Buying things online is an integral part of modern life. Up to 2027, the e-commerce market is expected to grow at a compound growth rate of 14.7%.
And if there is one industry that eCommerce has truly revolutionized, it is the travel and tourism industry — globally, an estimated 700 million travelers will book their trips online by 2023, and 83 percent of Americans want to book their trips via online channels.
Although there is evidence of a recent upswing in the popularity of traditional face-to-face travel advice, it is clear that the overwhelming bulk of travel sales are made online.
By 2023, the number of online travel agencies offering their customers a one-stop-shop — i.e., a service that allows customers to research, compare and purchase products all on the same site — is expected to reach 43 percent of the online digital travel marketplace.
At the same time, travel agents are facing increasing competition from online booking platforms and are experiencing high levels of customer abandonment.
Besides these trends, an online booking system helps businesses increase their revenue and improve customer experience. They also save time and effort by automating processes and eliminating manual tasks.
When using online booking software you simply open up your business to better management. Something you would love as a travel business owner. In 2021, online bookings resulted in 26% more bookings.
In this article, we will look at what a booking system is including why you should use it in your tourism business.
What is an Online Booking System?
An online booking system is a software application that allows customers to book services or products online. The customer makes a reservation request through the system, and the service provider receives the request and confirms the reservation.
If you haven’t yet implemented an online booking system, then you should consider doing so. It will help you get more reservations and increase revenue.
What does Online Booking software do?
Online Reservation systems are becoming an integral part of businesses. They allow companies to manage everything from marketing to customer service to inventory management. Some even go beyond that, allowing them to automate processes like billing and receiving online payments.
You may already have heard of online booking sites like Booking.com, Expedia, TripAdvisor, etc. These platforms allow you to sell travel bookings, events, hotels, restaurants, and other places like camping. You can also manage your reservations, assign them to employees, and keep track of all the details.
However, there are many different types of online booking systems available today. Some are free while others come at a cost. If you’re looking for a solution that will help grow your business, then you need to carefully evaluate each option.
A booking system improves your day-to-day operations, and because of enabled direct bookings, you don’t always rely on your travel agents for a booking. Some booking systems allow you to manage your booking agents.
Here is why you should use an online booking system like Checkfront for your tourism business whether a travel agency or tour operator.
Online Booking Systems Offer Several Advantages Over Traditional Methods.
An online booking system has its place in the hospitality industry. This is because, with features like online payment processing, there is not much else to leave out when delivering a great user experience on your website for your potential customers.
It’s also a great deal to have booking software that you can use in different online booking channels. This you can do through booking integrations with online booking channels like TripAdvisor.
All you need is a great and easy-to-use booking form that allows users to share their booking details and make an online payment to process the booking. Here is why you should use an online booking system.
You’re always open for direct bookings
An online booking system allows you to stay open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you’re like many small businesses, you might not have the time to sit around all day waiting for reservations to come in. That’s why an online booking system lets you keep your doors open even when you’re closed.
Instead of booking through a travel agent, they can book directly through the online system when the time is right for them, they’ll get an alert on their phones. An online booking system opens doors instead of locking them at the end.
It’s more secure because it isn’t stored in a single place.
Cloud-based booking systems allow you to access all of your data from any device at any time. You won’t need to worry about losing your data if there is an issue with your computer.
Your data is stored on a server that is well protected against hackers and viruses. Cloud-based booking systems also provide security features that prevent unauthorized users from accessing your data. Your information is more secure with your online booking software
You can manage your business from wherever you are, whether at home or travelling. You can access all of your information from any device, including your phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, or even your watch. Things are more accessible online now, so managing your business online also creates a seamless experience on your booking site.
Your clients also feel more secure because payment is processed directly through the online booking systems.
It reduces your workload by automating some processes.
If you’re going to manually enter data, you may as well just listen to a podcast while you are at it. It usually takes longer than you think. You don’t have to give up time for anything. You can log bookings and payments on your online booking system and focus on your customer having a successful trip.
You can automate your business processes using an online platform like Zapier. Automate your marketing efforts, customer service, scheduling, and other important aspects of running a successful business. Use your free time to focus on what matters most to you.
Using an online reservation system can help you automate tedious tasks, saving you valuable time and allowing you to focus on what matters. You can even offer special deals to attract new customers. Your guests will appreciate the extra attention, while you’ll get to spend more time doing what you love.
Creates a better guest experience
Guests today expect instant gratification. They’ve been hardwired to think that anything is available instantly. So they’re often impatient if they have to wait on a long loading website, busy phone lines, or endless queues. Booking systems speed everything up from booking to checkout.
In just a few simple steps, guests can book and pay while getting a confirmation in an email right away. And they hardly ever have to hear “one moment please” when arriving at the hotel. Check-in will be just a few clicks for your staff too! Your clients won’t have to experience a double booking.
You can also enhance the guest experience by offering personalized services. For example, you could offer tokens to automate emails, showcase relevant add-ons during booking, or give guests the freedom to choose the message and total amount when purchasing gift certificates.
You can also use your customer details like email to send them email reminders in real time depending on your settings.
Helps you stay organized
Do you feel like you’re running around in circles? Are you constantly forgetting important dates and vital appointments? Is your calendar full of sticky notes and scribbles? Have you ever wished there was a simple solution to organize your life?
Well, there is! An online booking system is like the central hub of your business operations. It stores all of the information about your guests, revenue, waivers, invoices, forms, inventory, staff, and more. You can even add photos and videos to help visitors remember your services.
All you have to do is log in to your account and you’ll see everything at once. You can also leave notes for your staff, so they’re always aware of what’s going on. You can also create virtual appointments to discuss your clients’ tours beforehand.
Prevents cancellations and no shows
When someone books online, they’re more likely to feel on the hook to pay. If they forget to read your cancellation policy, you’ll already have his/her credit card details on hand, so you won’t lose money for an empty seat.
With our online reservation system, you can also set up automated reminders to help your guests remember when they need to check out.
You can even send them a text message if you prefer! We’ve also got a feature called “Guest Reminders” that will let you set up automatic messages to remind your guests about upcoming events at your place.
Provides insight into your business
Analytics are all right there. If you’re using a booking system, you can see what product lines bring in the most revenue, who your typical guests are, and even get a snapshot of your overall business trajectory. You can also get a sense of how well you’re doing against your competitors
Connects your favorite software tools
There are many different ways to manage your finances, accounting, and bookkeeping. Some people prefer to use QuickBooks Online, while others prefer Xero.
Maybe you’re a fan of ActiveCampaign instead of MailChimp. That’s okay! There’s a reason why you use the software tools you use. Your business is unique and so, you probably use a certain way of doing things, an approach that works well for you.
Online booking software doesn’t need to throw everything out of whack, rather, it should complement existing processes. Most booking systems have popular integrations and features you can use to help grow your business.
Disadvantages of an Online Booking System
It takes time to put into practice.
Once you’ve got your reservation system up and running, there will be plenty of opportunities to make changes and improvements. But if you’re not careful, you could end up spending weeks or months tweaking code and making small adjustments.
If you’re working with a team of developers, it’s important to keep everyone informed about what you’re doing. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating an environment where nobody knows what anybody else is doing.
It requires constant attention.
As soon as you launch your website, you’ll need to keep an eye on it. There will always be something that needs fixing or improving. And even when everything looks perfect, you should stay vigilant.
Your customers may complain about something, or someone may try to hack your site. So you’ll need to monitor your server logs and alert yourself to any issues immediately.
It requires ongoing maintenance.
Even after you launch your website, it won’t stop evolving. New features will continue to be added all the time. You’ll need to keep track of those additions and ensure they integrate smoothly with existing functionality.
There is always a learning curve when launching any product. However, the best booking software companies will provide you with all the help you need — as well as options for configuration assistance — so you can successfully launch your new product.
If you go with online booking software like Checkfront you don’t need to worry about contact development. There is a team of experts always working on improving the software.
You need to train your staff
When your booking system is set up, you need to train your staff on how to use it. Once they’re trained, it will take them less time to book rooms, because they’ll already know what to do.
You should also consider adding extra features to help them get started. For example, if you offer discounts for early check-in or late checkout, make sure your staff knows about those options.
It is important to note that it takes time to get your team trained on the system, especially when you’re starting. You will need to plan and ensure that you have enough time to teach everyone about the booking software.
If you don’t, then you’ll end up spending more time trying to fix issues after the fact instead of focusing on growing your business.
Is an Online Booking System Worth Having?
An online booking system is a great tool for managing bookings. You’ll need to invest some time and money upfront. But once it’s set up, it will save you a ton of time and effort every single day.
And if you’re looking for a long-term solution, then an online booking system is probably what you need. The hospitality business is all about great customer service. So, offering an online booking service will improve your customer service. It also helps you keep an always updated customer database.
Of course, you have to look into the kind of reservation software you pick, some reservation software is built for hotel reservations some make for tours and trips. One such online booking system is Checkfront, which you can integrate with your website using a booking widget so your customers can easily book your