By Martin Kloeckner, Director – BBQ Buoys

With increase in digitalisation across the business sphere, technology has become more accessible, affordable and essential to the success of small tour operators.

BBQ Buoys are a recreational boat operator on the River Torrens. Launching from Pinky Flat, customers drive themselves while grilling their food on a BBQ in the centre of the donut shaped boat.

Through digitalising our business, we have been able to increase our productivity and we would like to offer our tips on how you can do the same.

The graphic above demonstrates the apps we have used to consolidate our business onto digital platforms, and in turn create a better work-life balance.

Why did we go digital?

As a small tour operator, daily office hours are limited as demands at the operations station are high.

With the help of cloud-based apps, we are allowed the flexibility to work on the go.

It also enables us to deliver faster customer service of a higher quality and manage the demand for quick responses, which the modern customer expects.

As well as customers, staff satisfaction and productivity has increased and internal back-end tasks such as roster planning and payroll management is streamlined by the use of apps.

Key performance indicators are much easier to measure, which makes it more efficient to analyse data and establish relevant improvements for your business. For example, several apps we use automatically send data to Google Analytics, which then collates it into one easy to read document.

How did we do it?

The first step to digitising your business is to go through your operations with a fine-tooth comb and look for repeating tasks. If the task can’t be avoided, then ask yourself if it’s being done as efficiently as possible?

If the answer is no, then establish ways to improve the process. We achieved this by researching apps that best integrate with our other business tools to eliminate double handling.

What can you do to digitise your business?

We’ve broken down our operations into five categories in which the customer journey occurs: traffic acquisition; conversion; retargeting; service delivery and community. In these categories, we have outlined the apps we use which have enabled us to save time and improve our business. Not all of these have been implemented completely by BBQ Buoys at this stage, but we are planning to in the near future.

Traffic acquisition is how we get customers to engage with our product.


  • Zoho Social – schedule your social media posts in advance for consistent messaging.
  • Zoho Campaigns – send out mailings, similar to Mailchimp, track opening rate and engagement with content.
  • Facebook Ads Manager – target audience specific ads e.g. students from 20-25yrs, living in Adelaide & Chinese speaking.
  • Google Adwords – text based ads to generate keyword specific traffic to landing pages.

Conversion is how we turn traffic into potential bookings.


  • Rezdy – instantly updated inventory, no over-bookings, booking widgets for website.
  • Website / landing pages with comprehensive FAQ and videos for self-service to reduce time consuming phone volume to a minimum.
  • Stripe – automated payment via Rezdy booking widget.
  • Zoho CRM, Optus Loop or Twilio – log calls and capture leads in CRM
  • Zoho forms – capture leads and initiate automated marketing campaigns.
  • Zoho SalesIQ Chatbot – offer instant messaging for website visitors.
  • 3rd party distribution – connect via Rezdy to marketplace and other large online travel agents to spread content across multiple channels.

Retargeting is how we keep potential customers engaged and enticed to book.


  • Facebook ads – for Facebook, Instagram and website visitors, people who have engaged with posts or page.
  • Automated email marketing campaigns with Zoho campaigns.
  • SMS campaigns (via above listed phone service providers).

Service delivery & community is the process we undertake when customers are on site.


  • Zoho forms – digital waiver and email capture for post tour marketing / retargeting.
  • Google Cloud – upload photos into cloud for immediate use by marketing team in office and for sharing content with customers.
  • Facebook album – create one for each tour day/week/month to engage with customers and use them as digital ambassadors on social media.
  • Rezdy – automated follow up email to request 5* review on Google, Trip Advisor and Facebook.

Other corporate services:

  • Xero – cloud-based bookkeeping, share instant details with accountant and reconcile anytime.
  • Receipt Bank – capture your receipts, they upload directly into Xero.
  • Deputy – plan your staff online, let them request days off, report staff ours, transfer timesheets into Xero for seamless payroll management.
  • Asana – keep track of all tasks, allocate jobs to team members, attach photos/files etc.
  • Google G-Suite – cloud-based email account with shared file drive and photo albums.

It’s not about using an app or digital tool for every facet of our business – more utilising technology wisely for a better work-life balance. This helps us to improve processes and customer service, as well as have instant access to key information required to manage the business on a data-driven strategy.

If you’re interested in more information or sharing your experiences with digitalisation, we’d love to meet up for a coffee and discuss it with you. Contact Martin on 0468 822 456 or email