Why and How To Set Up A Booking System For Your Business

by Lucy Robinson

So, what exactly is an online booking system?

If you have booked a supermarket delivery slot or reserved a table at a top restaurant recently, then chances are that you probably did so via an online booking system. An online booking system is a software that enables a potential customer to book and/or pay for an appointment or slot through your website.

Below, I have included a couple of examples of what an online booking system might look like!

online booking system examples

Why is it useful to offer customers an online booking system?

In a bid to improve customer convenience, many businesses are opting to use an online booking system that allows customers to quickly reserve a slot or table at the click of a button. This helps the customer to avoid any hassle that comes with making a phone call or having to physically visit the venue to book. It can’t just be me that starts rolling their eyes as soon as they hear the automated ‘Press 1 for our opening times, press 2 for our address...’ and having to wait until what feels like option 75 until it finally gives the service you require! An online booking system also helps the business to organise bookings more efficiently.

Say for example, I have gone on a spontaneous trip to my nearest city but have not booked ahead, I can reserve a table at my favorite restaurant, book tickets to see the latest release at the cinema and choose a slot for cocktails afterwards, all whilst on the train (in fact, you probably booked your train via an online booking system too)! And if my train happens to be delayed, or I change my mind about what cuisine I fancy, I can easily amend or cancel my bookings within seconds.

This is incredibly useful for me, but it is also great for the business too, who has to spend less time on the phone taking bookings, explaining which slots are still available and dealing with no-shows who were too nervous to ring up and cancel. They can simply access the booking system to see how many visitors they are expecting, what time the visitors are arriving and how much capacity they have remaining to offer to walk-ins or publicise.

For as long as we have to live with Covid-19 regulations, an online booking system is also a great measure to put in place to help customers visit your business safely. By limiting the numbers of customers physically coming inside to book, you reduce the risk of transmission. You can also ensure that visits are staggered so that customer numbers are reduced at any one time. Taking bookings online also encourages visitors turn up for their allocated slot, rather than waiting in a busy entrance or loitering outside where they will come into contact with more people.

Research from GetApp found that online booking was the preferred booking option for around 70% of survey participants!

booking system research results

What are the key features of an online booking system?

Reminders: A great booking system should send reminders via email and SMS to remind customers of their booking and offer them a link or option to easily amend/cancel the booking.

Data Collection: For the business, it is useful to gain analytics such as peak booking times, customer demographics, key information about customers and their booking habits. This helps the business to gain insights and inform marketing decisions.

Ease of use: Booking systems need to easy to use for both the customer and the business owner, so that the customer can easily make the booking without getting stressed and giving up midway. It also needs to be simple to cancel or amend a booking so that there is less risk of no-shows.

Simple online payment: If the booking system requires payment, then this should be simple to use too. By adding options such as ApplePay, PayPal and GooglePay, convenience is increased for customers and the transaction is made quicker.

Mobile-compatible: A booking system should be mobile compatible, as a large percentage of bookings are made via mobile device. This is ideal for customers who are making a booking whilst on the go.

woman shopping online

How can my business get an online booking system in place?

At iocea eCommerce Lincoln, we offer various eCommerce solutions for your business. More than ever, it is crucial for your business to have an online presence, which is why we help with website development, digital marketing and social media marketing. We offer a number of specially designed eCommerce software solutions, including our exit-intent technology, mailing system and online booking system.

Our expert web development team will work on creating an online booking system that best meets the needs of you and your customers. We work around you and your requirements to ensure that we create a highly effective booking system that works across all devices.

To enquire about our bespoke booking system solutions or any of our other online services, please get in touch with us directly or visit our website.

We are excited to work with you!