Published on July 27th 2017
Why you need direct booking from your website
The Middle Man is Dead. Which is why you need direct booking from your website, through a direct booking form.
Even if you are the owner of the business — you have become an inadvertent middle man. The deal is now between your customer and your website. Gone are the days using the email or phone to make a booking. Nobody has time to spend on writing emails back-and-forth asking about availability or pricing options.
Consumers need immediacy. They want to book their seat, pay a deposit and think about lying on the beach rather than administrative tasks to book their holiday. So if it hasn’t already, your website needs to replace your reservation agent. If you’re ready to get a booking system for your property, take a read on one of our articles to decide on the type of booking-system, home-made vs. a third-party booking system. If you’re not ready yet, then stay with me here.
This is why you need a direct booking form:
You increase sales with a direct booking form
You are losing customers if you do not have the direct booking option. Holiday-makers are increasingly time-poor and impatient, there needs to be an option to directly book from your website, to capture the leads while they are engaged. Statistics show that the average user stays on a landing page for less than 30 seconds — in which time you need to describe your product and provide a clear Call to Action (Book Now!) — before they get distracted by another task or overthink their impulse to spend money on a holiday.
You are able to compete with competitors
Remember your customers are now research and technology savvy, they will be comparing your website to five other websites of your competitors. If one of your competitors are offering a direct “Book Now” you are likely to be disregarded by the user due to the 30-second-rule mentioned above.
You save time with a direct booking form
It isn’t all about the consumer experience — you as a business owner will also benefit from having a direct booking option.
By offering a form on your website, you have reduced 2 unnecessary email exchanges already: firstly thanking the customer for their enquiry and secondly the inevitable need to ask for more details about dates and products.
You get to build your customer database
A direct booking form allows you to automatically capture the email addresses of your customers for statistical and marketing purposes. If you are integrated with a booking system such as Bookinglayer, the customer data will be stored in your account and can even be imported straight into your Mailchimp list. You won’t ever have to copy and paste an email address into a spreadsheet or email list (which you often forget to do anyway).
“But a direct booking form takes away from the personal touch, the experience that my customers love”
We know you are skeptical — and we often hear these arguments against direct booking forms:
- I won’t have control over my customers
- It seems impersonal
- There is an increased risk for over-booking
These are understandable, but invalid arguments.
Luckily — we have a solution to qualm your fears and maximise your occupancy rate. Bookinglayer’s manual confirmation feature means that you do not have to automatically accept the bookings from your website. You do not have to commit to direct bookings. Bookings can come through your website as “Requested”, so you are free to analyse the customer details, respond to them personally, and double check your other channels for potential over-bookings, before confirming the booking. (Of course if you want to be really time efficient you can always set your products to “Automatically Confirmed” and use our automated email templates).
Most importantly, with this Bookinglayer feature you have received many more details than a simple ‘enquiry form’ would offer. You would need to exchange 4–5 separate emails to obtain the same amount of information.
“That’s great news!”
Let your website be the middle man.
Don’t loose any more potential customers to your competitors due to lack of a direct booking form on your website. Now is the time to optimise your website and increase your reservations.
Bookinglayer has designed a beautiful booking form that is easily integrated into your website for a sleek, professional and personal look. It is optimised for both mobile and tablet browsers, so your customers can book at any time, from any location. Sign up today for your free Bookinglayer trial and discover how you can save time and increase reservations with a direct booking form.
Bookinglayer is online reservation software for surf camps, retreats, accommodation, and activities. With Bookinglayer, you can manage accommodation, classes, and activities all in one system. It’s designed to simplify your operations, so you can enjoy more time doing what you love. Visit our tour page to learn more.