21/04/2016 - Posted by Emily Healey
Restaurants everywhere are starting to catch on to the many benefits of allowing customers to make online reservations from their phones, tablets and computers. Dining habits have changed over the years and having an online booking system that accommodates them can make all the difference. Whether booking in advance or making a last minute decision, the convenience and reliability that diners associate with good online booking systems becomes a significant factor in where they choose to eat. Online booking systems make choosing a restaurant and making a reservation much easier for customers because they’re designed with the modern diner in mind.
For customers, being able to see their options for booking times and then make a decision is far more appealing than requesting a time that may not be available and then scrambling to come up with an alternative on the spot when it isn’t available. This is complicated even further if they are trying to coordinate a dinner reservation for a group of people with conflicting schedules and desires. If they can go online, see the currently available booking times and then have time to freely discuss when to book, it makes the whole process a lot easier. What’s more is that these features aren’t just a selling point but are actually something a lot of customers have come to expect, and if you don’t offer them they may just find a restaurant that does.
At their core, online booking systems exist to accommodate how customers actually book, or how they wish they could. These days, people like to research which restaurant to go to online, before making a decision. Sometimes even making the decision while they’re already out and looking for a place to eat in the area. Knowing if a restaurant has any free tables available or if one will be available in an hour or two means they can make a decision without having to go the whole way there just to be turned away or forced to wait in a queue for a table to be ready. This ease of use allows for a kind of ordered spontaneity where diners can make a last minute decision that is still at the restaurant’s convenience.
The all hours accessibility of online booking is a huge selling point for many diners. For those booking in advance an online booking system means no longer having to wait until the restaurant is open, they can book online any time of the day or night. For some people, the only time they have free to call may be outside of your restaurant’s business hours, which could send them in search of a different restaurant that does allow them to book when they want to. For others, they may simply forget to call. No matter the reason, making it harder for your customers to make a reservation is never a good idea and with so many businesses now offering 24 hour, instantly confirmed, online booking you can’t afford not to.
There are many advantages to using a sophisticated online booking system and if things keep going the way they have been, little reason not to. While there are sure to be people who prefer to call, for others this may not be an option, or at least not a preferred one. As more restaurants adopt online booking systems and the systems themselves become more accessible and better at what they do, customers will start to notice when it’s missing. For diners who want the immediacy and convenience that comes with making their reservation through a live online booking system they may simply choose to dine somewhere else if it’s not something you offer.