We are very pleased to inform you that the Garden Tomb will soon be launching a new fully automated booking system which will replace our current online booking form.
Any person will soon be able to make a booking for a small group (up to 10 individuals) requesting that they join an existing tour. Approved tour agents will also be able to book a time slot at the Garden Tomb for groups’ visits including both a tour and meeting place (up to 60 visitors per group). In either case there will be no waiting time for an administrator in the garden to manually confirm the request. The system will be fully automated and only available timeslots will be offered.
One will access the system via our website just as they have done in the past. The new booking system will be mobile friendly so one could even make a booking on the go. Please note that there might be certain difficulties making new bookings in the first half of September as we transition to the new system but in the long term everyone will reap the benefits of this improvement.
Only tour operators will be given the privilege of booking full visits for groups larger than 10 persons. They will require a password in order to enter the system. If you are a tour operator but have not directly received an email informing you that you will automatically be added to the new system please make sure you are registered by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When using the new system one will first be asked to log in with their email address and password. (Only the agent will have access to their password and they will be free to change it at any time). Then one will be asked to fill in the details of the group including the number of visitors. Next they will be asked to choose a date and an arrival time. Only available times will be displayed. Availability may change based on the size of the group. Finally, they will receive an automated confirmation.
We trust that all agents will be careful to book only confirmed groups with firm arrival dates and to never book more than one slot for a single group. We also trust that all information submitted will be truthful and accurate including the size of the groups. In order to protect honest agents from potential abuses of the system, a person who is caught giving misinformation or otherwise abusing the system will have their access revoked.
Please note that at first only booking for single-bus groups could be done automatically by a tour operator. Multi-bus bookings (or bookings for groups larger than 60 persons) will still require manual approval by a Garden Tomb administrator. However, we are planning on introducing an automated booking service also for larger groups in the future.
The timeline for the implementation of the new system is as follows:
Saturday, 1 September: In order to transition all of our bookings to a new server a temporary moratorium will be put in place for all future bookings (Monday 10 September onward). Last minute bookings for the coming week will still be doable via our website in the usual fashion. DON’T PANIC – The temporary moratorium will end on Thursday 6 September. In the meantime do not try to make future bookings by email or phone since our administrators will not be able to do so until the new system is online.
Thursday 6 September: The temporary moratorium will end and the new system will be online. Any booking for a visit on Monday 10 September or later could be done via the new automated booking system on our website. Last minute bookings for 6-8 September will have to be done by phone or by email.
Monday 10 September: The new system will fully replace the current system. All bookings for single bus groups will be done via our website and will not require a confirmation from a Garden Tomb administrator.
In summary, be warned that in the first couple weeks of September you may encounter difficulties making bookings but that soon there will be a new system which should make everyone’s job a little easier.
We are confident that this change will improve the experience and efficiency of both the tour operators and the Garden Tomb administrative staff. As we brace for a very busy tourist season this Autumn, we believe that this new system will be invaluable in better serving larger numbers of visitors and pilgrims.
Please remember that this is only the first stage of the new system and there are bound to be certain challenges and imperfections at first. We welcome your feedback and critique regarding the user experience of the new system. It will be invaluable to us as we seek to improve and expand the new booking system in 2019.