For many service-oriented businesses, accurate and timely reservations are a necessity to ensure proper service and a confident customer experience. From tour operators and boat-rental providers to managers of athletic fields and facilities, these groups will need to have a proven reservation system set up, not merely for internal scheduling processes, but also for the convenience of their customers. Traditional reservation procedures often come up short in both regards. And it’s for these reasons that lots of businesses, organizations and individuals are incorporating online reservation systems e into their operations.
SOME GREAT BENEFITS OF ONLINE RESERVATION SYSTEM OVER TRADITIONAL METHODS
Booking and managing customer reservations, although an essential element of many service-based groups, is normally seen as time-consuming and tedious. The original manner of scheduling reservations doesn’t help refute this statement: It usually involves booking reservation on the phone and by e-mail, then recording and managing the dates, times, services and customer contact information in separate appointment books, files, spreadsheets or folders.
Not only does this technique require a considerable amount of staff time, it also does not give customers the ability to book their reservations if it is most convenient for them. A lot of people simply do not have enough time to contact a reservations or appointment during normal business hours. This can result in two different scenarios: The person can either book the reservation online (if the service provider offers this program), or he or she can leave a voice message, in which particular case the provider must take time to follow up with the individual (and possibly engage in a game of “phone-tag” until a particular reservation time is agree upon). Most will agree that the former is the more appealing of these two schemes.
An online reservation system is generally the best option for these service-providers to automate and improve their booking processes. Commonly referred to as Software as something (SaaS) and cloud-computing applications, this technology is accessible through any Internet connection and typically does not require any installations, downloads or expensive hardware. Both service provider and its customers access is very much the same as any Website. Like online data storage and document uploads applications, online reservation systems are securely housed online and not confined to an individual computer terminal or network. This characteristic not only makes it possible for customers to book reservations online, it also give service providers and their staff the opportunity to access their reservation calendar and customer details from any Internet connection, a valuable benefit for all those individuals who must have usage of these details from outside their office.
As with most SaaS applications, online reservation system providers usually charge a monthly fee to utilize their service. Many implement the “pay-as-you-go” option, with no long-term contracts.
BENEFICIAL FEATURES OF ONLINE RESERVATION SYSTEMS
The functionality found in many online reservation systems is what makes a fully-automated booking system possible.
? Online customer self-scheduling. This enables customers to book their reservations at their own convenience and anytime of the day, even during non-business hours. It’s rather a convenience to providers and their staff as well, as it can significantly reduce the number of calls and e-mails from customers seeking reservations.
? Automated e-mail and text reminders. Sent automatically by the machine in front of you scheduled reservation time, this feature can reduce the amount of “no-shows” by over 50 percent.
? Online payment options. If given the choice, many customers would purchase their services as well they book them. Additionally, individuals are less likely to be “no-shows” if they’ve already paid.
? Record-keeping and reporting. Since online reservation-scheduling systems centralize all inputted information, locating and gathering details on customers and their reservations is a lot simpler than sorting through paper appointment books and spreadsheets. Some software applications have even standard reports that users can quickly create and analyze.