Tour Tech

Seattle Ballooning: Ingenuity & Advanced Features Save Time, Rescue Abandoned Carts and Double Tips

Founded in 2016, Seattle Ballooning has achieved explosive growth. Technology plays a large part in this effort and, specifically, the technology provided by TripWorks.
Hilda Bahringer
8 minutes

The Challenge

Eliav Cohen isn’t one to sit on his laurels; he is the definition of a “go-getter.”

So, when he founded Seattle Ballooning, a hot air balloon tour company operated out of Seattle, Washington, he knew that a strong, innovative booking platform and technology partner were essential.

Eliav’s successful came not only because he is an expert marketer and spokesman, but also because he understands the value the “right” technology can add to a bottom line. Eliav used the TripWorks Platform in unique and innovative ways, methods that helped him grow conversions and revenue for his company.

His insights even spurred the development of a new feature or two, a benefit that all can now enjoy.

Eliav has five primary goals for his company:

  • Save Time
  • Improve Conversion Rates
  • Be Full 100% of the Time
  • Raise Rates
  • Create a Great Experience

The Solution and Benefit

Improve Conversion Rates • Be Full 100% of the Time • Improve Guest Experience

Eliav’s primary goal for Seattle Ballooning is to improve conversion rates and maximize revenues. He believes (and rightly so) that technology can do much to assist with this goal. Immediately upon onboarding with TripWorks, Eliav put several key features into play with impressive results.

Reservation Drafts

Abandoned carts are unquestionably a challenge in the travel industry.

In his sector, Eliav found that the main reason for incomplete reservations is that the visitor has a question or two about the experience which prevents/delays the booking.

So, he overcome this problem with TripWorks Drafts.

Now, using TripWorks Drafts, Eliav and his team get automated notifications when a reservation sits uncompleted for 4 minutes or longer. At that time, the team looks to their Drafts folder, finds the abandoned reservation (with full visitor’s contact information) and … picks up the phone and calls the unconfirmed guest.

This phone call often surprises the guest, Eliav says, but ultimately – the guest gets their questions answered and decides to complete their booking.

This simple strategy has rescued over $100K in revenue over the last year for Seattle Ballooning —an 11% bump to the annual revenues.

“All companies offer automated abandoned cart emails, but the trips we save with an email strategy only accounted for 10% of what we collect by calling, Eliav said. There is no other platform outside of TripWorks that allows you to do this, which is why I like TripWorks.”

Want to see Drafts in action? Book a Demo!

Review Management

All commerce is ecommerce now, and that means all commerce is influenced by online reviews. This also means that all companies—tour, adventure and activity providers especially—must have a review strategy.

TripWorks helps with this, and Eliav took full advantage of this assistance when he signed on with TripWorks.

Seattle Ballooning now has a system in place to request reviews immediately after a tour has ended. And when a review comes back with less than stellar remarks (only happened when the weather forced a flight cancellation), Eliav is quick to respond and manage the review.

Review Management is critical to a tour operation’s success and absolutely sways a guest’s decision to book with you … or even consider you. TripWorks helped Eliav to master his reviews, thereby elevating conversion rates.


Yes, of course, tour guides are in the business because they are enthusiasts and experts in their chosen activity. But, it doesn’t hurt when good tips get thrown into the mix too.

And from the Operation Owner’s perspective, it benefits the company when the tour guides are happy and amply compensated for their enthusiasm and expertise. It’s a circular motion that continuously improves the guest experience, reviews awarded, guide satisfaction … and on.

TripWorks’ Tipping Feature can set this cycle in motion.

With TripWorks’ Tipping feature, customers can conveniently tip their tour guide at the end of a trip, with cash or a credit card on file. A simple click on the guide’s mobile device (phone or tablet) lets customers choose a percentage tip or a custom amount.

Since using the TripWorks’ Tipping Feature, Seattle Ballooning’s tips are up over 160%.

What Eliav explain his success with tips:

Save Time • Improve Conversion Rates • Improve Guest Experience

To achieve his annual revenue goal, Eliav knew it was essential that he streamline and automate any function that could save time for his tour company. Streamlining processes allow him and his team to focus on growth strategies and let technology handle the mundane.

Some of these problems were addressed with features standard to the TripWorks platform. The most significant ones, however, were solved with features that are unique to the TripWorks platform.

Automated Rebooking

The weather is a big culprit when it comes to cancelling tours, adventures and, unfortunately, hot air balloon flights.

When this happens, the amount of time required to both inform guests about the cancellation and attempt a rebooking is massive. TripWorks stepped up to solve this problem for Eliav (and all tour operations) by building our Automated Rebooking capability.

Seattle Ballooning now sends cancellation notices to all their guests and staff with a single click. AND … the cancellation email contains a link to allow guests to reschedule their flight on their own.

The TripWorks system takes the existing reservation and associated documents (signed waivers, additional purchases, guest information) and moves them to the new date and time. “Other companies force you to send vouchers or completely cancel and start a new reservation,” Eliav says. Not TripWorks — one click, that’s all it takes.

“The value of this little button is mind-blowing. It has literally saved us up to 3 hours each time the weather forces a mass rebooking,” Eliav said.

Raise Rates • Maximize Revenues

Equipment costs, materials costs, employee costs … they constantly creep up (and sometimes skyrocket). While the idea of raising your fees might be concerning, it is a necessity for all businesses, the tourism industry and otherwise.

Service Fees

TripWorks charges a percentage-based fee for the use of our booking platform. This fee commonly appears as a line item on reservations, a process that passes the cost onto customers and relieves tour companies of the expense.

When Seattle Ballooning first looked to follow this strategy, Eliav worried how conversions would be impacted, so much so that he absorbed half of the fee as an operational expense.

But, he quickly realized that the service fee represents another seemingly small but significant difference from TripWorks. Other companies offer the same pricing structure, but only TripWorks lets customers customize how this appears on guest invoices.

Being able to customize how this fee is presented lets Seattle Ballooning to do so in a manner that makes sense to their customers and has allowed the company to raise prices without a decrease to conversions.

The Results

  • 11% revenue growth, with an additional $100K to the bottom line with TripWorks Drafts
  • TripWorks’ Auto-Rebooking Feature saved 3-hours of manual labor and the cancelled bookings for each poor weather event
  • Grew guide tips by 160% using TripWorks’ convenient Tipping Feature
  • Raised tour prices to cover software fees, moving from an expense to an easy pass-through
  • Added 100+ high-quality reviews with a strong review management strategy

Seattle Ballooning’s results are phenomenal and a testament to what can be achieved when you apply smart, fresh, next-generation technology to a problem.

One More Thing

Deciding if and when to change providers?

When asked, Eliav will tell you, he doesn’t consider the process of switching providers to be “fun.” But, he emphasizes that regardless of whether you are in-season or out-of-season, the process is the same – so it doesn’t really matter when you make a switch.

To determine the best time to make a switch, Eliav suggests that an operator determine if a switch to TripWorks will put money in your pocket. If the answer is yes, that’s your decision, he says regardless of the time of year.

Watch Eliav's advice on switching providers:

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