Menu
FareHarbor

Tips & Trends

5 Travel & Tourism Trends to Motivate You in 2023

Compass Sneak Peek

After the excitement and positive momentum of the past year, we are thrilled to see what 2023 will bring for the tours and activities industry. 

Both distant vacations and local experiences continue to evolve as travelers creatively embrace trip planning this year. Individuals are willing to spend more on what matters to them, and they want to experience something new or different along the way. 

Here are five trends to take advantage of in 2023. 

1. Travelers who want to splurge on experiences

If 2022 was considered the return of travel, then 2023 is poised to see the return of travel spending. Simply getting out of the house isn’t enoughthis year travelers are itching to experience once-in-a-lifetime adventures like luxury trips, package tours, and activities that take them far from traditional “tourist traps.”

Travel sales are on track to be 47% higher in 2023 than in 2019 (Virtuoso, global travel agency). 

Encouragingly, almost three quarters of Virtuoso travelers say that creating a travel experience that fits their desires is more important to them than price. 

2. Upscale experiences that offer fun and relaxation

Luxury travel is shaping up to be popular in 2023. After all, everyone deserves to treat themselves! The upscale travel trend will include exclusive settings, private activities, custom itineraries, and thoughtful details like upgrades and add-ons. 

Upscale experiences are all about people embracing what they love to do. Whether they’re spending a bit more on a high-adrenaline heli-skiing tour or setting aside time to splurge on a private cooking class, luxury means something unique to everyone.

3. Trips that venture further from home

Bookers are looking for unique experiences like backpacking, multi-day hikes and excursions, and glamping or sightseeing adventures that take them slightly out of their comfort zones. 

From tasting exotic foods to learning a new language or activity, nothing is off limits. 

Package experiences offer the perfect opportunity to embrace this kind of travel. A full-day activity that combines multiple tours lets the whole family try something new and make the most of their time in your location.

Quick Tip: If you do not offer package tours or multi-day activities, consider using your platform to compile and share a resource with your guests and other travelers. Write a blog post that shares the most unique places to visit in your area and how they can get started with their planningwith a stop at your business of course!

4. A renewed focus on health and wellness vacations

Wellbeing trips will be a popular travel choice in 2023. We all deserve to unwind, in mind, body and spirit. For some, this could look like a yoga retreat, guided meditation or healing journey, like a visit to Colorado’s hot springs.

There are even more subtle ways tour operators can embrace wellness, like offering healthy choices for food options and promoting other local, health-conscious businesses.

5. In-destination and last-minute bookings are here to stay

As we heard from Josh Halperin, FareHarbor’s Managing Director (Americas), at Spark Las Vegas, tour operators are experiencing an uptick in last-minute, in-destination bookings. Travelers are booking on the fly, deciding what they want to do when they are already at their destination. 

How can you capitalize on this trend? For last-minute bookers, you can make the best impression by optimizing your online presence and mobile friendliness. Making sure your Google Business Profile is up to date and your website is easy to navigate on mobile are the top two tasks to help secure in-destination bookings.  

2023 is going to be an inspiring year for travel! As we progress in the coming weeks and months, we look forward to embracing the new trends and booking patterns that emerge. 

Have any predictions of your own? Tell us on the FareHarbor Community Facebook page.

Unique Holidays to Take Advantage of in the First Half of 2023

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season almost over, you might be feeling a bit of letdown returning to business as usual. But there’s always something to look forward to that you can use as a creative way to market your tours and activities.

Beyond the big shopping holidays like Christmas and Black Friday, you can promote your experiences during lesser known holidays like Plan For Vacation Day and Boating Day. 

If you’re looking for unique marketing initiatives year-round and want to bring a fresh approach to your promotions in 2023 (and make extra sales!), don’t miss the chance to celebrate these practical and playful travel and tourism holidays.

Here are a few holidays to get you started in the first half of 2023. Stay tuned for another post with the tourism holidays to celebrate between July and December. 

Holidays From January to March

Shop For Travel Day | January 12

Shop for Travel Day is all about planning your next trip and taking advantage of travel deals. This day is a great opportunity to promote your gift cards!

Plan For Vacation Day | January 26

Plan for Vacation Day serves as a reminder to plan your days off and map out your vacation time for the rest of the year. Post a reminder on social media encouraging people to plan their vacation and request time off work ahead of schedule!

Weird and Wonderful Holidays This Quarter

  • Dress Up Your Pet Day, January 14: A day to get our furry friends involved! Post pictures on social media and encourage your followers to share their costumed pet photos as well. 
  • Have Fun at Work Day, January 27: This is a great opportunity to show off your staff loving what they do every day—and it helps to personalize your business.
  • Mom & Pop Business Owners Day, March 29: If you’re a mom & pop operation, take some time to share your company’s origin story on social media or in a blog. 

Holidays From April to June

Read a Road Map Day | April 5

Time to put away our smartphones and unfold a road map! Take advantage of the road trip trend by encouraging your audience to go old-school. You can design a map showing common routes to your location and points of interest around town, or remind people to visit for a tour or activity during their next road trip.

Walking Day | April 5

If you offer walking tours, this day is for you! Celebrate with a discount on your walking tours or any other booking special that comes to mind. 

Even if your business doesn’t run walking tours, you can celebrate this holiday by posting a blog with tips on visiting your city or location on foot.

National Travel & Tourism Week | May 7-13

A whole week dedicated to travel and tourism! No matter what kind of experiences you offer, this week is the perfect time to draw new eyes to your business. Here are just a few ways to celebrate.

  • Feature a different tour guide or staff member each day on social media. Share their name, time spent working at your business, favorite food, dream travel destination, and other fun facts to create a personal connection with your audience. 
  • Create promos that guests can take advantage of all week long.
  • Send an email newsletter sharing how your business plans to celebrate the week.
  • Partner with other local businesses to create shared experiences.

Weird and Wonderful Holidays This Quarter

  • Pizza Party Day, May 19: Surprise your staff or guests with a pizza delivery during their tour. You could also partner with a local pizza joint for the day and cross-promote each other. 
  • National Selfie Day, June 21: Everyone loves a good selfie. Bring a selfie stick on your tours and encourage guests to use it to document their experience with you – then share on social media. 

These unusual and lesser celebrated holidays are only some of the many special days to promote each year. No matter what type of experiences you offer, you’ll definitely find a day dedicated to doing what you love. 

We’ll be back in June with more playful and practical travel and tourism holidays to promote in the second half of 2023!

5 Marketing Strategies for Black Friday Weekend (And the Entire Season!)

Compass Sneak Peek

The holiday shopping and gifting season is upon us, and with it, the chance to give the gift of experiences and spend quality time with friends and family. This seasonal excitement presents a huge opportunity for businesses in the tour and activity space. 

So how do you make the most of the Black Friday weekend (and the rest of the season!)? We have a few ideas up our sleeve.

1. Incorporate seasonal campaigns into your content calendar

The sooner you start preparing for big shopping days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday, the better your campaign will go. If you put time and energy into the process, the outcome will naturally follow suit.

Here are a few questions to get the brainstorm started:

  • What do we want to push customers towards? Seasonal items? Gift cards? Best-sellers? Package deals?
  • Will we offer a discount? A branded item with purchase?
  • How do we want to advertise our promotions?
  • Do we want to send out an email? Should we segment our email list?
  • Which social sites should we market on? What hashtags could we use?

2. Take advantage of gift cards

Because they eliminate the need for tricky details like dates, times, and even group size, gift cards are an easy sell in your off-season, especially as people begin buying gifts for the holidays.

If you use FareHarbor as your online booking system, you can sell gift cards just as easily as you sell any other item. 

Don’t hesitate to promote gift cards on your homepage and in your email marketing campaigns. They’re an easy purchase for your customers, and 80% of gift card holders end up spending more than the original value (Fiserv).

3. Offer a deal they can’t pass up

Consumers are constantly searching for the best deals online — and the holidays are no different. Even if you don’t offer promotions throughout the year, consider adding a Black Friday or Cyber Monday promo code to your website.

Promotions are also a great way to capture new audiences and first-time bookers. Try adding a 10% off code to your website and promote it prior to the holidays. Create a sense of urgency by putting a time frame on when customers can use the code to book. 

Make sure to promote your discount code and drive website traffic utilizing different channels:

  • Post the promo code discount on all your social media channels. Facebook and Instagram are great places to reach large audiences at once. Make sure to include a link to your website so they can start booking right away!
  • Send an email promoting the discount. Utilize your FareHarbor contact list or other CRM lists to promote your discount to customers. 
  • Add the promo code to your website. Update your website with a blurb or banner about your special holiday promotion.

4. Get serious about social sharing

If you collected user content last year, such as customer reviews and photos, now is the time to put it to use. 

If you didn’t, focus on collecting it this year and then use it to boost Black Friday sales in the future.

Here are some ways you can encourage social sharing from your customers:

  • Feature your customers’ content on your own social pages or blog whenever they tag your business or use your hashtag.
  • Offer a discount, stickers, or t-shirt to customers who @mention your business, check-in on Facebook, or use your hashtag.
  • Run a contest on social media. Check out these eight ideas to get you started.

5. Go big on email marketing

With so many sales and deals to choose from, it’s easy for your business to get lost in the noise. An email marketing campaign can put your offerings directly under the nose of your customer base, whether they are local or from afar. 

Here are a few tips to ensure email success:

  • Create anticipation. Sending your first email out before the promotion begins helps overwhelmed consumers prioritize their shopping strategy, and it creates anticipation for what’s to come.
  • Give extra love to past customers. The best way to create loyal customers is to show them just how much you appreciate them. An additional discount or early-bird access helps transform a past customer into a full-on brand advocate.
  • Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly. Big, bold, image-heavy designs can be tempting — just make sure it’s all mobile-friendly. There’s nothing worse than getting your email in front of the right person, then losing the sale because your call-to-action button is hard to find on mobile.
  • Include CTAs that link directly to the promotion. Don’t forget to link your call-to-action directly to the item that you’re promoting. This prevents the user from having to click around your site, thus increasing your chances of converting the customer.

Whether you try all of these strategies or just one, take advantage of the increased engagement that comes with the holiday season. 

7 Tips for Tour Operators to Create a Great Company Logo

Compass Sneak Peek

A logo represents a company and its brand identity. As with all of your marketing assets, your logo should be on brand with your chosen color scheme, fonts, and images.

This will help distinguish your company from the competition and give your online audience a visual to associate with your business.

Whether your company is new or you are looking for a brand refresh, use these seven tips to create your ideal logo. 

Keep it simple

There is no need to overcomplicate your design. Creating a clean, straightforward logo will help customers better identify your business. Stick to using only a few colors and elements.

Although you may want to incorporate every aspect of your business, it’s better to highlight just a few. For instance, say you run a company that rents out jet skis, kayaks, paddleboards, and boats. Rather than featuring all four which could lead to a chaotic design, only use one or two. A good rule of thumb is to use your most popular offerings. 

Make it memorable

Another major goal when designing a logo is to make it unforgettable. As mentioned above, a simple logo can help you accomplish this. You can also use a bold color, a creative symbol, or a witty slogan to help make it memorable.

Consider the Domino’s Pizza logo. This design is straightforward, but unique enough to make people recall their brand. 

Choose colors that match your business’s personality

Your logo represents your business. So you should ask yourself, “what is my company’s personality?”. Do you offer intense activities like skydiving? Do you host laid-back yoga classes? No matter the answer, the colors and design elements you choose should reflect your offerings.

Colors are proven to make people feel a certain way. For instance, red and yellow makes people hungry (hello McDonalds logo!). And blue can represent tranquility. Choose your colors based on aspects of your specific business. 

Create a timeless design

Once you create your logo, you won’t want to have to change it often. This confuses customers and can hurt your brand identity. 

Consider a logo that will last and make sense for years to come. Do not use crazy colors or piggyback on a current fad. Styles and trends change overtime, and your logo should withstand that. 

Balance your layout 

You want to create a logo that is balanced. It is human nature to consider a balanced image as beautiful, so why not design a logo with that in mind? 

This can be symmetrical, like the Target logo:

 

Or asymmetrical, like the Nike logo:

 

How you balance your design is up to you, but try to build one while using this concept. 

Quick Tip: If you feel overwhelmed creating your logo, consider hiring a graphic designer to help with these elements. Just be sure to fully immerse them in your brand, so they understand your business and can create a logo that represents it.

Be original

This should go without saying, but you should not copy or steal a logo concept from another company. Not only can this create tension among your competitors, but you also want to design a logo that is distinct and easily identifies your company. 

Of course, there may be some overlap in your design if circumstances line up. For example, if you are looking to create a logo for your winery, you can incorporate a wine glass in your design, even though it is likely another winery that uses that symbol. Just be sure to make it your own!

Make it versatile

When designing your logo, consider what it will look like in different mediums. Is your logo scalable to the computer and a phone screen? Make sure all details are easily identified, no matter the size. 

Quick Tip: Ensure your logo looks great on merchandise. You can make a higher profit by putting your memorable logo on hats, shirts, mugs, and more! 

No two companies are the same. So your logo should not be either! Think about these design elements as you are creating your logo so your business can really shine.

Need Immediate Assistance? Find Answers in the FareHarbor Help Center

Whether you’re taking advantage of FareHarbor’s top-rated 24/7 support, in-depth webinars, or specialized Compass guides, we’ve got you covered with all the resources designed to help your business grow.

However, when you need immediate answers to quick Dashboard questions, the FareHarbor Help Center is the tool for you.

The Help Center is a collection of video tutorials, step-by-step instructions, and helpful articles that show you how to use every part of the FareHarbor product. You can also find information about software partnerships, credit card disputes, and much more.

Here are three ways you can use the Help Center to get immediate answers to your most pressing questions so you have more time to spend on your business.

1. Keep a Pulse on Your Bookings with Calendar Syncing

Did you know you can add your FareHarbor calendar to your phone or computer? Whether you use Google Calendar or another app, this Help Center article shows you how to easily subscribe to your availabilities so you can keep tabs on your bookings and schedule. 

FareHarbor is also integrated with Zapier to automate some of your regular business tasks, like adding new customers to your email subscription list or generating QuickBooks sales receipts from new bookings. Zapier is another way to receive booking information to your calendar.

If you need one extra reminder when it comes to your schedule, be sure to download the FareHarbor app and enable push notifications to see bookings as they happen. 

2. Set Up or Adjust Your Cancellation Policy

Having a clear cancellation policy is essential for any tour or activity operator since it gives you control over how your bookings can be canceled and refunded. Luckily, it’s simple to set up your cancellation policy in your FareHarbor Dashboard.

Whether you need to make a change to your cancellation policy or want to create a new one, access step-by-step instructions here in the Help Center

Tour Operator Tip: Explore options to rebook customers or refund them with a gift card they can use at a later date. 

 

3. Protect Sensitive Information with User Settings

Chances are, you won’t be the only one logging in to your Dashboard. You can imagine how important it is for the right people to have access to the information they need to do a good job. 

Even more importantly, when staff members leave your business, you want the peace of mind of knowing you can edit Dashboard user settings to remove access to sensitive information, like payment details. 

Fortunately, the Help Center has an entire section dedicated to all the ways you can manage your users and permissions, from subscribing to user notifications to deactivating users, and more.

Whether you like to learn on the fly or you prefer to chat with a FareHarbor expert, our Help Center and 24/7 support are always available to you!

Discover Customer Booking Patterns with FareHarbor’s Built-In Reporting Tool

Do you have a good understanding of how far in advance your customers typically book an activity? How about which tour start times are most popular? 

Even if you’ve researched these topics or have seen industry statistics around booking trends, having data that pertains to your customers specifically is invaluable. 

FareHarbor’s built-in reporting can tell you when your customers are booking, which tours are most popular among your target audience, and more. 

These reports give you insights into customer behavior and booking patterns to help you test new strategies and make better business decisions. 

Advanced reports like these are one of the many perks of becoming a FareHarbor client! Request a demo today.

Determine How Far In Advance Your Customers Book

Follow these steps to run this report in your FareHarbor Dashboard.

Whether your customers typically book at the last minute or plan their activities well in advance, this report will give you the data you need to improve the customer experience and get more bookings. 

Knowing when your customers book on average is essential for planning marketing initiatives and preparing for your busy season. This report will help you determine if you primarily have early bookers or last-minute bookers.

Early Bookers

Customers who book far in advance tend to spend time planning and researching their travel. To capture the attention of this audience you must strategically schedule your marketing initiatives around that early booking window.

For example, let’s say your Dashboard report tells you that your customers’ average booking-ahead window is 60 days. Based on that data, you should start marketing your tours and activities two months ahead of your anticipated busy season. Keep this in mind for holidays, school vacation periods, and big events like farm festivals or holiday lights shows. 

Early bookers also appreciate helpful information and resources. Update your website with content about what to do in the area, what to expect ahead of the activity, and resources like maps and public transportation options. 

Last-Minute and In-Destination Bookers

Last-minute bookers might book during the week leading up to the activity or even on the day of, depending on when your booking cutoff window is.

Similar to how you would use the data for early bookers, this information can help you think about how you market your tour and activities and make other business decisions.

One of the best ways to cater to in-destination bookers is to make sure your Google My Business page is optimized and up to date with your current hours and contact information, seasonal photos, and good reviews. This improves your chances of Google displaying your business in the local map pack for “near me” searches. 

You can also attract in-destination customers by partnering with local businesses, submitting your business listing to local directories, and working with destination marketing organizations. 

When it comes to last-minute bookings, your website is a useful tool. Include verbiage on your site that walk-ins and same-day bookings are welcome (if that is the case). 

Learn Which Tour and Activity Times Are Most Popular with Your Customers

Follow these steps to run this report in your FareHarbor Dashboard.

These reports will tell you which activity dates and start times (also known as availabilities) are booked most often by your customers.

You might already think that Saturday mornings at 10am are your busiest time of day – or you have no idea which availabilities are most booked. It’s really helpful to know when all of your busy windows fall so you can best prepare.

When you have the data from these reports, you can use it to make business considerations, such as: 

  • Adjust staff schedules and hiring: Schedule more check-in staff, reservationists, or tour guides so you are fully staffed during your busiest times. 
  • Add availabilities to popular start times: If your 5pm sunset tour consistently sells out, are you able to add another tour that runs at the same time or increase your tour size? 
  • Offer expedited check-in: This is especially helpful if you get many walk-up customers. Make two check-in lines – one for ticketed customers and one for walk-ups. 
  • Market your activities accordingly: When running promos or showcasing available tours, you can provide useful information like “Saturdays fill up fast, book in advance” or similar. 

Tour Operator Tip: If you’re going to change your hours of operation or make other big updates, be sure to update the information on your website, Google My Business page, and third-party sites like Tripadvisor. 

 

These reports are great for getting a pulse on your business, whether your busy season is in full swing or you’re enjoying the off season. Use the data to pivot your strategies or see where you can improve. 

Looking for more tips on growing your business? Catch up on the latest FareHarbor webinars. 

Watch Our “FareHarbor For You” Webinar Series, Now On Demand

Have you been keeping up with the latest FareHarbor webinars? Every month FareHarbor experts host two live webinars with essential tips for helping you adjust your business strategies and use your Dashboard to the fullest.

If you missed them, not to worry  – all FareHarbor webinars are recorded and published on demand on FareHarbor Compass the following day. Here are our latest webinars, including the FareHarbor For You series and a bonus session on summer planning.

Disclaimer: Some information presented is only pertinent to current FareHarbor clients as our webinars feature tips to optimize the Dashboard. If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a FareHarbor client, you can request a demo here. (The Summer Planning webinar is relevant to everyone).

FareHarbor 101: Create a Foundation for Success

As a FareHarbor client, the Dashboard is completely customizable to you. Whether you’re a new client or you’re still learning the in’s and out’s of your Dashboard, the FareHarbor 101 webinar is a great place to start. 

This session is designed to help you better understand and optimize your Dashboard in three areas: best practices, reports, and FareHarbor resources. 

What you will learn:

  • Key Dashboard terminology (items, availabilities, and more!)
  • Book form optimizations to drive sales
  • How to use basic and custom reports

FareHarbor for You: Tools for the Reservationist

Reservationists play an essential role in any business – making and taking bookings! We want all Dashboard users to feel confident creating bookings, communicating with booked customers, canceling a booking, and other important Dashboard actions.

What you will learn:

  • How and when to overbook an availability
  • Using the manifest
  • Issuing refunds and placing credit card holds

FareHarbor for You: Tools for the Guide

Tour guides are the face of most activity businesses. Even if you don’t run tours in the traditional sense, your instructors, drivers, or activity leaders still need to know how to best communicate with customers and handle difficult situations. 

In this webinar, we discuss the top skills a tour guide should have as well as ways to enhance the customer experience, like offering to take photos for guests.

What you will learn:

  • In-house services and partners to help tour guides be successful (Compass, Fotaflo, waiver partners)
  • Essential tour guide skills like sense of direction and local knowledge
  • Dashboard actions such as setting up notifications for tour guides

Bonus Webinar – Smooth Sailing: Your Guide to Summer Planning

Whether your summer season is just getting started or you’re already looking ahead to next year, the tips in this webinar will help you have a successful busy season. By preparing your staff ahead of time and marketing your activities to the right travelers, you’ll see increased bookings and a strong online presence. 

What you will learn:

  • Ways to reach your hiring goals and how to find the best candidates
  • Which audiences to market your tours and activities to (hint: plan around school schedules!)
  • How to ask for reviews and referrals to get in front of new customers

These are just a few of the many webinars we’ve hosted this year. Head over to Compass and take a look at the other can’t-miss sessions currently on demand. And don’t forget to follow us on social media to see what new webinars we have lined up for you next month.

Are OTAs Right For Your Business? Find a Balance with Google Things to do

Compass Sneak Peek

 

Online travel agencies (OTAs) can help you bring in more revenue, reach additional audiences, and fill open spots on your tours and activities. But these third-party resellers also may take high commissions, so it’s well worth weighing the pros and cons before deciding to partner with an OTA. 

Fortunately, FareHarbor has helpful tips on how to determine if OTAs are right for your business. And, if you do decide to use OTAs, FareHarbor offers distribution programs where we handle the associated contracts and API connections for you as part of our free client services. 

How Your Business Can Benefit from OTAs

If you regularly have excess openings and want to capture more bookings, OTAs will put your offerings in front of customers who might not find your business otherwise. When you’re not able to maximize the full capacity of your tours and activities, you’re leaving money on the table! 

Building partnerships with third-party resellers is one way to create additional streams of revenue and reach in-destination travelers and last-minute bookers. This is largely because OTAs often target customers who have just booked a flight or hotel in your area and are looking for activities to round out their itinerary.

You also benefit from doing less market and audience research since you can take advantage of the OTAs’ large user base. Plus, these sites are typically well optimized for mobile, where the majority of bookings happen. 

Before you decide to work with OTAs, there are a few more questions to keep in mind. 

Can You Afford the Commissions?

If more bookings are exactly what you’re looking for, OTAs might be a good fit for your business. But before you sign on the dotted line, make sure to consider the commissions associated with OTAs. These typically average 20% or more of your retail price. You shouldn’t rely on OTAs too heavily as a single source of revenue while letting your direct booking goals fall to the wayside. 

Evaluate your current business needs to help you reach a decision by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you need a substantial boost in customers? 
  • How much would OTAs benefit your bottom line with their associated commission fees? 

This decision is all about striking a balance to ensure that it is the right move for your business.

Have You Done Your Research?

From Viator to GetYourGuide and others, FareHarbor is integrated with over 100 global and regional OTAs to help you build revenue. If you’re still wondering if OTAs are right for you, start by researching which partners you’d like to work with.

Here are a few things to consider for each OTA:

  • The sign-up process and necessary contracts and agreements 
  • The terms and conditions as well as cancellation policies 
  • The number of visitors they get and the rate at which they’re booking activities
  • How to get your tours and activities on their platform 

If you’re already a FareHarbor client, take a look at our current OTA integrations on Compass.

Striking a Balance: Use Google Things to do

Do you like the idea of using OTAs, but worry about the high commission fees? Google Things to do (Google TTD) is a great solution! 

A replacement for Reserve with Google, Google TTD lets you list your tours and activities for free as part of a program that takes bookings directly through the search engine. Google TTD allows you to use the benefits of Google search to capture more bookings, similar to how your tours and activities would be listed on an OTA.

Even better, FareHarbor’s Connectivity Team will help you get set up on Google TTD and service your connection for its duration. This ensures that all bookings from Google flow into your FareHarbor Dashboard. 

OTAs might not be the right fit for your business, but Google TTD gives you a taste of what these partnerships are all about – without breaking the bank. 

FareHarbor clients can learn more about Google Things to do, including optimizing your listings and setting up ad campaigns, on FareHarbor Compass.

5 FareHarbor Custom Calendars to Support Every Member of Your Business

One of the things we hear most from tour operators about the FareHarbor Dashboard is how customizable it is – especially when it comes to your bookings calendar.

FareHarbor’s intuitive Dashboard features various views, filters, and display options that let you take control of your bookings and display them as a custom calendar

Not only can you save and toggle between multiple calendars, but there’s no limit to how you can arrange bookings and other calendar essentials to meet your business needs.

Whether you’re already a FareHarbor client or you’re thinking about coming aboard, get inspired by these five ideas for custom calendars that will best serve your team. 

1. Custom Calendar for Reservationists

If you’re the person who primarily takes bookings for your tour or activity business, you’ll love this custom calendar. 

Configure your calendar to see an overview of every booking and open availability on a single-day or hourly basis. There’s also the option to “zoom out” and view open slots over a wider range of dates. 

Whether you’re making a booking over the phone or looking for an opening to squeeze in a last-minute, walk-up customer, our Dashboard experts will help you build the ideal calendar to fit your specific business needs.

2. Custom Calendar for Multi-Location Businesses

Reviewing booking information for multiple locations can be confusing. We recommend creating a custom calendar for each location where your business operates to enjoy a more streamlined experience. 

This feature offers quick information at a glance, allowing you to view open availabilities or compare bookings between the different locations. And, if your team gets an inquiry about availability at a given location, you can switch to the corresponding custom calendar to best assist them. 

This type of custom calendar is also great for businesses that share resources, like equipment or tour guides, between storefronts. 

3. Custom Calendar for Individual Guides & Employees

Do you have multiple tour guides or employees who need an easy way to view their schedule? Give them each a custom calendar so they only see the tours and activities assigned to them.

Not only will this offer a more streamlined experience, but it also allows your tour guides to stay organized and save time since they’re able to view everything they need to know about their daily schedule with one click.

Plus, the FareHarbor Dashboard lets you save each person’s custom calendar as their default calendar so it’s automatically accessible from the moment they log in. 

4. Custom Calendar for Equipment Rentals & Inventory

Need to get a quick visual on your available resources? Create a custom calendar that gives you a snapshot of what equipment is booked and on hand throughout the day.

This calendar is great for businesses that get frequent walk-up customers and last-minute bookings.

5. Custom Calendar for Gift Cards

Create a calendar with only gift cards to track how many have been sold or redeemed. Filter by item and select your gift cards for a simplified calendar that tracks a flat number of bookings. 

Whether you’re trying to improve your tour guides’ Dashboard experience or be able to navigate your bookings faster, you can do it with FareHarbor’s custom calendars.

For detailed instructions on creating custom calendars, view this guide on FareHarbor Compass or sign up for a live demo to see how FareHarbor can work for you.

Compass Sneak Peek: What Makes a Great Tour Guide?

Tour guides can make or break a guest’s experience. Who you choose to run your tours says a lot about your business. Guests don’t get the opportunity to meet everyone behind the scenes of your operation, so you’re trusting your tour guides to act as the face of your business.

Whether you’re hiring new staff members to get ready for your busy season or you’re hoping to inspire your current tour guides to keep up the good work, read on to learn the most essential characteristics that make a tour guide stand out.

The Best Tour Guides Are…

Local Experts

Out-of-town customers probably don’t know a lot about your area. An excellent guide offers more than just information on their chosen tour, but is eager to share everything from recommendations on where to eat to other can’t-miss experiences around town. 

This local knowledge creates an authentic tour experience that makes guests feel excited about the area, and even more likely to recommend your activities to their friends and families. 

Storytellers 

Nobody wants to listen to a tour guide who sounds like they’re reading from a script. A skillful tour guide weaves fun facts, points of interest, and local secrets into one memorable tour so that the customers do not feel like they are simply learning a lot of information, but rather that they are part of the experience.

They ask and answer questions, engage guests in conversation, and have customers on the edge of their seats with their storytelling skills. 

Funny & Personable

Even if the tour covers serious topics or moments in history, guests still appreciate a tour guide with an affable personality and good sense of humor. 

Jokes aside, an effective tour guide can hold everyone’s attention, relate to all kinds of people, and keep the atmosphere friendly and fun throughout the tour, even in the event of problems like a bus breaking down or a scheduled attraction being closed. 

Good With Directions

Having a sense of direction isn’t just about being good at reading a map. Tour guides with a great sense of direction know all the little shortcuts and best routes through town, and they don’t get turned around in the event of a road closure or route change. 

When guests inevitably ask for directions to another location after the tour ends, tour guides with a keen sense of direction are happy to help them find their way.

Culturally Sensitive

It goes without saying that the best tour guides are respectful of different cultures and work hard to educate everyone in the group about the local culture. 

They make everybody feel welcome regardless of their background and create a dialogue around different customs and ideas.

Passionate

When someone loves their job it shows, and that is no different for tour guides! A true passion for interacting with people and showing them an incredible time is what sets exceptional tour guides apart.

A tour guide who is clearly enthusiastic about the industry goes above and beyond. They stay after to talk with guests and inquire about their trip, and go the extra mile to make a customer’s experience the best it can be. 

How to Spot an Amazing Tour Guide

The quality of the tour guide is evident right from the start of the tour, when they make introductions. A good tour guide will introduce themselves, but an outstanding tour guide takes the time to quickly memorize everyone’s names and learn a few things about them, like where they’re from or why they chose to come on the tour or activity.

Here are a few more ways tour guides stand out on tour:

  • Show guests off-the-beaten-path locations and “secret” spots, like the best places to eat, and authentic places guests should visit after the tour.
  • Describe to guests what makes the tour or activity so special, drawing on knowledge from past travels and life experiences.
  • End the tour by inviting guests to return and asking for their honest feedback. A great tour guide wants to know how they can improve and what parts of the tour guests liked or didn’t like.

Do these sound like the kind of employees you want on your team? With some interview preparation and the right questions up your sleeve, attracting excellent tour guides is a breeze. See sample interview questions and additional hiring tips on FareHarbor Compass.