Managing Inventory and Tour Times

As a tour or rental business, you likely have fixed times that you allow your customers to book.  Since you want to allow flexibility to your customers, you will want to offer a choice of time slots.  This is a great idea and your customers will appreciate the options, however, it may be challenging to manage your inventory if the time slots overlap.

The WebReserv Tour setup for Segway, kayak, or bike tour and rental companies offers many great features that are essential to your business.  One of those is the ability to manage overlapping tour times and availability.  This means that if you offer tours or rentals at different times, the system will automatically reduce availability over all the time slots that have an overlap.  See the example below of how this feature works.

ABC Segway Company offers a 2 hour tour of the city.  The start times available are at 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, and 1:00 PM.  They want to be able to offer all these times for their customers to choose from, but they only have a total of 10 Segways in their inventory.  In the WebReserv system, the company uses the Fixed Weekly Schedule reservation type to set up their time slots.  The typical setup will look like this:

Setup for tour schedules

Setup for tour schedules

In order to manage their inventory of 10 Segways, this company has chosen “Yes” to the setting “Decrease availability across overlapping schedules”.

Manage inventory with this setting

Manage inventory with this setting

Now, let’s see how this works when a booking is made.

A customer books the 10:00 AM Tour for 4 people, see booking information below:

Reservation as shown on the Home page

Reservation as shown on the Home page

This booking will now reduce the inventory count by 4 for both the 10:00 AM tour and the 11:00 AM tour because the end time (12:00 PM) of the 10:00 AM tour overlaps with the start time of the 11:00 AM tour.

Availability as shown on the booking calendar

Availability as shown on the booking calendar

For more information about setting up your Schedules for tours or rentals, see link below:

Setup up Tours/Rentals schedules

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The wait list, a great ally for tours

14637446_mAs a tour company, having your tours completely booked on any given day is a great thing.  This means your tours are popular and people enjoy what you have to offer.  On the flip side, it also means that you often have to turn customers away that want to reserve a time that has been booked.  Then, on the day before the scheduled tour, if you receive an unexpected cancellation, that will leave you with open spots that you cannot fill.  The result is that you have lost revenue and potential customers.

WebReserv brings you a new feature that will help you in those situations. With the wait list, customers can sign up to be notified if a booked tour becomes available, or if new time slots are added.  Plus, the notifications to your customers are automatic, so no extra work is needed on your part.  The wait list feature is currently only available for schedule-based reservations, and you must be using Booking Calendar 2.0. A future version will include a wait list for hourly, daily and nightly reservations.

No availability? Jump into the waitlist.

No availability? Jump into the waitlist.

Once you have enabled the wait list, customers can sign up on the wait list directly from the Booking Calendar. The wait list feature works on all devices including tablets and smartphones.

Sign up for the wait list

Sign up for the wait list

You are also able to view and modify and delete each individual wait list requests. To do so, go to Frontdesk – Waitlist.

View all waitlist requests from the frontdesk

View all waitlist requests from the frontdesk

To enable the wait list, go to Setup – Products & Reservation Rules – select Tour – Schedules.  In the Schedules setup, set Allow customers to waitlist to yes.

Simply set Allow customers to wait list to “yes”

Simply set Allow customers to wait list to “yes”

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Get your booking system ready for 2014

It seems like there is never enough time in the day to get everything organized. But getting your systems ready for the spring and summer season is one of the most important tasks. Your time is valuable so we’ve picked the top 5 tips that will help you get more customers.

1. Update your rates.

The online booking system will only allow customers to make a reservation if it can find valid rates for the season. To check your rates, log on to your account and go to Setup – Rates. You should have rates at least until the end of 2014 or 2015.

2. Update your business description.

Updating your business description is critical. Customers favor businesses with comprehensive descriptions of the business and each product or service. To update your listing, go to Setup- Business Information – Description.

3. Update your pictures.

It is said that a picture says more than a thousand words and it is especially true for online shoppers. Review your pictures and update new pictures if necessary. The more pictures you have, the better. Ideally, each picture should have a resolution 1024 by 768 or greater. Don’t forget to add a description for each picture so that your customers will know what they are looking at. To update your pictures, go to Setup – Business Information – Pictures.

4. Update your search keywords.

The keywords is what makes Google, Yahoo, Bing and other websites look for when customers search for your business on the Internet. The keywords should as a minimum include what you provide, where you are located and business name. For example, if you have a boat rental company in Miami, Florida, your keywords could look like this: Miami Boat Rentals, Boat Rentals, Miami, Florida, luxury boat rental, motor boat rental, watercraft rentals, Joe’s boat rental. Go to Setup – Business Information – Search Keywords to update your keywords.

5. Send discount codes to previous customers.

Make discounts codes that your customers can use or pass on to friends and family. Referrals is the best form of advertisement that you can get, and the cost of a referral discount is many times lower than the cost of attracting customers through regular advertisements and keywords. Go to Setup – Discount Codes to create one or more discount codes.

Find more tips and tricks on how to use discount codes here:

http://www.webreserv.com/help/setup_discountcodes.htm

You can download email addresses and other contact information for previous customers. To download email addresses, go to Frontdesk – Reports and select Customer Report.

Have other tips for the season? Share them here and let us know!

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Get more satisfied customers and save time by using an online booking system

14637446_mMost businesses I work with can easily see the benefits of having an online booking system for their customers because they are customers themselves and use online booking for their holidays, plane tickets, or other activities.  What may not be as apparent are the benefits that an online booking system will have on your business internally.  Here are few important points that will help you understand why a booking system is so helpful to your own organization.

1. Your customers can make a reservation on their own

The online booking system on your webpage, in a few steps, allows the customer to check the availability, select dates and times, add his details, and make the payment.  These steps are all done by your customer without your help, essentially putting time back into your busy day.  Plus, the icing on the cake is that your customers will be pleased with your business for the providing this capability.

2. You don’t have to be on the phone all day

Each call or email is a sales opportunity. When you work in B2C you need to make sure you don’t miss your inbound calls and answer emails in a timely manner.  Having a booking calendar on your webpage is just like having a call center handling reservations 24/7.  The result is that the amount of emails and calls will drop significantly, so you can dedicate time to strategic tasks. Just think – you will even make money while you’re sleeping!

3. Real-time availability – always accurate and update to date

Most likely, the question you hear the most is, “Do you have availability on this date?”.  An online booking calendar will show your availability in real time, so it will always be accurate and updated.  This will make your day to day operations easier.

4. You don’t need to confirm or remind

Your customers may forget what day they booked or other details about their reservation.  You may also spend hours sending confirmations, information, and directions to customers.   An online booking system will first confirm the reservation and automatically send your customers the details about their reservation.  In addition, the booking system can send a reminder email a few days before arrival to ensure they know what day they are coming and where to go when they get there.  This is a simple process that is essential to your productivity and makes for happy customers.

5. You can use the information to improve your results

“It’s only if you know how your business is going that you can make the right decisions.” As soon as you receive a reservation, the reservation details including customer information and payment history is recorded in the system. This information is available so you can extract your customer database, review revenue in 2013, or check statistics such as how many people booked a specific product during the last 2 months.  These tasks can be completed with just one click.

6. You can find a reservation in record time

Each reservation is associated with a reservation number.  This is a huge time saver when searching for a reservation. As a matter of fact, if a customer calls to modify or cancel a reservation, you will be able to do a quick search, find the details, and provide fast and excellent service to your customers. No loss of time + Great organization = Satisfied customers.

7. You always have all the required information

If information is missing in a reservation (telephone, email, name, etc.), you may need to contact the customer again. The booking system ensures that the customer provides all the necessary information and will always be accessible.

8. You solve the issue of no-shows

You surely hate that situation, when a customer booked with you, doesn’t show up, and doesn’t inform you. For you, this is usually a total loss.  You lost time and money.  Plus, you probably missed the opportunity to book that spot to another customer. A booking system will give you the option to ask for a deposit, and get paid immediately using PayPal or a credit card. It’s easy for both you and your customer, and at the same time it ensures you don’t lose money when there is a no-show.

Baptiste Rogé

WebReserv Europe

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The booking calendar 2.0 is now available in German and Portuguese

OGerman and Portuguesever the last several weeks our team has been working on translating our calendar 2.0 to other European languages. Until now, the calendar 2.0 was available in English, French, Spanish, Danish, Dutch and Swedish. We knew that many of our clients in Europe needed to be able to show their calendar in more languages in order to attend to more customers.

We are please to announce that now the calendar is available in German and Portuguese. This is wonderful news for your customers who speak those languages and want to book your products or services.  They can now view the calendar in their own native language to provide them a better experience and make them feel comfortable with your business. It’s a fantastic update especially for tours and B&Bs since most of their customers are booking from abroad.  “It’s great to be able to provide the system in other languages so that people in Germany, Portugal or Brazil can make bookings without effort”, says Martin Israelsen, founder of WebReserv.

“We have numerous development plans for the system, but since our launch in Europe, we have been focused on making the system work well with European currencies, languages and payment providers, trying to make WebReserv as complete as possible”, concludes Martin Israelsen.

And that’s not it. We are planning to add Italian at the begining of 2014. We hope you will enjoy the benefits of those updates.

Baptiste Rogé

WebReserv European Manager

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How To Sell Gift Cards / Certificates Using The New WebReserv Booking System

We are pleased to announce that the new WebReserv Booking Calendar now allows you to sell gift cards and certificates online.

Selling gift cards / certificates online is a great way to increase sales, especially during the holiday season. But don’t forget that you can benefit from selling gift cards and certificates throughout the year. Advertise your gift cards to previous customers – they already know you offer a great service, so it is a convenient way for them to offer a personal experience.

Increase your revenue by selling gift cards/certificates

Increase your revenue by selling gift cards/certificates

If you already have defined gift cards in your booking system, you don’t need to do anything. Starting today, the system will automatically show a “Buy gift card” button in the upper, left-hand corner of the Booking Calendar.

Buy gift card button

On the gift card page, the customer will choose the gift card option they would like to purchase.

Purchase gift card

If you prefer to keep your rooms / tours / rentals bookings separate from gift cards, you can easily do that, too. The Booking Calendar can be customized to show either rooms / tours / rentals and/or gift cards. You can even use the new beautiful snowflake themes.

Giftcards snowflake theme

For more information about selling gift cards and certificates using your WebReserv Booking System, please see http://www.webreserv.com/help/giftcard_overview.htm

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New Beautiful Snowflake Themes For Your Lodging / Tour / Rental Booking System

Just in time for the holidays, we are pleased to announce two beautiful new themes for the WebReserv Booking Calendar. Whether you use the WebReserv Booking System for your Bed & Breakfast, Tour Bookings or Rental Activities, you can use the new themes to get your customers in the holiday spirit. The snowflake themes look stunning on websites and smartphones alike.

Red snowflake theme

Red snowflake theme

Blue snowflake theme

Blue snowflake theme

To modify the theme for your website, please see our guide on booking calendar themes: http://www.webreserv.com/help/booking_calendar_advanced_features_defining_colors.htm

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10 reasons why your customers love to book online

8235518_s (1)I often speak to businesses that are somewhat skeptical about taking online bookings.  Change can be challenging, and if a business is used to doing things a certain way, it can be hard to make the leap.  Businesses are sometimes unsure if allowing online bookings is a good decision or not.  Will it make things easier for the business and my customers?  Will customers use an online booking system?  The answer is a resounding YES!  Here are 10 reasons why.

1. Always available . . . anywhere, anytime: A booking system attends to your customers’ reservations 24/7. It allows them to make bookings from anywhere, at any time, even in the middle of the night or during holidays.

2. Easy and instant: Have you ever left a webpage because it wasn’t easy to navigate or confusing to book products/services? Probably so.  If a potential customer feels that way about your website, then he will likely take his business elsewhere and book with the competition. An online booking option is usually the simplest and easiest way to allow your customer to make reservations.  It will reduce the possibility of losing potential customers.

3. No cost: People love to get things for free, and that is why they most prefer to book online for free instead of calling, especially if they have to spend a fortune calling from abroad.

4. Easy access to availability: Once the customer has seen your products/services, he will then look to see what is available.  If a calendar showing availability is not on your webpage, it could frustrate a customer and prompt them to give you a call.  This extra step (and extra frustration) could easily be alleviated by having a booking calendar that displays real-time availability on your website.

5. Multi-language: If a potential customer is from another country or doesn’t speak the same language, he may not want to reach out to you with questions via email or phone since the communication is difficult. In this case, having a booking system that is multi-lingual will allow you to reach a wider customer base.

6. Great experience: The reservation process is the first, direct contact a customer has with a business, and it is important to make sure this first impression is a positive one. If your customers are able to book, pay online, and receive a confirmation of the booking within 5 minutes, they will certainly remember it as a great booking experience.   This will often translate into more business as customers that have a good experience will tell their friends and family.  Word of mouth is a powerful sales tool for any business.

7. Transparent: Transparency is critical when it comes to the Internet.  A booking system will show prices, taxes, options, fees and accepted payment methods. Your customers will immediately know all the important details, including cost of the product/service, and how to make the payment.

8. Meets customers’ expectations: The Internet keeps evolving. Today it is possible to do almost everything online. You can book a hotel, rent a car, or buy a computer.  Your customers are accustomed to doing most everything online.  The same is true for making a reservation – they will expect to be able to do it online. If you do not provide this option, it will reflect poorly on your business.

9. Control of the process: When you purchase or reserve something you certainly want to control the process.  You want to be able to book at your convenience, find the dates and times that work best for you, and not have pressure from anyone else to tell you how do it.  It is your money and time after all.  This is exactly what online booking allows – control and freedom.

10. Easy access: In 2013, more a 25% of the Internet visits were made with a mobile device or a tablet.  The percentage for 2014 will likely increase, too.  Even if you are a small business, you must have the expectations that most of your customers will use these types of devices. Most booking systems available today are responsive and will allow your customers to book directly and easily from smartphones and tablets.

Baptiste Rogé

WebReserv Europe

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4 great new booking system features

We are very excited to announce that a new version of the WebReserv Booking System will be released on October 1, 2013.

The new version includes 4 great, new features that will make it even easier to manage your online bookings.

Wait list for tour reservations (tour booking system)

The new version includes a waiting list feature for tour reservations/tour bookings. With the wait list, customers can sign up to be notified if a booked tour becomes available, or if new time slots are added.  Plus, the notifications to your customers are automatic, so no extra work is needed on your part.  The wait list feature is currently only available for schedule-based reservations, and you must be using Booking Calendar 2.0. A future version will include a wait list for hourly, daily and nightly reservations.

To enable the wait list, go to Setup – Products & Reservation Rules – select Tour – Schedules.  In the Schedules setup, set Allow customers to waitlist to yes.

Simply set allow customers to wait list to "yes"

Simply set Allow customers to wait list to “yes”

Once you have enabled the wait list, customers can sign up on the wait list directly from the Booking Calendar. The wait list feature works on all devices including tablets and smartphones.

Sign up for the wait list

Sign up for the wait list

You are also able to view and modify wait list requests.  To do so, go to Frontdesk – Waitlist.

You can modify or delete each individual wait list request.

View all waitlist requests from the frontdesk

View all waitlist requests from the frontdesk

Language Support – Administration System

The new administration system includes full support for French and Spanish.  By default, the booking system will automatically select the language based on your browser settings. However, if you want to use a different language than the one selected, go to Setup – Users to choose the appropriate language.

Select language for each user

Select language for each user

Language Support – Booking Calendar

The Booking Calendar 2.0 now includes support for French, Spanish, German, Dutch and Swedish. The Booking Calendar will automatically change the language based on the customer’s browser settings.

The Booking Calendar automatically selects the language

The Booking Calendar automatically selects the language

You are also able to override the automatic language selection in the Booking Calendar. Please see our online help for more information on how to override the language setting.

PayPal Payments

We have improved the PayPal payments page, so it won’t be blocked by the pop-up blocker in Chrome.

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Adding a booking calendar to WordPress websites

The WebReserv booking calendar can be easily added to your WordPress site. Few years ago we did create a plugin for this site which enables you to add the booking calendar with a simple click of the mouse. In addition to that, now this plugin allows you to embed our new calendar 2.0.  Here is what you need to do.

To add the booking calendar to your WordPress site, follow these steps:

  1. Click this link to get started: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/webreserv-booking-calender-plugin/
  2. This link will take you to the WordPress Plugin Directory page for the WebReserv Embedded Booking Calendar.
  3. On this page, click the Download button to begin installation of the plugin.
  4. Follow the installation instructions on the listing page to complete adding the calendar to your site.
WebReserv - WordPress plugin

Congratulations! – You are ready to receive your first reservations through your WordPress site.

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