Having a booking system is integral if you rely on providing services to customers. Whether you own a small business where you’re the only employee, or you’re part of a much bigger brand, integrating an automated booking system is a great step in ensuring growth and sales. Their popularity in recent years has grown massively, and many brands are now reliant on these kinds of systems, with them being popular with hairdressers, tattoo artists, and companies that offer day trips out. Let’s go over some of the benefits of using online booking systems, and why you should make the choice to integrate one into your website.
Open all Hours
One of the best things about having an online booking system is that it’s open to be used 24/7. Customers don’t have to wait around for opening hours, and they don’t have to worry about finding time during their work day to call or email and book. Having one of these systems on your site mitigates the need for any customer/business interaction during the booking process. This is not only better for the customer as they can book in anytime and anywhere, but for the business it means that they don’t have to spend time managing bookings when they could be doing other, more important things. By having this self-service style booking system, there is a big possibility for an increase in bookings (and revenue), as people are more likely to carry out the full booking process because it’s far more convenient.
Reclaim Admin Time
Following on from this, the full automation of the system means that time that would be spent on admin can be reclaimed and put towards other aspects of the business. This is especially helpful if you have a small business, maybe you are the only employee and have to do everything by yourself. By integrating this kind of system into your website it makes things so much easier, taking the pressure off of you, and the lack of customer interaction through this system is actually a huge benefit when it comes to dealing with negative customer interactions, as it takes this possibility out of the equation. From this, we can expect to see better customer relations, which hopefully will translate into more bookings, and therefore more sales! This can also work wonders for retaining customers, creating a loyal client base, which benefits your company in the short run and in the long run. Having a booking system like this also reduces the margin of human error, reducing the risk for things like double bookings and miscommunication from the client to the business.
Increase your profits
Not only are you able to take a deposit or full payment straight from the customer through a booking system, but you can also cover your back when it comes to late cancellations and no-shows. The software in the booking system is able to store card details (at no risk to the customer) and can charge them if they haven’t arrived to their appointment. While this could sound somewhat controversial, businesses (especially small ones) rely on things like booking fees, and deposits to keep the cash flow consistent, no-showing to an appointment or cancelling late can have a huge knock-on effect on the company. By implementing this kind of system, the risk of these things is lessened as it’s obvious that people do not want to waste their money.
In addition, businesses are able to add extras to the booking process, cross-selling or upselling items or services that they think customers could benefit from. It has been reported that cross-selling can increase sales by 20% and profit by 30%, and upselling can increase revenue by 10-30%. So, make sure to cash in on those impulsive purchases that people often like to make and add some extras to the process!
Keep it consistent
Consistency is a key element to any brand, and it shouldn’t be forgotten when including booking processes on your website. So many brands use third-party booking systems, which are fine, in the sense that they do the job they need to do, but they ruin the aesthetic of the site that they are linked to, and obviously don’t follow the same branding design. Not only does this not look attractive, but it can also have an effect on customers, with them not continuing on with a purchase because they have to leave the site that they are currently on. By using a system that is integrated to your website, you can keep the same look and feel across the webpage, creating familiarity and enhancing the user experience. Here is a great example of how a booking form can be designed to fit in to your previously existing website, this one is used for booking puffin boat trips in Northumberland, so they really can be used for anything!
The final point that we’re going to cover is the flexibility of using an online booking system. Customers have full reign over booking, rescheduling, and cancelling appointments that they have made, literally at the click of a button. So, if you decide that you need to reschedule that Farne Island Puffin trip, then it’ll take you mere seconds to change! With most booking systems, companies are able to block off times that they don’t want customers booking in for, they can set dates and times that are available to be booked, and they can add buffers between appointments, to name a few. Therefore, you get to have full control of when appointments can be made, and the customer gets a clear and straightforward method of booking.
There are so many reasons why choosing an integrated and automated booking system is an ideal next move for your business. It takes the pressure of managing bookings off of the company, and puts the responsibility into the hands of the customer who can book or cancel as they please, which frees up company time and mitigates the risk of negative customer interactions in the booking process. Profits can see an increase through easier booking processes and the ability to cross and upsell products and services. In addition, the user experience of your site is maintained by keeping customers in one place and not sending them to third-party sites, making it a far more pleasant experience for visitors to your site.