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.
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.
A company’s webpage is a reflection of the business itself. That is most certainly what a customer may think since it is often his/her first introduction to a business. With this in mind, creating an excellent website is vital to the success of your business. Before you consider design and marketing, you will first want to make sure your site provides visitors the right information at the right time. If you are just getting started with your website or are updating an existing one, here are a few important tips you need to follow to create a valuable webpage.
Tip 1: Make it simple
When it comes to designing your website, the old adage KISS is good advice: “Keep It Simple, Sweetie”. Here is why:
For your visitors understanding
You don’t want your customers to leave your webpage because they can’t find what they are looking for. Think about what information is important for someone to buy your service or product, and organize this information in an easy structure, such as a simple main menu. Make sure the important information is available from the main page and that it is not necessary to scroll down to access it. Also, do not overload the page with unrelated information. Read the rest of this entry »
You have a website and you think it looks good but you feel like your business could be doing better and earning more money. It is important that customers make their bookings with you and not your competition, so here are 7 critical steps to improve your bookings this year. Commit to doing one step every day and you’ll be ahead of the competition in a week.
Step 1. Update Your Website. Time: 4 – 8 hours
When was the last time your website was updated? If it’s out of date, make it a goal to get it refreshed before the season starts.
If website design is not your passion or your skill, you can consider using website companies such as Wix.com or Weebly.com. They offer great looking websites with very little work.
If you decide to build or buy a new website, make sure it’s easy to understand, complete and responsive. Responsive means that the page automatically adjusts to the screen it’s being shown on, thus, giving the customer a great experience whether he or she is using a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone. Read the rest of this entry »
At WebReserv we have been working with the B&B industry for several years trying to provide the best service to our clients. We know that a good booking system is a valuable tool for the B&B owner, but we are also aware that there are many other aspects (marketing, communication, sales, accounting, etc.) that the business needs to refine and improve in order to be successful.
Yvonne Halling is a B&B owner and a WebReserv client. She runs a successful B&B, and wants to share her experience and knowledge with other B&B’s. She writes about the 5 most common mistakes that B&B owners often make. Each week, we will discuss one mistake and give tips on how to avoid them. Here is the 3rd mistake.
“Who do you want to serve?
When helping B&B owners who want to make more money and have more fun, the first thing we look at is who they really want to welcome to their homes, and this is often a sticky subject.
Question: Who is your ideal guest?
The problem when we try to be all things to all people is that we then become no-one to everyone. We scatter our energy and focus and end up not really making anyone happy, including ourselves. We become another ordinary, forgettable B&B experience and that doesn’t build our businesses, nor does it serve our guests. Read the rest of this entry »
As business owners the road to success is long and full of obstacles. Businesses must focus on many important operations in order to succeed such as marketing, sales, accounting, communications, and for the lodging industry, booking management. Bed & Breakfasts are often run by one or two people, so the challenges that come with owning any business can seem greater when a small staff is in charge of all aspects of running a business. It can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to attend to these tasks when most of the day is spent on attending to reservations, customers, and preparing rooms and meals.
Technology can be a solution to these challenges for the B&B owner, especially when it comes to booking management. How can an online booking system make the difference for a B&B owner? Why is WebReserv a great online booking system for the B&B industry? In the following article we will try to provide some answers.
Today, most people prefer to book online because it is faster, easier, available 24/7, and the confirmation is immediate. Using phone and email as the main means of taking reservations is not enough anymore and can lead to a loss of reservations and a loss of revenue. For this reason, it is a wise business decision to utilize the Internet as another method for bookings because that is the only way to make the most of all the booking channels.
Booking management is crucial for any lodging company and B&B owners are very focused on making their day to day operations more efficient, so they can spend their time wisely. Online bookings are a great way to achieve this. Yvonne Halling, B&B owner and founder of bedandbreakfastcoach.com has been using WebReserv booking system for one year, she tells us about her experience with online bookings. “I make money while I sleep! People from all around the world can visit my site, and if they like what they see, they can book and pay a deposit immediately, regardless of their time zone. I then have a record of their reservation with any special requests, and more importantly, they have this too. Systematisation helps me a lot with record keeping, so I can see how many bookings I have this week, this month or this year so far, and I know already that so far, for the first two months of this year, I am 25% up on last year.”
It is very common these days for businesses in the lodging industry to allow clients to book a room online, without having to call or send an email. However, B&B owners often do not have the same financial resources to make a large investment for some of the online solutions available on the market. Simply put, cost is an issue and there needs to be a solution to meet the needs of B&B owners and be economically feasible. “This was the first time I had purchased an online booking system and I was worried that by spending a monthly amount on an online booking system that didn’t meet my needs was daunting” says Yvonne Halling. WebReserv was designed to help small and medium businesses to automate the booking process. At the same time, the price of the system is reasonable for B&Bs. Yvonne says “One of the benefits of the system is that it is very affordable”.
B&B owners are passionate about their businesses. They love serving their customers and spend their time making the home a place that people want to return to year after year. Often times, they don’t have the time or resources to spend designing their own online booking system. Martin Israelsen is the founder of WebReserv, he explains “The system has been designed with an easy setup process, because we knew that what developers may consider simple, quickly becomes complex for DIY (Do It Yourself) business owners who are trying to get their products and services online. From the very beginning we received many requests from B&B owners and we loved to see that without any technical knowledge, they were able to go live with online bookings in few hours. There is no need to have a server or to install any software, everything is simple and works online.”
When asked the question, “Do you think WebReserv is an adequate tool for businesses in your industry?”, Yvonne Halling answers, “I think WebReserv works very well for B&B owners, because of its simplicity and ease of set up and their support for new users is very good”.
Choosing WebReserv as the solution for all your online booking needs is a good choice for your business. It is affordable, easy to set up, simple to manage, and you have the support of WebReserv throughout the entire process. Making your booking process seamless and automated for your customers will afford you the time to spend on what you love: taking care of your home and your guests.
How to setup up a booking system for Bed & Breakfast?
More information about BedandBreakfastCoach: