Email and phone reservations are pretty self-explanatory. When customers visit your site they will either email or call you to reserve a time slot.
As you know, your staff is busy and cannot always pick up the phone when it rings. Neither do you or your staff have time to frequently check your business email for booking inquiries. Ultimately, you are either making your customer patiently wait for a response, or you are encouraging them to contact your competition.
But, let’s say that a customer has made a reservation. Then what happens? Your business either writes it down or makes a note in your scheduling software. This may work for you now, but it can result in miscommunication, double bookings, and no-shows.
Although this is the most basic way to receive reservations, it is not the simplest method for your business or your customers.
Even though you can easily implement form reservations on your website, your customer will still have to wait for your response. Why? When a customer completes a form reservation it is automatically sent to your email for approval. Unfortunately, the customer is in the same predicament that they were with email reservations: patiently waiting for your response.
Although this might be a better solution than email or phone reservations, it still does not give the customer instant confirmation.
A shopping cart model is better than a form, but still isn’t the best solution for your tour or rental business. Why? Because, shopping carts are meant for purchasing rather than reserving. Even though businesses can use shopping carts as a method to receive bookings, there are limitations. For instance, customization can be costly and still may not meet your business expectations. Additionally, long term costs are steep because of the continual monthly fees, expensive payment processing fees, and high traffic fees incurred with the cart model.
Plus, there are further road blocks when using this model. Most shopping carts do not offer extensive (if any) tracking or reporting. Even though tracking and reporting may not be your business’s first concern, it will become a major player as your company approaches 2020.
Despite shopping carts being a better alternative, they are nowhere near as flexible as an online reservation system.
which leads to our next point . . . .
Online, real-time reservation systems are the best solution for your tour or rental company. How come? Let’s explain.
Online reservations fill the gaps that remain with phone, email, form, and shopping cart reservations. For instance, online reservations are available 24/7 on your website. Whether you’re open or closed, your business can still receive reservations without picking up the phone.
Contrary to the shopping cart model, online reservations provide reporting and tracking with a touch of a button. Plus, RESERVEC’s online reservation software is free! So forget the continual monthly fees, high payment processing fees, and high traffic fees.
Our online booking system also displays the available inventory for each time slot. For example, tour companies would be able to list the openings currently available for each excursion. Rental businesses would be able to list the inventory left for each date and time slot. Since everything is real-time, availability and inventory would update automatically (which means over-booking would not happen). Your customers receive the benefit of a guaranteed booking while your business gains a reservation without needing to interact with the customer.