AdventureTravelNews

Zipline / Canopy Tour Industry Advances to 24-Hour Reservation Capability

SALT LAKE CITY – Zipline and canopy tour operations, the fastest growing segment of the adventure travel world, are expected to increase by 41 percent this summer for a total of 120 operations in the US and Canada, according to ZiplineNirvana.

With newcomers to the playing field popping up exponentially, Resmark Systems is becoming the back office solution of choice by providing a 24-hour reservations booking service for travelers who wisely have plans in hand before arriving at their canopy-inspired destinations, said Brandon Lake, founder of Resmark Systems.

With over 16 years experience as a consultant to this growing segment, Michael Smith, president of AdventureSmith, evaluated over 15 reservation systems in order to find one to recommend to clients.

“While there were a number of systems that offered some of the features I was seeking, many lacked efficiency and from a functionality standpoint, they were limited. Resmark was clean, efficient and powerful. As a marketing specialist, the integration of the automated emails was the icing on the cake,” said Smith.

“Well located and marketed canopy tours will often serve 250-350 clients per day during peak season. To manage these numbers, an efficient reservation process is necessary that provides 24/7 access to data and for clients to easily book online,” said Smith.

For example, Deerfield Valley Canopy Tours, built in 2009 as part of Zoar Outdoor in western Massachusetts, offers a three-hour trek through the trees via zip lines, sky bridges and rappels as part of a guided interpretive tour of a mature New England forest.

Bruce Lessels, owner of Deerfield Valley Canopy Tours, said that Resmark Systems is “an essential component of our continued success.” Because it allows guests to book at any hour of the day, the system “facilitated our initial growth and has sustained our growth through this (our second) season when we expect to nearly double our first-year numbers. In addition to offering real-time inventory online, Resmark provides a simple, professional-looking interface for guests booking their own trips and a robust back-end interface for our in-house reservationists.”

Other canopy tour companies that have signed up with Resmark include Island Routes in the Caribbean, Long Point Eco Tours in Canada, Navitat Canopy Adventures in North Carolina and, just recently, several other companies throughout the United States including New York Zipline Adventures, Captain Zipline, Zipquest, Beanstalk Journeys and Berkshire East.

Factors that influenced AdventureSmith, Inc., to recommend Resmark to his own clients included the system’s ability to grow with businesses if they have multiple product lines, or if they elect to diversify their offerings or wish to become a reseller for other tours; its integrated marketing features reduce marketing costs and improve the front-end and follow-up experience; and the company is supported with a product line with a bright future.

“We’re talking about the storage and accessibility of critical business data. I have to be confident that any product I recommend my clients use will continue to be secure, will have new features added, and will be well supported in to the future. While I tested many less expensive products, most of the product lines lacked long-term vision and high-end support,” Smith said.

He noted that from a marketing standpoint, Canopy Tours are the “sexy” item that sells. “Operators who understand this can leverage their marketing to sell other tours, lodging and products. Resmark’s ability to set up agents, embed the booking process into other sites and establish relationships to sell tours for other operators provides opportunities for operators to dramatically grow their business beyond a single product,” Smith said. The system can also run reports, track marketing and pull critical business data necessary to make good business decisions. It also automates many of the most time-consuming and mundane functions of the booking process greatly reducing staffing costs and improving customer service.

The canopy tour concept that arrived in the US in 2003 began to boom in 2005 and as of end 2009 there were 85 commercial sites, a number expected to grow to 120 this summer.

The industry is so popular that Smith recently launched www.ZiplineNirvana.com, a social networking site for zip line and canopy tour enthusiasts, and ArborTrek, a new canopy tour company with locations under development in the Northeast United States.

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