Thursday, October 15, 2009

Next generation technology for regional tourism: all members, all products, all connected, one shopping cart.

Many regional tourism associations are turning to technology to boost their local tourism economy.


"Over 85% of North Americans are researching leisure travel online and 55% of those people are now BOOKING online. If you are not offering this feature, you could be losing sales. "- Yahoo Marketing 2006


Entire regions recognize the need to get their products online to provide a seamless booking experience for online shoppers and agents. To date communities and regional tourism associations have struggled to provide one vehicle for all of their members that is both an effective online marketing and sales tool yet accessible to all of their members.

Using the next generation concept of shared web based services, Adventure Engine has launched a system will allow one administrator (typically the regional tourism department) to host a regional account that permits unlimited members to load, manage and sell trips through the system - on the association site, on every member site and on an unlimited number of partner and distribution sites. AE opens up numerous new third party agent outlets for members' products including commission tracking.

A WIN WIN for all...

Individual regional members gain access to critical technology
Consumers can easily book their own multi-tour packages
Regional tourism offices meet their mandate, track hits, sales volumes, marketing redirects and other critical statistical information.

"We are extremely excited by the opportunity the platform will provide to communities worldwide. There is no other system out there that provides a reservation system for individual members, connects various operators' trips into one shopping cart and automates the entire post sale receipting, reporting, funds transfers, and commission payments like this system. It just can't get more powerful and accessible. This is setting the bar for communities' solutions worldwide." States AE Co-founder, Kelly Acheson.


While buzz concepts like Twitter and Blogging have been headlining as promotional tools they are not capable of easily managing and selling tours. It is widely accepted industry standard that in order to be competitive individual operators need to have online reservation systems but this has the effect of scattering the user experience once customers arrive at the destination regional tourism website.

Regional trips can be combined in virtually endless ways online allowing for search, package and book functionality to customers visiting the regional website. In one stop to the tourism site customers can buy several tour products, nights' accommodation and a charter flight. All the tourism members can access cutting edge administration tools, reservation system, e-commerce shopping carts, merchant accounts.

The Regional System offers next generation functionality at a lowered cost per user. The Communities program has already launched in South Africa (see side bar), Tourism Canmore www.bestofcanmore.com and will deploy with Spanish language translation in the Dominican Republic this winter.



The Adventure Community System

Here are just some of the benefits for tourism and recreation associations:

Connect and promote your members
Increase sales
Online sales for members
Bundle multiple products
Booking systems, shopping carts, availability calendars,
Members manage their own content
Centralize your tourism product
Multi-currencies and languages
Add a search and booking engine to your Tourism or Association website

Want to learn more about Adventure Engine's Community System? Click here

Friday, August 28, 2009

One of Latin Americas most successful Hostels - Milhouse Hostel - chooses Adventureengine


Milhouse is one of the most successful hostels in Latin America.

They have recently made the shift to integrate Adventure Engine for all payment processing. "When traveling around South America sometimes ATM's are not easy to find, they don't always work or they just charge a lot for a normal money withdraw. With Adventure Engine we've improved a lot the payment process making it more efficient and making life easier for our guests as they don't have to carry much cash. We have already increased sales as people spend more if they can use their credit cards and of course, as a consequence, we are offering a better service which is always the main goal for any hostel."

- Mariano Saccal
Milhouse Hostel

Milhouse's customer focus is a major factor in their success, and they have been developing their services a lot in the last few years in order to keep ahead of the game. They have gone from a hostel where you could book a bed in a room to a hostel that provides a true and complete experience. Travelers can choose to stay in either dorms or private en suite rooms, with activities every single day, a travel agency specialized in backpacker products and very high quality standards.

Hostels in general and Milhouse in particular are nowadays very far from the old concept of a room with hundreds of bunk beds and a huge shared bathroom. You will be pleased to find very convenient places to stay, with great value for your money and an atmosphere that will make your stay something to remember at Milhouse Hostel.



Check out their website www.milhouse.com

The New Face of Hostels



You may want to rethink your idea of hostels.

The hostel scene has changed dramatically in the last ten years. The hostels of today are stylish, modern, clean, and are a great economic alternative to a hotel room. Hostels are becoming more and more popular, partly due to the economic downturn but also because they help provide the complete travel experience.

Recent findings from the World Tourism Organization show that young people today are traveling with a purpose - "to explore and to engage with cultures, and to mix their travel ambitions with study, work, volunteer placements and adventure. They tend to stay much longer and therefore spend more than the average tourist, interacting more closely with the communities that they visit and making a direct contribution to local businesses". This only further proves that there's a great opportunity out there for both hostels and local tour companies to partner together in order to bundle travel packages with accommodation in order to truly give this "experience" that today's traveler is searching for.

Hostels are a great source of information on local activities and for those that are already using online booking software, it's easy to become a reseller and sell local product. "The youth travel market is worth an estimated US $136 billion a year, or around 18% of worldwide international tourism receipts" (OMT - WYSE). Average money spent per trip grew 39% between 2002 and 2007 - and this could grow even further with closer relationships between hostels and local companies.


Hostels: Not Just For Youth

The long-standing myth that hostels are only for young people is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Although the youth travel segment accounts for a large portion of all dollars spent in hostels, one can't ignore the other target markets that are growing annually in market share.

Once commonly referred to as "youth hostels", hostels are shedding this image and becoming all ages friendly. More and more hostels are losing the age restriction rules they once had, and also marketing towards more a more diverse clientele. Target demographic groups are now expanding to include business and family travelers, which is also accounting for the higher demand of private rooms.


In addition to the business professional looking for some company and vacationing families on a budget, there are "grey gappers" who used hostels in their youth but are now looking for more comfort without breaking the bank. There is a dramatic shift happening right now as hostels expand their offerings to suit these new target demographics, and one can see why it's so important to act on these recent trends when "50% of the hostels all around the world increased their amount of beds in 2006" (source: OMT - WYSE).


The Adventure Engine System
Popular tool for hostels!
Some hostels use Adventureengine for all of thier reservaiton and distribution needs. Others use Adventureengine as an online payment service fir guests while maintaining their own in house res system!

Not only can Adventure Engine save your company money, we can also free your staff from manual tasks like data entry, inventory tracking and reporting so you can grow effectively and improve guest service and sales.


Adventure Engine provides three main services:

1. Reservation and booking system - get all your bookings into one affordable and easy to use system.

2. Online shopping cart and payment processing for your website - customers can check up to date availability and book online at their convenience.

3. Interfacing / networking with your existing agent network making it easier for them to book your trips - and access to our growing network of distributors giving you extremely affordable marketing exposure.

Friday, July 31, 2009

MIntTrav.com chooses Adventureengine to supply tours to their agency

Adventure Engine and resellers - a partnership worth pursuing!

MIntTrav.com is an online Travel Agency offering over 100,000 hotels & resorts, 600 airlines, cruises, car hire & rentals anywhere in the world.

MIntTrav.com recently signed up with Adventure Engine to showcase Adventure Travel. They feature just some of the 1000+ awesome, commission ready adventure tours all around the world on their new live booking engine.

"When developing MIntTrav.com we spent months searching for and going through (nearly) every available "adventure travel" affiliate program that is there on the market, and the features combined with the quality of service and response time that we get from Adventure Engine has been the best that we have seen. Thanks so much everyone at Adventure Engine, especially Kelly and Rose."


- Muhammad Kasmani
MIntTrav.com

Online Travel Bookings a Bright Spot

The travel environment remains "surprisingly difficult" everywhere in the world but online travel agency (OTA) bookings should continue to be a bright spot, says a new study by PhoCusWright Inc.



"Online travel agencies should benefit from the ongoing shift in transactions from traditional points of purchase toward the Internet,"said Jack Fuller, the author of the study. He also cited a better-than-expected domestic leisure travel season as another factor improving the outlook for online.
ReadMore:



Online Sales Boom


Online booms as travel numbers tumble

SYDNEY - Traveller numbers have declined in Australia, but the proportion of online bookings has grown sharply, increasing by 26 percent.

Tim Russell, managing director of Amadeus Australia and New Zealand, said, "Online travel agencies are benefiting from the current economic environment, with travellers believing that the best prices can be found online."


Read More:

The Adventure Engine System

Adventure Engine offers online sales solutions for every tour operation type - whether you deal in adrenaline adventures or experiential getaways. We help Operators GET ONLINE with our availability calendars, customizable registration forms and shopping carts ... ALL directly connected to their Adventure Engine reservation system.


We also work hard on your behalf to distribute your product to multiple online adventure and travel agency websites.




Adventure Engine provides three main services:

1. Reservation and booking system - get all your bookings into one affordable and easy to use system.

2. Online shopping cart and payment processing for your website - customers can check up to date availability and book online at their convenience.

3. Interfacing / networking with your existing agent network making it easier for them to book your trips - and access to our growing network of distributors giving you extremely affordable marketing exposure.



"We have been using Adventure Engine almost since their inception and we've been very happy with the service. It has saved us a HUGE amount of time with database management and processing sales, and has made booking trips easier for customers as well. Over 80% of our customers now book their trips online."


- Mike Brcic, Owner

Sacred Rides

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Find Adventures on Uptake.com

Uptake.com will be showing Adventure Engine trips on their new consumer website.
This is a great opportunity for Adventure Engine tour operators to sell their programs through this very popular travel site!

Check their website out here:

Family Vacations and Activities

Or join their blog to keep up to date! http://www.uptake.com/blog

Thursday, May 28, 2009

ATTA research "automate everything possible"

Adventure Engine recently attended a presentation put on by the Adventure Travel Trade Association and learned a great deal more about adventure travel in today's market.

One of the major points covered in the presentation was the importance of focusing on operator efficiencies, especially by automating everything possible. Anything done more than once should be examined as a possible candidate for automation. This can include everything from reservations to collecting payments, creating reports to sending email confirmations.

Other great tips from ATTA's "in the field" presentation section include:


Tighten assortment - let go of unproductive segment - if a trip isn't great, ELIMINATE IT
View your trips as a service, like a doctor or lawyer - discount CREATIVELY
Yield management - what yields the GREATEST return in terms of profit, customer return, cost-elimination


Click here to learn more about the Adventure Travel Trade Association.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

BC Ministry of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development gives kudos to Adventure Engine

http://www.tted.gov.bc.ca/TRI/research/SuccessStories/bcrstn/Pages/adventureengine.aspx

From ice-climbing trips on the glaciers of Patagonia to surfing charters off the coast of Indonesia, Adventure Engine is helping the adventure and experiential travel industry to grow – all from Rossland, B.C.

Kelly Acheson and Amber Hayes of Adventure Engine got into business when they saw a gap in the online reservation technology that was available to the adventure travel industry. Most adventure tour companies are small businesses, and many do not have the technical knowledge or resources to offer online booking on their own. As well, most generic software is designed for the conventional travel industry and is either unaffordable or does not meet tour operators’ specific needs.

Adventure Engine is an easy and affordable online booking management system designed specifically for adventure and experiential tour operators. Before Adventure Engine, many tour operators spent extra time in the office completing registrations. Now, this process can be completely automated and even customized to ask important trip-specific questions like “what is your flipper size?” or “do you have rock climbing experience?” The system is available 24 hours a day, meaning tour operators can spend less time in the office and more time in the field with clients.

In addition to online reservations, Adventure Engine provides a sophisticated interface for travel agents and partners. The system’s tools range from simple solutions to complicated customer development upgrades to suit the requirements and budget of any tour operator.

The Kootenay Association for Science and Technology works to enhance the competitiveness of companies like Adventure Engine by advancing science and technology in the West Kootenay-Boundary region. “KAST is huge supporter and promoter of technology in rural areas,” says Acheson. “They provide workshops and networking, and they helped us to better understand our own product and our industry.”

With clients all over the world, Adventure Engine is looking forward to expanding even more. “The sky’s the limit,” says Acheson. “As more and more operators learn of this great opportunity, we will continue to become the globally recognized industry experts.”

For more information about Adventure Engine, visit www.adventureengine.com.

To learn more about science and technology in the West Kootenay-Boundary region, visit www.kast.com.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Technology can determine tour company survival in 2009

2009 seems to be all about cutting costs and doing more with less…but like any period of challenge there is opportunity to move to the front of the pack, re assess organizational processes and come out of tough times a stronger and more effective company.
The adventure tour industry in particular has been slow to adopt the technology that saves other travel sectors millions annually. But for those visionary tour operators the application of technology has allowed substantial company gains even in these tough times.

The case of Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Tour Company is true testament to the opportunity present for those companies ready to seize it. The company president Mike Brcic comments,

“ New technology has allowed me to move over 90% of my sales through the website shopping cart avoiding time intensive calls, not required particularly for my return guests. With an average of just half an hour per sale this frees up over 20% of my sales budget and staff time to invest in other areas of the organization.”

“Adventure Engine allows us to automate our online availability and bookings. If a client registers online: credit card payment, client/s data entry to the database, trip seat adjustment, gear adjustment and allocation, follow up email and receipt, balance owing and reporting are all managed in one step automatically. We can even include charitable donations in the check out as an option for guests. We also had the opportunity to expose our products through channels like WestJet and to present to and promote our trips through a large national travel agency in 2008, unlikely without Adventure Engine.”

Mike goes on to discuss the impact this has made in his business “…moving to the online booking system provided by Adventure Engine has provided us with a quantum leap forward in productivity, allowing us to dedicate our time to the continuing effort to improve our product and customer service. In 2009, this paid off nicely with a ranking as the “#1 mountain bike tour operator on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure magazine. “

The success of companies like Sacred Rides may become the foundation for more adventure and experiential tour companies to embrace new technology as a critical tool for surviving the tough waters ahead.
The turbulence is even being felt now in regional tourism organizations as they feel increasing pressure to make their region more competitive and win over the lessening number of travelers.

Adventure Engine Partner Amber Hayes comments “We are celebrating with clients the capacity for these systems to optimize operations in such a customized way. We are a tech company founded by tour operators and are passionate about the success of this industry. Now we just hope more tourism boards use this system to get their region to market so we can report on gains in that area as well. “


To review the system and how results like Mike’s are achieved please contact Adventure Engine.
Visit Adventure Engine www.adventureengine.com , email info@adventureengine.com

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Online sales continue to rise - are you selling online?

Good news during tough times online sales continue to grow and in a seperate study outdoor sales continue growth despite downturns in other industries.
Make sure you optimizing your website to provide up to the minute online availability and booking
Not providing this yet ? AE can provide you with everything you need in one easy package.
Check out the latest PhocusWright survey on European online sales here
And the American Outdoors survey on Outdoor service and product sales here.

And one further hint - affluent travelers continue to purchase travel!

We hope you find these references helpful and look forward to helping you perform effectively as you manage your business in 2009!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Show your trips on VAST travel -a new sales opportunity for AE clients!

Trips on Adventureengine.com are now displayed and ready for sale on VAST.com

Vast.com is the leading vertical search platform for autos, travel, and real estate, with millions of users a month making purchasing decisions through Vast.com's network of partner websites. Vast.com improves the online shopping experience with the largest selection, sub-second search times, and intuitive auto, real estate, and vacation/travel search that helps users find the best match on the Internet for their needs.

This means if you are signed on with Adventureengine and have trips available; your trips will be shown on this superb travel site!
A great opportunity for both marketing and sales of your programs.
No extra cost for Adventureengine subscribers.
Just another way Adventureengine helps you manage and sell your trips!

See Adventureengine trips on VAST by clicking here http://www.vast.com/travel/keywords-site:adventureengine.com

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Success Story of the Month

Bay of Islands Rock Cruises Ltd. registered with the Adventure Engine system at the end of November and was up and running by the beginning of December. That's how quick and easy this system is to use!

Check out what Sarah McMaster, owner of Bay of Islands Rock Cruises company has to say:

"Our small overnight cruise business in Bay of Islands, New Zealand recently decided to make the move to online booking. On a recommen-dation I got in contact with Kelly and her team. Inside three weeks we were up and online with our first online bookings coming through in the first 24 hours we went live! It was so quick and easy. Any queries we had were answered straight away and the link into our banking system was set up immediately. Thanks to Adventure Engine the whole process was quick
and easy."

Take a look at the Bay of Islands Rock Cruises website to see how seamlessly the Adventure Engine system integrates into their site and just how easy it is for your customers to use.