Yet, the vast majority of businesses that provide these tours and activities have no access to technology that can help them capitalize on web and mobile commerce.
Rezgo, a pioneer in cloud based software for tour and activity businesses, is changing that and proving that travelers will book "things to do" online and on their mobile devices. This past month, the hundreds of businesses that use Rezgo collectively broke the one million customer mark.
"Tours and activities have always been the ugly duckling of the travel industry." says Stephen Joyce, Rezgo CEO "Because it is so fragmented and the businesses tend to be quite small, no one really pays much attention. Serving over one million customers worldwide proves that people will book with small business, if given the chance. It also shows that small businesses can be successful online if provided with the right tools and support."
The majority of businesses that use Rezgo are small businesses who offer daily tours, activities, or excursions. Unlike peer to peer services, these are professionals who make their living providing experiences to visitors and locals alike. What is interesting about the one million customers booked through these small businesses, is the data that can be analyzed from all the transactions and how that data can be used to help small businesses improve. For example:
• Lower priced tours and activities sell better online. 75% of customers booked tours that cost less than $100.
• Tours that cost $1000 or more per person accounted for less than 1% of total customer bookings suggesting that customers aren't ready to book expensive tours from small businesses online.
• Almost half of all customers booked tours and activities in U.S. destinations. Travelers to Africa account for less than 4% of bookings.
• Customers are shifting from desktop to mobile devices. Since 2009, there has been a 18% decline in desktop web bookings. Mobile web bookings have increased by the same percentage.
• Travelers who book "things to do" tend to be last minute. More than half of all customers booked within 7 days of their travel date.
• Businesses who accept credit card payments get more bookings. Even though PayPal is the preferred payment method for most businesses, over 80% of customers paid for their bookings with a credit card.
Stephen adds "By looking at a large cross section of customers we can provide tour and activity businesses with valuable insight into what works and what doesn't. Obviously there are more analytics we can provide now that we have a decent data set. This is information they can't get anywhere else."
Rezgo is expecting strong continued growth as more small businesses take advantage of web and mobile offerings. With more small businesses online, the expectation is that more customers will be booking cool and interesting "things to do" on the web and increasingly, through their mobile devices. The hope, of course, is that those customers will be making those bookings through a Rezgo powered small business.