[Premise of this guide: All your Business Data has already been entered and is information ready to use. If this is not case please follow this link to do so first: How to setup your Business Data in Palisis Ticketing.]
You just logged into Palisis Ticketing and your goal of today is setting up your first tour. But what to do next? What are the first steps to take? What mistakes should you avoid? Don’t worry! My name is John and I’m the Head of Support at Palisis. I’ll take you through all the steps of this process. One at a time. I’ll try to explain all you need to know.
To the top of the Palisis Backoffice interface, you should see six tabs: Home, Configuration, Operation, Cash Management, Partnering and Report & Analysis. As we need to configure your first tour we head to – you probably guessed it – Configuration.
During the course of these training guides, I will show you how to set up some products that are very common for a multitude of our clients. In this first guide, we will take a closer look at the correct setup of a Hop-On/Hop-Off operation. Not only is this a very common product for many of you – no – this type of tour also allows for some very interesting talking points which should show you how and why setup products in a certain way.
To the left of the Configuration tab, you should see a navigation pane. Among many points, there is one called “Transportation”. If you click on it, it should look like this:
We will go through this list of settings one by one from the top to bottom.
Hint: In general, the logic of Palisis is very linear; the top to bottom approach is in most cases the right one. As the logic suggests, we’ll start at the very top.
During the setup Business Data, we had to enter the various Business Units. Operation lines are the next logical step down in the organizational hierarchy of your operations. They are an important part of your setup as here a lot of settings come together. First, we have to give your new Operation Line a NAME. This name can have a maximum number of 29 letters, digits or special characters. Because I want to offer a short and a long Hop-On/Hop-Off Route I must create two Operation Lines. I call my first Operation Line “HoHo Blue”.
Then we can add a DESCRIPTION. This description is purely internal, but none the less important. Imagine the person, who set up the tours, suddenly leaves the company and a replacement must take over. This new person will encounter a multitude of codes and abbreviations beside the already new interface of Palisis. Now ask yourself if the absence of descriptions does help this new employee or not. The same goes for your support agent at Palisis like myself. If I can’t understand your setup I’m much less likely to be able to help you. So please add at least a short description of this operation line.
Next, we must enter the CODE of this Operation Line. This code can contain a maximum of 8 letters, digits or special characters. I enter “HH-Blue” here.
The option "Passenger per ticket mandatory" shows the visible and mandatory customer data per each passenger rather than only for the lead customer.
"Sync capacity to TourCMS" is an advanced feature that synchronizes the operation line capacity in Palisis for a specific event to TourCMS, which is not needed for a hop on hop off tour, so please leave it blank.
The NOTIFICATION (E-MAIL) is a neat function as it allows to enter an e-mail address which will be notified whenever a booking for a certain Operation Line is made. This comes in handy if you rely on suppliers providing a certain service for your Operation Line. Rental services or caterers come to mind. The supplier with an email looking like this:
The Alert Notification Emails functionality will send a notification by email to the email address entered here in order to inform that a capacity level has been reached, but we don't recommend to manage capacity for a hop on hop off product, so you can leave this field blank.
The Cancellation Notification Emails is another useful action for capacity managed tours and it would send an email to the entered email address to notify when a booking has been canceled. As in the previous case, we don't recommend to use this functionality for a hop on hop off tour.
Then we see a drop-down menu for the Receipt layout. As you probably remember we can create and edit these layouts within the settings of your Business Data. I choose my standard layout.
After that, we need to assign the Business unit this Operation line belongs to. As this is a HoHo-line I also choose the HoHo business unit.
The Capacity template gives us the capability to choose the number of spaces on any given departure of an operation line. But for a Hop-On/Hop-Off-tour, we advise against using a capacity template. The reason why we do so is rather simple; due to the fact that you’ll have guests entering and exiting at every stop, capacity management wouldn’t work anyway. (Another reason is the way we set up the timetable for Hop-On/Hop-Off-tours, but we’ll come to that topic later.)
The same goes for Pick-up route and Return Operation Line. While being great options for another kind of products, they aren’t very useful for a Hop-On/Hop-Off line.
Last but not least, we have to choose the VAT Rate for this line. As this is a Sightseeing product I choose our entered VAT for Sightseeing.
At the very end of every entry, we hit the “Save” button to the bottom right. At the end of this step, your first operation line should look like the following picture:
If you have the webshop capability for your Palisis Ticketing enabled you should see another area below:
Please ignore the setting for Online-shop layout as this setting can’t be changed by you. The Return check-in deadline allows you to enter a time in days, how long a ticket remains valid after the first usage.
Once you have created the operation line, now you can click on the two points button and go into the "Customer data" settings screen where you can define what fields would be visible and/or mandatory to be entered at the moment of booking.
(For the sake of this example I also add a second Operation Line called HoHo White.)
Routes are the next necessary step in the creation of our first tour.
Again, assigning a Name is the first thing we do. I keep this short and simple. I call my first route “BLUE”.
As always, I enter a short Description because that’s a smart thing to do. I even have the capability to add more text in the Additional description field but for the moment I think just the description will do.
Then I must enter a Code for this route – in my case I use “Blue-R” – and choose the Operation Line this Route belongs too.
You can also enter some relevant information for your customers about the location of the route, a video URL, the fitness level and even operation start and end times.
Your route now should look more or less like this:
Again, IF you have the webshop capability you get more fields to fill. This time even more as fields with the “Globe sign” are displayed 1:1 in your public webshop and the possible widgets. So, it makes a lot of sense to be meticulous about the data you enter into these fields. Codes and abbreviations will not be of much use to your clients that come to the shop to book a tour.
Please note that on the right side of your text box you can change the language of your text, meaning, this allows you to enter English text for your English webshop, German for the German webshop and so on. So we enter the Route name, description and additional description in all the languages of our webshop(s).
Below that we have the capability to use the default “one-way-look” in the webshop or display it as a roundtrip.
Beneath the roundtrip setting, we can mark a tour as a bestseller or not. This setting isn’t visible in the webshop but in the widgets that might help you sell on your web page(s):
At the bottom of the page, we can upload a picture to each tour in the format of 250 times 175 Pixels.
There is one last setting that is often missed by new Palisis users; besides the choice of the route, we see two buttons. One with one point, the other one with two points.
Now if press the one with two points another setting capability opens. Here we can choose the waypoints that are frequented by this route. We can easily drag and drop the waypoints from left to the right. At the right end of each waypoint, you see a “raffled” area. There you can drag and drop the waypoint further up or down in your list of active waypoints. Once the chronological order is right we should press “save” at the bottom-right.
Timetables are the place where we can schedule the departures for our routes. First, we need to create a season. When we press “New” we can add a name to that season, a description and its start and end date. Please take notice that seasons will be sorted in numerical/alphabetical order; that’s why I usually enter the year(s) first so I end up with a chronological order of the seasons. We can also add a second season but it is necessary to choose the start day so that it doesn’t overlap with the first season. Different seasons are usually used when we have a change in the operating times of our tours. If you have the same times all through the year you could create one season that ends way in the future.
Again, we see beside each season the buttons with one and two points on it. If we once again click on the one with two points we see the listing of the Operation Lines and routes we just created. To the right of our first route, we can add new departures by clicking on “new”. To be exact we now don’t create departures times as much as rules for those departure times. To create a rule, we must choose its settings for days (of the week or of the month), months, hours and minutes. Let’s say for the sake of this example that we want to operate this tour on every day of the week. Thereby we can just click on all to tick on all the weekday boxes. My operation times are the same through all the months of the season. Due to the fact that the season start and end dates – that we entered a few moments ago - effectively limit the use of this timetable I can also click “all”. The months outside of the season won’t be regarded anyway. When it comes to hours and minutes Hop-On/Hop-off tours are rather unique: Customers can enter and leave the buses at any given waypoint, which denies us the use of a fact-based availability management and often things are time-wise a little bit looser than compared to other sorts of tours. All this makes it much more convenient for us to have just one “departure” each day at the last departure time. For instance, if the last bus departs at 22:00, that the lastest a customer could buy a ticket, so our route should have just one departure at 22:00 (BTW, this is another reason against using a capacity template for Hop-On/Hop-offs; one departure per day with just 80 spaces would seriously under-whelm your operation.) That’s why in this case of our example we just add 22 to the entry field of hours and hit enter. We do the same with minutes: 00 and enter. (We could also press the little box with the plus to enter the data). Don’t worry, I’ll show you a more complex setup method with the second tour.
But for now, we press “Next” to continue to the next step. Here we see the list of all departures that get created from this set of rules. As in this case we see that there is a departure at 23:59 from the very first day of our season to the last.
If we like what the system shows us we can press “Save” to do so. After that we can see the timetable rule we just created like this:
We could even add more rules that apply to this route if we had to model more complicated departure schemes but we don’t need to do this for this simple HoHo setting.
But we’ll model a more complex departure to the second route. I do everything the same as before, but this time I tick off Monday. Regarding time I want to model a tour that starts every 45 minutes. Let’s say we start at 9:30, 10:15, 11:00, 11:45 and so on…
We add 9 to hours, 30 to minutes… 10 and 15… 11 and 00… We can’t add another 11 to hours… ok… 45 to minutes then.
But when we press “Next” we see a list of departures that is just 15 minutes apart and not the desired 45! What happened?
Well, the hours we entered are always used with all the minute settings we entered… As we have seen that equals one departure every 15 minutes and that’s clearly wrong. A smarter way to do achieve the desired departures is to create a multitude of departure rules from another perspective: the minutes. I’ll try to illustrate this to you in this table:
In the first column, we can see the departures we want to schedule. We can see that the :30 minutes departure (in red) happens every 3 hours or 4 departures. The same goes for the :15, :45 and :00 departure. Well, this is a logic we can use for our timetable rules. I first add the 30 minutes and add the hours 9, 12, 15 and 18. In the following page, we see that those 4 departures get created. Good.
I press “new” to add the :15 minutes rule in the same way. Then the .45 minutes rule and then finally the :00 minutes rule. (While doing that I make sure that I use the same settings for weekdays and months.) After having done that I’ll end up with this list of rules:
Now when we press “preview” we see daily departures that are created by those rules:
One departure every 45 minutes and no Mondays! Splendid! As you can see this “inverted thinking” starting always with minutes might feel counter-intuitive but it definitely works.
Let’s continue to the Priceplan. This is where we can set the various prices and if necessary costs of our tours. To the left, we should choose the Operation Line that we want to add with a price tag. We press “New” to the bottom-right to begin.
In my example, I would like to offer various tickets at different times of use; 24, 48, and 72 hours. That’s why I name my first Priceplan BLUE-24. For the webshop I should be a bit more explicit, thereby I use Blue line – 24 hours. Then I choose the VAT rate that’s appropriate for that kind of product, as well as the start and end date of that Priceplan. (You might notice that we entered the VAT rate at multiple points; the business unit, the operation line and here in the priceplan. It's important to know that the setting in priceplan overrides the setting in operation line which overrides the setting for the business unit.)
But why do we have to set the time range again? Didn’t we just do that in the step before – Timetable? It’s understandable that clients raise this question. The timetables we just generated are used by Palisis to determine the next departure of your tours. However, this setting here has nothing to do with that; the Date Range defines the period of time when the priceplan is available for sale and the Date Event Range just tells the system which price is applied at a certain point of time (when the product is available to be booked). Sure, some clients choose to change prices at the same time as a planned timetable change but you don’t have to. As an example, many clients have multiple timetables during the year to deal with the changing demand of their products. But if you are experiencing peak demand during the summer season you could easily add another Priceplan that improves your revenue during that time.
Next, we must determine the validity of each ticket: The most commonly used setting here is to limit the time. As this should be a 24 hours ticket I limit its usage to 1440 minutes. Beneath that we could limit the number of occasions a ticket can be used. Please don’t follow the misconception that this limits the check-ins possible with a ticket. No, this number determines how often this ticket can be used: If you would set the number higher than 1 the customer could use it for a second, third, fourth time and so on. This ticket should allow its use for a onetime 24 hours period and that’s why I set a 1 here. We also could limit the use of this ticket to the end of the day if we wanted to. Besides the validity for a specific time range in minutes we could also define a validity for a “Specific Usage Timeframe”. This function allows us to issue tickets for a month or a year.
Because we want to sell this ticket on our Palisis handheld devices, we should check that the “Sell onsite”-box is ticked on. If we had a Priceplan configured as an extension – additional 24 hours or an additional service we could add this here as an upgrade.
The next four fields are very similar to what they do: The number we enter here defines the range until when one single or a group ticket is issued. If we enter 10, up to 10 single tickets will be printed in one sales event. But if 11 people buy a ticket they would get one group ticket. The same goes for “online” shop tickets, “Vouchers” issued by a partner and “Boxoffice” tickets. A neat trick, which is particularly handy for Hop-On/Hop-off tours, is to use high numbers (like 50) for Group Size Online, Voucher, and Boxoffice while leaving the field Group Size empty. This would issue one big group ticket (convenient for transport) that will be exchanged into multiple single-tickets at the moment of the first redemption/check-in (which in return is convenient for the guests to use your Hop-On/Hop-off as they please).
At the very end, we can choose if our devices print an exchange ticket at the moment of the check-in (important to prevent fraudulent behavior with Boxoffice and webshop tickets) and if we want to print a check-in confirmation. Such a confirmation is particularly useful if we would sell a multi-ride-ticket.
Then we can add to the top the ticket for the various passenger and/or category tickets issued by handheld devices. To do this, I choose the rate – in my case, I want the same ticket for everybody, so thereby I use “all” – the seat category – I just have one – and the according ticket layout. I finalize my choice by pressing the plus-sign to the right. (The choice of a particular ticket layout for a specific age rate or category allows you to issue a coffee coupon for adults or a discount coupon for a child ticket.)
Last but not least, we should add prices to the priceplan.
To do so we must enter the prices into the interface are at the bottom of the page. The first currency you see there is your accounts base currency. Here we can add the onsite price (devices), the boxoffice price, the online price (Online-Shop & Widgets), the price for bookings coming from the TourCMS API, all for direct sales and the same for partners sales; and if necessary the costs to each of the Passenger Categories we entered in Business Data. The possibility to add costs in the priceplan is rather new and very useful if you are relying on suppliers. If you would make a special Hop-On/Hop-off ticket that includes a visit to the local zoo, you could add your actual flexible costs in here to get a better control over revenues and costs.
We can also add the prices for the other currencies if we selected any in Business Data-section. Please note that here we can just add the onsite-price for a currency. The rest of prices (online, boxoffice, api and external costs) aren’t needed because they are always calculated based on your base currency.
That’s it! You just created your first tour. Please use your newly gained knowledge to create one or two additional tours right now. This will help you a lot in consolidating your know-how for the future use of Palisis Ticketing.