Once you have made the decision to invest in a booking system for your business, you will need to choose between a standard booking system and a bespoke booking system. Standard booking systems offer more of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, whereas bespoke booking systems are built from scratch and tailored to meet the individual requirements of your business. Either way, it is important to make sure that your booking system has all of the core essential functionality required to improve your business operations.
Here we will discuss some of the core essential functionality you should expect from a booking system.
Real time booking
Today it is absolutely essential that the booking system you choose can facilitate real time bookings. This means that as soon as a customer inputs information, it automatically checks your availability and provides an output, before they continue with their booking. Real time booking functionality prevents you from having to deal with double bookings and eliminates the need for customers to phone you up to check your availability. An efficient booking system with real time booking functionality will allow your customers to make successful bookings at any time of day or night.
Automated booking confirmation
Another core functionality expected from online booking systems is automated booking confirmation. This is where the booking system will automatically send out an email or SMS (even both) to customers to confirm the booking they have made. This functionality prevents you from having to spend time sending out emails and phoning up customers to confirm their bookings yourself. Automated emails and SMS also provide a reminder to customers of the date and time of their booking so they don’t forget.
Today many online booking systems include payment processing as one of their core functionalities. They tend to be integrated with third party payment processes like PayPal and SagePay. Having an online booking system that is capable of taking payments will prevent the need for you to take payments over the phone or in person, helping to save time and increase efficiency. It will also mean you can take payments at any time of day or night, helping to increase your sales and profits.
As well as taking payments, many online booking systems can also process promotional offers like money-off coupons, bulk purchasing discounts and gift certificates. This will help to improve conversions and gain your customers’ loyalty.
Online booking systems usually have calendar functionality to help customers make accurate bookings.
Most booking systems have calendars that can be viewed by customers. Calendars enable customers to select the date they want to make the booking for so the system can check your availability. Sometimes businesses, such as holiday property letting companies offer different rates for different dates. When the customer selects the date they to book for on the calendar, the system will automatically update the price accordingly.
The idea behind an online booking system is that it collects information from the customer for you to use e.g. their name, address, telephone number and any special requirements they need from you. This information is collected and put into your online booking system’s database, ensuring it is ready for you to retrieve on the day of their booking so you can provide the best service possible.
Say for example you operate a restaurant. The database will be able to tell you how many people have booked so you know how many places you need to set at the table and any special dietary requirements they have such as coeliac disease which would mean they needed gluten free food. This information collected by your online booking system will allow you to plan your resources more effectively.
The functionalities outlined in this article are all processes you should expect your online booking system to offer. For more information about online booking systems, feel free to get in touch.