Online Liability Waivers

Many if not all tour operators now make use of some kind of online terms and conditions to make sure their clients understand the payment and cancellation rules.  A common condition of sale is that the customer must acknowledge and accept the company’s waiver of liability, releasing the company from any responsibility should some kind of incident take place while on the tour or activity. But, just how legal are these waivers, online or offline? I decided to do some research and found some surprising information. How do operators protect themselves from claims seeking damages for people that were injured when taking part in activities they knew were inherently risky? Skiing is a good example. There are so many accidents waiting happen when you strap on a pair slippery, awkward boards to your feet, for the ultimate purpose of sliding down an icy steep hill with bumps, rocks, trees, and other obstacles right in your path. Nobody puts a gun to your head to do this, in fact people line up for it. Operators rely on the use of waivers of liability as their defense against a law suit should someone seek damages. Is this really a legally enforceable document? In British Columbia, there was an article published by Carters Professional Corporation  about a zipline operator that was sued when two people collided. The plaintiffs brought suit against the operator but the courts upheld the operator’s defense which was the waiver. This review is well worth a read to understand what might happen in BC. On the website Canadian-Lawyers.ca there is a somewhat different report from 2010. They state, ” The waiver of liability seems to have entered all levels of organized recreational and athletic activities. Without signing a waiver, you are unlikely to be allowed to participate in any activity outside of your own back yard. The reality is that many of the waivers proffered by organized recreational and athletic activity providers would not be enforced by Ontario courts. These courts have a history of approaching waivers with great caution. In 2008, two trial court decisions deviated from this long-standing trend. In Cejvan v. Blue Mountain Resorts Ltd., [2008] O.J. No. 5442, a snowboarder was denied compensation for his injuries when he struck snow-covered steel pipes on a groomed run. In Isildar v. Kanata Diving Supply, [2008] O.J. No. 2406, the dependents of a man killed during a...
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Personalize Your Service to Appeal to the Millennial Traveller

Travel Marketing columnist for MediaPost, Verena Thompson, reported in an article June this year, “We’re seeing unprecedented changes in the world of travel and tourism, from the emergence of the “sharing economy” to the rise of the millennial traveller. “ She goes on to say, “To answer that question, we discussed the latest developments in the travel industry with vacationers, business travelers, industry experts, and working professionals throughout the United States and Latin America. ” Some key points: Today’s travelers are open, spontaneous, and fearless. So how can you get them in your camp? By embracing flexibility and celebrating consumer choice. Vacations aren’t just vacations anymore. They’re opportunities for enrichment. Today’s travelers want fresh educational experiences to prepare them for life in an increasingly interconnected society.  “Tourist” is a four-letter word.  Focus on forging one-on-one interactions between travelers and locals. The peer-to-peer marketplace isn’t your enemy. In fact, services like Airbnb can be wellsprings of inspiration—and opportunities for innovation. Today’s voyagers want to create unique travel experiences that can’t be duplicated. They discover and express their individuality at every point along their journey. When selling to these travelers, think of it this way: it’s not about products. It’s about purpose. What kind of experience does your brand offer? Can you feel it, tell a story about it, or capture it in a picture? From Nest to Netflix, we’re accustomed to hyper-personalized digital experiences at home, at work, and even on vacation. So how can you make the most of the information you already have?(Excerpted from the article, The New World of Travel 06/07/16 on MediaPost.com) In another post on our website we reported on how millenneial traveller choices were different. So, it also begs the question: what we can do to personalize your booking service and CRM for the Millennial Traveller? We’ve found that certain enhanced features of our res system can help, which is why Adventue Engine continues to be a leader in technology for tourism. For example, allowing your guests to log in to update profiles makes it easier for everyone to keep track of everything from disabilities to dietary constraints. Sending out automated email follow ups “x” months after a trip is a lot better than a generic e-newsletter. We can also offer custom language shopping carts and choices for how you price in different currencies. These types of features, along with Adventure Engine’s ability to...
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Top Rated Credit Card Processors By Country

If you ever wanted to know which credit card processors were best in your country, there is a comprehensive website that shows several countries. The main website is http://www.topcreditcardprocessorsratings.com/ and you can filter down by many different criteria like “High Risk” merchants (travel is high risk along with nutraceuticals, ebooks and others fyi). They don’t have rankings in all countries, but it is a more complete list than I’ve seen before. Some are listed below with links to them from here. USA Australia Canada New Zealand Netherlands Spain UK and they have a few others. You can use the drop menu they have on the menu bar to see these. There are many credit card processors we’ve never heard of but given that the website is a company that has researched credit card merchant services since 2009 and has developed their list from ongoing research it seem like a good resource if you’d like to switch or even just learn more about this side of business. You can read more about them here on their FAQ page. They have plenty of disclaimers to protect themselves and warn you to do your own research as well. Good advice, and it is interesting to see how they evaluate to at least give some guidance to your own research. Previously published on this site is another related article you may also want to read on how to select a credit card processor. You might also want to see a list of gateways and processors that we will integrate with our shopping carts with no set up...
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How to Find and Select a Credit Card Processor

If you want to take payments online using Adventure Engine, you will need an integration in your shopping cart with your credit card processor. Recently, we updated our list of free credit card processor integrations and I decided to have a look at our list against a full list and a “best of” list. I found a series of great articles on the whole subject of credit card payments at businessnewsdaily.com . I recommend that everyone read this article to become better informed about credit card processing since terms vary widely between card processors. First up was an article on how to accept credit cards for payment. This means online, in person, on the phone, using mobile: anywhere. The article interviewed three experts from the industry to get a balanced look. Read the full article here. Do you need a merchant account to process credit cards? Not always and this can save money. You can read more on that topic from the same article, if you scroll down the page. They have great advice of things to look out for like long-term contracts, when to pay a higher flat fee, and when rates are not the highest priority. There was also a great write-up on best of’s. They actually compared credit card processors according to small business user groups: high volume low volume users online mobile overall small business If you’d like to lean more about taking payments online using an Adventure Engine booking management system, contact us here....
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10 Tips to Maximise Trade Show Value

  It’s no secret that people thrive on the carnival-like atmosphere of a consumer trade show. But, any trade show can be a substantial expense for exhibitors and it can be hard to quantify value, unless you plan. To maximise your show value, look beyond the booth. Here are 10 ideas to stretch the value of your trade show investment. 1.Plan ahead. I estimate that a typical travel trade show booth with travel costs to attend, wages to pay for a couple of employees, designing, building, insuring, and shipping a display can easily cost 6 to 10 thousand dollars. For some exhibits, it can be much higher. Create a budget as if it was a profit and loss statement.  Don’t forget to plan for emergencies and contingencies. (what will you do if your display gets stuck in the airport?) Could you generate a profit at a trade show? You probably won’t if you leave it all to chance. 2.Understand what your goals are by creating a grid of specific objectives: generate 100 qualified consumer leads; meet 30 previous customers; recruit 5 new channel partners (travel agents, wholesalers); evaluate 5 competitors; scope out 5 new potential suppliers, etc. 3.Work pre-show promotions and activities. A travel show is a perfect time to: build interest around your company; to invest in additional local advertising; have sales people call up previous customers; invite new channel partner prospects to visit you at the booth. 4.Make sure to spend some time talking with the show organiser to understand how you might piggy back on what they are doing to drive people into the show. They know that people come to travel shows to hunt out deals and to be inspired. And many come out to enter the contests.  They know that there are trends that will drive up visitation, like cashing in on the current fascination with food. They might have brand name chefs performing live, or restaurant reviewers on a panel.  The organisers also know to use a multitude of communication channels to reach people and incent them to buy tickets. Find out ways you might be able to make use of their knowledge to create ways of getting your objectives in #2. 5.Send out stories to local press about your programs, or a new destination or a fascinating story of your own exploration of a place. 6.Target digital ads to people using on...
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Ignore most everything you’ve been told about content marketing

“We are swimming against a rising tide of low grade content, churned out by people with no real expertise or authority, and then blasted out shotgun style to as many people as possible.” So say’s  Matthew Barker, head of Strategy at i&i Travel Media from a summary of his presentation on content marketing at the Adventure Travel World Summit last September (2015)  in Puerto Varas, Chile. The talk featured speakers from media and public relations, and focused on creating quality content over quantity, providing information that is useful at the various stages of the customer’s journey. They point out that most small businesses do not have the resources to produce the volume of material that a large brand does, so it is pointless to try and compete in that sphere. No doubt that will generate a sigh of relief from overburdened tour operators. But it also raises the question, “so what should I be doing?” In another article on the i&i website a clearly laid out content marketing strategy for small business appears. It advises to create content that will engage your readers, and give you an opportunity to maintain a conversation with them. An example might be an e-book that you publish on your site “10 Cheap Ways to Transport Your Kayak Around the World” for example might be appealing to your audience. They download the book after sharing an email. Or, they don’t download it now, but you’ve planted a retargetting cookie on their browser and you can remind them of your website with retargetted display ads on Facebook. Ultimately, a percentage will convert. The article from i&1 Travell Media  continues ,”Understand that consumers at the research/planning stage are not necessarily ready to make a booking, and informational content is unlikely to convert site visitors into customers, at least not on their first visit. Instead focus on how you can capture an interaction and an opportunity to follow-up later. Think about ways you can continue the relationship, assisting people along the customer journey and eventually bring them back to your site to make a booking. Downloads & email list subscriptions, email autoresponders, effective content curation, remarketing campaigns and social media shares & follows are all useful touchpoints for follow-up marketing.”  Check out a beautiful execution of this strategy from Aracari.com The bottom end of the sales funnel is where we get involved to help you close the sale and...
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