An online booking system is a fantastic tool that many businesses use to manage reservations and help their business grow. But what specifically is it? How do they work and what are the key benefits of having one?
What is an online booking system?
In simple terms, an online booking system is a piece of software you can use to manage reservations for your product or service. Typically it is used for hotels, leisure centres, restaurants and other similar services. However, as buyer behaviour has evolved, online booking systems are becoming increasingly popular in other industries such as education, childcare and beauty.
As the name suggests, an online booking system involves customers or clients making a booking via an online system. They submit their reservation requirements and personal details, before making a payment to secure the service.
Why do you need an online booking system?
So much of our lives are now spent online, so it is vital that your business follows suit. Not having an online booking system can mean your business is left behind by its competitors. Having one, allows your customers to find you online and convert their visits into bookings.
What are the main benefits of an online booking system?
Increase bookings – Making an online booking is quicker and more efficient than alternatives such as telephone or face to face bookings. No longer are you constrained by business hours or the location of your customers? Online booking systems can be used at any time of day and from any location.
Save time – Think about how much time your business has spent on dealing with customer booking queries and changing reservations. With an online booking system, all of that can be done by the client online. What’s more, you can send automated messages to clients to remind them of their bookings and give them additional details. As well as saving you admin time, this helps to mitigate the issue of clients not turning up for appointments.
Get a competitive edge – Whilst online booking systems are becoming the standard in many industries, there are still plenty of companies that have not moved their booking systems online. If your business is in a sector where online booking systems are not commonplace, you can put yourself ahead of your rivals by successfully launching a system.
Collect Data – When customers fill in online booking forms they provide a selection of contact details and other personal information. You can use this information for sending follow up messages, keeping clients informed about your business and contacting customers with offers. All of this can help build your client relationships and increase the likelihood of repeat business.
Get insights into your business – The data mentioned above can also be used to give you vital information about your client base. It can tell you who your most regular customers are, where the majority of your customers are based and the popular purchases being made. It all helps you to formulate future plans and marketing activity.