News & Analysis

Sydney-based tourism startup Booking Boss brings on Taronga Zoo as a premier client

- February 24, 2016 2 MIN READ

Sydney-based traveltech startup Booking Boss has announced that it has brought on Taronga Zoo as a premier client. The news comes a little over a month after Booking Boss launched its partnership with online travel giant Expedia, highlighting the growth of the platform since its launch two years ago.

Taronga Zoo’s previous booking system was all manual, requiring trade to email and call in bookings, rendering the whole process excruciatingly slow and ultimately outdated. As inbound tourism numbers continue to climb, the ability to accept bookings in real time with 24/7 confirmation is an expectation in the market. Saving time and increasing revenue is of utmost importance to tourism companies.

Taronga Zoo’s Tourism Sales Manager, Lisa Welsh, said the Booking Boss system was chosen to relieve admin headaches and increase bookings. Implementing the Booking Boss system will help Taronga Zoo to streamline the process for front gate staff, making long waits for group booking confirmation a thing of the past. Through the Booking Boss SaaS-based solution the Zoo is provided with real-time data showing ticket availability and instant confirmation to their trade and distribution partners.

“We needed a more-user friendly option for our clients but also to make our internal systems easier too,” Welsh said. “Especially in peak seasons when we increase staff at the front gate, we wanted something to streamline the process and make it easier for our team to learn and handle.”

Booking Boss’ Sales and Marketing Manager, Meredith Baxter, said that it is an exciting time for tours, attractions and activities who are embracing new technologies.

“There’s been a lot of change and growth in the activities and tours distribution sector in the past 2 years. With a focus on activities and tours particularly from online distributors, it has allowed many suppliers the opportunity to further diversify their sales mix and allow their product to reach even further. However, with many attractions, tour operators and activity providers still using manual booking processes, this often causes them to miss out on these growth opportunities,” she said.

Booking Boss is able to meet the demands of real-time booking and the technological changes in the travel industry and, with the Zoo on board is now arguably at the forefront of the sector. In Taronga Zoo’s 2015 annual report 1.7 million visitors came through the gates within a year, with the Zoo linked to various corporate partners and sponsors. This opens up an enormous opportunity for Booking Boss to deliver their services to a wider audience.

The startup is also growing thanks to the recent partnership with Expedia, which now has links to Expedia’s network of over 400 airlines and 250,000 accommodation options.

Booking Boss raised $2 million in a Series A round last year, which was used to solidify its position in the Australian market and push expansion into Europe. The round was led by Sydney investors Michael and Daniel Dempsey, founders of ecommerce company Ezidebit, with Seattle-based venture capital firm Acequia Capital and Scott Blume, former CEO of Wotif, also investing.

At a more personal level, Booking Boss CEO Renee Welsh said the team has also been working to help educate tour operators on how they can better promote their tours and attractions.

Image: Renee Welsh and Andy Welsh. Source: Supplied