RTOs - One Booking System to Rule them all....Jul 27, 2023
It's one thing we get asked by Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) and we see it in tourism industry news quite often.
"Wouldn't it be easier if all our products in region were on the one booking system?"
"X Booking System delivers a workshop to X region's operators"
At first glance, the idea of a single system might seem appealing for standardised inventory and marketing the region effectively. In regards to the booking system workshops, you can't begrudge the booking systems efforts to meet their sales quotas.
However, the answer is a resoundingly big (possibly yelling into the sky), no.
There is a primary reason behind this.
Not all businesses are the same.
All businesses have requirements that will be different to the other tourism businesses in the region. An attraction business needs a ticketing system, not a booking system. A marine tourism business, for example, has different requirements compared to a walking tour, and a multi-day tour has different needs as well.
Forcing all businesses to use the same system can lead to frustration, as they might have to adjust their processes to fit a system that isn't the best fit for them. This results in a frustrated tourism business who spends far to much time managing work arounds (more admin and manual labour, something tech should be reducing not increasing), limited ability to sell in the channels they may need and a difficult relationship between the tourism business and the booking system themselves.
In addition to this, it can give to much control to the booking system. You don't want to ever get into the situation where the booking system dictates how things will be done in region. It's your region, and the businesses within it should be able to fully own how they run, sell and distribute their product.
Instead, regions should focus on educating operators about how to choose the right booking system for their specific needs. Showcasing a variety of available booking systems and guiding operators in their selection process can lead to better results. If there isn't the knowledge on how to do this in in-house, then hey, you know where to find us.
Once you get your region's operators digitised, then the next step is showing them how to connect into trade (including your own Visitor Information Centres) and regional websites. Expanding product reach and increasing customer awareness of the region will benefit everyone involved, following the idea that "the rising tide lifts all ships."
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