6/05/2016 - Posted by Emily Healey
In the last couple of weeks, we’ve covered many of the ways restaurants can use online booking systems but they’re by no means the only type of business that can benefit. This week, we’re going to look at some of the other features of online booking systems that any business taking bookings can take advantage of. These features offer convenience, drive sales, and simply enable your business to be run smoother by reducing the volume of phone calls and paperwork you have to deal with. Ultimately, an online booking system should be designed around making your business better by addressing its specific needs. The features listed below are great for any kind of business taking bookings in different ways and by different staff. If you’re hoping to grow your business, setting up this kind of system will make the process a whole lot smoother and these features are only the beginning.
One of the simplest features an online booking system offers is streamlining. Every single booking taken should be entered into your online booking system no matter when or where it is taken. Naturally, when customers book online it will be on the system, but so too should any bookings taken over the phone, by third party agents or even walk-ins. This means that every single customer is recorded along with their personal information for your customer records. It will also mean that any employee or agent with access to the system knows exactly what bookings exist and what is still available without having to call to make sure or check multiple locations where bookings might be recorded. This makes calls with customers making or checking their booking much faster and it also makes it a lot harder to double book when every booking made can be viewed in one location.
The same system can also be used to manage your staff rosters. The integration of this feature into your online booking system makes it really simple to check bookings, see how many people you will need working when, and then roster them accordingly. You can also store any other employee information that you need to reference including their availability, time off requests, training or qualifications, contact and personal details, time spent with the company, or anything else you want to easily find. If your online booking system is designed for compatibility with mobile devices your employees will be able to check their roster wherever they are. The roster can also be emailed to employees from the system so they can easily add it to their calendars leaving no excuse for forgetting they were supposed to be working.
Just as employees can have their own unique login to the booking system, so too can any third party you need to give access to. This means that if your business has any agents reselling on your behalf, perhaps booking your tours at a travel agency or by a hotel concierge, they can have their own login to your booking system so they know exactly what dates and times are free to book. This gives both the agent and your employees a lot more freedom, as the agent doesn’t have to worry about touching base to check if certain dates or times are available they can just check the system themselves, right there on the spot. This also means your employees don’t get unnecessarily caught up on the phone trying to coordinate booking times with the agent and the customer the agent is with. It saves everyone time and puts the third party agent in the best position to make the sale.
An online booking system can do so many things for your business. Which features you utilise are totally up to you and customisation is key to getting the system working for you in the best way possible. If you have more than one person who needs access to your bookings an online booking system makes that possible. If those people are third party resellers, giving them access to the system will make them feel less like middlemen to the customer. Whoever is using the system will have far more autonomy but you still have the power to choose what information they have access to. Whether you’re a tour company, offer short term accommodation, teach classes or anything else that requires bookings to made, an online booking system has a lot to offer your business.