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All About Support: Insights And Advice From The Team

We have a surprise: we’ve given our online support pages a makeover! Say hello to the brand new FareHarbor Help Center. There’s a fresh homepage, a smart prediction search bar, a new ticket submission form and so much more! (Go ahead and bookmark that page now – we know you’re gonna love it.)

To celebrate, we’re putting the spotlight on the heart of FareHarbor – the Support team! See what it’s like working in the Denver office, what the team’s favorite features are and the questions they get asked most often.


What do you like most about working at FareHarbor’s Denver office?

“Denver is a great city to live and work in. There are so many great opportunities to get outside and go adventuring. It helps for us to share the values of our clients and coworkers.”
– Elle

“We interface with the majority of the FareHarbor departments since we are all under one roof! Oh, and tacos. Denver has great tacos.” – Carolyn

“I love that most people are really supportive and try to ensure employees have opportunities to learn new skills and take on different roles. I learn something new everyday that blows my mind and keeps me on my toes. It’s honestly the most exciting environment to ever work in!”
– Crystal

“Friendly folks, beer Fridays, location.”
– Seth

“Denver is amazing with the mountains and weather and the people here are laid back and willing to work hard even if it is with a beer in their hand.”
– Rachel

“The co-workers!”
– James

“I love that it is very team oriented and things are always changing.”
– Nicole

What’s your favorite feature on the Dashboard?

“My favorite feature is Reports. I love the potential to unlock projections and export to Excel. And now that we can easily group information in Reports, we can even show companies how to compare their most successful times of day and days of the week for each tour.” – Crystal

“Logic! Conditional custom fields make for very pretty book forms.”
– Carolyn

“Resources!”
– Seth

“Logic! The ability to have conditional custom fields is a lifesaver for a lot of companies.”
– Rachel

“Logic, custom calendars and Reports.”
– James

“I really like our Advanced Reports.”
– Nicole

“I just discovered that you can create multiple time-slots at the same time in the availability creator and I am pretty excited about that – we used to have to build one time slot at a time, so it’s a big time saver!”
– Elle

What’s the most common question you get about the Dashboard?

Working 24/7, 365 days a year, the Support team sees a lot of questions. Here are the ones that pop up most often (Tip: click the link to see the answer in the Help Center).

Tips from the people who know FareHarbor best.

“Less is more! Increase your booking conversions by making your book form short and sweet. And if you are ever unsure about how to go about that, our support team has some great tips!”
– Carolyn

“My greatest tip is to check our snazzy help center and take time going over the help videos.”
– Crystal

“Spend the time to get to know your Dashboard. The customizable abilities of the Dashboard still blow me away! Every company can have an entirely unique setup to help their business grow in a way that is best for them.”
– Rachel

“Learning to “own” your dashboard is a great skill – feel free to ask questions if anything doesn’t make sense!”
– James

“Don’t underestimate how much you can learn from the Help Center. There’s SO much info in there.”
– Seth

“Bring a notebook to your initial training. There’s so much information that’s taught all at once, it really helps to have a few notes to help you remember.”
– Nicole

“Every company is so unique, and each of your setups in FareHarbor are unique to you – when we ask questions it is because we are trying to learn what will work best for your distinct setup. Keep that in mind!”
– Elle

Behind The Screens: Creating Advanced Reports

For this week’s blog post, we’ve invited CTO Zach Snow to talk about one of FareHarbor’s biggest projects to date, Advanced Reports. Read on for a peek into how we tackled the process (plus, check out Zach’s personal blog for the full technical details).

Where we started

Long ago, in the early days of FareHarbor, there were no reports. There wasn’t even a calendar! But as we worked onsite with tour operators in Hawaii, Colorado, and beyond, we began to think of new ways we could display booking data to help clients monitor their business.

Our very first report, now known as Detailed Bookings, was designed to provide an easy way for business owners to get their booking information into another format. From there, we developed a few different reports based on lodging, employees, and activities, so that clients could answer common questions (like, “How many sunset cruises did I sell last month?”) quickly and easily.

legacy report

In late 2016, we realized that the time had come to revisit reporting once again. Our clients had an abundance of interesting questions to answer, and the existing reporting tools made finding those answers harder than they should be. Plus, many of our reports were actually very similar — one was grouping bookings by activity, another by employee, and so on, but all shared a similar structure.

We knew that we could build a tool that was more general and at the same time more powerful. And as a bonus, we figured we’d make them faster, too!

Asking (and answering) the big questions

So we dug in. We worked directly with a number of clients that were struggling to answer important questions using the existing reports, developing an understanding of what information they were trying to find and why they were trying to find it.

  • We worked with Teddy Clements, Head of Onboarding at FareHarbor, to understand what challenges he faced when training clients how to run their business with FareHarbor.
  • We spoke with Anders Hester, Director of Customer Experience, to get a handle on the challenges existing customers were facing, particularly around understanding tax reporting.
  • We also reviewed the ways in which our existing customers were using reports, analyzing the data to determine which reports were run most, and in which ways.

Some of the most technically interesting questions revolved around payments. For instance, “How much money did I collect on Adult passengers this week?” This is a tricky question — if you have a booking with 2 adults and 1 child that costs $125.00 ($50.00 per adult, $25.00 per child) and you’ve only collected $50.00 on the booking so far, how much have you collected on Adults?

One answer is to prorate the amount you have collected across each customer (in this case, $20.00 on each adult, and $10.00 on the child). Another method is to apply the entire $50.00 to the first Adult on the booking. After researching with a variety of customers, and comparing to accounting software, we decided on prorating.

Our Product team asked and answered questions like these for weeks, with everyone on the FareHarbor team contributing a piece to the puzzle.

We worked around-the-clock to get it right. Even when the holidays came, and we all went our separate ways to be with family and loved ones, we couldn’t help but have reports on the mind!

Finally, the new and improved Advanced Reports

After weeks of hard work, the end result was a scalable design that can capture everything our previous reports could, but also go much further.

  • We can now organize data by almost anything (activity, booking source, lodging, campaign, check-in status, etc.), whereas previously these groupings were limited to a few fixed options.
  • Our ability to group data became much more flexible, allowing us to group by any number of options rather than just one or two.
  • We can now filter on almost every aspect of a booking and its customers, letting clients drill into the exact data they need.

And even better, as we discover or create new things to filter on, new things to group by, and new data to show, we have a framework for extending reporting to those things quickly and easily.

advanced report

Actually building the software was a whole nother story, which you can read about in detail here (part 1 of a 3-ish part series).

At the end of the day, we created the recently-launched Advanced Reports, a true team effort. It’s faster and more powerful than the reports it replaced, and it’s designed for growth. And most importantly, it has been a huge success for our customers, who run tens of thousands of Advanced Reports every week!

5 Ways FareHarbor Connect Can Help You Grow Your Business

Growing your business is good; growing your business strategically is even better. But how do you find time to research and compare your options, while still staying on top of your business? FareHarbor Connect is our way of making that path to growth easier.

We’ve taken all the guesswork out of connecting with third-party distributors by building a trusted network of partners and a feature set that makes it easy to maintain relationships with each and every one of them. Best of all, as a FareHarbor client, you have all these tools at your fingertips.

1. Integrate with Online Travel Agencies

When most businesses start looking for new ways to grow their customer base, they first turn to OTAs like Expedia or Viator. And with good reason – OTAs give you direct access to thousands of customers that might otherwise never find your business. Plus, they’re a great way to get your tours in front of qualified leads.

  • With FareHarbor Connect, working with OTAs is just as easy as accepting online bookings. (Read: you can do it in your sleep!)
  • Our booking integrations allow OTAs to resell your offerings in real-time availability, with all reservations appearing directly on your Dashboard as soon as they happen.
  • Using an API Integration or FareHarbor ‘Book Buttons’, you can start marketing your tours on our network of third-party channels without any manual booking entry on your end.

Bonus: Once you’ve earned a customer through an OTA, you can use an email marketing plan to encourage them to join you again.

2. Take Bookings Directly from Hotels & Concierge Desks

We took the same concept and applied it to our always growing network of hotels and concierge desks. Once added to FareHarbor Connect, local hotels and concierges also benefit from direct access to your real-time calendar.

  • This allows hotels and concierge desks to view your availability and book their guests directly into your tours, with all booking data flowing right into your Dashboard.
  • FareHarbor Connect’s real-time availability means you can be making a reservation in-person, a customer could be scheduling a tour online and your friends at a local hotel can be booking their guests in at the exact same moment, with no threat of overbooking.

Bonus: Curious about our hotel and concierge program? Our network might already be in your local area. Just ask!

3. Affiliate Reporting & Invoicing

Now that you’ve got the bookings, it’s time to crunch the data. All affiliate bookings can be tracked through your reports, so you’ll always know the source of your bookings.

  • Reports can also be used to calculate commissions on affiliate bookings and to generate invoices that help keep track of the balance between you and your partners.

Bonus: Use reports to keep a pulse on how your third-party channels are performing. Analyze which partners are delivering the most customers, what month or season each OTA performs the best and what portion of your overall revenue comes from third parties.

4. The FareHarbor Partner Program

Get even more local with our Partner Program. With the same ease of OTA or concierge bookings, our Partner Program is a network of FareHarbor clients in your area who’ve opted to resell tours and to have their tours resold at a commission rate.

  • Most of the reselling is done through ‘Book Buttons’ located in confirmation or follow-up emails. This gives local businesses easy access to customers that have booked or participated in local activities and might be on the market for another tour while they’re in the area.
  • It’s an awesome opportunity to support tourism in your local community, with the added bonus of earning a commission by referring customers to nearby companies.

Bonus: Remember, a returning customer has just as much value as a new customer. Make sure your follow-up emails are designed to re-engage the customer with links to review and social media sites in addition to our Partner Program.

5. The Channel Development Team

That’s right, we saved the best for last! FareHarbor has an entire team dedicated to building out and optimizing these affiliate features. Even better news? They’re always here to help. Please send any questions, ideas or projects related to third-party partnerships to support@fareharbor.com or to your Channel Development Associate. They’re always ready to help you grow your business.

Bonus: Our Channel Development Team works out of our Denver HQ. Even if you don’t have any third-party questions, you can still message them to say hi. (They’re really nice.)

Friday Features: Permissions, Manifest Filters, Campaign Blackout Dates, & More

Happy spring! Check out what’s new at FareHarbor these last few months with the return of Friday Features.

Fine-grained control over what your users can do

Custom user permissions

In March we released custom user permission groups, which allow you to control what your users can see and do in the Dashboard.

Permission groups can control both what your company staff can do, as well as your affiliates who might also be using FareHarbor. This means that different users will only have access to what’s relevant to them, keeping your information more secure and your company more efficient and accurate.

Groups are customizable to fit your needs; just let us know if you need a new group added or an existing one changed.

Filter manifests and calendars

https://fh-sites.imgix.net/sites/278/2016/04/15180436/filter-manifests.jpg

You can now filter manifests, making it easy to narrow down the list of bookings to only the ones you need. Filter by contact name, check-in status, number of customers, amount due, even custom fields.

We also added a new filter menu to the Bookings calendar. In addition to all the old options, there’s now the option to filter your view to only availabilities with a certain number of spaces left. It’s great for quickly finding open availabilities for larger groups:

New filter menu

Plus, all of these new filter options can be saved with your custom manifest or calendar, so you can come back to them any time.

Campaign blackout and valid dates

campaign blackout and valid dates

We also added options to include valid or blackout dates for promotional and discount codes. This is especially helpful if you only want codes to be redeemable within a certain date range, or if you want to exclude certain dates like holidays. You can even make a code valid or invalid dynamically based on a number of days before a tour starts.

Check out the help page to learn more about how valid and blackout dates work.

And more

As always, we’ve made a lot of smaller fixes and improvements, as well as ongoing work on some big new projects. (More info on those coming soon.) Here are some of the smaller things we added lately:

  • A new item embed so you can put a grid of any of your FareHarbor items directly on your website. Let us know if you’d like to use it on your site and we’ll help you with the integration. New item embed

  • See a preview of what you can book from the flyout on the Bookings calendar. The numbers on the right (“12” in this example) show the maximum number of each customer type that you could book directly. flyout preview

  • Easily upload images or files when sending email

  • Large photos are now automatically resized in emails
  • Faster month, day, and agenda views if you have a lot of items
  • Faster access to your Affiliates list in Settings
  • Better messaging about overusing using campaign codes when signed in
  • Filter by availabilities with a certain headline when using the mass availability updater
  • Much more

Friday Features: Easy Customer Lists, Improved Invoicing & More

Easy customer lists

Customer Lists_FareHarbor

We’ve greatly improved the Customers report to help you pull lists of customers’ contact information. The powerful new filter options allow you to answer questions like:

What are the email addresses of everyone who booked online this month of last year? What is the phone number of everyone who participated in an activity last month? Who is coming to my business next week? You can find the report in Reports > Customers.

Better invoicing, pay in-system

Tourism invoicing_FareHarbor

If you’ve run invoicing in November you likely noticed some huge improvements to how the affiliate Invoicing system works. You can now see who needs to be invoiced, create invoices, and keep track of what you are owed with just a few clicks.

We’ve also added support for paying for invoices in-system. Send an invoice via email and your payee can log in and pay you directly from their bank account. We’re very excited about making the process easier – if you’d like to learn more, check out an overview of paying for invoices or contact invoicing@fareharbor.com.

Payments and refunds at a glance

Payments_FareHarbor

In the past, it could be hard to get a handle on the payment status of a booking with multiple payments or refunds. No more! From any booking, click the “payments” row to get an overview at a glance.

Other improvements

  • The To Be Paid Out report can now be grouped by different options, including payout date and item. Look for the “Group by” dropdown in the upper right.
  • A new Expenses and Discounts report to get an overview of custom line items that have been added to bookings. Use the Filter menu to only find entries with certain descriptions.
  • Support for Google Analytics custom campaign parameters.
  • Many performance improvements, especially of the Payouts report.
  • Better formatting when printing the Dashboard overview of a booking.
  • Added a Print button for online customers who want to print their confirmation page.

Thanks for partnering with us! Look for more news very soon.

Invoicing on FareHarbor

email-invoice

You can now generate affiliate invoices right from FareHarbor! The new invoice report makes it easy to list all your agent bookings for a time range, enter contact information, adjust prices, and print or save to PDF.

You can start generating invoices today with the Invoice report under Reports > Detailed > Invoice. As always, we’re happy to help you find the best way to create your invoices and use the new report.

Introducing the Lightframe

lightframe-600

We’re really excited to announce something we’ve been calling the lightframe. Lightframe allows your customers to choose a date, pay securely, and get confirmation of their booking all without leaving your website.

Check out North Shore Catamaran’s site to see how it works. We’ve seen that giving customers quick access to making a purchase and a feeling of familiarity and security can increase conversion rates.

It’s easy to turn your existing calendar embeds into lightframes. (Just add ?lightframe=yes to the end of your script tags.)

 

Friday Features: Crew + Online Booking Control

It’s that time again. Here are a couple of the things that are new around FareHarbor, and some photos of our team goofing off.

crew

Last week we added the ability to add your crew and staff to availabilities. This makes it easy to keep track of who is doing what, add notes, and even filter the calendar to only show trips with certain people on them.

Use the new “Crew” dropdown on availabilities to add people. Crew are shown on the Dashboard calendar and manifest.

online-control

We also made it easier to see and manage when things are bookable by online customers. The new menu lets you override the cutoff times to leave online booking open longer, and change a time to show Call to Book without editing capacity.

  • Auto close automatically makes things unavailable when there are no seats left, or when your specific cutoff time to close online booking is reached. (Cutoff times can be different for every activity, and are managed in Items > Settings > General.)
  • Open still automatically closes online booking when all seats are full, but lets you take online bookings up until the start time. This may be useful if your activity is already going out and you want to let customers fill up the remaining seats.
  • Closed & Call to book closes online booking, but leaves the availability in the online calendar marked as “call to book.”
  • Closed & hidden closes online booking, and hides the availability from your online calendar.

We’ve been really enjoying our team house on Wailupe Circle. (We’d love to have you over some time to barbecue or surf.) Here are a few photos of our team jumping off our dock:

zh

lh

denzer

New Reports + Mobile Updates

reports-header

We were excited to release the first round of some report updates this week. The new summary reports give you an overview of bookings, custom fields, and customer types by a variety of options.

You’ll also notice the layout of the reports section has changed to be more like other parts of the site. Don’t worry, all the old reports are still there; use the Reports type dropdown in the upper left of the screen to see the full list. As you switch between the various types of reports you’ll see filters and options specific to each type.

The new reports can be run based either on when bookings were created or when the activity (availability) happened. For instance, you could see how many bookings your employees made last month, or how many customers you took out on all of last week’s activities.

mobile-update

We also launched some updates to the mobile version of the site that makes it easier and quicker to use. (The reports work better on mobile now, too.) Just log in on your phone to check it out.