Group departures and day tours (article)

Susana Moleón Moya
Susana Moleón Moya
  • Updated

These style of travel products have fixed availability and fixed start and end date.
Multiple bookings from multiple customers will reduce availability for that date

Example travel products:

  • A day tour
  • A two-week tour of a country or region
  • A training course
  • A one-off event

The basics

First, create a tour (as the base concept) and then add a single departure date for every occasion that you want to run your trip. There are tools to either create many dates (e.g. for a season) or to update multiple dates (e.g. for a season)

For "one-off" events, create a new tour for that event - and add a single departure date on that tour.

You can close individual departures by ticking the "close" tickbox on the dates & prices page. Departures can be configured to close automatically when either full or the departure start date is too soon.

Multiple departures on a single day
If you have multiple departures on a single day, you can add multiple departure dates. Each individual departure can be indicated by the departure code OR a time. Times are great because they let you set a cutoff for example "2 hours before the start time" - and the cutoff will be different for morning vs afternoon tours.

Multiple rate types
As a default, TourCMS has a single rate type - however, you can, for tour departures, load up to 10 different rate types. This will enable you to handle types such as Adult, Child, Concession etc. On the tour setup you can set up extra rates:


Once you have added extra rate types, additional price boxes will display on the tour departure price/date editing section.

You can choose to either use label #2 for a second description of the rate (that is shown to users) or perhaps to give an indicative price (the actual price will be set by what is loaded on each departure)

If you configure as above, the "people dropdown" (for selecting a number of customers on a new booking) will display as follows:


Web booking engine configuration
There are 4 kinds of a first screen configuration for tour departures:

  • A single departure (a special case - rarely used)
  • List "By the month" - so that your customers change the month and the list changes
  • List "Next 20" - regardless of the month setting, your forthcoming trips are shown
  • Availability calendar - a nice calendar "by the month"

Why would you use different views?
If you are selling a trip that has a single date duration (for example an afternoon city tour) and it runs every day - then the availability calendar is probably the best for you.

If you run a tour say once every couple of weeks - you may not want your customers jumping around between months to see when your tours are running - in this scenario we suggest you use the "show next X" departures setting. (You may also like to untick the "show month dropdown" setting as the month becomes irrelevant to you)

If you have many trips, but each trip is multiple day duration, then a list of departures may be clearer than the availability calendar. In this scenario set to "All departures in a user-selected month - TABLE".

Tour pricing based on the number of people on the booking
If you have pricing that depends upon the number of people in the booking - e.g.

  • 1 - 200 GBP per person
  • 2-3 150 GBP per person
  • 4-6 130 GBP per person

You have four choices:

  • Use the quantity based pricing for tour departures (1-10 people in a booking)
  • Use the TourCMS hotel functionality - with rates - and change the text in the booking engine from hotel to tour
  • Setup a tour with a freesale season set to the main price - and use options to do the per person discount pricing. No accurate inventory control using tour freesale - but if you are going to manually check each booking as they come in - and not take online payments - then you may not need the accurate inventory control online as your staff can apply their own common sense!
  • Setup using tour departures as normal - and use options to discount the price when more people are selected to book on individual booking. Customers don't tend to mind seeing a discount on their booking information and they will probably have seen your entire price table anyway, so be expecting to see the discount from the full price. The benefit of this approach is that you maintain accurate inventory/availability control as tour departures are the easiest to ensure you don't overbook and to close specific dates

Our preference is that you should use tour departures and quantity based pricing. Try to stay away from hotel based pricing. Options are OK but not so great at distributing to travel agents. Freesale doesn't let you price by individual dates.

Automated day tour bookings
The focus on day tours/group tours is on booking automation (vs efficiency for tailor-made tours)


  • Channel manager - Deposit - 100% upfront (Forcing all tours to be prepaid upfront). If you want, on indivdiual day tours, you can change this deposit setting on a per tour basis)
  • Channel manager - Process - Make it so that bookings come in quotation, then, as a result of a successful payment, are converted to confirmed (automatically). This is the default for new TourCMS accounts. Bookings without payment will expire automatically..... and bookings with payment can be issued vouchers etc
  • Channel manager - Email templates - Create a CONFIRMED booking email & a FAILED PAYMENT email. Leave the others until you have worked out what you want

Collecting commission on your website (as a deposit) then the supplier collects the balance themselves
This seems a fairly standard agent approach and is supported in TourCMS.

  • Channel manager - Deposit - set to 10% upfront (or whatever your % is)
  • Configuration & Setup - General booking settings - Full balance due - Due on check-in.

Remember when you send communications to customers use the booking balance tokens, NOT the booking balance DUE NOW tokens..... as chances are they don't owe anything when you send the email..... but you want to be clear they DO owe money when they are checking in

ALSO - bear in mind - some distribution deals MAY want 20% commission. So if you are only collecting 10%, you need to think about whether you want to be in those deals or not.... as by collecting commission and letting the supplier pay on customer check-in - this doesn't give you much money to play with when you come to distribute those tours.