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.
Let’s face it, we all want to be liked. This is true for individuals as well as your business. You’ve worked hard to provide an excellent service to your customers, and it’s a great reassurance when customers sing your praises.
Online reviews are key if you want to attract more customers to your rental, activity, or tour business. Nowadays, travelers and adventure seekers use online reviews when deciding where to go and what to do. Beyond a personal endorsement from a friend or family member, an online review is the next best thing.
How do you encourage your customers to write a review without seeming too pushy or violating a rule on the review sites? It’s a fine line indeed, so let’s share simple ways it can be done tactfully.
Make it easy
Have links to your review sites posted on your website as well as in your storefront or shop. In addition, after their visit send them a follow up email thanking them for their visit, and add a link to your review site. If you use an online booking system, many will offer automatic emails that can be set up to send a day or two after their visit.
Come up with a creative way to entice a customer to post a review. A great idea is to give your parting customers a small gift, such as a key chain, water jug, or coaster that includes a note card on it asking them how they liked their experience. “How’d you like us? We’d love to know.” Add the link to your Yelp or TripAdvisor page to the note, so they will know where to go. This simple gesture will likely stand out to your customer enough that they’ll want to share it. After all, it’s the little things in life that mean the most.
At the end of their visit, ask them to write a review. If they had an awesome time, then this is a easy task for a customer to do. Asking may feel uncomfortable, but if it’s done in a gracious and humble way, then it will be appreciated. If you’re sure they’ve had a great time, then say something like, “I would appreciate it if you told your friends and family about us. In fact, if you go to our page on Yelp, you can write about your experience.” Give them the link, and say thank you.
In the end, it’s important to recognize that as a small business, good or bad reviews can be the deciding factor for choosing you. Provide an excellent service, engage your customers, build rapport, and this will naturally bring people to review you. In addition, respond quickly and appropriately to negative reviews. Doing so, will show a potential customer that you care and want to make things right if it wasn’t. That type of business mindset speaks volumes. Cheers!
As a seasonal business, you get the benefit of having some down time when you are in your off season. You’ve worked so hard this summer with your rental or tour business, that you’re due for a much needed break. Alas, you’d love it if you were able to continue to receive bookings for next season, right? Check out these tips below on how to keep things rolling while you are taking a break.
24/7/365 Booking with an Online Reservation System
Many travelers (myself included!) love to plan their next adventure right after they get home from vacation. For popular vacation destinations, booking early is the key to get what you want for rentals and activities. Allowing your customers to book for next season is important and appreciated. Having an online booking system** that is up to date and shows your availability for next season is a great way to get bookings while you are sipping Mai Tais in Hawaii (what? you’re not?). Customers can book at anytime that is convenient for them, and do not have to contact you directly to make a reservation. It’s a win-win for both you and the customer.
**If you don’t currently have an online booking system, now is the time to get one! WebReserv offers an affordable and easy to use booking system for rentals, lodging, and tours. Contact us today for more information.
Offer Early Booking Discounts
Traveling is fun, but it can also be expensive. If you offer discounts for booking early to your customers, this is a great way to earn income during your downtime. Everyone is looking for a great deal, and offering a small discount for booking their next summer adventure early is an excellent way to lock in that reservation now. Setup a promo code using your booking system, and advertise the code on your website.
Reach out to your Customers
Utilize your favorite email marketing program to send newsletters or updates to your customers over the winter season. Add pertinent information about your business and include upcoming excitement for next season (“Brand new kayaks or “new sunset tour added“). This will keep your business fresh in their mind as they’ll remember what a fun time they had while visiting. Include that discount code you created for early booking in the information, too!
All in all – enjoy your off time as well as look forward to your next season with incoming sales all year round.
As a tour and rental operator, your website is your best (and perhaps only) marketing tool you have. Your website is a reflection of you and your offerings, so if you haven’t checked in with your site since it was created, now is the time to do so. Check out these tips to help your website with its makeover.
Update your Content & Pictures – Having great descriptions of your offerings along with beautiful pictures is essential. Review your content on your site, and make any updates to descriptions and images to ensure you are presenting your business in the best way possible. Don’t forget to proofread! Spelling errors and incorrect grammar is a huge turnoff to potential customers.
Be clear and concise – When a visitor goes to your website, make sure the information is clearly laid out in an easy to understand manner. If your site is confusing or difficult to navigate, then visitors will likely leave right away. Get ideas from other websites when it comes to design and content. Find what you like about other sites, and incorporate the best aspects into your own site. Review your site with the customer in mind, and make adjustments as needed.
Mobile Friendly is your Friend – How does your website look on a phone or tablet? A high percentage of customers looking for your services will be uses these types of devices for find you, so it’s crucial that your site it mobile friendly. Many website builders (such as Wix, Weebly or Wordpress) have template designs that are responsive. Responsive means that when your site is viewed it will resize itself to look good on that device. Make sure your site is either responsive or have a separate site that is specific to mobile users.
Work on your SEO – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website so it results in your site’s higher ranking when doing a Google search. It’s crucial for you to make certain that your site comes up at the top when folks are searching for activities or rentals that match your business. Simply put – if your website comes up first, chances are that visitors will click on your site and book with you. Do your homework to ensure your SEO is at it’s best.
Call to Action – As a tour or rental business, you want to make it easy for potential customers to book with you. This means you’ll need to have the ability to book online through your website, and make the process seamless with an easy to use checkout process. A Call to Action is button or link on your site that gives them this option to “Book Now” or “Contact Us”. Adding these buttons to each page of your website is ideal.
Updating your website from time to time is a great way to stay on the top of your game. If you’re not sure how to go about doing this, and you have it in your budget, hire a professional. There are many great and talented website designers out there that can assist you in building or updating your site.
Getting paid. It’s an important part of your business, right?! As a small business owner, you went into business because you LOVE what you do AND you wanted to get paid for it. It’s a wonderful match, so you’ll want to make sure you know how to achieve this. In order to get paid for the service you provide, you need a payment gateway.
What’s a Payment Gateway, you ask? In short, the payment gateway is what allows you to take online payments, and is the bridge between your booking platform and your bank account. If you own a rental business or a tour company, and want your customers to not only book online, but also pay online, then getting a payment gateway is the way to go.
Payment Gateways are a great asset to your business and gives you and your customer the piece of mind that is needed when purchasing a service online. Some of the key features are Security, Convenience, and Compatibility.
Security: This is probably the most important feature when considering taking payments. This means choosing a payment gateways that is equipped with fraud prevention and one that is compliant with PCI standards such as data encryption when storing credit card information.
Convenience: Having a payment gateway allows you to receive purchases and bookings 24/7. It alleviates you from having to get the customer’s credit card information, and manually enter it to get paid. It all happens in an instant with a payment gateway, and you’re paid right away.
Compatibility: You’ll want to select a Payment Gateway that easily integrates into your platform. In addition, if you’re using a booking system to take online bookings, make sure you confirm that the two systems can connect. This is ideal so that your customers can book and pay all within the same system. Talk about a seamless experience!
So, how much does this all cost? A payment gateway will charge fees on processing a transaction for you. Fees usually are structured per each credit card transaction. A common price structure would be 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction (higher rates apply for international). Take note of other fees that apply such as for refunds, chargebacks, and perhaps a monthly fee. Make sure you know up front what all the fees are so there are no surprises.
Now, who to choose? Do your research! This is a big choice and there are many options out there. Make sure it meets the needs of your business and use these tips here to help you decide which is right for you. Some of the biggest players in this industry that all have great reputations, and meet these 3 key aspects of security, convenience, and compatibility are Stripe, Authorize.net , and PayPal.
Welcome to 2018! We’re excited for the new year, and happy to announce that we’ve added a new option to our list of compatible payment processors: Stripe.
To get an account with Stripe, visit their website to create an account.
If you have an existing Stripe account, you can add the integration to your WebReserv account easily.
To do so, log into your WebReserv account, and go to the Setup – Business Information. Select Payments from the left column.
First, you’ll want to enable the credit card option in the Payment Processing section. Select Creditcard, and Auto Process.
Next, in the Payment Gateway section, select Stripe from the drop down menu. Here you will enter your Secret Key from your Stripe account. (Note: you can access your Secret Key through the Dashboard of your Stripe account.) After you add the secret key, save your changes by clicking Save and continue at the bottom of the page.
That’s it! You’ve successfully setup the integration with Stripe.
After setup is complete, you’ll want to make a test transaction to ensure it is working properly. The system allows you to enter a test transaction through the Payment Center. To access, go to Frontdesk – Payment Center. Select the ePay Virtual Terminal option.
Here you can enter a small transaction using a credit card to ensure that you get an authorization. To do so, select Payment (type), Credit Card (payment type), and enter a small amount – $0.10 will work fine.
Enter the credit card details. Choose the Process Payment button at the bottom of the page. If you get an authorization, then the setup is working correctly.
2018 is upon us. As the year comes to a close, now is a great time to make sure your booking system is updated, and ready to manage reservations for the next year. You certainly want to avoid any issues that may arise, so we outlined a small checklist with a few key things you need to review to make sure you have a green light for the upcoming year.
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. If your rates aren’t updated, the booking calendar will show grey, and your products will be unavailable for booking. Read the rest of this entry »