Tour Operator Software FAQs: A Comprehensive Guide

Tour Operator Software FAQs: A Comprehensive Guide 

As we’ve said before, having the right tour operator software can make all the difference for travel professionals when it comes to their business- which is increasingly important, given that travel is on the rise. Behind every trip of a lifetime is a dedicated person or team of people that must grapple with logistical challenges, detailed itineraries, vendor and supplier coordination, customer communication, and more daily. Without the right support from technology, it can be nearly impossible (or at least very difficult and time-consuming) to be able to successfully produce and manage trips, let alone grow the business.  

What was once a nice-to-have has quickly become a need-to-survive in light of heightened competition, increasing customer demands, and changing expectations around the industry at large. In truth, tour operators that have not yet embraced the multitude of benefits that software can provide are missing out and bound to fall behind those that are more technologically savvy. However, it’s important to note that not all tour operator software is built for every kind of travel business. There are nuances to each software, so ensuring that it’s the right fit requires some serious research and analysis.  

If you are considering any kind of tour operator software for your business, here are some key questions to keep in mind. 

What is tour operator software? 

At its core, tour operator software is a comprehensive solution designed to streamline and automate various aspects of tour management, from “quote to cash”. It serves as a unified platform to manage the entire workflow of tour operations, allowing tour operators to optimize efficiency and deliver exceptional experiences to travelers. Features may vary but should cover all necessary business functions. 

What are the main benefits of tour operator software?  

Tour operator software offers many benefits, both internally and externally, including enhanced operational efficiency, improved customer satisfaction, increased revenue opportunities, and better team alignment. Especially for software that offers an all-in-one solution, benefits don’t stop with just a nicer itinerary or easier task management. Given that many tour operators have remote teams, software can keep everyone just as connected as they would be in-person; no popping by needed! By automating manual tasks, providing better communication, and learning valuable insights through the available data, tour operators can focus on what truly matters – delivering unforgettable experiences to travelers. 

Are there certain features to look for in tour operator software? 

Tour operator success hinges on efficient management across various facets of the business. Features should cover all areas of travel management: reservations, product management, operations, CRM, marketing, reporting, task management, integrated payments, accounting, and API connectivity. Though every tour operator will have its own unique needs, multi-day travel will always require a robust and complex ability to handle all aspects that software can help solve for. See our Softrip multi-day tour operator checklist for reference!  

What is the timeline for purchasing tour operator software? 

The short answer? ASAP! The timeline for purchasing tour operator software can vary depending on business needs and what the “busy” time of year is for the staff. Ideally, start researching and evaluating software options well in advance to allow sufficient time for decision-making, implementation, and training. However, be flexible and prepared to adapt to unexpected challenges or opportunities that may arise during the process. Purchasing software is no small task, but one that is well worth investing in.  

 Will your software provide the appropriate Return on Investment? 

If a software isn’t going to meet all your needs, its potential return on investment (ROI) might not be worth it. Consider factors such as time savings, increased productivity, reduced operational costs, and revenue growth opportunities. Choose a software solution that aligns with your business needs and offers tangible benefits that outweigh the initial investment. For the best tour operator software, ROI can often be immediate: the sooner you can manage your operations more efficiently, the sooner you can grow!  

Will your software require you to piece together multiple systems? 

If important data for customers, vendors, accounting, and trip details is scattered across multiple spreadsheets and documents, or the software will still require support from other systems, it might not be the best choice. Ideally, opt for tour operator software that offers a comprehensive suite of integrated features rather than piecemeal solutions that require you to cobble together multiple systems. Integrated software streamlines workflows, minimizes silos, and clarifies communication within and outside your business. Software should make everything easier, simpler, and provide a “source of truth” for everyone involved. 

How much manual work will your team still have to do? 

The goal of software is to help operators do more, faster. While tour operator software automates many aspects of tour management, there may still be manual tasks that require a human touch. Assess the level of automation offered by the software and evaluate how it aligns with your operational workflows. Is the software really reducing the manual work necessary? Sometimes what looks like it will reduce manual work creates more complexity. Look for software that offers opportunities to minimize manual work through features such as automated booking confirmations, itinerary creation, and invoicing.  

To what extent will the software improve communication? 

As they say (and so do we!), communication is key. Effective communication is critical in the travel industry, and tour operator software can significantly enhance customer communication capabilities. Even more importantly, it can reduce costly mistakes and missed connections. Look for features that keep details in one place, keep travelers informed at every stage of their journey and exceed all expectations. Don’t underestimate the power of keeping your internal team up to speed, either. Teams that communicate well work better together and create better travel experiences for their customers.  

Will the software allow you to grow and expand your offerings in the future? 

Software should be an asset to tour operators both now and in the future. Choose tour operator software that is scalable and adaptable to accommodate your business’s growth trajectory and evolving needs. Consider factors such as the ability to add new tour products, support for multiple currencies and languages, integration with third-party services, and flexibility to customize workflows and branding as your business expands into new markets or places. You don’t want to have to switch products every time you decide to pivot – and software might be the key to helping you do just that.  

Does the software provide the training and support you will need to be successful? 

Make sure your software providers of choice aren’t going to say “Bye!” after the sales process ends. Comprehensive training and ongoing support through a proven process are essential for successful implementation and utilization of tour operator software. Evaluate training resources, documentation, and customer support offerings to ensure they align with your team’s needs and preferences. It’s always helpful to have personalized training sessions, user-friendly documentation, and responsive support channels to address any questions or issues that may arise. 

What percentage of your team will benefit from the software? 

The right software should satisfy the needs and challenges of everyone involved in the tour operator workflow. Assess how tour operator software will impact different departments and roles within your organization. If a given software only benefits one or two departments or people, that leaves others still lacking the resources and tools they need to support other functions. Involve key stakeholders from various departments in the evaluation process to ensure their needs and concerns are addressed, ensuring buy-in and excitement from all. Think about the options for those at the Executive level, Sales & Marketing, Product & Operations, Finance & Accounting.   

Choosing the right tour operator software is a big decision that can have a significant impact on your travel business’s efficiency, profitability, and customer loyalty. By asking yourself these critical questions and conducting thorough research and evaluation, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your overarching goals and provides you and your team with the framework and infrastructure you will need to achieve long-term growth, success, and stability through the ups and downs of travel. If you are looking for a solution that can give you a resounding “Yes!” to all these questions, then book a personalized demo with Softrip today.