Three Ways to Schedule Your Staff

 

staff meetingRunning or managing a business with an of full-time and part-time staff is, more often than not, about coordinating and scheduling your employees. It’s a thankless task and one which can eat up a great many hours in the working week as you deal individually with each member of staff regarding their hours and responsibilities.

For lots of businesses, the tried and tested method of charting staff hours and events out on pen and paper or an excel spreadsheet are still in use, but both have serious limitations that slow you down and could lead to confusion amongst your staff.

Thankfully, there are better ways to go about staff scheduling rather than just good old pen and paper

A Slack Channel

Slack has made a huge impression in the world of business over the last couple of years, and it’s easy to see why – their super fast instant messaging platform has dozens of fantastic business focussed features like channels, drag and drop sharing and instant search. They have recently included the feature to have a video call/conference call for when staff are working from home.

However, it’s also a useful tool for managing schedules within your business. By setting up a dedicated ‘schedules’ channel in your team’s slack group, you and your team can have space solely dedicated to the latest schedule information – whether you want to swap shifts or assign a member of staff to a certain location at a certain time, you can let people have updates on the go.

You can drag and drop an excel sheet in there so your staff can see what the latest hours are or simply discuss who’s doing what when, but its greatest asset is in helping members of staff find cover for their shift.

Its utility is also aided by the fact Slack is multiplatform, with applications built for Windows, iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

A Shared Google Calendar

When it comes to business tools, there’s no company quite like Google. However, whilst google cal (2)many businesses have begun to adopt Google Docs for its collaborative writing and editing tools, Google Calendars remain a somewhat underutilised tool for scheduling.

Its main advantage comes from the deep integration that Google Calendars offer with smartphones, letting your staff see their shifts from anywhere, at any time, with updates sent live to their devices.

To start a shared Google Calendar, simply start a new calendar and begin adding events as your shifts, ensuring that you include your employee’s email address as an attendee of the event. With your schedules set, invite your employees to subscribe to the calendar and sit back as your staff enjoy their latest schedule. It’s not perfect, but with so many people already using Google’s services, it’s accessible.

Booking Live’s Scheduling Software

Booking Live enables your business to take secure bookings 24/7 on any internet enabled device, but that’s
just one of its many features. Most interestingly for this conversation, Booking Live’s system allows an admin to assign staff to the events they create within the system. These staff will then be unavailable for clashing events as a result of this.

Say, for example, you run a tour guide service. Your 1PM tour is listed as an event within the system, you can then assign a member of staff to, which they can clearly see on their schedule. The system will automatically make these members of staff will be unavailable for any clashing events. That solves one of the biggest problems when it comes to scheduling – awkward clashes and double bookings, avoiding extra stress on staff and disappointment in customers.

If you are interested in finding out all of Booking Live’s features then head over to our feature page on our website!

Version 2 Phase-out Plan

Version 2 Timelime Plan

Is my Booking Live version too old? Is it still supported? When should I upgrade? What is the cost? Will I get new features?
These are the questions that customers on version 2 have been asking and today we will be answering them.

Timeline

We have now published the support timeline for version 2 clients that makes it easier for you to make a decision on whether you should stay on your current version or upgrade.

  • July 2017: P1 limited support
  • October 2017: Hosting only with no support
  • January 2018: V2 systems discontinued and switched off

Key benefits to upgrading:

  • Easy to use admin system
  • New product features
  • Continuous development and free upgrades (something we were unable to provide on version 2)

 

Support ends for version 2

Booking Live version 2 won’t receive security fixes from October 2017, which is in line with our long-standing release process. Booking Live 4 is due for release in 2018. If you are looking to upgrade your booking software and would like a quote, we recommend you contact us today. The best time to upgrade is always now.

Essential Software for Small Businesses

Nobody said that running a small business would be easy, but the difficulty can catch many off guard. On top of managing staff, payroll, stock and premises you’ve now got the added pressures of maintaining and competing in an increasingly tough online marketplace.

Thankfully, with the increased complications of SME businesses in 2017 has come to a raft of fantastic, low-cost, high-utility software designed to take the pain out managing a small business.

Small business software is designed to help you run your business better, cut your costs, increase productivity and simplify bookings for your clients. So, what is the business software you should be investing in for your small business?

Here are our four picks for accounting, communication, office software and booking software:

Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses: Xero

If you haven’t heard of Xero before, let us give you a brief introduction: it’s the most comprehensive business accounting software available today, and yet it never feels complex or confusing. Xero manages it with style thanks to a design that fits across smartphones, tablets and computers.

Their software allows for instant bank reconciliation, so you can import your banking, credit card and PayPal transactions with ease. That’s alongside inventory, payroll, invoicing, expenses, bill and purchases management tools. Oh, and that’s just the start of this incredible small business management software.

Starting from just £10 a month and with a free 30-day trial, it’s also a tremendous value.

xero logo

 

Best Communication Software for Small Businesses: Slack

Slack has quietly taken over the world of business communication, and for good reason too. This web and app-based communication tool gives your employees the power to create specific “channels” where your team can converse on specific topics. It might be a project, a topic, a team within your team or anything else. You can even set up private channels with invited team members only, for those sensitive conversations.

You’ll also enjoy the ability to drag and drop files for your team to download and to make instant video calls to anyone on the team, helping you all stay connected – even if you are out of the office for the day! That’s without going into the countless other integrations it has. Best of all? It’s free on the basic plan, so you can discover whether it’s for you before you take the plunge.

slack logo

 

Best Online Booking System for Small Businesses: BookingLive

Managing bookings can be extremely time-consuming in a small business, especially if you’re reliant on booking. That, in turn, costs you man hours and could decrease productivity. That’s why online booking software is essential SME software, whether you’re an activity centre, tour operator or run courses.

BookingLive is our choice for the best small business booking system for a number of reasons, but none more so than its sheer flexibility. Easy to set up with live support available and designed for the modern internet with a design that fits in to match your live website. You’ll love the integrations available, top-tier security and ease by which you can use BookingLive to automate your entire booking procedure.

Customers can book from your website with a rolling monthly contract starting from just £50, you’ll be amazed at what BookingLive can do. A free demo is available so you get a chance to see what BookingLive can do for your business.

bookinglive logo

 

Best Office Software for Small Businesses: Google Drive

It might seem like something of a controversial choice given the hegemony of Microsoft’s Office software (especially now it’s launched on smartphones and tablets), but Google Docs takes our crown as the best office software for small businesses. Why?

Well, between its three components (Docs, Sheets and Slides), you’ve got three fully featured Office replacements. Docs offer all the benefits of Microsoft Word, Slides beings Google’s magic to the PowerPoint formula and Sheets is a terrific Excel clone. Put together, you’ve got the three most commonly used office applications. The real benefit of Google Drive is that you’re able to invite colleagues to view and work on a document with you at the same time, on their computer, meaning that you won’t have to keep sending your suggestions back and forth via email as you’ll be able to instantly edit the document instead!

Google Docs can open Office documents and even export them too, so you’ll enjoy full compatibility with Office users around the world. As far as small business software goes, it’s something of a no-brainer, especially given the completely free cost – all you need is a Google account.

google drive logo

Why your Public Sector Business Needs an Online Booking System

 

publi

Managing the finances of a public-sector business is a fine balancing act. Not only are the regulations strict, but budgets are almost constantly under fire as successive governments look to reduce the taxpayer burden whilst maintaining quality public sector services.

Under those circumstances, you’d be forgiven for believing that outfitting your business with an online booking platform might not be a priority at this moment. Well, we’re here to help you explore how that simply isn’t the case.

In fact, not only can online booking software like BookingLive improve the efficiency of your organisation, but it can help increase revenue, offsetting the cost of the platform itself.

To say those are the only benefits though would be to sell public sector online booking systems well short of their true worth, though. That’s exactly why we’ve put together this guide of just a handful of the huge reasons why you need a public sector booking system.

 

Your customers are online

It won’t come as a surprise, but the way that people discover the vital information regarding government services has changed fundamentally since the popularisation of the internet. Once the preserve of phone lines and leaflets, information about public sector services has moved online and the public is discovering that information in droves.

For example, 2015 saw over 659 million people visit local government websites – over 10 visits for every single person in the country. Those are huge numbers, but keep in mind that these numbers are only going up as more and more people gain access to the internet.

 

Your staff are tied up in customer booking management

With budgets tight and staff overloaded with work, it can be a challenge to operate successful, efficient services whilst managing bookings from citizens. By operating telephone booking systems, you’re requiring staff to take time away from their other duties to manage calls, slowing down their workflow and interrupting valuable working time.

A Public sector booking system can relieve your staff of pressures of managing a telephone booking system, letting them get on with their job free from distraction.

 

Manual admin tasks are swallowing your working hours and budget

Admin tasks are tough, boring and often expensive necessities of running any business. For public sector business that takes bookings, though, they can feel particularly frustrating.

BookingLive simplifies your admin tasks by automating a great many of them. Alongside taking bookings from customers online (either at your website or through your Facebook page), BookingLive’s public sector booking software can generate reports, manage staff timetables, send our reminder emails, take payments and issue receipts.

That kind of time-saving functionality can be a huge boon to public sector companies.

 

Many councils are already on board

BookingLive have been proudly partnering with a variety of UK councils with online booking software for a number of years now, helping to drive online booking adoption forwards in the public sector.

This has had the secondary function of raising expectation levels amongst the population, who have come to expect all councils and public service sector businesses to offer an online booking option. Take a quick look at just some of the councils we already work with!

 

Public sector businesses need to fit around the lives of those they serve

If working in the public sector is about helping to improve the lives of the people in your area, it only stands to reason that your booking service should fit around their lives too.

Traditional telephone booking requires specific operating hours, dramatically increasing the difficulty your customers face as they attempt to book. More and more, we all live complicated lives in which we might not be able to get to a telephone within office hours in order to book.

 

By using BookingLive to automate your booking process, your customers can book at any time, from any internet-enabled device, therefore enjoying the maximum ease of use available.

G-Cloud

BookingLive is G-Cloud approved suppliers in providing booking and appointment software to local and central government. So head over to our Public Sector Booking System page to find out more.

 

5 Reasons to Use an Online Booking System at Events

event booking system

When it comes to converting promising leads into paying customers, it’s crucial that businesses give their target audience what they want – and booking systems can help you do just that. From saving your staff time to upselling opportunities, booking systems are a great way of drumming up interest in your next event – but how can you use the day itself to get customers excited about future events?

In today’s post, we’re looking at why event booking systems work so well at a range of different events, and how you can incorporate this tool into your wider event marketing strategy.

Easily link with a CRM

Gathering, storing and then using customer data can be hugely beneficial for businesses operating in various sectors, and CRM software can offer a lifeline when it comes to organising this crucial data. Rather than spending huge amounts of time gathering different aspects of a client’s data, with an event booking system, everything can be done in one place – meaning you can analyse data and trends at your leisure, without having to pour valuable resource into gathering this information. However

Give the people what they wantMobile Online Booking System

With mobile searches now overtaking desktop, more and more online users are turning to their smartphones to book tickets, classes and events – and if your business offers any of the above, you can’t afford to overlook the power of event booking systems.

Whether you’re an SME attempting to generate leads at networking events so you can grow your client base or you work in the education sector and need bespoke online forms to suit your needs, a digital booking system can be designed to help just about anyone looking to take bookings online – and tweaked to meet customer demand.

Establish face-to-face relationships

From branded bollard covers that direct your customers towards an event to gathering a list of attendees’ social media handles, events allow businesses to bridge the gap between print and digital media and use this winning combination to create genuine relationships. By boosting brand awareness and liaising with customers face-to-face, you can make authentic connections and increase the likelihood of repeat custom.

Unlike bookings made over the phone, online systems give the user complete control over the booking process – meaning they’re not reliant on anyone else to go ahead with their order. At events, this allows businesses to point attendees towards their website and means they’re on hand to assist with any queries a customer may have.

Deliver instant gratification

For both you and the customer, instant gratification is one of the biggest benefits of booking online. The customer can book the service they want immediately and you’ll receive the payment, rather than having to sit through long phone booking processes and chase up late or incomplete payments.

Increase bookings on the move

One of the greatest benefits of using booking systems at events is the ability to secure bookings from any location. One booking can turn into another when you execute a successful event and encourage attendees to book onto the next one. This removes any limitations, in terms of customers only being able to process orders from certain locations or devices – giving you the best chance of generating maximum interest in your next event.
Ready to find out more about online bookings? Check out our handy beginner’s guide to online booking systems!

Childcare Vouchers to End April 2018 – Everything you Need to Know

childcare vouchers endingFor millions of parents across the country who pay for childcare, using the Government backed childcare vouchers helps them to save around a thousand pounds a year. It’s an invaluable scheme which allows parents to pay for childcare from their pre-tax salary, effectively offering tax-free childcare.

That might not sound like a lot, but too many parents struggling to in the harsh economic climate; it’s proven to be essential.

Now, in a move intended to simplify and streamline tax-free childcare for citizens, the Government have announced that applications for childcare vouchers will close in April 2018, to be replaced by the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, which is due to begin rollout in April 2017.

Understandably, that’s a worry to parents who aren’t fully aware of what the new scheme will offer them in comparison to the exciting childcare vouchers, or for BookingLive customers who aren’t sure whether to disable childcare voucher support in their system.

In this guide, we’re going to explain everything you need to know in terms of the childcare vouchers change.

 

How does the current system work?

The current childcare vouchers scheme is available for parents with children up to the age 15, and is offered through employers. The vast majority of employers offer childcare vouchers through ‘salary sacrifice’, which works thusly: you might give up £1,000 of salary, but after tax and your National Insurance contribution, it would only be £700. In return, you’d get £1,000 worth of vouchers to spend on childcare, making you £300 better off than you would be if you’d simply taken your salary.

Basic rate taxpayers can pay for up to £243 worth of childcare vouchers each month, working out at £55 per week. It’s crucial to note that this figure is per parent, so two working parents can get £468 worth of vouchers each month.

The childcare voucher scheme will close to new applicants in April 2018.

 

How will Tax-Free Childcare work?

The new Tax-Free Childcare scheme was unveiled during budget week, March 2014, and was always explicitly designed to replace the childcare voucher scheme, although the specific rollout and cut-off dates have since changed.

Tax-Free Childcare is once again intended to help parents with the cost of childcare, though it goes about it in a different way. Launching in April 2017, parents who opt in to the scheme will give eligible families an extra 20% towards their childcare costs.

Even at such a late stage, we still don’t know the exact details of how the Tax-Free Childcare system will work. However, we do know that for every 80p you put in, the state will add 20p, effectively giving you a basic-rate tax back on what you pay.

In total, you’ll be able to pay for childcare of up to £10,000 per child per year, so you could get up to £2,000 per year (or £4,000 if your child is disabled) every year.

 

How will this affect BookingLive customers?

In October 2015, BookingLive introduced a way for childcare providers like schools, nurseries and after school clubs to accept childcare vouchers as a form of payment for their customers who chose to book online.

This has been a huge success and a massive boon to our customers working in childcare sectors, but what does the move to Tax-Free Childcare mean for those booking platforms? You will still be able to accept Childcare vouchers – it just may mean that it won’t be an as popular payment method as it once was.

We’re also yet to hear how childcare credits are managed beyond that date for families with unspent credits to their name. At the moment, you can apply to your place of work to have the credits turned back into taxable income, but it’s unclear exactly what the cut-off date for these conversions will be.

Our development team are always looking to adapt the platform to fit in with current needs and expectations. We do know, however, that childcare tax credits will be in operation until April 2018, so retaining the ability to pay via these methods is highly recommended until this date.

We’ll update this article as and when new information regarding childcare vouchers and Tax-Free Childcare is announced.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of an Online Booking System?

For many companies that take bookings, there’s an unspoken rule – don’t change what isn’t broken. When it comes to taking bookings that mean many don’t stray from old fashioned telephone-based systems because it’s worked for many years so.

It shouldn’t come a surprise to find that there’s a better way of doing things. We speak, of course, about online booking. Online booking systems work by providing a secure and customisable booking platform by which your customers can see availability, book and pay all on your the booking system that’s been implemented on your website!

As a leading supplier of online booking platforms for customers both big and small, we’ve seen the impact an online booking platform can have on a business.

We’re aware that sometimes, the benefits of such a change might not be immediately obvious. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to share with you the advantages and disadvantages of an online booking system.

 

Advantage: An Online booking system saves your staff time

When you think about the workflow of your customer service staff, it becomes clear that an awful lot of time is taken by up handling phone calls from people looking to book, explaining options to customers and managing schedules. The demands of a phone-based booking system require that a member of your staff is constantly available to handle bookings, something that isn’t the case with an online booking platform.

Because BookingLive is fully automated, if there’s space available for a given date, your customer can choose their options, pick a date and time, pay and receive an email confirmation without any human interaction on your end, freeing up your staff to do more valuable tasks in their time.

 

Advantage: Removing the bottleneck of phone booking systems

With a phone-based booking platform, you’re introducing a huge bottleneck online booking systeminto your business that can prevent customers from placing their bookings with you.

Most telephone booking systems rely on customers calling during office hours, but for many people, they simply don’t have the time to book whilst they’re in the middle of their work day. Not to mention the fact that only one caller can book at a time and if someone calls when you’re on the phone this could lead to a loss of a customer due to them unable to get through to you.

Online booking platforms like BookingLive, on the other hand, offer the distinct advantage of letting customers book anytime and anywhere they see fit, on whatever device they’re using. That kind of booking availability can be a huge boost to your business. Taking bookings all around the clock will allow customers to book 24/7.

 

Advantage: Greater sales and marketing synergy

How often do you find yourself saying “all our information is on our website” a day? We’re willing to bet that it’s more than a handful. These days, our websites are more than mere contact information for our brick-and-mortar locations, they’re huge repositories of information regarding our business, what we offer and more.

So why not offer the opportunity to book alongside that compelling copy? By having your booking system implemented and placed on your website with all your content, will result in customers being more likely to make those impulse bookings which brings in that extra revenue.

 

Advantage: Increased revenue thanks to upselling

In any business, you’re going to face immense competition, which typically leads to something of a race to the bottom, price-wise. That’s why it’s so important to upsell your customers. That might mean a meal included on a tour, a life jacket on a water sports activity or teas and coffees in a meeting room.

Online booking platforms like BookingLive introduce upselling into the booking process, letting you offer context-specific items and offers to customers who might have come across them otherwise. It’s just another way online booking platforms help to grow your business and an extra revenue stream for your business.

 

Disadvantage: Can come at a cost

Many Online Booking Systems, for all their advantages, do come at a cost. However, there are free ones around, but you won’t have as many advantages with these.

Some charge you per transactions, whilst others (like BookingLive) charge a flat monthly fee, so you’ll always know how much you’re paying – however, if you overbook your monthly booking limit you would have to either pay for the extra bookings or upgrade your plan. Custom made online booking platforms will charge you a hefty lump sum up front, as well as recurring costs for bug fixes and support.

 

To find out more about our pricing click here. Ultimately, the benefits of an online booking system for your business far outweigh the small monthly cost it would take to implement one, but the notion of cost is something you’re going to have to come to terms with.

Online booking systems open your business up to a range of opportunities, from saving your staff time to a new revenue stream through offering to upsell items.  So keep up with the online booking trend today and contact us, where a member of our staff would be more than happy to discuss how we can help you implement an online booking system.

To see what our current customer’s experience of an online booking system then watch this video!

9 Tips for a Perfect Product Launch

Your business is working on something. It could be huge and it’s an idea that’s sent a ripple of excitement through everyone who’s heard about it. It feels like nothing could go wrong, however, great ideas don’t always translate into great product launches, without thorough research/planning.

It seems cruel, but the world of business isn’t necessarily a meritocracy, and so building an incredible launch plan to go with your incredible product is an absolute necessity.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a young events company hoping to break through the big players or an activity centre planning your next great day out for customers, the fact remains the same; great launches create great revenue, provided your product is good.

In this guide, we’re going to provide you with 9 incredible tips for launching your new product, seen through the lens of one of our customers, who implemented our online booking system.

Know what other products are in your space

No product is created in a vacuum, and despite how original your idea may appear, there will always be competition surrounding the idea. As such, you need to spend the time investigating what other companies have done and are doing in the space. If you’re a company that takes bookings, you’ll understand that many of your competitors are now taking bookings online, meaning that this is the way that the market is shaping, and you should most likely keep up with the trend.

Your job as you launch a product is to know what other companies are doing, what they’ve got right and what you think you can improve. How will your product disrupt the space? For the activity centre that approached us for an online booking platform, they’d noticed that competitors in their area hadn’t utilised an online booking platform yet, giving them an important edge, and a USP from their competitors who have yet to catch up with the online booking trend!

Really get to know your product

For many businesses, the job of marketing doesn’t sit in the hands of those who devise the products and services that are being sold. Meaning that it’s vital for the marketing team to know the product inside out!

If that’s the case, you need to get to know your new product intimately before you draw up any plan. Join in on development calls; get to know why the product was designed and what problems/market gaps they’re trying to fill and ask as many questions as you can, to really extend your knowledge on it.

For example, our customer whom recently launched their booking system with us, really got to know the system, taking weeks to familiarise themselves with the advantages and uses of their booking system.  This became extremely useful during their product launch as they really knew what to tell their audience and how to say it. This then resulted in a successful product launch.

Prepare your staff

Customers ask questions, so have your staff fullyfacebook ad copy trained up and understanding of what your product is, and its distinct advantages is of vital importance. If you don’t do it pre-launch, confusion will only spread through your staff and on to your customers. If you’re launching a new product, it doesn’t give off a good impression if the staff don’t know all the necessary information they need to.

If your staff have full knowledge on the product, they would be able to answer any questions customers have once the product has been launched. In terms of someone launching a booking system, it would allow staff to know where to point customers when they book, and able to lead them through the process if they are having problems doing so.

Don’t expect people to find your product by accident

“If you build it, they will come” might have worked in Field of Dreams, but when you’re launching your product, that’s not how it works. Any product launch should come backed by a unified announcement and promotion strategy which combines effective copy, targeted marketing across social media and email, plus press releases sent to the relevant places.

Take, for example, our activity centre, launching their online booking service. Customers would have little notion of its existence if it weren’t for the information they sent out to them from staff. The best way for the business to do this would be through an email campaign as a formal announcement/update.

Develop your branding early, but don’t become too attached

When launching a new product or service, you can run ahead with the branding from an early stage. The name and messaging of your product will help guide its development, and it’s what customers will interact with long before they get to use your latest and greatest.

However, remember that these things should never be set in stone prior to launch. Everything can be improved, and if the market shifts underfoot as you prepare to launch, you need to be ready to change.  Therefore this also adds that it’s important to be prepared to allow change.

Involve yourself in testing

The testing phase for your launch is crucial because it’s going to reveal an awful lot not just about your product, but your audience. Involving yourself in this process, either anonymously or in an official capacity will teach you huge amounts about usability, you’re messaging and virtually every aspect of what you’re attempting to launch. Plus it’s important to ensure that your product is fully functioning – you don’t want to launch something that isn’t complete to a satisfactory level.

From there, you can not only change what has to be changed but truly understand a product’s purpose and appeal outside of your perspective.

Set an ambitious goal

No matter how small the product, service or idea you’re attempting to launch, you need to be setting yourself ambitious goals. From your launch and into the months and years following, your goals for the product should be high. By using a best case scenario model, you’ll be aware just how effective your launch has been. It also makes you, and your staff, wanting to aim high in order to meet goals. If you’re Expecting 400 new customers but end up with 150? Something hasn’t gone to plan in the product launch.

Launch with an eventgift-vouchers

New product launches are a great way to attract one-time customers back to your company and a brilliant way to get customers off the fence and buying from your company. However, they’re going to need a little encouragement outside of the sheer ‘newness’ factor of it all. That’s why we always recommend launching with an event. To ensure that your event is a success you will have to put out all the relevant advertising, which will bring in your current customers, and additionally new customers.

With BookingLive, you can easily set discounts and sales, which, along with a marketing push can drive sales through your business, as well as familiarise customers with the platform. This is something to consider when launching an event as you could give them a discount code to book with once the product has been launched.

Pick the right channels to advertise through

Today, the market for all products is extremely diffuse, with customers using a huge variety of media platforms to discover products and services. Along with that has come more complicated, but more targeted advertising platforms.

When you’re launching, it’s crucial that you spend the time to evaluate and understand each platform before you begin your advertising. Returning to our activities centre booking platform launch, they found that Facebook was an extremely fruitful marketing platform, and not only published articles and adverts pointing out the new booking method.

 

If you’re looking to launch an online booking system within your business then feel free to get in contact with us today, or sign up for our free demo.

6 Essential Skills of A Tour Guide

Tour operators live and die by the skill, passion and drive of their tour guides. As the true backbone of any tour company, tour guides bring the magic to your tours and bring customers back time and time again. However, it’s not a job that just anybody can do. It’s a demanding position that requires superb memory, incredible performance skills and great customer service.
Whilst it’s true that no two tours (or tour companies) are the same, there are some common traits which help tour guides really stand out.  There are six key skills of a tour guide that you should be carrying out on your tours:

tourbookingsystem    tourbookingsystem    onlinebookingsystem

 1 – Communication

It should go without saying that every tour guide worth their salt has excellent communication skills. A good tour guide is articulate, easy to understand, has the physical capabilities to command attention and project their voice across potentially large groups of people.
They should also be able to communicate one on one, answer questions with calm and remain approachable even when under pressure. It’s a big ask, but these qualities are what really determine how memorable your tours will be in the long run.

2 – Energy

Ultimately, the success of your tours will come down to the energy levels of your tour guides. Tour guides need the ability to sustain a high level of energy throughout the working day, keeping guests interested and involved throughout the tour. Low energy levels affect everything from communication to customer care, so ensuring your guides have good energy levels is essentials. If you have low energy levels, then this will affect the energy levels of your customers.

3 – Dynamism

Your tour guides are going to be faced with a huge variety of challenges as they go about their job. It’s more than just addressing crowds, but also answering individual questions, handing out advice, problem-solving and much more, all whilst attempting to hold the attention of your guests.
So to ensure your tours are the best, your tour guides should have a passion for the city/country which will really increase their love for the job – and the customers love for the tour! As such, dynamic characters are essential to the function of your tours.

4 – Memory

As a tour operator, you know that you’re not just selling the sights and sounds of a location, you’re selling the whole package. That includes a breadth of knowledge about the area that most simply don’t have. Naturally then, your tour guides are expected to retain a huge amount of information and be able to recall it with absolute ease.
Ultimately, your tour guides should be able to know their script so well that it flows naturally, like a friend telling another a story, rather than somebody working their way through a script. That’s the kind of talent that only comes with fantastic memory.

5 – A sense of humour

Long after the facts begin to fade in your guests’ minds, the memory of the fun they had will remain, and the key to building those everlasting memories is humour. Your guests might be there for the history, but anyone can lose interest when the facts are presented in a dry and humourless way.

A little humour brings life to any tour, dramatically increases enjoyment levels and helps to relax your guests into their experience.

6 – Professionalism

For all the adaptability demanded of a tour guide, professionalism must always be retained. Your tour guides will be dealing with crowds, high-pressure situations and customers from a variety of cultures. As such, retaining professionalism and courtesy is essential at all times. Guides who don’t do so, may rack up some complaints, lose control over groups and therefore won’t leave the customers wanting to come back.

 

With these six traits, your tour guides can provide engaging, informative and entertaining tours to your guests. However, getting those guests to sign up for your tours isn’t easy. That’s why our tour operator online booking platform is there to help you get customers signed up safely and quickly, allowing you to then manage your online bookings effectively! To find our more about our booking system, sign up for our demo!

Good recruitment and better bookings? That’s the basis of a successful tour operator.

What is a Salesforce Booking System?

Online booking software is a way for customers to make bookings with your business. Whether your business is an activity centre, a tour operator or even a course provider, there is no doubt your need for an online booking system.

However, there’s more to a successful online booking system than just helping your customer make their booking, because good customer relationship management plays an essential role in improving the customer experience, driving repeat sales and understanding your client base.

There are countless technologies available which enable tracking and analysis, but Salesforce is amongst the very best. But what is a Salesforce enabled booking system, and how can it improve productivity, boost sales and help you manage your staff? Join us as we explain all.

 

What is Salesforce?salesforcelogo

Salesforce is a suite of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools designed to help businesses big and small dramatically improvetheir customer service, retention rates, purchase analysis and much, much more. Available on a rolling contract, Salesforce is a class leading product.

Utilised by some of the biggest businesses in the world from Coca-Cola to Sony, it’s a highly respected and widely used platform. CRM’s are known to improve customer retention by as much as 27% and Salesforce booking system customers report a 39% increase in sales.

 

How does a Salesforce enabled booking system work?

By combining Saleforce’s analytical tools with your online booking software, you can see more information at a glance than you ever could before. Automatically generated analytics bring together information that’s more than of mere interest, but of vital importance for a business which wants to drive up customer retention.

For the customer, the experience remains much the same; they visit your website, and enjoy a secure booking experience. However, from the back end, you have access to an unprecedented number of tools that can help your business move forward in ways previously unattainable.

 

What features does Salesforce have?

Salesforce pride themselves on offering a complete suite of business applications to monitor and manage everything from sales leads to customer complaints. Here’s what you can expect from Salesforce’s suite:

  • Sales Cloud: Salesforce automation tools and CRM
  • Service Cloud: Class leading tools for customer service and help desks
  • Community Cloud: Tools for collaboration between customers, partners and employees
  • Wave Analytics: Serious analytical data for every booking, website visit, email interactions and more.
  • App Cloud: A development platform for creating cloud-based applications
  • IOT Cloud: A connected device platform for the next major wave of technology, the Internet of Things
  • Commerce Cloud: Digital commerce, point of sale and order management for your business

Each of these services can be taken individually or together, but there’s no doubting the utility of such services for your business.

 

How does Salesforce integrate with BookingLive?

BookingLive is our award winning secure online booking software, and with support for over 50 different integrations, it’s a deeply customisable experience. We’ve long understood the value of Salesforce’s software and since then built Salesforce support right into our software.

If you have BookingLive’s software implemented and a customer of yours has a Salesforce login, they are able to use this in a self-service way which will enable them to book themselves onto an event once they are logged in. This will use an SSO, which is a Single-Sign on that allows people to use just one set of login details to have access to difference applications.

Using both services together, BookingLive and Salesforce help to empower your customers to book, whilst Salesforce’s world-class analytics, support and tracking helps you to deliver better service, business growth and stronger online sales.

To find out more about a Salesforce booking system, visit their website here. To find out more about BookingLive, sign up for a free demo or take a tour of the features of our amazing booking platform.