It pretty fair to say that the tool most likely to give your business maximum exposure for minimal cost is your website. It therefore surprises me that many businesses fail to invest in a good quality website that shows their business in the best light possible, a topic that I have blogged on in the past.
In this post I want to focus on a very specific feature that should be on every B&B website, an on-line booking feature. At some point its reasonable to assume that most of the guests you host will have checked out your website at some point in time (if you have one). Chances are they’re also checking out the websites of some of your competitors as well. The risk that you now face is this:
If you don’t have a wow factor (a compelling reason to book with you) that makes you a must stay guesthouse, in most cases people will book with the B&B that provides the easiest booking solution.
What is the easiest booking solution?
Put simply the easiest solution is an on-line booking tool. Why you might ask? The answer is simple – it requires no need for conversation, it can be utilised 24/7 without any concern for time zones, there are no language barriers and the outcome is immediate.
How Does it benefit you?
We have already determined that its reasonable to assume that if you have an on-line booking tool you will get more of the guests who are “shopping around”. In addition you will also derive the following benefits that could make a huge difference to your business:
- You will create a professional image for your business (something that should never be ignored);
- On-line booking systems generally require a credit card to proceed. This way rooms are either pre-paid, or at the very least in the event of a no show you can charge a fee for a loss of business; and
- Your reservations department is open 24/7 365 days of the year.
What does it cost?
The cost of an on-line booking system will depend on how you implement it. It can vary from a one off fixed cost of a few hundred Euro, to a monthly fee or % fee of each booking at just a couple of Euro per month. Which solution you choose will depend on a range of factors including but not limited to your:
- ability to invest upfront;
- web hosting capabilities;
- web hosts back-up solutions;
- desire to accept or outsource backup and data management.
How do you get an on-line solution?