What is an online reservation system?
An online reservation system is a software you can use for managing reservations. They allow hotels, tours, and activity operators to accept bookings online and better manage their phone and in-person bookings. They also do so much more than that.
Basically, an online booking system is a software that allows a potential customer to book and pay for a room, activity or service directly through a website. That means from the moment a customer decides they want to book to choosing a date, picking a time and paying for the booking, everything is handled online, greatly reducing the workload on your staff and removing the opportunity for double-bookings.
Advanced systems allow customers to book through a variety of methods online, including mobile, greatly expanding the potential for bookings for your business.
This article's purpose is to help you understand online booking systems a little better, how they can help your business and how to know if it's right for you.
Before adopting a new system you should always consider the advantages and disadvantages.
Why should you use an online reservation system?
We now live in a world where almost everything is practically inseparable from the internet, including business. It’s now crucial that every business – no matter what sector it belongs – has a recognizable online presence. Not only does modern technology help hotels, tours and activity operators get found online, but it also helps them easily convert visits into money through an online reservation system.
There are reasons why you should at least consider putting an online booking system in place:
It increases your bookings
One of the biggest benefits of an online reservation system is that they are always open for business. You can accept bookings 24/7 so your customers don’t have to wait until the next day to make a reservation or turn to one of your competitors. They have the convenience to book when it’s right for them, and you collect bookings while you sleep.
It saves time
Online reservation system helps you do more, with less by delegating the booking-related tasks to an automated platform. Once you have your business set up on the platform, you won’t have to call your guests for reminders, send follow up emails, or manually update your inventory on OTA’s ever again. This all runs in the background so you, and your staff, can focus on serving your guests.
It increases the efficiency of your operations
Customers today expect instant gratification and an online reservation system can help you provide it. You’ll decrease lineups, have the ability to modify inventory with a few frustration clicks, and never have to say “one moment” to a customer waiting for you to get off the phone again.
Location is not an issue and neither is time. The virtual set-up means you won’t need to wake up at unholy hours to take booking calls from potential clients halfway around the world. While you dream of being the best tour or activity operator there is, people are going through the process of finding your site, browsing through its content, and finally booking a tour.
Travelers veer toward rooms, tours and activity sites that support online bookings not only because it’s easy but also because they usually find some great discount deals. They can read up on your business, look at your options, and finally make a booking without being hassled by a pushy sales representative.
It gets smarter insights into your business
A booking system keeps track of each reservation and the details that go with it. This means that you can use reports to find what kind of booking s are making you the most money, get a better understanding of who your typical customer is, and have real-time insights into your cash flow. All the tools and information you need to grow your business are in your hands.
It puts you a step ahead of your competition.
There’s a multitude of tour and activity operators out there who have a website and enlist on Google Places, but only a few have an online booking system in place. By having an online reservation system, you’re one step ahead of the game, tipping the scales in your favor when prospects research and compare your capabilities against your competitors.
Of course, the presence of an online booking system itself is not enough to make or break the sale. You still need to make sure the other aspects of your site (like imagery, for example) are in the best shape to minimize the number of visitors that bounce off it.
Conclusion: Should you use an online reservation system?
When evaluating software you should always consider the initial investment, both time and money, and the potential benefit to your company. With a booking system, there is a learning curve. But the best booking software company should provide you with all the support you need to get started. And with everything you gain, we think it’s a no-brainer. Maybe just wait until your low season to start implementation.
Online booking systems are both increasing the present and future of bookings for all kinds of businesses. Today, they’re safer, easier and cheaper than ever for businesses to run and, for customers, they’re an expectation if they’re visiting a website. So, in truth, the question should be, why wouldn’t you use an online booking system?
With more of us than ever browsing, booking and buying online it makes superb business sense, and as businesses increasingly move to mobile, online reservation systems allow both customers and businesses alike to make their bookings easier and on the road.
Author: Rowena Gungon
Bio: Rowena is an ambassador at Delesign. She provides customer support and represents Delesign online. Outside of work, she likes traveling, reading books, playing string instruments and searching for the best memes on the internet.
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