How to Create An Online Booking System?
When investigating how to create an online booking system, there are some points to consider on whether the benefit of doing so is worth the cost, or whether you'd be better using an online booking system that's already been created by a third party.
What is an online booking system?
An online booking system can be defined as the processes, tools and technologies that enable the processing of payment in relation for a promise of services. In lay-mans terms, it's what allows you to book a hotel on Booking.com, or book an activity through Beyonk.com.
How an online booking system works?
Typically a prospective customer can view a tour/ activity/ experience, can select the number of people they would like to book that trip for, select the dates they want and add any other information such as add-ons or insurance. They are then sent to a checkout page to enter card details where the payment is taken. A booking confirmation is then sent to the customer and the activity company.
There are multiple options for creating an online booking system.
- You can create one from scratch
- You can use ones already built by third-parties
Creating your own online booking system - should you do it?
Nowadays, there are so many online booking system alternatives, you can save considerable time and money by using one that's already been created. Even if you're a large organisation, it could be worth using a third party system in the short term, to learn about what you like and dislike, with the view for building your own as your understanding of what your requirements are developed.
How to create your own online booking system?
If you want to create your own online booking system: 1 ) Find the resources you need to do so - if you have your own tech team already, then you can use them. If you need to bring in tech resources, you can use services like upwork.com to find freelancers and pay them based on milestones - on things they've achieved, to reduce the risk of paying and not receiving 2) Work out what your requirements are and write them down clearly for tech developers to deliver. Some points to consider do you want:
- Instant booking?
- Ability to take enquiries?
- Ability to sell lots of dates on different days?
- Multi-day, or multiple slots within a day, or both?
- Ability to take deposits?
- What payment provider to chose from to process the payment?
- What the customer journey is and how to avoid drop-offs?
- How booking confirmation is sent? and what information is included?
- Where bookings are shown and managed?
...Amongst a wealth of other more detailed questions to consider.
Alternatively you can find an off-the-shelf solution, be up and running within minutes with your very own online booking system at a tiny fraction of the cost of creating one yourself.
Important note: building your own booking system is not a one-off exercise so plan to constantly invest in it to get it to where it needs to be.
At Beyonk, our booking system is built by community recommendations. We have a public roadmap where our partners vote on the importance of features so the platform constantly develops. This is the biggest advantage of working with a system like ours - outsourcing to the experts whilst you focus on your core business.
How to create an online booking system with the use of third-parties?
There are a wealth of online booking systems and there are companies that specialise in providing them as their main product.
To create your own booking system using third parties like Beyonk, you can:
- Add your experiences that can be booked
- Add your live availability for when customers can book with you including a capacity
- Add your own booking terms and cancellation terms. Tell customers what happens in the event you cancel, or they cancel.
- Set your booking confirmation notes and any other information they should receive after booking
- Add your own colours and branding
- Add the online booking system to your website and voila - you've very quickly created your own online booking system. Welcome to the digital age!
When looking at which booking software to use, check it meets your main requirements (from the list you would have created above). Then, check it meets your cost requirements. Check out some other things to consider when investigating choosing an online booking system:
How much does an Online Booking System Cost?
Do you want to pay monthly fees that in the down-season could mean you're stuck paying fees with no bookings? Or do you want to have a low commission alternative like Beyonk's free-from monthly fees option? This enables you to keep your fixed cost base low. The cost will depend on the provider, the full service and your requirements.
What is the best online booking system?
There are hundreds of online booking systems and what is best for one company will not be the best for another. Inevitably you will need to assess which online booking system meets your criteria.
Here's some tips for selecting a booking system:
- Write a list of the key features you need
- Research on Google what systems you're looking for
- Make sure the cost structure aligns to what you're after
- Speak to their support on their website and check response times and helpfulness. This will very quickly give you a view of how their support compares
- Try free trials, and test which ones you think will help you the most
Online Booking System UK
There is no single major provider of online booking systems in the UK, unlike other countries that have clear winners. In the UK there are hundreds of different options. Depending on the industry, you may want to look into different booking solutions. Beyonk is becoming the most engrained online booking system in the UK. This is through working with key tourism promoters to help tour and activity companies share their live experiences in front of more consumers, whilst providing a great, simple to use system to delight your customers and team. Interested in hearing more? Contact us, we'd love to chat.
Looking for an online booking system? Look no further. Check out our Booking Software for Activities, Tours and Experiences