There is no perfect software that can do everything and just the way you want it. Unless you have a lot of money and a lot of time to develop it for your company. This is a recent realization of one of our potential customers. When they make the decision to invest, especially smaller and medium-sized businesses tend to focus on finding the “perfect” and all-in-one solution.
So what can you do? Below are some simple steps we suggest based on our own experience and that of our happy customers. Please note that we are talking about the “classic” incoming tour operators, selling offline and doing mostly multi-day tours. Priorities of OTAs will, of course, be different.
1. Identify the most “painful” areas of your workflow, the areas where your company spends a lot of resources (time, staff numbers, missed opportunities – it all equals money and growth). Typically named problems include:
- Too much time is spent answering requests, especially with tailor-made tours.
- Too much repetitive manual work (copy-pasting the texts and descriptions, importing photos…)
- Lack of overview of the workflow and workload.
- Storing and finding the necessary information.
- Human error: wrong pricing, forgetting cancellation deadlines and paying cancellation fees, forgetting bookings, keeping “lists of lists” of the reminders…
2. Should it be user-friendly? Easy to learn, use and teach? Or, are you willing to invest more time and resources in training your existing and new employees?
3. Decide what features/functionalities you can live without. Initially, people often ask for:
- Accounting module or full integration with the existing accounting system. Although it can undoubtedly be useful, practice shows that it is not always needed.
- Various XML connections and B2B access. How much of your business depends on it?
4. Price and conditions. Can you afford it? For how long are you bound? Are the conditions flexible?
5. Last but not least: how confident do you feel that you will receive prompt and friendly help and support?
By following those five steps you should be able to narrow down your choice and make an informed decision.