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Visit Scotland | Alba

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Businesses will need to consider the following:

  1. 1

    Pre-arrival requirements

    How can visitors book and pay while physical distancing restrictions are in place?

  2. 2


    How can visitor attractions, tour providers and activity providers ensure that they’re able to cope with visitor numbers and manage their arrival time?

  3. 3


    Managing staff rotas and ensuring staff safety 

10 reasons why your online availability and booking should be considered a necessity: 

  1. Help manage visitors arriving without a booking i.e. spur of the moment visits whereby numbers cannot be controlled 
  1. Tool to control the area/radius where visitors come from e.g. within x miles of the visitor attraction/within certain postcodes 
  1. Ensure that visitors are aware of all terms and conditions/visiting restrictions at the point of booking 
  1. Set timeslots for visits by date and time 
  1. Set durations for each visit 
  1. Support contactless payment 
  1. Maintain records of visitor numbers and demand as well as staffing requirements based on both 
  1. Implement arrival checks/procedures as appropriate e.g. ticket scanning devices, queueing etiquette and staffing requirements 
  1. Manage visitor flow around the attraction/museum/experience in a controlled and safe manner e.g. one-way systems, restricted access to toilets and appropriate physical distancing measures in areas where visitors might congregate 
  1. Maintain contact with customers post-visit and request feedback as necessary 


Online booking systems

Scottish visitor attractions, tour providers and activity providers should carry out some investigative work to evaluate which online booking system best meets your requirements. We don’t endorse or recommend any system over another. This list represents only a small fraction of booking systems available – these booking systems do have Scottish clients/account managers working in Scotland.

Case studies

Procurement checklist for businesses selecting a booking system

  1. Make a note of everything you need from a booking system – using our checklist
  2. Find out where your current bookings come from and what each booking costs e.g. staff members involved, time to process each booking, advertising/marketing costs (will this change if bookings are done online?), effort required and any financial costs such as commission.
  3. Carry out thorough research into the options available. Look at similar business’ websites, act as a potential visitor, and check how easy/difficult it is to book using potential booking systems.
  4. Use Capterra (a useful source of information on booking systems containing lots of customer reviews) alongside the online booking systems details
  5. Create a shortlist of your top five solutions and then do some more research. It may be useful to speak to other similar businesses at this point (asking their experiences of using a specific booking system).
  6. Speak to each of your shortlisted booking systems and negotiate rates/prices. They may have special offers aimed at businesses in particular areas or for specific business types.
  7. Some suppliers offer free trials which can help ease anxiety and make the switch a bit easier. At first, you may wish to keep things simple with only one or two booking options e.g. no complex packages/multi-ticket options until you’re more confident with the system.
  8. Make your decision and select a booking system. It’s always easiest if you change to a new system outside the main visitor season so plan accordingly. Ensure you communicate the changes to all staff members especially those who will be expected to use the new system. Organise staff training sessions with your selected supplier.
  9. As part of the sign-up process, ensure that you’re happy with the supplier terms and conditions e.g. around contract renewal, cancellation policy and payment terms.
  10. Reassess your choice regularly (at least annually) to ensure that:
  • You’re getting value for money
  • You’re receiving an appropriate level of customer support
  • There are no solutions available more suited to your requirements

Online booking system’s functionality

Different online booking systems offer different functionality. It’s important to select the booking system which best matches your business needs. Download and use our 'Functionality for booking systems' tables to assess your business requirements and identify which system is most suitable for you.

Functionality for booking systems

Published October 2021

Interactive checklist to identify which system is most suitable for your business

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