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.
That’s right, we’re listening! We recently made a few enhancements to the booking system, and we’re excited to let you know about them. See what we’ve done below.
Added a Search by Reservation Date to the Reservations report.
The Reservations report is our most comprehensive report that gives you all the details about bookings within a time frame that you specify. You now have 2 options for that time frame: Date of Reservation or Start/End Date. Date of Reservation refers to the date that the booking was actually made by the customer. Start/End date refers to the actual visit date of the booking. This is a helpful enhancement as it will allow you to see how many bookings you had on a given day or set of days.
To access the report, navigate to Frontdesk – Reports in your account. Select the Reservations report.
Additional Customization options on the Home page.
The first view that you see when you log into your WebReserv account is the Home page. This is your dashboard and will list all recent bookings in your system. You are able to customize what columns from the booking that you want to see on this page. We recently added additional options for columns to further customize how you want to view your bookings. New options include:
1. Customer’s phone number
2. Customer’s email address
3. Unit name (if defined)
4. Office Notes
To customize your Home page, click on “customize this page” from the Home page. On the Customize Page screen, drag and drop the desired columns from the Available Columns box to the Selected Columns box. Save your changes.
Here’s a look at the view with all the new options added. This is helpful for many businesses who want to be able to see the customer’s phone number at a glance to reach out to them, or see exactly what rental or camp site is booked for the day.
We always strive to make improvements and enhancements to our booking system. If you have any suggestions, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!
You’ve been asking for it and here it is. We are proud to announce that we just integrated a new payment gateway to our booking system. This is a great news as it will allow you to receive automatic online payments no matter where your business is based in Europe (check the list of the supported countries here). Also, it will make your booking process more automatic and very easy for your customers resulting in more reservations and less manual processes.
What is Braintree?
Braintree helps businesses of all sizes, from small to large enterprise, accept and process payments to help maximize business opportunities and revenue growth. Companies around the world benefit from the technology and service of Braintree coupled with the scale, backing, and confidence of the PayPal network. Braintree allows you to sell where and how you want with a flexible and scalable platform. Plus, get paid quickly — most payouts happen within two business days of transaction settlement.
With the same cost per transaction than Paypal, Braintree goes further in the integration with your WebReserv booking system. Using Braintree you can manage all your transactions and refunds directly from the WebReserv control panel. Also, from a customer perspective the payment is as simple as adding the credit card details and there is no need too leave the booking page. 100% integrated, flexible and safe, doesn’t it sound like a great new feature?
Besides, Braintree provides clear insights for your business with their own seamless control panel you can access easily from any device.
Braintree know that a good service is also important. Any problem with your transactions? Braintree gets your questions answered quickly by a real person.
Want to sign up with Braintree? Easy! Click here and start receiving online payments in just a few days.
For general information about online payment in WebReserv, see our help file here.
How to synchronize Braintree and WebReserv?
Once you have created your account with Braintree you will need to set it up in your WebReserv account. To do so, first of all, login to your WebReserv account.
Once you’re there, click Setup – Business information – Payments, then under Payment processing select Credit card – Auto process
Then go the field Payment Gateway and select Braintree and add your Merchant ID, password 1 and password 2.
Now you just need to setup the deposit you want to get for each product at the reservation time. To do so, click Setup – Products and reservation rules – select a product – Tax/deposit and setup your deposit. You can choose between charging the full payment, a percentage, a fix amount or other options.
Congratulations, your payment gateway has been setup; you can now receive online payments with your reservations.
We hope you will enjoy the benefits of that fantastic new feature on WebReserv. Feel free to contact us for any additional question.
We wish you good business
The WebReserv Team
The WebReserv system comes with a great feature for your business – Google Conversion Tracking. Conversion Tracking gives you the ability to know which of your AdWords campaigns are producing conversions. This is an important tool for your business. We will explain how it works with the WebReserv system below.
Understanding Google Conversion Tracking (AdWords)
Google Conversion Tracking (AdWords) is a free tool that allows you to track the effectiveness of your Google AdWords campaigns. By tracking these actions, known as “conversions,” you’ll know which ad, keyword and campaign brings you businesses. Consequently, if you use Google conversion tracking with WebReserv you will be able to determine how many of the bookings you received through WebReserv came through your AdWords campaign. Read the rest of this entry »
As 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.
Over 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 and Spanish. 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 Dutch and Swedish. 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 great to be able to provide the system in other languages so that people in Holland or Sweden 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 German and Danish during the next month and 2 or 3 more languages before the end of 2013. We hope you will enjoy the benefits of those updates.