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Rezdy Reviews

Cruise company case study

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Jeff runs a tight ship when he sails the Cat O’ Nine Tails catamaran on Brisbane’s waterways. But a few months ago, he found himself sinking - in paperwork!

Cat O’ Nine Tails Cruises has many regular cruises. The main business comes from tours that explore the rich history of St. Helena Island Prison, Queensland’s maximum security prison from colonial times.

But there are no boring history tours on the Cat O’ Nine Tails. The tour guides are also professional actors who mix education with entertainment, bringing the colonial period to life. As former teachers, some of their best days have been when Jeff and his wife take a large crowd of primary school kids on a day trip to the prison.

But Jeff had a big problem. He was out all day running tours. He had to switch between servicing customers in person whilst simultaneously taking new bookings and answering enquiries over the phone.

“I had to be available almost 24x7 on the phone for people to book and I’d have the phone diverted to my mobile when I left the office.”

Getting customer details (and especially payment information) over the phone was a hassle on both ends.

“I had to take bookings, write it down and then transcribe it, creating a pile of paperwork I had to go through. I had to carry a little book with me all the time to take notes. There were often errors in email addresses, and then I’d have to make calls to fix it up.”

This was far from an efficient process and his customers weren’t shy about letting him know it wasn’t ideal for them either. They wanted to be able to book his tours online.

“We were getting feedback from customers who wanted to book online but couldn’t because we didn’t have a facility. I think people these days seem to be more confident booking online than making a ‘phone call. People are used to doing stuff online now and it seems to be the preferred way of operating. Having an online booking system also looks a lot more professional. ”

Jeff realised that something had to be done.

“It could have become a serious problem because there are so many things you can do online. It’s competitive out there. Customers might think, ‘it’s too hard’, and look at another activity they can book online instead, so it was a growth problem for my business. I was listening to my customers and thinking, ‘how are we going to solve this?’”

Jeff looked at several online booking vendors, but found that the hidden costs were making them an expensive option.

“We’d been through a process with a number of companies, but we had to use PayPal or set up a new merchant service which is all extra cost.”

He also considered developing custom-made software, but found that it was far too pricey for his business.

“The one thing that put us off custom developing is the online merchant service. I spoke to some programmers about writing our own program, getting a shopping cart, having to deal with banks for a merchant service - it was very complicated. The procedure was going to take a lot of time and money. Once we had it all set up, we wouldn’t have to pay a monthly fee, but still we would’ve had to have it maintained so there would be fees anyway.”

When Jeff was contacted by Rezdy he decided to take the free trial.

“At other places I would have had to set up a shopping cart and merchant facility – it's a major job just to get started – but with Rezdy I started within minutes. It was just a really simple process.”

Since then, Rezdy’s online booking system has been providing Cat O’ Nine Tails with an easy way to take bookings through their website, which works for his business.

“We set this up in November 2012. It fulfilled all my needs and the pricing felt right, it was something that I could work with. The other systems I looked at would cost thousands to set up. To try to do all the things that Rezdy does for us wouldn’t have been financially viable at all.”

With a simple online booking system that is specially designed to meet the needs of tour operators, Cat O’ Nine Tails was able to drastically reduce the amount of time spent on administrative tasks associated with taking bookings because customers can self-serve.

“Since we’ve had it up I’ve probably only done 4 bookings over the phone. Nowadays I just pop the answering machine on and all the bookings come through Rezdy.”

Jeff loves how easy Rezdy is to use, and how easy it is to update his offerings.

“I can put up a special event and people go straight and book it without having to call me. I can now tell them where to go and set up another catalogue for them to go and book online so it gives me that flexibility too. I can put up and take tour offers down when required. Having that flexibility has worked well for us and it would work well for people in the same sort of business”

Additionally clerical errors are reduced as customers browse, select tour availability, and enter their details by themselves.

“I like the clarity of information we get. Now the client puts in their information and it’s in our database. It’s all there in black and white.”

As the booking system is online, Cat O’ Nine Tails can keep their doors open 24x7. As people pay at the time of booking, this has really helped with their cash flow too.

“I like the straight monthly fee instead of having to pay every time someone makes a booking. I paid a yearly fee upfront which saved me some more money. Within the first week, we got back double what we paid out for the year’s fee!”


Tulsa Helicopter case study

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Hearing two simple words “I do” is one of the best parts of Chuck Dixon’s job as pilot at Tulsa Helicopter. “Popping the question” is positively encouraged on one of Tulsa Helicopters popular Sweetheart or Deluxe Valentine Tours.

They are a helicopter services company, specialising in helicopter tours. With over 25 years of piloting experience, they also provide a flight school and charter service. Their tours are designed for tourists and locals alike who are looking to make their first helicopter experience a memorable one that they will cherish.

Tulsa Helicopter is a small company. Two of the three staff members are out running tours, with the third team member, Becky, back at base juggling the many duties involved in running the office.

One December day while deep into their Christmas flight tour season in 2011, Becky was in panic mode. She was taking bookings by phone, greeting clients and booking them in when they arrived at the facility and loading them into the helicopters. She was armed with a phone, pencil, and piece of paper in her hands at all times!

She was getting so many phone calls for bookings. She had no idea if there was enough ground crew, pilots and aircraft to service the demand. Finally, she called Chuck and said she was going to stop answering the phone for 15 minutes until he called back and confirmed they had the means to service their customers.

Things had come to a head.

Each person was already working at full capacity, there was little more they could do without hiring more people to answer phones, or fly helicopters. Chuck summed up the situation well.

“Leaving Becky to take bookings over the phone wasn’t going to mean death to the business, but it was going to be a huge bottleneck to our being able to grow our business.”

Chuck realised that there had to be a way to do things better. He needed a way to free up Becky’s time so she could focus on servicing customers when they were at the facility, giving them safety briefings, and getting them on the helicopters.

“I knew we needed something bigger than ourselves to handle our bookings. We’d built a service that people wanted, and only being the 3 of us, we weren’t going to be able to service as many people as we wanted unless we had the help of an online booking system.”

Chuck knew that in this day and age, the ability to take bookings online was essential.

“We live in a world where people get on the internet often on their cellphones. If they can see our service and have the ability to purchase or reserve a booking right there from the convenience of their cellphone, they’re much more likely to do that than they are to make a phone call to make that reservation.”

Chuck began his search for an online booking system that would solve his problems. At first, Chuck tried out a Rezdy competitor that does not specialise in tours and activites. He found that though it worked fairly well, it was limited in terms of flexibility.

“I realised that our pricing structure is something unique compared to most other industries. We’re not a hotel, we’re not a bus company and that’s what the general big online booking services seem to be tailored to. I realised ours is a much smaller and unique market.”

Chuck then talked to a custom software development company to see if they could build him a system that would work for his business. However, the software company took too long and failed to deliver what he was promised.

“I had searched for over a year to find a product that could do what we needed, I tried many, and paid several thousand dollars on one product but even after six months it didn’t do what we wanted. I had pretty much lost hope of finding an online reservation system that would actually work, and that we could afford!”

Chuck then found Rezdy and decided to give it a try. He’s been very happy with the results. Rezdy has provided Tulsa Helicopters with an easy, simple way to take bookings online that suits their business. The online booking system takes away much of the manual work that Becky was doing, so that she’s able to focus on servicing customers at the facility.

“Becky's dedication to handling almost every clerical detail had gotten us to where we were, without a doubt! But one person can only do so much in one area! And make no mistake she "owns" this area of the operation! It's her baby! So I knew Rezdy was going to have to be something she thought could work for her for it ever be an effective tool for our business.”

Tour availability and product questions are now answered through their website. Chuck loves the ease of use of the Rezdy platform.

“If we have an updated or new product, I can get onto Rezdy and as long as my creative juices are flowing with the product description, I can have it out on the internet within 20 minutes!”

Because Tulsa is prone to tornadoes, suitable weather conditions for flying can be difficult to predict. Having to constantly take and then refund payments to customers is something that Chuck wanted to avoid. It creates work but also can cause problems with cash flow.That’s why one of Chuck’s favourite Rezdy features is the ease of authorising a reservation without disrupting cash flow.

“Rezdy gives us flexibility for us to authorise the reservation with credit card information, so that if it does in fact end up being OK to fly and a customer decides to be a no-show, then their reservation is secured with a credit card and we can apply our “no show” cancellation fee from the credit card information they provided to us.”

Chuck was also impressed with how fast any technical issues were resolved by Rezdy’s customer service team.

“Becky called me one day saying there were some issues with the correct flight availability showing up on the website. I made a technical enquiry over the internet to Rezdy. In 2 minutes someone had called me saying the problem had been fixed. 2 minutes! That’s record response time in my book for fixing a technical issue. I’m sure we didn’t lose a single booking.”

In Rezdy, Chuck feels he has finally found an online booking system that suits his business’ needs.

“It’s affordable for just about any sized company, we are a small company so if we can afford it, pretty much any tour or activity operator can. I’m sure there are custom made solutions that would be tailor made perfect to our niche industry but I’m also sure they’re well out of reach financially, for a company of our size.”

Rezdy has made Tulsa Helicopters more efficient by taking over much of the manual, administrative tasks previously handled by Becky. This allows their 3 staff members to service more customers at the facility, without having to worry about missing potential customer bookings and enquiries.

“Once we were armed with Rezdy we knew we could design a marketing campaign for our products much more effectively. We still took in a large amount of phone-in bookings this December as well, but now Becky enters them into Rezdy and it has made life so much easier.”

Tulsa Helicopters has also gained significant, real, measurable financial benefits as a result of using Rezdy.

“We were able to more than double the amount of people we were able to service, from 470 to 1000 in just a one month period! Last year, we thought we were so busy doing 26 flights on Christmas night, and this year, we had 59 flights in that same 4 hour period, and that was a big win for all 3 of us. Without a doubt we wouldn't have been able to more than double our output that month without it!”

Chuck has found that although Rezdy is specifically designed for tour and activity operators, using it has enabled Tulsa Helicopter to dominate a whole other market.

“Tulsa Helicopter has contracts with the two largest power companies in the region to provide both regular and emergency power line patrol. So the addition of Rezdy has allowed us to enter into that market as a viable player, dominating the competition! We can see now that with the help of Rezdy it can play a much bigger role than we ever expected it could.”

[Edited by rezdy, January 28]