Depending on your location, your business’s target group, and your management style, the thought of getting a booking plugin may or may not have popped up already. If you still hesitate over switching to online booking, I’ll show you seven reasons why it’s the right move.
Are you already a proud user of a booking plugin? Read this article anyways and see if you’re using your software to its fullest potential.
If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It - Or Do?
If you’re running a small hairdresser salon where it’s just you and maybe your niece that wants to be a hairstylist, you may think you don’t need a booking plugin. Heck, you may not even have a proper website, as your customers have known you for years, and they can find their way to your parlor with eyes closed.
Many people think that online booking is for hip, modern businesses located in big cities and targeted towards young people (more on that below). They don’t see why their small, local service would ever need this upgrade. Especially if no one complains and if you, personally, don’t use online booking for your private activities.
Booking systems are far more common than you think. If you’ve ever taken a vacation (even to a neighboring city), you’ve probably used booking plugins to organize it! You’ve surely done it more than once as well. Flight companies, hotels, guided tours, restaurants - they all use these solutions for your convenience. And you’ve probably been to the cinema once or twice, right? They use booking plugins to reserve seats as well. It’s a massive step from these thousands of people crowding in front of one teeny-tiny ticket booth, isn’t it?
7 Reasons To Get A Booking Plugin For Your Website
Nowadays, booking systems make it convenient and fast to schedule an appointment wherever and whenever you please. If you wake up in the middle of the night realizing you never sorted that dentist appointment you promised yourself to cross off your to-do list, you can grab your device of choice and do it straight away. No more waiting for the office to open and someone to pick up the phone. No more jotting down the date and time on a random piece of paper (and losing it five minutes later or failing to decipher your messy handwriting).
If you rely on more than your loyal, regular customers, and advertise your business online, then installing a booking plugin is a no-brainer. Your potential clients have probably found you on the Internet anyway, so why would they want to switch back to the 20th century to make an appointment?
Looking for more reasons to switch to a booking plugin? Here you go!
1. Round-The-Clock Booking
By opening your business for 24/7 booking, you’re not only giving your clients the freedom to book your services whenever they need. You’re also maximizing your sales, as you’re not limited to your working hours anymore! Let’s face it - most of us can’t look for holiday accommodation while working, so the chances are that they’ll never find the time to call your B&B and make a reservation. With a booking plugin, they’ll reach you late at night, during the weekend, or even during a holiday.
A ton of people also make bookings in the spur of the moment - I know a couple who regularly books plane tickets after coming back from their Friday night adventures.
2. Less Fluff, More Business
Calling to make a booking is rarely time-efficient. Most of the time, especially if your business isn’t showcased online, people won’t just simply reach you to schedule an appointment. They’ll want to get more details, find out where you’re located, ask for availability, and then most likely say, “I’ll call you back.” All that while occupying your phone line and your employee.
By introducing online booking and an informative website, you’re lighting the path to efficient, modern business where your potential customers can conveniently access all the details. This way, you’ll also attract more customers on the shy side of the spectrum: those who don’t want to interact over the phone or don’t have the time and the possibility to do it.
3. Higher Revenue, Lower Budget
Online booking systems make it much easier for you to promote and sell your services via social media. Your online ads will be more productive, as they’ll lead your audience straight to the booking, and will attract younger age groups who respond better to social media marketing. Studies show that they’re precisely the same people who avoid phone calls, so you’ll kill two birds with one stone!
What’s more, thanks to a booking plugin, your team can regroup and be even better than before. Instead of sticking by the phone counter or the computer area, they will focus on improving the customer’s experience. Processing and managing the bookings, answering requests, and syncing between different calendars and software can take quite long. This can be especially painful for those employees who have to divide their time between booking management and other duties, like assisting the dentist or meeting the clients in person.
When you free your staff up to work on other tasks, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to reduce your headcount and your spendings.
4. No Room For Human Mistakes
We’re only human, which means our brains can forget stuff, no matter how hard we try. Whenever there’s an actual person involved in the booking process, there’s a slight risk of double-booking, overbooking, or losing the appointment altogether.
Booking plugins drastically reduce these mistakes. It’ll take you just a few minutes to implement simple rules for appointments: padding time between bookings, the duration of a meeting, opening hours, and holidays. And what’s even better, online booking calendars accommodate all the updates, reschedules, and cancellations you’ll go through. No more wasting stationery, no more confusing arrows or annotations, no more mysterious scribblings! Have you ever used a rubber so many times in one place that the paper ripped? Been there, done that.
5. Fewer No-Shows
Raise your hand if you’ve ever forgotten about an appointment. No judging - we live in a busy world, we keep up with a lot of commitments and responsibilities. The longer the wait before the booking and the actual appointment, the higher the chance of missing it.
Some businesses stick to an old rule of confirming the appointment a day or two before. While it’s an effective method of casually reminding people to show up, it takes a lot of time and can lower your staff’s morale. It’s literally the most repetitive, unengaging task I can think of.
Online booking systems usually come with automatic notifications and reminders. They work significantly better than confirming over the phone, and they can be customized to address even the most forgetful brains. The customer will be fitted out with all the documents and information they might need, so if they forgot to print out the bar code you desperately need (or want to save some trees), you’re still okay.
What’s more, an automated confirmation system supports last-minute bookings for waitlisters. This feature streamlines the process you’d otherwise have to do manually and for hours: crossing off the initial customer, looking for the waitlist, calling every single person on it until you find someone available at that time… And then doing it all over again because it turns out another person has just canceled.
6. Thorough Insights
Booking plugins come with various tools you can use to track your business’s popularity and revenue. Each reservation will be carefully monitored and analyzed, so you’ll have a better understanding of your clients, their preferences, and the patterns they follow.
These tools will also help you track the most popular services, upgrades, and promotions. As a result, you’ll get a detailed insight into your business’s strong suits and weaker spots. It’ll be a high starting point to build a growth plan!
7. Happy Customers, Happy Entrepreneurs
To cut all these reasons short - by introducing an online booking solution, you’re making both your clients and yourself very, very happy.
Setting up a booking plugin is quick and easy, but it can go a long way. You’re not only giving your clients (current and potential ones) more options to reach your services at any time of day and night - even though that’s most likely the most significant change here.
With fewer no-shows, more efficient notifications, and more chances for a customer to schedule an appointment, your revenue will grow. You’ll also get the possibility to understand your clients better and address your business’s weaker spots by analyzing data processed by the plugin. Finally, booking plugins let you reassign your staff to different tasks, opening the gate to lower headcount and better budgeting.
Curious to know your booking plugin options and the average price of this solution? Check out this article on the best WordPress booking plugins for 2020. If you’d rather have something tailored to your business, let us know - WP Kraken lives to meet your most daring expectations.