Running a business has, over the last two decades, changed significantly. The way we do agree deals gone from a handshake and a pen to the click of a digital button, physical locations have been replaced by websites and myriad other shifts have meant that for traditional businesses, times have changed dramatically.
Perhaps most notable in amongst the changes, however, has been the way in which customers approach businesses to book. Gone are the days in which staff members sat eagerly awaiting calls with a calendar by their side, replaced with online booking systems which take the hassle out of booking for customer and business.
But what is the purpose of online booking system for your business? Join us as we explain, starting with the basics.
WHAT IS AN ONLINE BOOKING SYSTEM?
At its most basic, an online booking system is software which allows a potential customer to book and pay for an 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 like ours allow customers to book through a variety of methods online, including mobile, greatly expanding the potential for bookings for your business, and better leveraging an increasingly social internet.
WHY WOULD YOU MOVE BOOKINGS ONLINE?
In business, sometimes it’s best to leave a functioning system alone. However, when it comes to your booking system, merely functional isn’t good enough. Some businesses employ people who are dedicated customer service staff tasked with handling, managing and confirming your bookings. With a growth in customers come increased demands on your staff, longer wait times and a greater chance of mistakes within your bookings. Couple that with the extensive time spent sorting and manually recording each individual booking and you’ve got an exceptionally inefficient system. Online booking software, on the other hand, takes all of the stress, strain, mistakes and time out of arranging bookings for your business. Once set up, you can control every aspect of your booking procedure and allow customers to quickly and easily book online.
Another one of the benefits of online booking is the added capacity if offers your business in regards to bookings. Rather than being constrained by working hours and telephone capacity, your business can take countless simultaneous bookings at any moment, eliminating the friction that alternative booking systems introduce.
Of course, having an online booking system doesn’t preclude you from operating a more traditional phone-based booking system. It simply means that for customers who prefer it, they can book instantly through their device of choice. For customers and your business, it’s a no-brainer.
ADVANTAGES OF ONLINE BOOKING WITH THE HOUSING HUB.
Open 24/7 to receive reservations
Many customers surf the Internet outside of business hours and they are more likely to make reservations on the spot that trying to remember to call back the next day. Statistics show that more and more bookings today are made during the evening at home online. The reasons for this are two fold. Firstly, many companies now monitor and control Internet access in the workplace, and secondly, nearly every home today has an Internet connection and a PC or laptop. If your normal business hours are 9 to 5, then you have no one to take bookings after 17:00, and this is when we now know most online bookings occur. The Housing Hub allows you to receive booking 24 hours a day; therefore, your booking service is always open.
Whether you are paying for direct advertising, or paying a commission for bookings through booking portals, in either case, you are paying a portion of your income to these sources. If you have an online booking system on our website, you have then cut out the middleman. Another important point when using commissioned portals is that your business is promoting them as much as they are promoting you, and with the Internet, you might as well just focus on promoting your own business.
Its simply good customer service
When we speak about online bookings here, we are not talking about a contact form. A contact form does not provide your customers with a clear view of your availability. A contact form does not allow your customers to book directly and pay and get confirmed automatically. The Housing Hub however is able to perform these two tasks as they are core to providing good customer service.
Minimize your workload
If you are not using an online booking system today, then you may still be processing all your bookings manually. The Housing Hub will handle all the aspects of the booking. It can, at a minimum, do the following:
- Automatically ensure that bookings can only be received when you have availability
- Get ALL the information required during the booking process so you don’t have to waste time asking for more information
- Send out an automated email to the booking party as a confirmation of the booking
- Automatically update your availability when the booking has been processed
All your customer data in a structured system
If you use The Housing Hub booking system which also handles the walk-in, email and phone bookings, then you will have all your previous customers data in a structured system. This is important today as it allows you to market yourself to your previous customers. This customer list is often one of your best-valued resources in a business, and you want this data both accessible and structured.
Clear and Simple Overview.
Our online booking system has a screen and a log in portal where you can see your availability very quickly and clearly. This removes the need for the old paper book, and allows your reception staff to easily see whether you have availability or not.
You may want to integrate an automatic payment system. With this in place, you reduce manual workload even more, and you provide your customers with a complete easy and safe way to both book and pay for your offerings.
Log in Portals and Landlord Accounts.
When you register with The Housing Hub you will be asked to create your account as the landlord of the property registered. Via this account you can easily view the number of recipients who would have booked your house, you can also accept or deny applicants who would have booked your house on the waiting list and you can also view the profiles of each student who would have booked your house.