Some of our former blogs have looked at the choice on the type of booking system you need for your business and the most important features a booking system needs to have. Today we want to take a step back. We will discuss the questions that beginners might have on what an online booking system does and how it works to your advantage if you run a camp, retreat or resort. So, if you are new to the topic of online booking systems and online booking software, this is the right article for you.
What is an online booking system?
To start at the beginning: what is it we talk about when using the words ‘online booking system’? It basically is a piece of software that allows a potential customer to book your accommodation and pay for it through your website. For holiday accommodation, nearly all bookings are done online.
Why do I need an online booking system?
As just mentioned, most of today’s holiday bookings are made online. Holiday-makers are increasingly time-poor and impatient. There needs to be an option to directly book from your website, to capture the leads while they are engaged. Statistics show that the average user stays on a landing page for less than 30 seconds. This is the time you get to describe your product and provide a clear Call to Action (Book Now!) before they get distracted by another task or overthink their impulse to spend money on a holiday. This means you can increase your sales by having an online booking system. Other reasons are to be able to compete with competitors, to build your customer database and to save time.
How does an online booking system work?
An online booking system works by processing secure online bookings made through a surf school or accommodation website. It exists entirely on your website and requires no installation from your customer to continue with their purchase. An online booking form is integrated on the website that asks the visitor to select dates, the product they want to book and for what number of people the booking is required. In booking software terms, this is called the front office of the booking system.
The data from that booking is then passed onto a back end system which can be accessed by surf school and accommodation owners to manage bookings. This is called the back office and it is here where you can store customer data. Some booking systems have features which are included with this data to send automated emails to your contacts after their booking and after departure.
How much does an online booking system cost?
Online booking systems don’t have to be expensive and there are often different prices that fit different types and sizes of businesses. This holds true if you use the software of a provider, rather than to build a system of your own.
What are the advantages of an online booking system for my camp, retreat or resort business?
To sum it all up, you can say there are four main advantages of an online booking system if you run a camp, retreat or resort business. These are:
- Save time - Reduce emails and phone calls with customers for reservations.
- Less administration - No more use of error-prone spreadsheets. You also build up a customer database automatically that is very useful for marketing purposes.
- Efficient planning - Set a minimum number of people required per lesson. Close out days when you are full or closed.
- Sell packages - Add other activities, add rental options alongside your accommodation options and increase the revenue per booking.
Do you have additional questions about an online booking system for your surf school or surf camp? Please get in touch, we are happy to answer any of your questions.