It’s almost the end of the year, and you may be gearing up for peak season already, or eager to kick off your hiking boots for some well-deserved downtime. Before you start either, however, it’s crucial to wrap up the last twelve months with year-end reports. Unfortunately, that means there’s a little bit of work left to do this year for your tour business.
Even though this final task isn’t as exciting as your holiday plans, end of year reports shouldn’t be forgotten. A lot has happened from January to December and so, running a year-end report is the best way to get an accurate idea of how the year went and how your tour operation performed throughout.
But the end of year reporting isn’t just about reflecting on the past and measuring performance; the data in these reports can help you strategize the upcoming year. In other words, you’ll be able to see what you got right, where there’s an opportunity for improvement, and what you can try differently going forward.
While you can gather insight from generating a complete financial report in your accounting software — like a profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement — your end of year report should also include an overview of your bookings.
That’s because you should track your marketing campaigns and know your best-selling offerings in the new year. Where do you find that information?
Checkfront comes with various reports that tell you all about your online bookings, as well as reservations your staff takes over the phone, or in-person. Let’s take a look at which ones are valuable to have on your year-end checklist for reporting:
1. Revenue report
Of course, revenue matters every year for measuring growth and calculating metrics like net income and cash flow from operating activities. While your tour business may have different revenue streams, bookings are a primary source that you should list in detail on your end of year financial statement.
With the Revenue Report in Checkfront, you can get an overview of the payments you’ve received from bookings over the last year. By breaking down each month, the report shows the number of transactions, your payment and refund amounts, and your total monthly revenue. You can quickly export this report at the end of the year for your financial reporting.
Although this information is essential for when tax time rolls around, you can also use the Revenue Report to see your most lucrative months. Especially if you compare monthly revenue year to year, you’ll be able to spot trends that will tell you the time of year that’s best for promotions, discounts, and listing on OTA sites.
2. Monthly booking volume
Similar to the Revenue Report, your Booking Volume Report gives you insight into your most profitable months. However, this report shouldn’t replace the former in your end of year financials because the amounts don’t accurately reflect transaction data. Instead, the amounts shown are a summary of booking costs — regardless of payment status.
But this report still matters for year-end reporting because it tells you the busiest months. Depending on your seasons, you might find this data obvious or surprising. Either way, knowing your monthly booking volume trends can help you make improvements in managing your inventory and seasonal workforce next year.
Note: Clicking on a specific month in the report will redirect you to the Booking Index where you can further break down your monthly bookings by category, item, booking status, and source. Doing this will allow you to create a more targeted report with booking analytics that may affect your new year planning.
3. Items report
Not every tour is going to be profitable. In fact, some of your tours might end up costing you more money than what you make off them. For this reason, you might want to evaluate whether to get rid of this dead stock — and the end of the year is the perfect time to do that.
Likewise, it’s also a good idea to take note of your best-selling tours during year-end reporting. That’s because your most popular items will drive more bookings for upcoming promotions — such as Facebook contests, holiday-related gift certificates, and targeted advertising.
To find this information, head on over to your Items Report in Checkfront. While you can filter your Booking Index according to items — as I previously mentioned — the Items Report is where you can get a snapshot of the revenue associated with your bookable items for the entire year.
That way, you’ll quickly see what items made you the most money, which ones made the least, and even which ones had the most discounts applied.
4. Traffic and Bookings report
Curious to see whether you had more online or offline bookings this year? The Traffic and Bookings Report is the place where you can find out the number of website bookings, staff bookings, and the number of website visitors.
While you may expect to see a higher number for online bookings — especially after getting a website up and running — this might not be the case. That’s because there are still some travelers who book over the phone or prefer to visit the tour operator’s physical location.
However, that’s quickly changing as the reach of the internet continues to influence travel shopping. In fact, Phocuswright forecasts that online channels will account for 49% of all travel bookings in the US by 2020. So as a tour operator, you’ll want to do what you can now to put yourself in the best position in the years to come.
Let’s circle back to year-end reporting — why is it relevant to find out the number of website bookings at this time?
Well, it’s because the end of the year marks the start of a new one — which is an ideal time to set new goals and make a plan for how to tackle them. Once you know how many website bookings you had last year, you can aim to beat that number next year by optimizing your website for mobile devices and creating a frictionless booking flow.
5. Staff report
Annual employee performance reviews might be your least favourite task; unless you found a modern and relaxed way to offer your guides feedback. However, it’s something you shouldn’t neglect on your year-end checklist — even if most of your employees are seasonal. After all, your team will appreciate hearing what they did well and might feel motivated to improve in areas they need work on.
There are various things you can cover in their assessment, but if you’re looking for quantitative measurement, you can refer to the Staff Report in Checkfront.
In this report, you’ll see a breakdown of how many bookings each of your staff made over the year, and the revenue they generated as a result. While some of your guides will have higher numbers due to front desk scheduling, you can still use this data to gauge their success at taking bookings.
For instance, maybe one of your guides isn’t at the check-in desk often but still has the highest item quantity in the report. You might conclude that they rock at landing bookings and upsells when they are in the office. As such, in your evaluation, you can talk to them about transitioning into a leadership role where they train new guides on their phone script.
6. Commission report
By the end of the year, you might have to chase down outstanding bills to help with cash flow. One place to look is your commissions — there could still be partners who owe you money for already completed bookings.
At the same time, you might have pending payments that you need to clear up with your partners as well. After all, the best way to start the New Year is with a clean slate.
If you want to find out who owes who, and how much, you can check out the Commission Report in Checkfront. Here, you’ll get an overview of all the commission payments owed to and from your partners in your account.
And to see which payments are still outstanding, you just have to filter the report by changing the Commission status to Only Owed in the drop-down menu. From there, take note of the value in this field. A positive number represents commission owed to your partner, and a negative value shows what you owe. Like every report, the commission report can be exported and printed.
Although reporting is often reserved for the end of the year, it doesn’t have to be the only time you check in to see how your business is doing, and what you can be doing differently. These reports can be used quarterly, monthly, and even daily. That way, you can keep your tour business on track for success all year round.