Providing your customers with live availability, product prices and an instant booking function has never been more important. This will not only ensure you never miss a potential booking for your accommodation, tour or activity, but the automated system does the work for you, saving time and often money. Today, booking online is a customer expectation. Obstacles like filling out a form or making a phone call to book may result in your customer choosing another product.

Managing your bookings online

The most effective way for tourism businesses to sell bookable products is by using online booking software.

What is online booking software?

Online booking software helps you operate efficiently by providing a booking engine and a book-now button on your website, so customers can book directly with your business. The software houses rates and availability for all your bookable tourism products and provides customers with instant confirmation, helping you to streamline payments and back-of-house operations seamlessly. The time the software saves you means you can focus on other aspects of your business, such as providing fantastic customer experiences. It can also help manage walk-ins, phone bookings, and update your inventory in real time — so you can manage all your bookings all in one place.

Why use online booking software?

• Increase your bookings – accept bookings 24/7 and manage last-minute bookings

• Manage your business, staff and customers

• Improve the customer experience

• Save time and money

• Improve your search-engine ranking

There are many booking software providers available for different types of businesses, including accommodation, tours and activities, restaurants and event ticketing. They all offer different services at various price points, but it is recommended that tourism businesses select a booking software designed for their business type.

As well as providing your website with a booking engine, many of these booking software options for tourism businesses can also link, or channel manage*, your live-product availability to other online marketplaces, such as online travel agents and destination marketing websites, increasing your business reach and visibility.

Features to consider

It’s important to find the right booking software for your business. When choosing software, think about the features that are important to you, which might include:

  • Booking engine: book-now button
  • Mobile-friendly for staff, and customers
  • Cloud-based software
  • All-inclusive booking system: booking engine, reservations system and channel manager
  • Channel management: providing you with a network of sales partners
  • Automated emails to guests, e.g., booking confirmation, reminder of upcoming trip, cancellation notice
  • Guest manifest
  • Flexible and ongoing support
  • Free trials
  • Secure payment gateways
  • Cost effective pricing model: booking fee, monthly fee, per booking fee
  • Reports and customer insights
  • Multiple currencies and languages
  • Gift certificates
  • Upsell features and promotion codes

51% of global internet traffic to websites were from mobile phones. Make sure your website and booking system are mobile friendly.

For accommodation, software can vary considerably. Choosing the right software is often dependent on the size of your property – and the type of features you require. Some software specialises in channel management and connects in real time to your property management system (PMS), assisting you to manage your rates as well as channel manage your inventory to other online platforms. For smaller properties, software like Little Hotelier can work as a PMS, booking engine and channel manage your inventory offering an all-in-one solution.

Tip: Improve your SEO

Booking software is also a great tool to improve your search engine rankings. Having a booking button on your site means more external websites will link to yours.

  • Booking engine: Online tool that allows your customers to book directly on your website and pay online.
  • Channel Management*: is the process of managing online distribution channels in order to sell inventory (bookable tourism products) to various sales partners including online travel agents across the world.
  • Property Management System (PMS): When connected with your booking engine and channel manager, a PMS allows your bookings to flow into your system in real time. This means there is no chance of overbookings, as it automatically updates to reflect the actual availability each time a new booking is made (accommodation only).
Online booking providers
Online Booking SoftwareWhat products do they service?
BokunTours, activities and attractions
Booking BossTours, activities and attractions
FareharborTours, activities and attractions
RespaxTours, activities and attractions
RezdyTours, activities and attractions
Tour AmigoMulti-day tours
Tour ManagerTours, activities and attractions
Little HotelierSmall-scale accommodation - up to 20 rooms
Room ManagerAccommodation

Note: This is a sample list of booking software companies. This list is not exhaustive and is not an endorsement or recommendation by Destination NSW. Destination NSW recommends for you to undertake your own enquiries.

Tip: Promoting on Social Media

Promote your bookable experiences via your social media platforms so customers are directed back to your website to book your tourism products. For more information on digital marketing see:

Promote Your Tourism Business guide

Destination NSW Social Media Guidelines

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