For most business owners, it can be a nerve-racking process to think about the “if"s. In some cases it’s an obvious “yes - I should do that”, but for so countless other opportunities, we scratch our heads wondering if this is something we actually need or if it is something that is going to be a drain on resources. It’s true that even with all the calculations on paper, it’s still hard to pull the trigger & rightfully so.
Unfortunately, a booking solution is something that falls into such a category, which is why we’re going to walk you through a few pointers we’ve learned from our customers & partners.
One of the first things you need to assess is how your volume is comparing against the rest of your industry. As noted by Entrepreneur Media, a lot of the fastest growing industries are amongst those that require booking solutions. Yet, this doesn’t necessarily mean that having one is an absolute necessity, especially in looking at the revenue gained/loss.
Now, keep in mind, if your business is entirely contingent upon bookings (I.E., hotels, tours, etc.), then an efficient solution should’ve been something to consider long beforehand. However, I understand how frustrating it can be to get most of your volume in a specific time of year, holding out on pulling the trigger on booking software to cut costs. This argument is reasonable for some working in seasonal attractions like fishing or skiing, but for those who have a product that can be used year round, it just doesn’t make sense to not have something in place.
An excellent example of this is with hotels. While most hotels have some sort of interface in place to book appointments, it’s not always a comprehensive solution. This includes fraud protection, which can cost hotels up to $4 billion in losses each year. And in a $200 billion industry, that figure can add up quick. Furthermore, if your business is considered a ‘getaway’ or ‘destination spot,’ then having an accurate system in place is a great way to hedge risk. As most of these scams & schemes are targeted last-minute deals, it’s imperative you have a solid booking protocol in place to prevent your customers from being duped.
When Is Your Traffic Coming?
As we mentioned above, a big problem with deciding if you need a booking solution weighs out when people need to book appointments versus how long you have to pay for a booking service. It’s no secret that for a lot of small businesses, this can be a hefty choice, especially with something being an expense that you’re not actively using. However, when it comes to booking, it’s not always about having the perspective of what’s lost, but what could possibly be gained.
According to data from US Travel, traveling in the U.S., directly and indirectly, accumulates to an annual $2.3 trillion spend. That’s a staggering figure when you consider that your business could be a small piece of that pie, and how much more revenue that would mean for your operation. The issue here isn’t necessarily that you’re not open for booking, but you’re not using your booking solutions as a means of marketing yourself.
Diversifying your offerings as well as making it easier to reach you & your offerings will give you a tremendous opportunity for new customers. While I know that sounds simple; you’d be surprised at the possible revenue streams you can create by differentiating your marketing. Armed with your booking software as the core infrastructure to bringing in more business, all you need to do is focus on is bringing more traffic to your website.
Where Is Your Traffic Coming From?
In examining the booking process, there are a few factors that you might not have considered. While it’s simple to say “Oh, a customer will just call or email us if they’re interested,” you could potentially be losing a lot of business due to a bad experience in trying to get ahold of you. It’s crucial to have every channel available (chat, phone, email, text, etc.) as making customers take extra steps they consider unnecessary, is already starting you off on a bad foot. Also, make sure your website is responsive. According to SmartInsights, over 71% of our digital minutes are spent on mobile.
While it’s ultimately up to you and your team to analyze the growth projections and current standings of your business in comparing if these solutions are right for you, one thing is clear: if it’s going to provide more opportunity, what do you really have to lose?