Today, consumers live online. From reserving tables at a restaurant to ordering groceries, they turn to the web to simplify their lives. The same holds true in the tourism industry. Take, for instance, the fact that nearly 53 percent of all travel-related sales within the U.S. will be made online this year, according to eMarketer. So it's more important than ever for activity and event providers to leverage online booking services — it's what consumers have come to expect.
Here are five reasons why customers prefer to book online.
1. Always available — anywhere, anytime
Customers crave access. They don't want to leave messages, or have to wait for a response to their emails. Online booking systems afford customers access to your business 24 hours a day, enabling them to book whenever they want — even in the middle of the night or during holidays. Today's customers have come to expect this streamlined experience no matter what they're searching for. Meeting these customers' expectations is crucial. According to KISSmetrics, 54 percent of people value companies that improve the overall consumer experience.
2. Access to real-time availability
A potential customer has read about the experiences you provide, is interested, and wants to book. The next step: finding out what dates you have available. If you don't have this information on your website, the customer needs to call. And even during normal business hours, you can't answer every single phone call. According to KISSmetrics, 58 percent of consumers said a company did not meet their expectations because their calls went unanswered. This frustration can potentially lose you business. So, make it easy for potential customers to book with you by using an online booking software, such as ZOZI Advance, that allows your customers to select and book your exact availability.
3. A smooth experience
The reservation process is the first direct contact a customer has with your business. According to researchers, if a consumer has a positive first impression of your business, they'll continue to view your company favorably despite any negative experiences they may have later in the process. By allowing your customers to book online, pay online, and receive a confirmation of the booking within minutes, will instill confidence and a positive first impression of your company.
The most important aspect of a website for consumers: finding the information they need. In fact, HubSpot found that 76 percent of people rank ease of finding information as their number one priority when making a purchase. And there's no better way to give them that information than with an easy-to-use booking system that shows prices, taxes, options, fees, and accepted payment methods. Your customers will have all the important details they need to make a decision to book, right when they're most engaged with your business.
5. Control of the process
The biggest thing online booking systems provide for customers: control and freedom. They control the entire process on their own time — choosing dates and times, choosing any add-ons, handling payment information — and get to do it at their own convenience without the pressure or interference by anyone else.
Appeal to potential customers, who continue to turn to the web to ease all aspects of life, by implementing online booking software like ZOZI Advance. (To learn more about ZOZI Advance, click here.) It'll make the booking experience seamless, create a positive first impression, and allow for complete transparency, leading to more bookings and growth in your customer base.