When choosing the best tour operator software, consider a payment processing system it uses, and what became especially relevant due to the events of 2020 – how it handles refunds.
Travel platforms WeTravel or Rezdy offer their own payment gateways. Others, like YouLi or GroupDesk, integrate with the global providers like Stripe or Square.
While there is no universal solution, pay attention to these factors:
How long does it take to settle the payments?
Simply ask a question: when my client pays for booking, how soon will that money show in my bank account? If the answer from the itinerary management software provider is “it may take up to 60 days after the trip is complete”, or “25% of your bookings will be on hold until the experience has been delivered” does that work for you? What about paying your vendors, local partners, deposits that need to be given to the suppliers to hold availability?
Most tour operators would never agree to these terms, but they don’t know about them until the delay happens.
Know your options to get paid faster
Do you have to wait to get money for your bookings? The truthful answer is “No, you don’t”. For example, YouLi – Best Software for Group Trips never holds your money. The company simply passes on your bookings from clients directly to your account on Stripe or Square. That means YOUR reputation with the payment gateway determines when your money is paid out. For Stripe this is usually less than 7 days.
Want to avoid booking fees all together? Accept direct payments for free with YouLi “Free Bank Transfers” feature.
Negotiate the fees
Prices with large payment gateways are set and cannot be negotiated, right? Wrong! One of YouLi clients, who runs large retreats under the brand of Retreats at Resorts, Liesel Albrecht, was able to lower her Square rate to almost half of the original price tag. So pick up the phone, and make that call. What do you have to lose?
Be prepared for refunds
What if I have to refund the trip? We know travelers will be asking this question for at least several years. If you are planning to deliver any trips post-covid, you need to be prepared to answer, and get comfortable talking about it. To do so, make sure you openly discuss this topic with all your partners, including your insurance broker and a booking platform.
You may hear questions like:
- What if I change the trip date, will there be a re-booking fee?
- If I get a covid-positive test result at the airport and have to turn around, will I be refunded?
- What if my partner tests positive, but I don’t want to go without them?
Keep your Terms & Conditions updated
The world has changed, so take your time to make sure your T&C are updated accordingly. If needed, require a health check prior to the trip. Collect all the necessary waivers; require explicit consent to the policies. It is a common practice to receive legal and insurance consultation to cover all the details. This will help you protect your travelers AND your business.
YouLive To Travel (YouLi) is a Melbourne based team with a passion for travel and technology. We do things a little differently because we know that computers don’t know the best places to go, only the best organizers do. We have create YouLi group travel platform to empower you to create transformational travel experiences that will change the way your travelers see the world.
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Learn more about YouLi.