In 2021 the use of an online booking system is no longer an option, but a necessity. The additional integration of a booking widget on your own web page allows you to optimise your ticket sales by capturing all of your traffic.
Online bookings - a trend on the rise
Did you know that 25% of Millennials, currently people aged between 18 and 35, spend up to 5 hours a day on their smartphone? In total, this represents more than 2 months per year.
In Switzerland, global booking trends are as follows:
- Between 2012 and 2017, e-commerce grew by 50%.
- According to a study on online appointments, 65% of Swiss people make online bookings.
- Not surprisingly, it is young people who book the most online (more than 80% of young people do so).
- According to an Allianz study on the booking and travel patterns of the Swiss population in 2018, "71% of travellers book their travel on the Internet".
In conclusion, Swiss people increasingly like to make their reservations online and this trend is only growing. Why should the booking of events, tours and leisure activities be any different?
Booking online is simply more convenient for everyone
Nowadays, people are always looking for ways to simplify processes. Having to come in person or make a phone call to book an activity is no longer relevant. Been there, done that. Your potential customers want their booking experience to be as simple, efficient and fast as possible. The use of an online booking system also has many advantages for your business.
1. It increases your sales
Generally speaking, if all booking choices were possible (in person, online, by phone, by email, etc.), 70% of people would choose to book online and 31% admit that they would even go to the competition if the latter offered online booking possibilities.
Unlike physical premises, your online store never closes. It offers you the possibility to sell 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That way, you save sales that might otherwise be lost, due to restricted opening hours. Your potential customers want the freedom to book anywhere and at any time. It is even likely that 35% of your customers prefer to make their reservations outside of your business hours.
Selling online also makes it possible to target a wider market and gain access to new customers who would otherwise be inaccessible to small businesses. In addition, instant access to products allows for direct purchases without any additional effort.
2. It helps everyone save time
For your customer, having to book in person or by phone can be annoying. Many people find it frustrating to be put on hold during a call or to have to wait in line. Fortunately, online bookings are instantaneous and allow your customers to save some precious time.
In addition, online there is no limit to the number of reservations that can be made at one point, while on-site, there might be only one person in charge of managing reservations. On-site bookings are even more time consuming for organisers. An online booking system reduces the amount of on-site sales, therefore allowing you to reassign staff dedicated to managing bookings in person.
3. It simplifies the booking process
Being able to book online allows your customers to have instant access to your products information in real time. The availability overview of each product is more easily accessible and much more complete than if the reservation was made on the phone. Your customers make their choice and book a ticket in just a few clicks. An optimised booking flow accessible from all devices and websites is also a big plus. The simplicity of a system and user friendliness help reduce booking abandonment rates.
To finalise the online booking, there are many payment methods to choose from. Probably a wider range than at your premises. A booking confirmation is then automatically sent to the customer, with tickets and a detailed receipt.
With bookings from all sources being synchronised within one single solution, there is also less risk of making mistakes with time slot management, making a double reservation or losing a reservation.
Depending on your needs, you can offer your customers to book and pay directly or to make a reservation request that you will evaluate and accept or decline. All of this automated.
Your customers can easily and quickly access their booking information. Depending on the type of reservation, it is also very easy for them to modify or cancel a booking, without having to get in touch with you.
4. It makes booking management more reactive
A centralised booking system makes it easier for organisers to manage their bookings. It allows you to be up to date with your bookings and availabilities in real-time, which allows planning and better allocation of ressources.
In addition, an online payment before the event’s date reduces the number of no-shows. Also, if there is a cancellation, the information is known immediately and this makes it possible to automatically reuse the space freed up.
5. It automatises the collection and analysis of data
An online booking system allows you to get to know your customers better. Customer data is easily obtained and automatically stored in a customer database. Those data are most of the time unavailable when a booking is made in person. Have you already asked for email addresses on paper? Good luck to decipher that...
In addition, thanks to booking data, it is possible to see your most popular offers, find out what sales channels convert the most and gather information on the personal tastes of your customers.
It is necessary to take advantage of the opportunity to analyse this data for numerous reasons. It helps you personalise your follow-up and better target your communication in order to increase revenue. For example, it is possible to thank your customers for their presence, to ask them for feedback, to propose similar offers, etc.
On that note, one of the most efficient use of targeted communication is when a potential customer has not completed his online purchase. Cart abandonment information allows you to contact your customers in order to motivate them to finalise their booking. This simple action can help you increase your online sales without much effort. In the travel industry in 2018, cart abandonment rates were slightly above 80%, whether it was because of expensive prices, complex processes, website errors, online payment issues, etc. The open rate of cart abandonment emails is of 50% in that industry and conversions are on average around 3%.
We can therefore agree on two fundamental points:
- Having an online presence is necessary.
- The option of a direct online booking must be available.
How Smeetz's booking system can help you out
By working with Smeetz for Business, the simultaneous sale of your products can be done through at least three channels:
- Online marketplaces and OTAs, which provide access to a wide pool of potential customers.
- Our booking widget, which can be quickly integrated into your own website and allows your traffic to stay on your website.
- Our point-of-sales at the location of your event or activity.
These three options allow you to capture your traffic in full and thus increase your revenue. The booking widget allows in particular not to redirect traffic to an external platform and allows for your branding to be the central element when booking.
Would you like to install our booking widget? Book a demo with our team to get started.