There are several key methods to be notified of new or cancelled bookings, or other issues that you need to be aware of:
- Flags - for members of staff
- Supplier notifications - to notify sub-contract suppliers about new bookings
- 2nd confirmation email - to a fixed email address
- BCC on customer emails - can be sufficient for some purposes
Additionally, developers can use webhooks to build a custom notification system, or update an external system when bookings are created / updated.
Flags act as a task list / personal reminder system for bookings and other events in TourCMS.
Flags can either be set automatically by TourCMS - perhaps because something happened or hasn't happened within a certain period of time - or set manually by a member of staff. Staff users can configure which types of flags they want to see (in the Flags page in TourCMS) and also which they would like to have notifications sent to them via email and/or SMS, flags set within the last 4 days will also be visible on the homepage.
Flags due to events
Event flags are set immediately something occurs with a booking. Events include:
- New quotation/provisional/confirmed bookings (either made by staff or via the web)
- Expired quotation/provisional bookings
- Cancelled bookings
Flags due to issues
Issue flags are set when a booking may need attention. All bookings are checked nightly for any potential issues and flags are then set. Different priorities can be set at different times. For example quotations that have not been dealt with may be normal priority after 2 days and high priority after 4 days. Issues include:
- Booking status still quotation/provisional after a certain number of days
- Within a certain number of days prior to arrival date and booking status still quotation/provisional
- Full balance not received within a certain number of days prior to arrival date
- Final check not complete within a certain number of days prior to arrival date
- Tour still not reached minimum confirmed numbers within a certain number of days prior to departure date
Flags set by staff users
Staff users can create flags on a particular booking, either immediately if they want a member of staff to be aware of something / carry out an action, or at some future date as a reminder that something needs to be done - perhaps to follow up with a supplier or chase the customer for extra details. New flags can be set on a booking under the Workflow tab.
View Flags inside TourCMS
Flags raised to you within the last 4 days will be displayed at the top of the main Homepage within TourCMS when you log in. You can view / search all other flags - including those scheduled to be raised in the future - by clicking through to the Flags section.
Receive notifications of new Flags via email or SMS
When a new flag is created - if a staff user has selected for that particular type of flag to be sent via email/SMS - TourCMS will send a notification message to the email address and/or mobile phone number configured against their login.
To configure which types of flags trigger notifications for a particular staff user just head to System management then Bookings, flags & notifications for the staff user in question. Individual staff users can also configure their own settings via the Bookings, flags & notifications link at the bottom of the homepage.
SMS notifications require a paid Clickatell account, full instructions can be found by logging in to TourCMS and heading to Configuration & Setup then Clickatell. Details of pricing can be found on the Clickatell website.
Configure the email message
Emails generated by flags will by default have no message body (the flag will be in the subject of the email) however it is possible to customise both the message body and "From:" email address by heading to Configuration & setup > Bookings general settings.
Documentation tags can be used in the message body to add extra information about the booking, for example %itinerary_table_op% to output the customers itinerary including operational info. For a full explanation of all of the tags that can be used see the Documentation manual (Emails / Invoices).
Flag product filter
Product filters can be used so that a member of staff will only receive automated flag notifications for certain tours. e.g. if they are based in City A, and you run tours in City A and City B, they could just receive notifications for new bookings in City A
You may want to notify suppliers of new bookings
- Create a supplier (in supplier manager), create a supplier notification email (in email templates in channel manager). That email will be sent to the supplier when the booking is confirmed. You can turn on/off notification for indivdiual suppliers in supplier manager
- Or manually set flags to staff users (ideal for low volume tours when working with ground handlers)
The key differences are volume and whether the notification is product specific
Flags are great for low volume interaction with a ground handler (the ground handler should have a staff user account, probably with a restricted set of user permissions)
Adding an email address to the confirmed booking email is great where you have a single large supplier (or operations team). Certainly the quickest to setup but has the least flexibility
Supplier notification email is best when you have multiple suppliers. Each tour can have a different supplier and can therefore be setup to be notified accordingly. Once configured, its the easiest to add new suppliers to without much more thinking involved>
Remember that you can setup a supplier login so they can login and ONLY See their own bookings. Suppliers can also be given access to the TourCMS Point of Sale (POS) app, just giving them access to their own tours / own bookings
Second confirmation email
Each channel has an email template for confirmation email #2, cancel email #2. This, in conjunction with the fixed email address, enables a notification system to be configured
These two email templates (with a #2) are NOT supressed by travel agent settings. i.e. they will always send, regardless of how the travel agent is configured.
Confirmation email #1, Cancellation email #1 can be supressed, on a travel agent record, e.g. for higher volume travel agents - as explained below
BCC the customer email (not recommended)
Add multiple email addresses to the BCC (blind carbon copy) confirmed booking email template. Multiple are permitted and should be comma separated (e.g. email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org).
The recipient will then receive a copy of the email you send to travel agents and/or customers. Bear in mind that for some sources of bookings (e.g. bookings generated by online travel agents), emails sent to cusotmers are not sent, so the recipient would not get the bcc email.
i.e. not the most reliable method for booking notification, but can be useful if you just want to get the pulse of booking flow