Why and How to Use Online Booking on Websites
Learn why it's important to set yourself up for booking on websites, advantages and disadvantages, options and how to add a booking calendar for your website.
Taking bookings on your website is becoming easier to do with a wealth of technology providers out there. It's also becoming evermore important as more consumers look for ease-of-use and convenience.
What's more, it can also drive engagement, sales and reduce admin. We recently did an experiment showing instant booking of activities and tours can improve bookings by over 500% compared to enquiries by phone, email and website forms.
In this article:
- Advantages and disadvantages of booking on website
- Who it works best for
- Taking booking on your website vs. sending to other websites for booking
- How to add different options of booking system to your website
Advantages for enabling booking on websites:
- Make it easier for consumers to book with you, rather than over the phone, email or through a website form
- Give instant confirmation that their place is secured!
- Happier customers equals more repeat visits and recommendations. providing a super easy to use service will help to make visitors happiest
- Minimise your admin. Rather than having to fit people in manually, by easily setting the capacity of a slot, you can make sure you don't accidentally overbook
- Drive reporting of your events, to see how many people attend, see longer term trends and aggregate values!
- Take payments directly without the awkward moment when your customers forgot cash!
Disadvantages for enabling booking on websites:
- You don't know who is going to book with you, there is no pre-vetting. One way to overcome this is to have in your booking terms, after booking you'll have a quick call to discover suitability. This is especially important if its a particularly extreme event you're doing.
- A common misconception is that if you have instantly bookable dates, consumers will be put off for enquiry for the dates you haven't made available. Our research does not back this up - in fact if you have bookable dates, it adds authority that your trip is running and can even promote more enquiries for bespoke trips
- The misconception that in the short term it could cause a lot of admin. Nowadays, it can be easy to add a booking calendar for your website. E.g. our booking solution can be added by linking to a URL or adding a snippet of code to your website - similar to adding a YouTube video.
- Cost. Yes there may be another cost, but you can use free versions of some software like Beyonk, where there is a small booking fee only for using the online booking system
Why get set up for booking on website, who does it help most?
- If you're going to promote your website, it makes sense to optimise the results on your website. Helping people book with you, will reduce barriers for bookings and will increase bookings.
- If you're expecting a number big enough that tracking availability and bookings could be challenging, then online booking through your website can make it easier to manage
- If you're running recurring or multiple events, booking on your website will help to streamline all places and always give a real-time availability
Adding booking software to your website vs on other websites
There are websites such as Eventbrite that you can link to for customers to go to and book your event. But this always feels less professional and you lose customers from your website that you spent so longer trying to get there in the first place! It doesn't have to be difficult to add an online booking system to your website, so if you're running events regularly, it's simple to add a system to your website for bookings.
How to Add a Booking System on your Website?
If you want a simple calendar to take direct bookings for an activity, tour or event, use Beyonks Online Booking system, with no up-front costs and just a 4% booking fee (similar to Paypal). You can add it to your website in minutes and voila - you're good to go.
Beyonk Software for Booking for Website Other booking systems for your website include:
- Those provided native to Wix and Squarespace marketplace that can help you sell spaces on basic events
- Acquity scheduling for meeting room events
- ThinkBooker for a bespoke system for whatever your needs
- Beyonk Booking software is set up for leisure and tourism organisations
How to add a booking system to your website?
How to add a booking system to your website depends on what website provider you use and what booking system you use. You'll be given instructions by the provider you choose and a good booking software provider will have help manual and a great support team.
There are 5 main options that are typical for adding a booking system:
- Add a snippet of code to the header of your webpage which imports a booking solution on your website, the code would be provided by the booking system company (this can be technical for some people if they don't know how, but with a clear instruction guide it can get you set up very quickly)
- Download a Wordpress plugin , and copy and paste a snippet of code into your header to easily add a booking system to your website. (This can mean you can add a booking system quickly to your website, but you're then also dependent on the plugin being maintained if there are any issues found).
- Add a URL into an iframe , giving you a booking form for website like Wix and Google sites that are harder for booking systems to integrate with (iframes do not perform well in many cases and have scroll bars to view all the content within, which can perform particularly bad on mobile). However, it's sometimes the only option to integrate with Wix and Google sites and others, and if done correctly can provide a quick way to add a booking system.
- Add a Book now button or menu item - which then sends people to a bespoke checkout page provided by a booking software provider (you lose website visitors off your website, but you don't have to worry about making your website secure)
- Build it yourself with custom code (expensive and time-consuming doing a lot of work that's already been done, but gives you complete customisation if you need it)
Where should you add your booking system on your website?
It's important to make your booking system stand out so consumers know where to click to book with you. If you hide it on only one webpage out of many, or by using colours that blend in, it could be missed. Here's some things to consider:
- Make it visible by adding across multiple pages
- Make the button or form suit your branding by having your colours. Make sure they stand out from the rest of the background of the website though
- Consider having a separate menu item to 'Book Now' so consumers can always find a way back to your main booking page
- On your 'product' page, make sure the booking system is clear and shows live availability