Should DMOs & Tourist Boards Take Online Bookings?

As consumer habits are changing and booking technology has improved, an opportunity has presented itself for tourist boards and destinations on whether to move beyond a 'things to do' blog or business listings, into the online booking space. This is a discussion we've had with many, which inevitably ends up in moving forwards with online booking, if you'd like advice or a friendly chat on this subject we'd love to talk. We can also put you in contact with other DMOs and tourist boards using our online booking system to discuss with them.

Why should Tourist Boards adopt an Online Booking System to sell Experiences?

  1. Aligns with core goals: The core goals of DMO's is to promote regions to drive the local economy, create and support jobs. Enabling direct booking through DMO and tourist board websites reduces sales leakage of consumer having to click off onto multiple websites to find things to do. Often they'll face having to pick up the phone and email, which again, is a big blocker to driving business. Direct booking provides additional information that can be used for business grants and funding from key industry bodies outlining revenue driven to the local economy by types of activity, location and timings.
  2. Meets Consumer Trends: With a surge of demand for local, authentic experiences coupled with the ever increasing expectations for convenience, ease-of-use and timeliness. Instant booking of experiences has never been such an opportunity for Tourist Boards and Destinations as it has been today. The more value we can add to visitors, the more they'll repeat visit and recommend an area.
  3. Provides a stronger marketing capability: Content creation has always been a challenge. But with instant booking, businesses can upload their experiences and if done right, this can provide a wealth of experience pages that can be used to show off the best of a destination. Beyonk quality assures and optimises each listing to provide a rich catalogue of experiences.
  4. Value added to businesses: Supporting local businesses is a key driver to take online bookings. By supporting them with more bookings, and reducing sales leakage, they'll be bigger advocates and longer term supporters.

What are the challenges with online booking for tourist boards and destinations?

  1. You're busy with a wide scope of work and don't have resource to look at other areas. Beyonk does all the work so you don't have to. We contact all local businesses to drive your more members, or can just speak to your current members. We provide the software to your IT team and are already integrated to major website providers for tourist boards. All you have to do is send an email to your members (we can provide the typical content), watch your website get a facelift, see all the positive responses from local providers and have hundreds of new rich webpages to promote.
  2. It's easier to do what you've always done. Agreed. Why change something if it's not broken? For those with funding pressures, the thought of taking a risk in doing something you've not done before can be daunting. This can also be viewed as an opportunity to create more business.
  3. Worries there isn't a solution that will work for the majority of local Experience Providers. Many have yet to find a solution that works for the majority of their members. Beyonk has been set up directly to solve this problem. Read on to hear how
  4. Worries from businesses who already have booking software: Beyonk provides a no-monthly fee booking system that can be used to sync spaces across their own websites and tourist boards and others. Or they can use Beyonk just as a listing website, offering some packages through Beyonk, or some spaces on Beyonk, whilst continuing to use their own booking system. It's purely optional for businesses on how to get involved. Beyonk can also integrate to key booking systems when it becomes clear that will get a good portion of businesses in a region.
  5. Businesses may worry of dual-bookings if continuing to use their own booking system. Beyonk has created a 'request to book' feature allowing businesses to look at the customer and the booking request and only accept the booking when they're comfortable they have availability.
  6. Some businesses don't take online bookings and it could exclude them. Beyonk can be used as a listing site where experiences can be added for enquiries only. This reduces sales drastically, Beyonk advises on different ways to be able to manage online bookings.
  7. Don't wan't to be seen promoting one software over another. We get it. Public organisations have a mandate to be fair, open and transparent. At Beyonk, we can support you with information requests and even provide factual information of all players in the market as we've been asked for this multiple times. Our solution offers a low cost route to market to businesses for bookings, sales and marketing whilst supporting tourist boards unlike any other provider does.
  8. Worried of legal ramifications . It is common for agents to sell activities on behalf of providers. There are well established legal constructs for booking technology having limited liablity for thre delivery of activities. Booking Software providers such as Beyonk, can provide legal counsel from previous engagements to alleviate any concerns.

Conclusion Whilst many leading tourist boards are starting to work with Beyonk to take onine bookings, clearly the decision to take online bookings from your destination marketing website will depend on where you see the future of tourism going, your ambitions for modernising your website and your relationship with local businesses. We like to think our solution is a win-win for all so we'd love to help you with the healthy debate. Want to learn more? Check out our Tourist Board and Destination Booking Software page and contact us for a friendly chat to see how we can help.