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.
It’s summertime and this is the time your business thrives. Whether you run a kayak or mountain bike rental shop, fishing charter, or have a few rental cabins in the mountains, you are always trying to attract more customers to choose you when making their summer plans. Try these tips to help you not only get more business this summer, but throughout the year.
Be active on Social Media As a business owner, social media is a very important outlet to advertise your services and offerings. If you haven’t already, create a business page on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, then fill it with awesome pictures and information about what you offer. Ask happy customers to like your page, follow you, and post comments/reviews on your pages. You should post interesting things daily including images or something cool in the news related to your business.
It’s important to show potential customers your genuine self, and these social outlets are a great way to do that. Try not to be too ‘salesy’ in your posts and responses. Normal folks want to do business with other normal folks, so don’t be afraid to show who you are mixed in with what you do.
Join In! Join other Facebook groups where potential customers might go, and actively participate in comments. More than likely, you’re in business because you love what you do. It’s easy to find other folks that also love the same thing through Facebook groups. Find those groups, and engage with others. For example, if you own a water sport rental business, join groups geared toward kayakers or paddle boarders. If you have a cabin rental in a popular hiking area, join a hiking group. Then answer questions that come up, and be helpful and encouraging. Don’t use the forum to continually promote yourself, but instead be helpful by answering questions or encouraging others when they post about their experiences with the activity.
Leverage Happy Customers If you’ve been in business for a while, you surely have great customers that return year after year. Use them to your benefit to get more happy customers. Encourage them to take a live video stream of their experience – this is an incredible way for others to see what you offer. Make sure customers know it’s perfectly acceptable to take videos or via Facebook Live. It’s the best kind of testimonial.
Encourage reviews and referrals by offering incentives such as a discount on their next trip. Make sure you include links to your TripAdvisor or Yelp pages, so they can easily share their experience with others. Happy customers are usually thrilled to share their experiences with their friends and family.
Keep in touch with previous customers. Build an email list of all your customers, and send newsletters, helpful tips, or special offers to them. It’s a great way to keep your business in the forefront of their minds, especially when their dear Aunt Sally is looking for recommendations. During your off season, send them information about your upcoming season, and encourage them to book early to get the best spot for their next summer adventure.
Make sure your SEO is at it’s best. Most people use Google or other search engines to find adventure, so ensure that your business is at the top of their search list. Make certain that your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is at the top of its game by adding the best keywords to describe your business. This will lead those “Google searchers” to find you first before your competition.
These are only a few key tips to keep your business rolling this summer. Most importantly, if you LOVE what you do, and are passionate about it, then folks will find you and be thrilled they did.
Testimonial – Barcelona Architecture Walks – The essence of Barcelona through the eyes of an architect
In a small series of testimonials across different industries having our clients to tell us about them and what they think about WebReserv and its features, we in this first testimonial reach out to Miguel Angel Borrás and his original tour business “Barcelona Architecture Walks” based in Spain. They have been using WebReserv for more than 2 years and this is their story.
BASIC DETAILS ABOUT THE BUSINESS:
NAME: Miguel Angel Borrás / Barcelona Architecture Walks
AGE: 40 years old / 6 years in the business
TYPE OF BUSINESS: Architecture Tours
LOCATION: Barcelona (Spain)
1. ABOUT THE BUSINESS
WebReserv: SO, TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS/TOURS…
Barcelona Architecture Walks: The Barcelona Architecture Walks (BAW) are a series of urban walking tours led by architects, inviting to discover our city through the buildings and lessons of its Masters.
WR: WHAT MAKES YOUR TOUR DIFFERENT FROM OTHER TOURS?
BAW: We want to present the essence of Barcelona to the larger public. Previous knowledge of architecture is not necessary though it is essential to have an unrestrained curiosity for discovering ideas, concepts and histories that feed the architecture of the city. When we say architecture we mean an intense dialogue between urbanism, politics, culture, economics, history, society and even ecology.
The BAW explores ideas through architecture, offering an interface between in-depth architectural knowledge and the wider design-conscious community. Each route is driven by a set of themes and concepts that decode the city whilst stimulating new ways of thinking about and seeing Barcelona.
WR: WHAT MADE YOU START YOUR OWN (TOUR) BUSINESS?
BAW: The inspiration came from a trip we did (MIEL Arquitectos) in 2009 to Australia. Visiting Sydney we did some Sydney Architecture Walks (SAW) because we were recommended by different friends to do so and we freaked out with it. Eoghan Lewis blew our minds. He made an approach to the Sydney Opera House, the place, the building, the architect and its time that made us rethink our way of projecting and even explain / spread architecture. Then we decided to try to do something similar in Barcelona and we launched the BAW in 2010. SAW and BAW are connected since then.”
BAW: From the beginning we thought that on a tour business we will sell knowledge, wisdom we could say. Back then the initial investment was low. Just your time (apart from becoming an architect and developing each route).
What was more profitable for us was the close relationship between that business and our main one, our architecture and design studio (MIEL Arquitectos). Improving our skills on connecting with travelers and spreading architecture to unfamiliar or even experts on architecture will have an effect on our studio and vice versa, it is like a constant training for us.
WR: WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ONE AND ONLY ADVICE AS AN ENTREPRENEUR TO THOSE WHO WANT TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
BAW: Start something that thrills you, because it would take a while until is profitable and to develop it and keep improving it you will need a lot of energy, time and determination!
2. THE BUSINESS AND WEBRESERV
WR: WHAT WAS THE SITUATION BEFORE YOU GOT TO KNOW ABOUT WEBRESERV?
BAW: Before using WebReserv I had a booking solution that didn’t allow the payment of the bookings, so we had to receive the reservations on one side and then send the client to pay on a separate payment system. Also, that tool didn’t allow me to create either private tours or additional schedules. Because of that, I had to do most of the work manually wasting a considerable amount of time.
WR: WHAT WAS YOUR MAIN CONCERN ABOUT WORKING WITH WEBRESERV?
BAW: The first barrier was the fix price, to pay monthly without knowing how many bookings I was going to get.
And the second one was the technical service, you never know who is behind the machine and if they will help you or talk to you as you must be a computer expert…that I’m not!
WR: HOW WAS/IS IT TO WORK WITH US?
BAW: I could feel the increase of bookings from the second month. The initial communication with our website developer was perfect and the result is a clear booking platform. And the communication with the technical service is fast, efficient and with non-computer expert language.
WR: WHAT IS YOUR SITUATION AFTER USING OUR PRODUCT?
BAW: Our sales are growing, the booking-payment system looks strong and secure to our customers and help us to manage better the communication with them before and after each tour.
WR: WHAT SPECIFIC FEATURE DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT OUR PRODUCT?
BAW: How easy is it is to modify the schedule of our Walks, adding dates, erasing others and controlling the cost of each one.
WR: WHAT WOULD BE 2-3 OTHER BENEFITS OF THE PRODUCT?
BAW: The pre and post emails of each booking.
WR: WOULD YOU RECOMMEND OUR PRODUCT? IF SO, WHY?
BAW: Yes! It helped me to concentrate more on the business and less on the inner organization.
Follow us for more testimonials and articles on reservation systems for tours and recreational activities and rentals.
If you want to share your story with a testimonial about your business and your experience with WebReserv, then do not hesitate to contact us.
You WebReserv team!
If you are new to WebReserv, and are working on setting up your account, you may be asking yourself a few key questions.
How complicated is the calendar integration? How much can I customize the calendar to match my web design? Should I embed the calendar or make it show in a new tab? Should I add it to an existing page or should I create a new one? These are important questions, and very appropriate to consider.
After all, your webpage is the pillar of your business, and you need to make sure the booking calendar meshes well with the design. First of all, if you are unsure on how to integrate the calendar into your website, we recommend you review our documentation, How to integrate the booking calendar to your webpage and Customizing the Booking Calendar for further customization needs. In addition to these helpful guides, we also believe that, as the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. So, we would like to share with you some of the best integrations of 2014. Have a look and get inspired!
For the lodging industry, the ability to handle their bookings online has been a great way to save time and increase revenue. For the customer, booking online is safe and easy to do. Small and medium businesses in the lodging industry know the importance of having an online booking system available to their customers. The issue, however, is that many of existing booking systems out there on the market are expensive and require the business to have technical knowledge to set it up. It is just not feasible for a small hotel or hostel to put in the investment for one of these systems and hire an IT professional to set it up. Most times, smaller hotels and hostels are run by a few people and do not have the resources to put into a complicated booking system.
For these reasons, WebReserv has been the much needed solution for these types of businesses to manage their online bookings. Small and medium businesses choose WebReserv for its affordability and ease of use. The system is designed to manage your bookings right from your own website. Not only that, the process is seamless for the customer, which keeps them coming back year after year.
We talked to Adam Gudofsky, owner of the hostel Banti Tarifa in Spain, and asked him to explain why WebReserv is a great booking system for his business.
What was your main concern about buying WebReserv?
I didn´t really have any concerns over the system itself. It was more a general concern of using an online reservation system for a small hostal.
What did you find as a result of buying WebReserv?
Within the first week of using the system I was already impressed! I was receiving reservations at times I would not normally be able to. As Banti is a small place with only 6 rooms, the hours of our reception were limited to 09-13h and 17-20h. Using WebReserv has given me the chance to take reservations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I have also been able to save around 20% of phone bills. We used to call clients back who left messages, many of which would be international calls. Our voicemail states our opening hours and also refers clients to our website to make their reservation. The amount of voicemails we receive has gone done dramatically.
What specific feature did you like most about WebReserv?
For me the best feature of WebReserv is its customer care. Since day one I have always been well taken care of. For those of us who are not computer savvy, on online reservation system can seem, at first, to be very complicated to set up. This was not the case with WebReserv. I was provided with all the support I needed at no extra charge. Until this day I continue to receive outstanding support.
What would be three other benefits about WebReserv?
1.) Less time spent on the phone
2.) A very useful way to establish a database of clients who have made previous reservations.
3.) Simply everything has become more efficient both from a business and client perspective.
Do you think WebReserv is an adequate tool for businesses of your industry? Why?
For my industry WebReserv is not an adequate tool, its essential!
Get your free WebReserv account: WebReserv official website
More information about Banti Tarifa: Banti Tarifa