What is an online reservation system? And, Why you should use one?

online reservation system

If you own a small business and suspect the benefits of using an online reservation system? Then this guide is for you.

The Internet – as a distribution channel has apparently taken over the business world. Millennials have adapted themselves well to the rapid growth in various internet trends. Online reservation is one such trend that has changed the face of business in the past few years.

An online reservation system is basically a software used by any business taking bookings for their services and products. It is a versatile tool that caters to the needs of all businesses like gyms, counselling centres, online tutoring class, interview scheduling, etc. The bookings and payment are just a click away.

The online reservation system can be integrated with your website or social media page easily, through which customers can visit the page, explore your services, and can book when and how they want it delivered. The booking is completed when the payment is made. Further confirmations and reminders are sent via mail and the system can be easily integrated with the calendar.

The way retail companies and retailers are now operating is entirely different from what consumers experienced a decade ago. You can target the global market if not so at least it is worth broadening your customer base to include people outside your local catchment area that your physical store can’t.

This helps potential customers book your services on the go without waiting in long queues, changing plans in case of unavailability and waiting for confirmation calls (a lengthy process which most millennials don’t remember happening in the past few years) and you don’t have to worry about your working hours or losing information as every update is reflected on the database in real-time.

IRCTC is the online reservation system of the Indian railways. innRoad, cloudbeds are popular hotel management software. If you’re wondering whether going for an online reservation and scheduling software would help your business amidst the big brands in the market , remember the Pareto principle: 20% of your customers can contribute to 80% of your revenue.

And who knows!

Your online customers’ segment can be your crucial 20%.

How it helps:

The benefits of an online reservation system can be seen from two ends, the customer and the service providers.

Customer benefits

  1. Quicker bookings: This saves your seat on time for popular and huge events. “No more waiting in long queues.”
  2. Convenience: One doesn’t have to travel all the way to just check availability and make bookings. You can easily keep track of appointments via notifications. You can also cancel or change preferences easily.
  3. Can be picky: As a customer, you can choose features or plans which suit you best and make comparisons across various platforms based on price, discounts, and deals. Customer reviews and ratings further help to make a better choice.
  4. Support: 24*7 customer support and immediate response to queries as the entire process is automated. If you own a business and still don’t have an online reservation system, it’s high time you choose one because the below-given benefits are the ones your competitors have over you.
  5. Large customer segment: Getting online, your business has higher chances of reaching a larger audience.
  6. Easier and faster payment: Online payment makes transactions easier, reducing the risk of theft and also reduces labor costs.
  7. Business insights: With better visibility of the customer behaviour online (demographics ,age, and buying frequency) this system also keeps track of all your activities and gives you much-needed insights to improve and scale up your business, avoiding third-party consultancies.
  8. Saves time: A completely automated online reservation and scheduling system can save your time and effort from composing emails and making confirmation calls.
  9. Faster response time means happy clients and less administrative work for you.
  10. Hassle-free management: The system works 24*7, so you will never lose a customer. Notifications will be given before you run out of resources; in that way, you can keep track of your inventory.
  11. Bottlenecks in your offline business such as long queues and staff not being available will not affect your online channel.
  12. Customer followup: With this, your customer follows up gets easier. You get them all, right from confirmation messages to feedback forms.

How can managing your customers and resources get better than this?

Word of mouth marketing is powerful and is much easier for you to encourage this via an online booking system. When a software does so much for you, it’s important that you choose the system that’s the right fit for your business.

Most important features of your online reservation system:

  1. Booking types: This enables the bookings to be done for different durations (hourly, monthly, weekly) based on the purpose.
  2. Filtered search: These options are to narrow down and refine the search ensuring greater customer experience.
  3. Payment: It is important to choose a system that has multiple payment gateways. Online payment is undeniably the most significant feature which should be prioritized while you look for an online reservation system.
  4. Managing reservations: The system should provide a clear image of the available staff, timing, and other resources when they are making a booking. The customer should also be made aware of the cost for their varying choice of time.
  5. Customer service: Another critically important feature, it is necessary to offer satisfying service to your customers and attract new ones through your service.

Once you have chosen the online reservation system that best suits your business, there are several other features that you need to look for. The below listed are some from such key features.

  1. Time to deploy and get started: The changes you are about to incorporate involving the new reservation system may take time to get used to. The time taken to deployment for the software and getting started must be enquired priorly to compensate for the temporary halt in your business.
  2. Training cost: The training cost and duration of your employees should be fixed. If you are a large firm with a wide range of services and customer base, skilled professionals are needed to maintain the software.
  3. Additional features: The software must be capable of further upgrades and scaling. The software company should provide you with a free trial and dedicated customer support.

A well designed website can help a small amount to give the impression a kind of trust and authority associated with much established bigger businesses. With GoSchedule you can customize your online store in a few minutes with pre-packaged photos, widgets and templates that you wish. GoSchedule also offers flexible pricing charges based on the services used and integration with 100+ apps and popular payment gateways.

The software can also be designed to adapt to your specific needs.

If you are still looking for the right time to start off with an online reservation and scheduling system for your business, start a free trial explore and get going. The right time to begin is always now!

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Mothi Venkatesh

Mothi Venkatesh

Co-founder @GoSchedule.

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