Lower your product’s HIA (hours-in-advance) cutoff time to accept bookings to within 4 hours of when it starts. This keeps your experience bookable for those last-minute, in-destination travelers that are browsing things to do on their mobile devices.

Today’s travelers want flexibility. Flexibility with their flights (lower change fees for loyal customers), their accommodation (the rise of rentals and unique lodging), transportation (hello, Uber), and with their itinerary during a trip. They want the ability to make decisions on the fly, or last-minute, often while already in-destination—without a negative impact. Hospitality businesses that do not cater to this freedom-centric mindset are going to get left in the dust.

As a tour or activity provider, this is especially crucial. While a flight and hotel can understandably be booked far in advance, booking things to do is quite the opposite. Travelers often wait until their trip is nearing—or they’ve already arrived in their destination—before committing to activities. And when they’re booking, it’s often on-the-go via their mobile phones.

So what’s the best way to capture to these last-minute bookers?

Lower Your Hours-In-Advance Cutoff Time To Accept Bookings To 4 Hours Or Less

Recent research from Trekksoft, a leading booking and payment software for tours and activity providers, states that 38% of bookings are made on the day or two days before a trip (nearly two out of five bookers!). That means your hours-in-advance (HIA) cutoff to accept bookings should be 4 hours or less.

Why 4 hours or lower? Today’s travelers are increasingly open to sporadic, unplanned experiences while visiting a new place. The flexibility to “go with the flow,” so to speak. When inspiration strikes to do something fun—or act on a recommendation from a local, perhaps—you want your tour to be an available option. A traveler may be researching their afternoon plans over breakfast. Or they may be planning tomorrow’s daytime adventure while on the flight to the destination.

Furthermore, many last-minute bookings take place when a traveler is already in-destination. This is undoubtedly influenced by the rise of mobile booking. Skift research states that 35% of travelers have used mobile phones to book a tour or activity while already in-destination for a vacation—and that number will surely rise. These mobile users are seeking instant experiences. They may have three hours to spare before dinner, and want to book a walking sightseeing tour. Or tomorrow’s bad weather is now looking like sunshine, and they want to switch that museum crawl to a harbor cruise.

By lowering your HIA cutoff time to 4 hours or less, you’re capturing two sets of last-minute bookers: those that are a day away from the trip, planning out their upcoming itinerary, and those that have already arrived in-destination, seeking a fun activity right then and there.

Log into your Viator Management Center to lower your hours-in-advance cutoff time today!

About the Author: Dave Armenti

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