Trip Planning Software & The Tour Opertor Industry


FYI tips, thoughts, and advice from our team to yours.

posted by Sitefinity Developer Sunday,April 23, 2017 AT 08:22PM

Adventure Office Web Links

Have you been shopping online and seen messages about the site not being secure? Did you get a sinking feeling? You may not have personally experienced this, but if you don't take the appropriate actions this is likely to happen to customers visiting your site.

With some of the most recent browser updates (such as with Google Chrome 56) tightening their security on HTTP sites, it is time for you to ensure your site meets the latest SSL security protocols. If you have not taken the time to update the links to your booking pages, your customers may run into some pretty scary warnings that could lead to an increased number of abandoned bookings. Avoiding this scenario and providing a "safe" booking experience for your customers is a straight forward process. Adventure Office has already enabled SSL deep links for all of our online booking pages accessible by your website. The Adventure Web Links being used on your website need to be updated by your web team so that they begin with HTTPS. For further assistance, please click here see our help article.

posted by Sitefinity Developer Sunday,April 23, 2017 AT 08:14PM

How well is your site performing?

Everyone knows that a good web presence is critical to attracting travelers to your business. You don't have to be actively involved in updating your site, but you should be familiar with some fundamental items about how well your site is performing. 

Search Results and Page Rank

Is your web site hard to find? If people cannot find your easily, how will they book with you? Can you find your website without scrolling through multiple pages? If you are not listed on the first page of the search results, you may want to investigate why.

Site search results are based, in part, on your page rank. Page rank is a search engine calculation which evaluates the quality and quantity of links to a webpage to determine a relative score of that page's importance and authority on a 0 to 10 scale. (check your page rank here). The higher your score, the easier your site will be to find.

Keys to Improving your page rank

Provide Quality Content

Make sure that your content is interesting and will useful for visitors. Also, you will want to update your content regularly and that your content matches the site description and key words. Attracting visitors to your site is very important for your page ranking.

Optimize your pages

The first thing to do is to optimize for both keyword and conversation searches. But don't over do it, you can be penalized if you overload your site with key words or meta data does not match your content. Also, you will want to use backlinks to increase your page rank. Search engines will be able to see if visitors are coming to your site from other sites (using these backlinks). The more reputable these sites are, the more impact it has on your ranking.

In site Promotions

If you have not done so, create and submit your site map. This helps search engines find items on your site more easily. You can also promote your site, by translating your site. this can be expensive, but if you are marketing your activities to travelers worldwide, it may be worth the price to increase traffic to your website and also increase your page rank. Another way to show consistent traffic and increase your page rank, is to create and RSS feed. This is a good option for those that update content on your web site frequently.

Sharing

Using social media, such sites as Facebook, is a great way to increase traffic to your site. If you are not doing this, you should be. This is one of the easiest and quickest ways to spread backlinks among a large number of travelers. Also, when using social media, become more shareable by providing ways for people to share your content (set tweets to 120 characters so they can be re-tweeted). Consider how your content will be shared.

posted by Ted Miller Thursday,July 28, 2016 AT 03:20PM

Depending on how your email system is set-up and its interaction with the Adventure Office email servers, your customers may not receive emails or the emails may end up in their spam folder. This can impact reservation confirmations, automated emails, individual emails and email marketing campaigns.

We received the following notice from Constant Contact, which does a great job of explaining the issue. Since the time Constant Contact sent the notice, Google implemented the change without notice.

"Google is set to make a change to their authentication policy that impacts people who use Gmail to send emails through a third-party service like Constant Contact. Free email providers like Yahoo, AOL, and soon Google have adopted the strict DMARC email authentication protocol to prevent spam. So if your business uses '@gmail.com' as the 'from' address through Constant Contact, Google's protocol will tell receiving servers to reject the email because it's not sent through a Google server--and the email will most likely bounce or go to spam."

The Adventure Office email system is designed to interact with your email server. The non-technical process:

  • A client has an email service provider through which they utilize their own url, such as @companyname.com. In most cases, the URL is the same as their web site URL.
  • The Adventure Office email system is designed to transfer outgoing emails to the client's email server using something called SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). Having been pre-configured by the client's email service provider to accept SMTP transfers for outgoing email, the clients email server accepts the email from Adventure Office servers.
  • The client's email service provider sends out the emails, subject to any daily limitations. This ensures the from/reply address on the emails is the same as the email server sending emails to the client's customers.
  • This type of set-up is the best practice to ensure smooth email operations and should not be impacted by the changes occurring in the email industry.
  • We strongly encourage utilizing a paid email service, which is normally an optional service offered by the company providing URL registry, such a GoDaddy or Network Solutions.
  • If a client uses a free email service such as @gmail or @yahoo, their emails have to be sent out via that particular service, and most of these services severely limit the number of emails that can be sent in a given day.

These industry changes impact any client still sending emails to customers directly from the Adventure Office email system. The outgoing email has the client's from address/reply such as @companyname.com, but it is being sent from the Adventure Office mail server which has the URL adventurecentral.com.

Customers of the client only see the @companyname.com, but the large email providers know the from/reply address URL is different than the email server URL that sends the email. After the industry changes, these emails are much more likely to be treated as spam and not be delivered to the client's customers.

posted by Ted Miller Tuesday,August 20, 2013 AT 05:19PM

How do my bookings and business profits compare to others in my industry? Where can I find data specific to the adventure travel industry?

If you’ve asked yourself these questions, you’re not alone. Our clients have approached us with the very same concerns, so we’ve collated relevant information for your use with the help of our comprehensive tracking system.

Our software includes data from dozens of companies throughout the adventure travel and tour industry, providing a representation of the industry as a whole.

The statistics in this report represent our entire network from January 1 through June 30 for 2012 and 2013. In 2012, this period represented 53% of the total business for the year.

We hope that you can use this information for comparison purposes, as well as a way to establish goals and guidelines for continued business growth and success.

Here are Adventure Travel Industry statistics showing % change from 2012 to 2013:

This table illustrates the percentage growth from 2012 to 2013 in regards to Total Completed Trips, Total # of Seats Sold, and Source of Total Revenue for both offline and online reservations.

Table 1 – Overall Summary

% Change from 2012 to 2013

Total Completed Trips

Total # of Seats Sold

Source of Total  Revenue

Overall Business

13.2%

13.4%

3.1%

Offline Reservations

17.9%

12.9%

- 4.1%

Online Reservations

5.1%

15.0%

30.4%

Below, Table 2 and 3 delve into values and percentages for several categories for each year.  Table 4 compares the year over year percentage change of the first two tables.

Table 2 - 2012  

January 1 through

June 30, 2012

Average $ per Reservation

Average $ per Seat

Average Seats per Reservation

% of Reservations Booked

% of Seats Booked

Overall Business

$369.97

$115.24

3.2

100%

100%

Offline Reservations

$460.67

$126.49

3.6

63.6%

72.1%

Online Reservations

$211.66

$86.13

2.5

36.4%

27.9%

Table 3 - 2013

January 1 through June 30, 2013

Average $ per Reservation

Average $ per Seat

Average Seats per Reservation

% of Reservations Booked

% of Seats Booked

Overall Business

$336.87

$104.71

3.2

100%

100%

Offline Reservations

$374.80

$107.48

3.5

66.2%

71.1%

Online Reservations

$262.62

$97.68

2.7

33.8%

28.3%

Table 4 - % Change

% Change 2012 to 2013

Average $ per Reservation

Average $ per Seat

Average Seats per Reservation

% of Total Reservation Booked

% of Seats Booked

Overall Business

-8.9%

-9.1%

0.2%

N/A

N/A

Offline Reservations

-18.6%

-15.0%

-4.3%

4.1%

-0.5%

Online Reservations

24.1%

13.4%

9.4%

-7.2%

1.3%

These statistics show that a well-rounded approach to bookings, including both online and offline reservations, is important to the success and growth of your adventure travel company. Online reservations have shown the most growth from 2012 to 2013, and data shows that they will continue to become a larger portion of reservations.

An updated and streamlined tour booking software will help you easily register offline reservations yourself, and also give online bookers more features to make booking through your website easier.

If you can’t easily track your bookings, average costs, and percentage increases, our software can help you to make sense of the data and find opportunities to improve your processes.


posted by Ted Miller Tuesday,July 02, 2013 AT 03:01PM

Let’s face it, blogging has become a bit of a marketing “it factor.” Every business seems to have one. Now, you want to join in too. There’s just one problem: you have blogger’s block.

Well, you’re in luck because here at Adventure Office we’ve got a cure for that. In fact, we’re so excited about it, we’ve decided not to keep it to ourselves. We’re going to share it with you – our fellow travel agents.

Spit-Balling: How to Write a Travel Blog

You’re sitting at your computer, you’ve pulled up a fresh, blank page, and the cursor is blinking idly. Now, what do you do? Think of examples that readers respond well to:

  • “Dear Abby” taught us that readers love advice.
  • Douglas Addams taught us it helps if you’re funny.
  • Good Housekeeping would argue that useful information sells.
  • When in doubt, think memoir. Everyone’s going to write one someday, right?

Looking at it from this angle, the problem becomes clear: you’re trying to be too many things for too many readers.

Yes, your blog should be interesting, informative, and fun, but you’ve got all of the material in front of you already. Think about what readers are looking for from a travel website:

  • Current trends
  • Local culture
  • Tips and information
  • Fun things to do when they reach their destination
  • Entries and journals from other travelers
  • Pictures and feedback

They want to get a feel for what they are about to experience. One of the easiest ways to get started is to see what other travel sites are writing about.

Curate Your Content

The good news is not everything you write has to be generated by you. You can find and re-purpose:

  • Informative articles
  • Tips
  • General travel information

Just make sure the re-writes are original and, just like that, your blogger’s block will be cured!

To help you take the next steps, we’d like to share some useful resources from our partner, The Great Online!

-       Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose: What’s your Content Strategy?

-       Leveraging Content Marketing in 2013

-   6 Steps for a Content Creation Strategy to Grow Your Business

posted by Sitefinity Developer Friday,March 29, 2013 AT 09:20AM

All of the paperwork, phone calls and emails can be overwhelming as a small business owner. However, these daily, sometimes mundane tasks must still go on to have a successful and operational business. What follows is an exciting opportunity for adventure leaders to continue doing what you love most, without worrying about in-house administrative duties.

Do you run a white water rafting tour company? Do you offer people a chance to experience adventurous journeys and unforgettable vacation opportunities? We know where you’re coming from. As adventure travel aficionados ourselves, we can relate to your business. We’re also passionate about providing people with daring, exciting, and fun outdoor excursions. We also know that outside catering to customers is where you’d like to carry out your day-to-day business. After all, who wants to be stuck inside crunching numbers or filing paperwork all day?

If you’re looking for a solution where you can run your business while mid-rapid, you’ve come to the right place. We cater to a variety of industries, including but not limited to:

  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Ziplining
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Lodging/Campgrounds
  • Skiing, Snowmobiling and Dog Sledding
  • Kayaking and Canoeing
  • Bungee Jumping
  • Tour and Charter Boats
  • Road and Mountain Biking

Tedious administrative work can become a thing of the past for talented adventurers who were meant to be out in the field exploring.  No more wasting your skills at data entry when cliffs and rapids are calling.  Adventure Office's proven systems leave no room for doubt that our services will be the best solution possible for adventure leaders everywhere. 

Visit our website for more information on our tour booking software that is flexible, highly customizable, and most importantly, allows you to spend your energy in the field and not in the office. Contact Adventure Office today to find out how a small business with a big dream can succeed in a rapidly changing world of tourism.

“Adventure Office has allowed us to be open 24x7. We can see what’s happening with reservations from anywhere at any time. Today we don’t miss a step if we’re out of the office for a few days.”
-- Jaci Dvorak of Dvorak Expeditions

posted by Sitefinity Developer Tuesday,March 19, 2013 AT 03:26PM

“Adventure tourism is what tourism should be today and definitely what tourism will be tomorrow,” said Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).  

Adventure Tourism
Mr. Rifai’s statement foretells a new horizon of travel that could open up unlimited possibilities to small businesses.  “Adventure tourism” refers to a shift in the tourism market showing a growing trend toward more experienced based travel.

Environmentally and culturally, travelers have begun to prefer more responsible and lower impact exploration, with an emphasis on vacations where they get to have experiences.  

What this gives to smaller activity-based businesses is the perfect chance to expand a clientele base and reach far more tourists with the chance for an experience unlike any other.  As travelers express a desire to do more with their time away, companies providing adventure and exploration have no better chance to provide an answer to that need.

Place of Interest
Highlight all that is special--and (culturally) relevant about a business’ location and what can be gained by incorporating a stop into vacationers’ trips.  

  • What’s New: Include recently added attractions that may draw both new and returning customers
  • Season for Fun: winter, spring, summer, fall - advertise the best times to visit for different experiences
  • Fun for All or Romantic Getaways:  Specify who will get the most from exploring where by sorting out what is best for the family or better for a couples retreat

Move Your Prospects from Being Interested to Being Booked
Once the desire to experience a particular place has been sown, it must be evident that such an activity is also quite possible.  Delving into further statistics regarding traveling habits helps assess this.

Studies by Adventure Travel News show that

  • 72% of Americans prefer to take shorter trips, generally around 5 days long, rather than leave for weeks at a time.  
  • Many consumers believed they could only afford to go on 2 short trips a year.  

How should you put these stats to use?

  • Point out the ease of travel to your destination – they want to be able to spend the maximum amount of time adventuring, not traveling to get there.
Include mentions of nearby attractions that could similarly interest specific clientele.  Closest to a major city but not far from others?  Suggest the possibility for a day trip and broaden horizons within the supposed limits of a short vacation.


posted by Sitefinity Developer Tuesday,March 19, 2013 AT 03:15PM

In the world of adventuring, not all activities are created equal.  That’s why it’s important to know who is interested in what, to see which kinds of people appreciate each area of exploration.

Businesses want to invest more time in tailoring their tours and attractions to meet the varied interests of their diverse customers, and office work is the last thing on their minds.  Adventure Office has the answer to tedious administrative needs in a sophisticated tour operator reservation system.

Two Demographic Trends to Look Out for in 2013

Your travel services would be life-changing to any person no matter age, race, belief or interest. However, you should be aware when certain groups are changing their behaviors and interests so that you can adapt your message and offerings to better serve them. Baby Boomers and Hispanic travelers are two of these groups that you may see more of in the coming months.

Baby Boomer Tourists
Emerging from the recent years affected by a down economy and some tough financial times, this group seems renewed with a spirit of adventure.  Reports from the Chicago Tribune show that 37 percent of the baby boomer population plans to travel in 2013, many bringing their children and grandchildren along.  

Travel Daily News indicates that most of the elderly and retired surveyed in their study even intend to reduce spending on eating out, clothing and accessories in favor of vacations and short travel breaks.  

With a company focused largely on the educational aspects of the history-steeped landscapes, the appeal to seniors will be evident.  To engage the youngsters of the group, consider adding more youth-centered activities.  

  • Favorite foods of past cultures
  • Fun facts and trivia 
  • Common games of the region
  • Exhibits with live animals or reptiles

Fear of boredom won’t keep groups away having such variety and a little something for everyone.

Hispanic Travelers
In 2011 the economic impact of Hispanic travelers was estimated at about 56 billion.  This demographic alone is expected to continue to grow due to population increase.  Studies reported the following statistics regarding tourism for Hispanics.

  • 46% use online resources to book travel arrangements
  • 31% travel with four or more in party and are highly motivated to visit family
  • The most popular states visited are California, Texas and Florida
  • Casinos, theme parks, cultural activities and camping are the most preferred activities

The ability to assess this data using a tour operator reservation system again leads to a deeper connection to more audiences.  Providing family or group experiences or connecting with some of the locations already popular with this demographic could extend the reach of any business and make available opportunities that simply weren’t known before.

Advertise family activities and group explorations.  Highlight experiences that combine nicely with camping or casinos, and spread the world throughout all three of the favorite states and others nearby.  Personalized opportunities for adventure can then appeal to people of a specific background as well.

Minimize Paperwork Headaches
By using Adventure Office’s tour operator reservation software, this information and much more can be put to the best possible use, and without keeping the adventure guides themselves cooped up any longer than necessary.  Trust our expertise regarding:

  • Full Reservation Management
  • Real-time Online Booking
  • Quotes with Online Confirmation
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Full Inventory Management
  • Automated Emails
  • Resource Management
  • Guide Scheduling and Payroll
  • Electronic Waivers with ezWaiver
  • Quick Set-Up and Training
  • Unlimited Support

 A small business owner now has the option to leave the tedious office work to the experts and be out doing what they are best at: adventures!

posted by Sitefinity Developer Tuesday,March 19, 2013 AT 02:27PM

Promoting the Opportunity for Adventure on Social Media

Adventure Travel companies, from a kayaking company deep at the heart of a raging river or a ranch offering horseback riding just off the barren freeways of the Midwest, know that it can be difficult to get in front of new potential customers.

Social Media Marketing is a cost-effective way to both grown a community of raving fans, and also get in front of potential new travelers by the word of mouth. This blog includes trends to watch out for in 2013.

The Wanderers Speak

A study by Eye for Travel in 2012 focused on the effect social media and mobile applications had on travelers’ decision making and booking habits. A comprehensive survey showed that potential travelers looked for:

  • User generated content: the more information, the more they were interested. The interest was increased when a friend shared the content with them
  • Reviews and comments by other travelers, even those they’d never met.

The percentage of companies who have not yet realized the necessity of having a presence in both social media risk falling behind the innovators who are building up communities and created great content.

If you wait until social media marketing is obvious to your company, when you’re ready to jump in you’ll be very far behind.

Your travelers leave your tour with an experience and memories that they’ll never forget. Why not connect with those travelers on social media to stay in touch, ask them to share their experience and to share your content and tips with their friends. With each share, you could get in front of dozens or hundreds of potential travelers that would love the same experience. Provide a platform for allowing enthusiastic viewers to sing praises to the intrepid guides who led them on a journey!

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