TourConnect, like many companies, was born out of the frustration of it’s founder. After beginning my career in IT consulting, I started Bonza Bike Tours in 2004 as a great way for visitors to explore Sydney. As Bonza grew, we began working with more and more ITO’s and wholesalers. While the sales they brought in were fantastic, the administration was overwhelming. I quickly realized that in order for me not to lose my mind (and to ensure I had plenty of time to hit the beach after work!), I would have to find a better way to manage our contracts.
I started out by analyzing the problems that we experienced at Bonza due to the cumbersome process of communicating rates and product information. First, and most obvious, was the time it took to simply fill out all of the forms that our Contractors were requesting our rates with. These take hours at a time, and most of the time, you can’t even cut and paste from the previous year. Next, we observed that we were making mistakes on 1-2 contracts per year. Even if we caught the mistake, we often took a small hit on the revenue for bookings made prior to fixing the error. Finally, we saw that Contractors were making mistakes loading our important product data, like meeting points, departure times, and inclusions/exclusions. Every one of the mistakes in our bookings resulted in either refunds or disgruntled customers. The hard work we put in to ensure we set appropriate expectations for our guests was being made useless simply due to data entry errors.
After seeing how significant the impact the inefficient contracting process was, I looked for solutions that could help us with the problem. What I was looking for was quite simple…an online solution that would allow me to fill out one set of rates and have all my inbound tour operators and wholesalers be able to access them. As my search was fruitless, TourConnect was born. I took this core concept and added many features that addressed other aspects of managing my Contractors that annoyed me. These were features like contact management, archiving contracts, sending product updates and distributing special offers.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
I am reminded of Einstein’s famous quote defining insanity when I think about what makes me so passionate about TourConnect. There is no reason for the tourism industry to simply accept that contracting and the rate process should be a huge, costly pain every year. The problem is not going to magically go away on its own. We must come together and insist that the industry begin to standardize this key data so that we can begin automating and connecting the industry as one.
As this is our first blog post, I would like to welcome you to TourConnect. While we’ve put in a lot of work to create the best possible contracting and rate solution for you, we are always open to new ideas and things we can do better. We look forward to embarking on this journey with our customers (and my fellow Suppliers!) and helping to revolutionize the tourism industry.