Tour-Operator Reservation System for Tailor-made Holidays

TORS Reservation system: Setup and Usage checklist

Setup: tasks and decisions
  • Training: Typically one day will cover sales or administrative use,
  • Pick a "Go live" date - move from training database to live, ensure best available levels of support round this date
  • Sales (accounting) currency
  • Should each booking include a base fee e.g. to cover representative fees.
  • Markup level - global value and/or more flexible (e.g. based on service type, travel dates); Could use a different global markup level for agents.
  • What minimum level of client information is required (e.g. name, phone and email, or just any one of these)
  • Deposit amount and full payment date (e.g. 15 weeks before departure)
  • Use exact selling price, or round it (e.g. to nearest pound, ten pounds, ...)
  • If selling under different brands, include different document designs, allocate product. If no shared product, reporting etc. then consider using an entirely separate account.
  • Transaction fees to be applied to some payment methods (e.g. credit cards)
  • Location loading - define ports and resorts
  • Contract loading - hotel, hire car, transfer, flight, &...
  • Description (public and internal) and image loading - optional but good for quotes/itineraries and visible in user interface
  • Contact methods: phone, emergency phone, email, web form
  • How to hold client deposit between quote agreed and all services confirmed
  • Booking terms and conditions
  • Comply with Data Protection Act (in UK) by register as a data controller or as relevant to you

Design work

Typically each tour-operator (and even brand within the operator) prefers to design distinctive documentation. Default documentation in TORS indicates a typical layout and shows the data available to be used, but is not generally intended to be "client ready".

  • Quotes - consider including resort, hotel & room-type photographs and descriptions, deep-links into your website, nearby events during the travel dates
  • Invoices - credit card transaction fees, agents
  • Vouchers
  • Itinerary - typically more detailed than quote & invoice - timings etc.
  • Requests - need to be easily understandable by the supplier

Ongoing Tasks
  • Update exchange rates - possibly forward-buying currency
  • Loading special offers - reservation system and website, use reports to help judge effect
  • Collect and review client feedback
  • Use reporting to check expected margins reached in each booking
  • Review any per-hotel margins to improve value or "sellability"
  • Daily reporting and follow up for missing payments, supplier requests, unanswered quotes, etc.
  • Check incoming quote levels: do online advertising / natural search updates / website layout changes to help improve
  • Check quote to booking conversion levels - improve by staff training, better supplier commission levels, improved quote design,
  • Brochure - both hardcopy and available online
  • Working with agents
  • Consider a Travel PR company - for use of Travel related press contacts -notify of special offers.

Related Systems
  • Credit card processor (internet or terminal) - needs merchant accounts. Also consider: PayPal/Googgle checkout, - ensure compliance with PCI requirements; setup may affect charges/payment holding delay, especially for new startups.
  • Flight booking: GDS, airline websites, consolidators
  • Your website: subset or entirety of product available in res system. Can use TORS API's to get costs for single-centre or custom multi-centre itinerary.
  • Web space (typically on your website) for any images included in customer documentation
  • Accounting system e.g. Sage, or accountant may prefer their own online system
  • Telephone system (PBX) - consider if it can provide statistics, use for taking payments/other simple automation, link to TORS to display relevant quote/booking to staff, and update contact log
  • Mailing-list system - can be used to help ensure delivery of and collect statistics for (email) communications

Note: In general, TORS is not linked into these third-party systems, except as noted. Depending on your choice of provider and the access they allow, linking/embedding can be implemented.

Typical life-cycle of a quote/booking

  1. Incoming request from client
  2. Input itinerary (possibly during discussion with client)
  3. Attach itinerary to clients record to save it
  4. Create revisions of itinerary to give choice to client / match their needs
  5. Iterate until client accepts a specific revision
  6. Possibly pre-auth/hold deposit
  7. Send requests to suppliers for on-request services
  8. Record incoming supplier replies, chase as required
  9. Once on-request services confirmed, re-check non-refundables (e.g. low-cost flights) prices and book, bank deposit and invoice client
  10. Take full payment prior to departure, maybe send updated invoice
  11. Continue to communicate with client prior to departure and after post return
  12. Pay suppliers prior/post departure as required
  13. After suppliers paid, check final margin against quote expectations
  14. Close booking - locked for auditors