If you own a brewery, tours can be a boon to your business: they inject a new source of income, introduce new customers to your business, and allow fans to sample your products straight from the source.
But whether you host weekly tastings or ongoing guided tours of your brewery, you need an effective system to coordinate these tours and manage the inflow of customers eager to book tours in any season. Just take it from some of the nation's biggest breweries, which offer online bookings to simplify the process.
Here are some key reasons why your brewery needs to offer online bookings as an option for brewery tours.
Eliminate Manual Administrative Tasks Related to Bookings
Your staff is already taking care of day-to-day brewery operations. Even if you have a designated marketing team to handle promotional activities for your business, team members may have limited time available to take care of tour reservations over the phone, via email, and in-person. Make it hassle-free for your team: Set up an online booking system for your tours so all a customer has to do is visit your website and click through the "Book It!" button.
Offering one-click online bookings eliminates the need for staff members to set up bookings via phone and email, and keep manual records of all activities. Online booking software programs, like ZOZI, take care of everything digitally and can even automate confirmations and email messages so that the entire booking process is a 'hands-off' activity.
Both large and small breweries can benefits from an online booking system—breweries including Sierra Nevada, Firestone Walker, and Yazoo have already implemented ZOZI Advance into their websites to help visitors make reservations in just a few clicks. Yazoo offers the option of both weekday and Saturday tours, and also provides a comprehensive breakdown of tour booking rules and regulations.
Share a Live Calendar with Tour Availability
A live calendar allows prospective visitors to see when tours are available, what days of the week the brewery is closed for cleaning or maintenance operations, and what types of special events you are hosting throughout the month. This feature gives visitors a chance to plan their trip around your availability and makes it much easier to share information about brewery happenings without added effort. It also prevents you from over-selling tours because tours booked can be updated in real time and you can set limits on the number of tour spots available on any given day. With ZOZI Advance, you can set up "available," "partially available," and "sold out" dates with color coding on your calendar.
Reduce or Eliminate No-Show Rates
A poorly-managed booking and reservation system—usually one that involves calling customers directly and confirming reservations over the phone or by email—can increase the chances of no-shows when the customer is unaware of the consequences. If you are already experiencing problems with no shows, use an online booking software program that requires visitors to pay upfront and agree to the cancellation and refund policy that accounts for no shows. Imposing a cancellation fee or a no-show penalty can prevent no shows and keep your tours booked to capacity with minimal effort.
Manage Customer Information Effectively
When a customer contacts you to book a tour, you need to collect all of their information, which is a time-consuming process and runs the risk of data entry errors and mistakes.
Online booking software programs collect and organize all customer data for you. So all you have to do is log in to a dashboard to reveal contact information and details about the customer's inquiry. Even if the inquiry comes to you via phone, a staff member can log information directly into an online form for easy retrieval.
Maintaining a current database like this makes it extremely simple to send out welcome emails, newsletter updates, and "thank you" emails to an entire list—or a segmented list—in a few clicks. Take advantage of the software program's built-in templates and automation tools so that you can communicate with customers in a timely manner and keep track of customers interested in booking tours as efficiently as possible.
Personalize the Tour Experience
Creating an unparalleled customer experience is much easier to do when you can gather information from the customer efficiently well before they arrive. And the importance of this is growing: by 2016, 89 percent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, according to Gartner for Marketing Leaders.
In addition to gathering customer information with ease, you can set up a series of questions for the customer during the checkout process in an effort to personalize their experience. For example, you could ask the visitor what their favorite type of beer from your brewery is so that you an surprise them with a complimentary glass of their favorite brew at the end of the tour. You could also find out if they are celebrating a special occasion and surprise them with a gift such as a beer glass with your logo on it or other brewery memorabilia.
Accommodate for One-Click Mobile Bookings
Research shows that more travelers are using a smartphone and other mobile devices to do research and confirm reservations. According to the latest State of Mobile Commerce report by Criteo, 66 percent of travel-related mobile transactions come from smartphones and 27 percent of travel-related online purchases come from a smartphone or tablet.
Take advantage of this trend by creating a mobile-friendly version of your website, complete with a one-click booking button. Travelers can read descriptions about tours you offer, special events at the brewery, and other offerings on their mobile device and make a reservation without having to log in to the desktop version at any time. It's an attractive feature for today's tech-savvy customer and may help you generate more bookings each season.
Provide an Automated Voucher Redemption Process
If you run special offers, issue discount codes, or work with third-party daily deal sites, you need to implement a streamlined voucher redemption process so that customers can use their coupon codes without any hassles during checkout. Using an online booking software program that makes it simple to issue discounts and keep track of redemptions. Make use of reports that reveal how many vouchers were redeemed over a given time period so that you can determine the success rate of different marketing and promotional activities.
Fully Monetize Tours with Add-Ons
Many breweries miss out on the opportunity to fully monetize tours by offering add-ons and product purchases as part of the experience. For example, you could include the option of purchasing brewery memorabilia, such as hats, t-shirts, beer glasses, bottle openers, coasters, and other souvenirs at the checkout process. Add-on services might include a private, one-on-one tasting experience with a beer maker or special pricing on a batch of specialty brews. This is also the perfect place to sell a gift card. Take advantage of add-on features available with an online booking software program so that you can maximize revenue potential from each and every brewery tour booking.
Easily Produce Manifests for Tour Guides
Tour guides can use manifests for a roster of visitors and relevant information about customers, such as special celebration or special requests. Use an online booking software program that provides both online and printable manifests for tour guides to reference at a glance. You can customize the fields for your brewery tour manifests, such as including information about the customer's beer preferences, birthday or anniversary celebrations, and any special requests made upon booking.
The tour guide could access these reports on a tablet computer, smartphone, or just print out a copy before the tour to check in customers with ease.
Marketing and managing these tours can be tricky without a streamlined booking software program by your side. Using a robust online booking software program like ZOZI can help you coordinate and book brewery tours with ease. Consider these features and benefits of offering online bookings to keep your tour calendar full season after season.
Some of the largest breweries around the nation use ZOZI Advance to manage their brewery tours and offer online bookings. Learn more about ZOZI Advance for breweries below.