When was the last time you called up a restaurant to check if they have a free reservation?
Your answer, most likely, will be ‘Rarely, I do!’.
While many people may still call up a service provider to make an appointment or book a reservation, the majority of us take advantage of the internet for bookings and appointments.
On the business end, many still feel that the internet is complex and frightening. But those who have overcome this phobia will testify that the internet offers numerous opportunities to boost and scale your business.
An online reservation system offers multiple benefits. It is a software solution that allows potential customers to self-book and pay through your website and other channels.
Here are a few industries that benefit from online booking systems:
- Course and training providers
- Travel agencies
- Law practices
- Hotels and holiday homes
- Meeting room hires
- Bike and car rentals
- Sports and gaming
- Real estate and housing
At the same time, an online booking system provides you with useful tools to operate and scale your business.
In this article, we have listed the seven major advantages of having an online booking system for your business.
Top 7 Advantages of investing in an online booking software
As a business if you’re already doing well without an online reservation system, the most obvious question that might come to your mind is:
Do you really need an online booking system?
Why should you bear an extra cost if you are already getting enough reservations?
The answer is you probably do not need an online booking system if you are okay replying to hundreds of emails, answering phone calls non-stop, drowning yourself in reservation forms; or if you are indifferent towards maintaining messy excel sheets with the likelihood of human errors.
If you are wiser than this, then you’d be more than willing to invest in a good online reservation system.
Before that, it is important how will an online booking system benefit you:
A reliable online booking system can:
- Prevent multiple bookings
- Track your business trajectory with real-time reporting
- Assign inventory and staff to individual activities
- Gather customer information before they arrive
- Break down your day-to-day priorities
If you still have doubts about spending that extra buck on such a system, maybe the following points will help you make an informed decision.
#1. Keep your business running around the clock
One of the most important advantages of an online booking system is also one of the most obvious ones.
You and your staff will probably have fixed working hours, and so do your customers. Moreover, it won’t be possible for them to visit your business or even make a call to book a reservation during your working hours. Suppose you work in an online travel agency (OTA), you may have travelers from different parts of the world having different time zones.
However, with an online booking system that works 24/7, your business is now open to take reservations round the clock from anywhere or at a time that suits your customers. Additionally, it helps you maximize your revenue because you are not confined to your working hours.
#2. Simplify the reservation process
If you are in the travel or hospitality industry, you are already aware that people no longer discover your business from the yellow pages. Instead, they get all the information about your product or service from mobile applications or browsing the internet.
On average, close to 150 million travel bookings are completed online every year. In the travel sector alone, 82 percent of all bookings were made online in 2018 and without the need for human assistance.
With a robust online booking system, you are tapping into a massive pool of prospective clients. As you know an online booking system is functioning 24/7, and potential customers have the freedom to book a room or make an appointment at a time of their choosing.
Moreover, online booking systems are based on smart technology that reduces the risk associated with manual input and human error. Processes, such as payment scheduling, inventory management, and tracking bookings are all automated thus simplifying the booking process for you and your clients.
#3. Cut down employee workload and save time
Without an online booking system, you or your staff may end up spending most of your day taking reservations over the phone or at the counter.
On top of that, you will also spend a considerable amount of time explaining options and schedules. You won’t find it worrisome if you have hired customer service staff.
However, imagine the man-hours that you would free up with a fully automated online booking system that could not only take bookings but also answer customer queries.
This is one of the most important benefits of an online booking system as this can significantly improve the overall productivity of your team.
#4. Eliminate human error
How a booking is made directly impacts a service provider’s ratings. The goal is to mitigate the possibility of human error, which is possible with a fully automated booking system that does not require human interaction.
For instance, a case of misheard time on a bad network day or a booking jotted on a notepad but never entered into your spreadsheet may cost you a customer. Multiple such instances may cost you your business.
The chances of human errors will always be there as long as human interaction is involved. People working at the front desk find online booking forms more efficient and reliable. This is because they bypass time-consuming tasks like logging reservation requests via email or a call, manually entering reservations in a management system, and endlessly answering the same questions about rates and vacancies.
On the other hand, computers do not make mistakes, and you will be dealing with fewer blunders.
#5. Provide a superior customer experience
Customers today are all about instant gratification. Smartphones have trained people to believe that any sort of information is accessible instantly. They tend to be impatient if they face any sort of delay in getting the information they are looking for.
Luckily, today’s reservation technology works pretty fast right from booking to check-out. With a few clicks, you can book, pay and sign waiver forms while getting a confirmation in their inbox instantly.
An online booking system allows potential customers to view all of their options before making a reservation, without having to speak to a customer executive over the phone.
Also, this will help avoid confusion from potential communication errors and allow customers to make decisions confidently.
Additionally, you do not need to store customer data in a notebook or a spreadsheet. A good online reservation program reduces the risk of data breaches or information leakage to untrustworthy sources.
If you are looking for a customized online booking solution with leading-edge event management capabilities, click here.
#6. Maximize bookings and prevent no-shows and cancellations
It is widely observed that people who make reservations online have a higher chance of showing up to their appointments. This is mainly due to the following reasons:
- Customers tend to think longer and harder about the reservation before choosing a date and time.
- Online booking systems eliminate human errors.
- Automated reminders are sent to customers for their upcoming reservations or appointments.
Further, if they neglect to adhere to your cancellation policy and don’t show up without informing you, you will already have their credit card details on hand. This will ensure you don’t incur the loss from a last-second vacant slot.
Lightspeed’s online tee time software enables you to make 24/7 real-time online reservations directly from your computer or smartphone.
#7. Get insights from data analytics
Who is booking a particular service? When do you receive the most bookings? How many visitors bounced back without making a reservation?
You can find the answers to these questions by analyzing your booking data which can be used while making decisions regarding service offerings, pricing, marketing strategy, etc.
However, creating customized reports manually from spreadsheets can drive anyone crazy if your records are not maintained properly. So why not let a program automatically pull up those data for you, in real-time?
Most online booking systems offer powerful features like analytics tools. They keep a tab on every reservation and related details. They allow you to see what product or service makes you the most money, better understand your customers, and get a glimpse of your business trajectory.
So is an online booking system worth your money?
Before spending money on an online booking system, always consider the initial investment, both time and money. Also, evaluate whether it’s best for your business.
Online booking and reservations are not the future. They are the present.
In this article, we covered seven features of an online booking system that you can take advantage of right away.
So, do you really need an online booking system?
The short answer is “yes”
If you want to save time and money while boosting revenue as well as customer satisfaction. After all, a business is all about putting your customers first, and if you can exploit the benefits that an online booking system offers, you have already made a great first impression.