After Many Software Misses, Xola's Reporting & Growth Features Score Big
When Jennifer Halverson arrived at Adventureworks over a decade ago, she came for a training session on experiential learning. What she also learned that day was that she forever wanted to be a part of this organization.
“I started working with them on a part-time basis, then I came on full-time, and eventually came on as a partner, and then I bought the company,” she says.
Running the company, however, isn’t as easy as Jennifer makes it sound. She first fell in love with the team building side of Adventureworks but knew that the company had a great outdoor space that was underutilized. She had her epiphany after a family vacation to Costa Rica where she went ziplining.
“I thought, ‘This is what we need, we could really do this,” Jennifer remembers. After twelve years at its helm, Halverson has watched Adventureworks grow to four locations and serve tens of thousands of guests per year.
With Adventureworks on the rise, it wasn’t long before she realized that her business needed a booking system. That’s where things started to head south for Jennifer.
“We went through a lot of different attempts…things that just did not work out so well,” she sighs.
In the span of five years, Adventureworks tried to adopt four different systems. With each attempt, Jennifer’s problems persisted. Sometimes, staff would be surprised by a reservation that didn’t show up on the system. On other occasions, they’d get calls from people wondering why the online booking wasn’t working.
“Everything from customers being billed more than once, to customers not being billed at all,” Halverson notes, “all of those things happened.”
Adventureworks even poured thousands of dollars into building a custom piece of software, and even that didn’t work. After over a year of development, not even those engineers could right the wrongs committed by other systems. After investing all that time and money into a custom solution, the project was abandoned before it could ever be used.
“Xola has been easy and fast–it works.”
The bigger picture
The search for the right booking system turned into Adventurework’s nightmare. Jennifer wanted online booking “so that people could make a purchase when they were ready.” She hoped that this would enhance customers’ experiences and also help grow her business.
Instead, Halverson and the team at Adventureworks wasted time and money not only looking for quality software, but also implementing it and learning it. Furthermore, all the payment mixups and faulty calendaring only jeopardized the customer experience.
But the bigger issue with these systems was that none of them provided Jennifer with the data she needed to bring Adventureworks to scale. For five years, Adventureworks couldn’t gather baseline data about its business. Because Jennifer was constantly dealing with a broken system or switching to a new one, never could she project trends into the future. Should she run a promotion on this week, or that week? Could she target these customers on social media? All these marketing and operations questions went unanswered because every booking software had so far failed.
A new way
After so many trials and tribulations, what Jennifer wanted was simple: “We wanted people to be able to book online.” What she needed was a booking system that was modern, innovative, and able to change with her growing business. That meant a booking system that would make her customers happy and give her the business analytics Adventureworks needed to succeed.
Success with Xola
For Adventureworks, finding the right software was almost as epic as Homer’s Odyssey, until it tracked down Xola.
The difference is palpable, even from Adventureworks’s TripAdvisor profile. Halverson noticed that compared to earlier reviews, the reviews her team receives now are “like night and day.”
“I definitely think that Xola has had an impact on that,” she adds.
“Xola has been easy, and fast–it works,” Jennifer says, “It’s freed up time to focus on everything else.”
With that extra time, and with Xola as a new partner, Halverson has been able to pursue growth in ways that she couldn’t with the old systems. “[Xola’s] reporting has helped us better track when people are coming in and use that information for marketing decisions,” she explains.
Xola has even helped Adventureworks pursue new growth channels that it had never considered before. “This year, we’re starting to use Xola’s affiliate program and we’re excited about that,” Halverson mentions. The program allows Halverson to engage concierges, local businesses, or other individual resellers and easily track their commissions all within Xola. For each one of its locations, Adventureworks can cultivate distribution networks to help boost its sales reach.
Now, Adventureworks is no longer hampered by booking software that can’t keep up with its growing business. Instead, the Xola system raises the bar by forging new revenue streams for tours like Halverson’s.