Things to consider when using an online booking system
1. Talk with Your TeamBefore you begin researching what online system to work with, consult with your team about the needs of your business. You should brainstorm every key area of your business; from admin to finance, operations, sales and marketing. Check what key requirements are and which aren’t being met now.
The first step helps to give you a foundation for your research. Align that list with your company’s overall goals so that you have a comprehensive understanding of what your company needs and wants from a tour and activity operation software.
2. Figure Out What You Need and WantCreate a list of all the things you need, and then sort the list into two columns: must-haves and nice-to-haves. This will help you to understand what your business needs and wants. And that will ultimately impact your purchasing decision.
Here are some of the differences between basic and complex booking software systems. Align your wants and needs list with this one to figure out which type of booking system you need.
Basic online booking software requirements:
- Payment options (Credit card, bank transfer, PayPal, deferred payment processing, cash)
- Inventory system
- Real-time booking
- User-friendly interface
- Customer support
- Integrations with an email marketing software
Complex online booking software requirements:
- SMS and email automation
- Language and currency settings
- Email customization
- Integration with third-party software (e.g. POS Systems, Rating Portals, etc.)
- Detailed sales reports
- Voucher and promo code management
- Distribution channel management
- Resource management
3.Create a List with Your Company’s GoalsYour team has provided their input and you have your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. It’s best to have your company goals, its assists in the final decision between the two columns. Sure, having a particular feature is nice, but if it doesn’t fit with your goals, you shouldn’t really be making that extra investment. They key is to focus on what is important for your business.
4.Consider Your BudgetIn an ideal world, you shouldn’t base your decision on the cost of the software. However, in the real world of business, you need to figure how much you are willing to pay for an online booking software. If you go with a standard option, you will need to factor in the cost of commissions and fees as that would affect your bottom line and profit margins.
5.Is it Simple and Easy to Use?One of the first things you need to think about while looking for the right online booking system is simplicity. How easy is it to use? Will your customers find it user-friendly and easy to book their tour? Is it easy to integrate with the other systems you are using? Think about your CMS System!
Time is essential in your business and a good online booking system should be simple and easy to use.
6.ReportingReporting is a key part of any business and is an important feature to look for in an online booking system. An in-depth report will enable you to have a better view of your reservations, policies and increase your level of control in tweaking and adjusting policies and other features.
7.How Will Your Internal Processes Change?You need to think about how your internal processes will change and prepare for what you may need, like additional staff training.
Your daily processes will most likely become automated or be significantly reduced. For example, you probably won’t be spending as much time communicating with customers via email or phone since everything will be handled via the online booking system.
Your staff can easily and readily view and share information among the company more efficiently.
Your mobility will increase as bookings can be managed anywhere and anytime, on a mobile or tablet. Your staff will know the status of your business and can better and more flexibly manage schedules.
8.Is the Software Easy to Integrate into Your Site?Cloud-based online booking systems usually have widgets that can be easily added to your site. Keep in mind that although they are very easy to integrate, you won’t have much control over the booking flow. Users are often redirected to the booking platform to complete their booking, which means that the user leaves your site during the process.
You can have more control over the process if you go with a custom solution. That way, you’ll be able to better analyse how users are behaving during the booking process and can thus optimize conversions.
9.What about the Quality of the Customer Support?Customer support is important when choosing an online booking system
This point is a very important consideration. Getting support when you need it is vital to your business. Yes, self-service support systems are great, but you need to get answers in a timely manner when you’re having technical issues. It could impact your bottom line.