The life of a new tour business owner is insane.
You have a million things to do and can never seem to catch up. Most times you are too busy reacting to things that come up that you don’t have time to cross tasks off your list.
You’re losing sleep and rarely make it home for dinner on time, but it’s all worth it. You just wish there was a better way.
If you are in desperate need of getting some time back, there is one word that will make your life so much easier— automation.
Automation is the process of batching repetitive tasks together. And it’s changing the way small businesses do work by allowing them to do more with less.
Here are the best time-saving tools for new tour businesses.
Posting on social media is a great way to discover new customers and connect with your community. But it takes consistency to build a following. Most channels recommend you post at least once a day.
It takes time to open up each of the apps to share an update or photo, and longer to find something worth sharing. But here’s a little secret— most companies don’t post things as they happen. Instead, they use a social media scheduling tool like Hootsuite.
With Hootsuite you can post an update to all your profiles at once and schedule them months in advance. So instead of finding time each day to be social, you can set aside an hour each couple weeks.
Hootsuite offers a free 30-day trial after that plans start at $20/month.
Guests are the livelihood of your business. But you don’t need to spend all day on the phone explaining your pricing and availability to fill spots. Instead, you can add an online booking system, like Checkfront, to your website so your guests can reserve themselves 24/7 — which also helps with growing your digital presence.
Once a guest completes a booking you can also automate all your follow-up communications; sending waivers, reminders, safety information, invoices, and thank you messages reminding guests to leave you a review.
So instead of spending your days communicating with people over the phone and email, you can focus on creating a memorable experience for the guests that are right in front of you.
You can try Checkfront free for 21-days after that plans start at $50/month.
Hiring employees comes with its own set of issues. Like making sure everyone gets paid on time. Adding up everyone’s hours and including the right deductions and taxes each quarter makes for a lot of computer work.
Using accounting software, like Xero, you can fully automate your payroll.
So instead of calculating everyone’s earnings every two weeks and cutting cheques, all you have to do is input the hours worked, and Xero will automatically deposit money into the right accounts.
Xero offers a 30-day trial then plans start at $20/month.
It can be a pain to manage a team schedule and make sure all your guides show up on time. And if someone calls in sick, it takes valuable time away from you to find someone to cover.
Which is where team scheduling software, like Deputy, come in.
With Deputy, you can create schedules, timesheets and assign tasks to your guides who clock in using facial recognition on their phone. It also offers a common area for your staff to communicate so they can easily get their own shifts covered. And when it comes time for payroll, you can import all the timesheets into Xero.
Deputy also has a free trial then is only $2/user/month.
The first year of becoming a tour operator will likely be the busiest of your life, so you want to be as efficient as possible. By using software to batch routine work you can get a couple of extra hours of sleep each night. Making these services well worth their small monthly fees.