encryption when storing credit card information.
Convenience: Having a payment gateway allows you to receive purchases and bookings 24/7. It alleviates you from having to get the customer’s credit card information, and manually enter it to get paid. It all happens in an instant with a payment gateway, and you’re paid right away.
Compatibility: You’ll want to select a Payment Gateway that easily integrates into your platform. In addition, if you’re using a booking system to take online bookings, make sure you confirm that the two systems can connect. This is ideal so that your customers can book and pay all within the same system. Talk about a seamless experience!
So, how much does this all cost? A payment gateway will charge fees on processing a transaction for you. Fees usually are structured per each credit card transaction. A common price structure would be 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction (higher rates apply for international). Take note of other fees that apply such as for refunds, chargebacks, and perhaps a monthly fee. Make sure you know up front what all the fees are so there are no surprises.
Now, who to choose? Do your research! This is a big choice and there are many options out there. Make sure it meets the needs of your business and use these tips here to help you decide which is right for you. Some of the biggest players in this industry that all have great reputations, and meet these 3 key aspects of security, convenience, and compatibility are Stripe, Authorize.net , and PayPal.
It’s summertime and this is the time your business thrives. Whether you run a kayak or mountain bike rental shop, fishing charter, or have a few rental cabins in the mountains, you are always trying to attract more customers to choose you when making their summer plans. Try these tips to help you not only get more business this summer, but throughout the year.
Be active on Social Media As a business owner, social media is a very important outlet to advertise your services and offerings. If you haven’t already, create a business page on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, then fill it with awesome pictures and information about what you offer. Ask happy customers to like your page, follow you, and post comments/reviews on your pages. You should post interesting things daily including images or something cool in the news related to your business.
It’s important to show potential customers your genuine self, and these social outlets are a great way to do that. Try not to be too ‘salesy’ in your posts and responses. Normal folks want to do business with other normal folks, so don’t be afraid to show who you are mixed in with what you do.
Join In! Join other Facebook groups where potential customers might go, and actively participate in comments. More than likely, you’re in business because you love what you do. It’s easy to find other folks that also love the same thing through Facebook groups. Find those groups, and engage with others. For example, if you own a water sport rental business, join groups geared toward kayakers or paddle boarders. If you have a cabin rental in a popular hiking area, join a hiking group. Then answer questions that come up, and be helpful and encouraging. Don’t use the forum to continually promote yourself, but instead be helpful by answering questions or encouraging others when they post about their experiences with the activity.
Leverage Happy Customers If you’ve been in business for a while, you surely have great customers that return year after year. Use them to your benefit to get more happy customers. Encourage them to take a live video stream of their experience – this is an incredible way for others to see what you offer. Make sure customers know it’s perfectly acceptable to take videos or via Facebook Live. It’s the best kind of testimonial.
Encourage reviews and referrals by offering incentives such as a discount on their next trip. Make sure you include links to your TripAdvisor or Yelp pages, so they can easily share their experience with others. Happy customers are usually thrilled to share their experiences with their friends and family.
Keep in touch with previous customers. Build an email list of all your customers, and send newsletters, helpful tips, or special offers to them. It’s a great way to keep your business in the forefront of their minds, especially when their dear Aunt Sally is looking for recommendations. During your off season, send them information about your upcoming season, and encourage them to book early to get the best spot for their next summer adventure.
Make sure your SEO is at it’s best. Most people use Google or other search engines to find adventure, so ensure that your business is at the top of their search list. Make certain that your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is at the top of its game by adding the best keywords to describe your business. This will lead those “Google searchers” to find you first before your competition.
These are only a few key tips to keep your business rolling this summer. Most importantly, if you LOVE what you do, and are passionate about it, then folks will find you and be thrilled they did.
We recently added a new report to our list of available reports in WebReserv: Manifest Report. This report is great for businesses that need a daily look at who is booked for a given day(s). It helpful when assigning guides to your tours, or ensuring you have enough staff on hand for your rentals.
To access this report, go to Frontdesk – Reports – Manifest Report.
Customize the report:
- Select which tour/rental (Products) you want to view.
- Enter the date range.
- Pick a time slot (Schedule), if applicable.
- Select Change Fields to customize columns in the report.
- Choose to download into a CSV (spreadsheet) or open in a new window (Browser)
Click View to run the report. See below shown in the HTML format.
This is a great addition to the already robust report options in WebReserv.
Welcome to 2018! We’re excited for the new year, and happy to announce that we’ve added a new option to our list of compatible payment processors: Stripe.
To get an account with Stripe, visit their website to create an account.
If you have an existing Stripe account, you can add the integration to your WebReserv account easily.
To do so, log into your WebReserv account, and go to the Setup – Business Information. Select Payments from the left column.
First, you’ll want to enable the credit card option in the Payment Processing section. Select Creditcard, and Auto Process.
Next, in the Payment Gateway section, select Stripe from the drop down menu. Here you will enter your Secret Key from your Stripe account. (Note: you can access your Secret Key through the Dashboard of your Stripe account.) After you add the secret key, save your changes by clicking Save and continue at the bottom of the page.
That’s it! You’ve successfully setup the integration with Stripe.
After setup is complete, you’ll want to make a test transaction to ensure it is working properly. The system allows you to enter a test transaction through the Payment Center. To access, go to Frontdesk – Payment Center. Select the ePay Virtual Terminal option.
Here you can enter a small transaction using a credit card to ensure that you get an authorization. To do so, select Payment (type), Credit Card (payment type), and enter a small amount – $0.10 will work fine.
Enter the credit card details. Choose the Process Payment button at the bottom of the page. If you get an authorization, then the setup is working correctly.
Testimonial – Barcelona Architecture Walks – The essence of Barcelona through the eyes of an architect
In a small series of testimonials across different industries having our clients to tell us about them and what they think about WebReserv and its features, we in this first testimonial reach out to Miguel Angel Borrás and his original tour business “Barcelona Architecture Walks” based in Spain. They have been using WebReserv for more than 2 years and this is their story.
BASIC DETAILS ABOUT THE BUSINESS:
NAME: Miguel Angel Borrás / Barcelona Architecture Walks
AGE: 40 years old / 6 years in the business
TYPE OF BUSINESS: Architecture Tours
LOCATION: Barcelona (Spain)
1. ABOUT THE BUSINESS
WebReserv: SO, TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS/TOURS…
Barcelona Architecture Walks: The Barcelona Architecture Walks (BAW) are a series of urban walking tours led by architects, inviting to discover our city through the buildings and lessons of its Masters.
WR: WHAT MAKES YOUR TOUR DIFFERENT FROM OTHER TOURS?
BAW: We want to present the essence of Barcelona to the larger public. Previous knowledge of architecture is not necessary though it is essential to have an unrestrained curiosity for discovering ideas, concepts and histories that feed the architecture of the city. When we say architecture we mean an intense dialogue between urbanism, politics, culture, economics, history, society and even ecology.
The BAW explores ideas through architecture, offering an interface between in-depth architectural knowledge and the wider design-conscious community. Each route is driven by a set of themes and concepts that decode the city whilst stimulating new ways of thinking about and seeing Barcelona.
WR: WHAT MADE YOU START YOUR OWN (TOUR) BUSINESS?
BAW: The inspiration came from a trip we did (MIEL Arquitectos) in 2009 to Australia. Visiting Sydney we did some Sydney Architecture Walks (SAW) because we were recommended by different friends to do so and we freaked out with it. Eoghan Lewis blew our minds. He made an approach to the Sydney Opera House, the place, the building, the architect and its time that made us rethink our way of projecting and even explain / spread architecture. Then we decided to try to do something similar in Barcelona and we launched the BAW in 2010. SAW and BAW are connected since then.”
BAW: From the beginning we thought that on a tour business we will sell knowledge, wisdom we could say. Back then the initial investment was low. Just your time (apart from becoming an architect and developing each route).
What was more profitable for us was the close relationship between that business and our main one, our architecture and design studio (MIEL Arquitectos). Improving our skills on connecting with travelers and spreading architecture to unfamiliar or even experts on architecture will have an effect on our studio and vice versa, it is like a constant training for us.
WR: WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ONE AND ONLY ADVICE AS AN ENTREPRENEUR TO THOSE WHO WANT TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
BAW: Start something that thrills you, because it would take a while until is profitable and to develop it and keep improving it you will need a lot of energy, time and determination!
2. THE BUSINESS AND WEBRESERV
WR: WHAT WAS THE SITUATION BEFORE YOU GOT TO KNOW ABOUT WEBRESERV?
BAW: Before using WebReserv I had a booking solution that didn’t allow the payment of the bookings, so we had to receive the reservations on one side and then send the client to pay on a separate payment system. Also, that tool didn’t allow me to create either private tours or additional schedules. Because of that, I had to do most of the work manually wasting a considerable amount of time.
WR: WHAT WAS YOUR MAIN CONCERN ABOUT WORKING WITH WEBRESERV?
BAW: The first barrier was the fix price, to pay monthly without knowing how many bookings I was going to get.
And the second one was the technical service, you never know who is behind the machine and if they will help you or talk to you as you must be a computer expert…that I’m not!
WR: HOW WAS/IS IT TO WORK WITH US?
BAW: I could feel the increase of bookings from the second month. The initial communication with our website developer was perfect and the result is a clear booking platform. And the communication with the technical service is fast, efficient and with non-computer expert language.
WR: WHAT IS YOUR SITUATION AFTER USING OUR PRODUCT?
BAW: Our sales are growing, the booking-payment system looks strong and secure to our customers and help us to manage better the communication with them before and after each tour.
WR: WHAT SPECIFIC FEATURE DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT OUR PRODUCT?
BAW: How easy is it is to modify the schedule of our Walks, adding dates, erasing others and controlling the cost of each one.
WR: WHAT WOULD BE 2-3 OTHER BENEFITS OF THE PRODUCT?
BAW: The pre and post emails of each booking.
WR: WOULD YOU RECOMMEND OUR PRODUCT? IF SO, WHY?
BAW: Yes! It helped me to concentrate more on the business and less on the inner organization.
Follow us for more testimonials and articles on reservation systems for tours and recreational activities and rentals.
If you want to share your story with a testimonial about your business and your experience with WebReserv, then do not hesitate to contact us.
You WebReserv team!
As a tour or rental business, you likely have fixed times that you allow your customers to book. Since you want to allow flexibility to your customers, you will want to offer a choice of time slots. This is a great idea and your customers will appreciate the options, however, it may be challenging to manage your inventory if the time slots overlap.
The WebReserv Tour setup for Segway, kayak, or bike tour and rental companies offers many great features that are essential to your business. One of those is the ability to manage overlapping tour times and availability. This means that if you offer tours or rentals at different times, the system will automatically reduce availability over all the time slots that have an overlap. See the example below of how this feature works.
ABC Segway Company offers a 2 hour tour of the city. The start times available are at 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, and 1:00 PM. They want to be able to offer all these times for their customers to choose from, but they only have a total of 10 Segways in their inventory. In the WebReserv system, the company uses the Fixed Weekly Schedule reservation type to set up their time slots. The typical setup will look like this: Read the rest of this entry »