Kat's Pro Tips > What is Online Booking Software? The Ultimate Guide to Benefits and Features

 

Making online purchases has become an indelible mark in our lives. Every day e-commerce continues to claim a high share of the overall retail sales. Few other areas of e-commerce can rival the travel industry. In 2018, online-based bookings were  82% of all travel bookings being done worldwide. 

This shows that the travel industry should focus on improving the booking experience for customers by making it easy and more convenient. No tool does this better than the online booking software, so operators should spare no effort to explore and choose the best option. 

  • What Exactly Is an Online Booking Software?

Online booking software is a software tool that offers a solution for reservation processes. They feature self-service portals that ease transactions for you and your users. These solutions have succeeded previous cumbersome systems where travel agents manually used spreadsheets to manage inventory and track bookings. 

Through smart technology, online booking systems overcome the error-prone processes that go with manual input. Instead, key processes such as inventory management, payment, scheduling, and tracking of bookings are updated automatically. Through a simplified dashboard, customers can view existing options and select their preferred bookings. They can do this on the same web page without being taken to another website. 

  • How Does an Online Booking Software Work?

Online booking systems are typically cloud-based software that allows travel businesses to accept payments and to run and manage reservations. It is sold and distributed as a software-as-a-service (SaaS). Typically it is integrated into your website and, if necessary, into your social media pages also. There is both a  back end and a front end to the booking system, with the latter facing the customer. 

You can set up the software review or control your reservations and inventory. You do this through its dashboard management tool, which appears on the back end. 

Unlike spreadsheets which typically need cross-referencing, the booking software gives you all needed information in one location. 

When first setting up your online booking system, it will take you a little while. This is because you need to customize your procedures and content to suit the unique policies of your business.

Automation runs the whole system once it is set up, making it simple and convenient. This follows the activation process of the system, which controls all its different parts like report writing, booking form, notification, payment settings, and analytics preferences. 

When customers visit your site, they can fill booking forms after selecting what service they want. In just a few minutes they can complete their booking and payment. Any changes are updated in real-time so that both you and your customers can see them. 

  • Why use an online booking system?

An online booking system is a natural option to choose if you want your operations to run more efficiently. It is faster and more accurate, putting less strain on your staff and easing your performance tracking to aid better decision-making. Such a system is also crucial to put you at par or to surpass your competition. It would be suicidal to pass over the booking software option when all your competitors have adopted it. 

  • The Key Benefits of Online Booking Software

Reduced phone-based sales: booking software means you can run your reservations with less staff and manpower, which cuts costs. 

More revenue: online booking systems have the effect of opening up payments 24/7. This boosts revenue. Also including a multilingual and multi-language feature, it gives an international reach and presence. 

Smooth payment process: funds are immediately entered into your account. This happens once the customer has made his booking. 

Streamlined reporting: you get quick insights into your profits and revenue performance. This is available on the dashboard and other reporting tools. You can also use newly generated custom reports to shape future strategies. 

Better process management: manual data entry is eliminated as the operations of your business are automated. This is also available for your management of bookings, payment processing, and inventory. 

  • Features of an Online Booking System

Gives real-time booking: it does away with customers needing to first pose inquiries followed by waiting for the response. Instead, customers view available dates by themselves and make bookings. Unavailable dates are blocked out in real-time. 

Voucher creation and management: this very vital document can be generated and efficiently managed. 

Online phone support for troubleshooting:  typically, the software vendor offers a detailed Help Database to refer to when you run into software-related problems on booking or making reservations. However, phone contact for quickly reaching the developer is also available when attempts of a solution have failed. 

Integration of marketing platforms: to increase visibility, your software solution should offer integration with marketing platforms. These include TripAdvisor, Jollydays, Viator, etc. These booking portals can generate new bookings for you, expanding your reach. To ensure that you remain in control of dates, prices, and quotas, the bookings should be synchronized at once with your booking software. 

Intelligent diary or calendar: At a glance, a booking calendar gives you a summary report detailing your capacity, bookings, and turnover for given periods. Thus easily digestible information with a user-friendly appearance makes your resource planning easy and convenient. 

  • Online Booking System Pricing Overview

When deciding which booking software to buy, consider your budget position against your needs. High-priced software typically comes with additional features. 

These are nice to include but if your budget is insufficient, consider lower-priced alternatives. This should cover the minimum that you need to run your operations effectively. Whatever option you pick, user experience should rank high in your consideration. The user should find your system easy to use and navigate. Give your users no reason to get frustrated with your system and end up fleeing to your competitors. 

Conclusion

Booking visitors for tour operations have come a long way from the days of manual input systems that exposed businesses to risks. 

Now with state of the art technology and booking software, reservation is fast, accurate, and hassle-free. This however doesn't mean that you can settle for any software. Instead, carefully weigh the pros and cons of each software option and identify which one best matches your company's goals.