If your business relies on bookings appointments for revenue, then the way in which you allow your customers to make these bookings is all important. If this is true of your organisation and you are not currently using an online booking system, then chances are you are missing out on additional ££s.
Or, if you already have a booking system on your website, and you’re not seeing any benefit, then you need to ask why? Because an online booking system, with the right functionality and correctly applied, should be opening the door to more bookings, more customers and better opportunities for bringing more money into the coffers.
If You Build It, They Will Come
If an online booking system exists, that’s easy to use and available on all devices and platforms, then people will use it.
Look at the travel industry, where online bookings have been the preference of 80% of the market for the best part of a decade.
It stands to reason that customers will prefer to book online, given the connected nature of modern life, in which 91% of the 40 million-plus smartphones in the UK will have been used within the last 24 hours (source: Deloitte)
Online booking offers you the chance to provide a service that’s quick and easily accessible for your customers; converting enquiries into confirmations while they’re on your site; without the delay of ‘getting back to them’ with availability.
Returning Customers and Repeat Bookings
Returning customers are a cornerstone requirement for increasing revenue in the long-term. Not only are they a source of repeat sales, but a loyal customer is likely to spend 31% more with you than a new customer (source: Invesp).
Factor in the added-value you get from loyal customers becoming advocates of your brand, providing the gilt-edged ‘word-of-mouth’ referrals all businesses crave, and we quickly understand the importance of our returning customer-base.
A well-developed online booking system can foster greater loyalty from your customers in a variety of ways.
- It delivers the ease-of-use customer experience that encourages customers to come back rather than more complicated procedures elsewhere
- Automated emails for confirmation and reminders keep the client informed, making the journey that much smoother and creating a sense that you value their business
- An easy to access account area and login means repeat provides your customer with control over their own bookings, and provides a simple way to repeat an order or appointment.
- If your online booking system is capturing booking and contact data from your customers then you’re gathering exceptional insight that can allow you to personalise the offerings and service you provide them in the future.
Maximising Your Social Media Channels
We all know that social media is a vital channel to engage with our clients and prospects, but what about using it as a direct means to increase your bookings?
Social media offers a direct link to your online booking system, further streamlining the journey from enquiry to confirmation.
Facebook, for instance, allows you to add a ‘BOOK NOW’ button not only to your company page, but also to any advertisement or sponsored post that you publish. Allowing you to target your customers and direct them straight to your fast, easy and mobile responsive online booking system.
Upselling with your Online Booking System
Your booking system will invariably lead your customers to a core service in your business (e.g. an activity centre might be taking bookings for quad biking).
In reality, however, this might typically only represent 50-60% of your overall revenue stream; with items such as food and drink or clothing and equipment comprising the remainder.
Your online booking system is perfectly placed to maximise these upsell opportunities; allowing customers to add catering packages or buy relevant gear to accompany the booking; all within one simple transaction.
Personalising Retail Experiences
It’s a common perception that traditional bricks and mortar retailers face challenges to retain sales levels in the face of growing ecommerce competition.
One of the ways in which this is tackled by the high street retailer, is by delivering quality personalised experiences; with 90% of consumers saying they are fine with a brand having access to personal info if it improves the service (source: Episerver).
This has seen the rise in the personal shopping experience, or personalised consultations for anything from health and fitness to financial planning or even pet care.
An online booking system to create the appointments for these experiences provides the platform to gather this invaluable client information that can be used to provide that personalised service that the customer wants, allowing them to feel valued and allowing you to tailor the proposition to increase the likelihood of higher spending.
For businesses that are reliant on bookings and appointments, then the introduction of a mobile-friendly and easy to use online booking system should really be a no-brainer. But even if you have never taken bookings before, are there opportunities that your missing out on by not creating the personal appointment, and tailoring the service to individual needs?
Of course, having an online booking system is one thing. Having a system that works for your business and is designed to maximise the different money-making opportunities available is quite another.
At thinkBooker, we specialise in online booking systems for training courses, classes, activities and events – optimised for efficiency, growth and ongoing client satisfaction.