Unless it's a hilarious kitchen apron, or an electronic Chewbacca mask, our general attitude towards one-size-fits-all products is...meh.
The same thing goes for the needs of rental businesses—particularly when it comes to setting up pricing structures: This is no one-size-fits-all scenario. It may seem like a simple undertaking on the surface, but there are many nuances that make it complex and highly specific to each outfitter.
Consider all the variables that can affect pricing:
Time of day
Add-ons such as equipment kits, insurance, wetsuits, GoPros, etc.
Keeping track of all these variables with a spreadsheet (or worse—by hand—with ledgers!!) can be time consuming, confusing and tricky. It's important to have a robust online booking software to support all these variations and help manage pricing options, but how do you pick the correct option for you?
To avoid investing in an online booking solution that only works for some parts, but not all of your rental business, use this checklist to ensure your system can handle the following complexities:
1. Seasonal pricing
Different seasons call for different rental rates. For example, if your bike rental business is booming during the summer months, you might want to capitalize. So during this peak season, you increase pricing by 20 percent while demand is so high. Later, as bookings wind down with summer, you lower pricing by 25 percent to attract more customers.
Point in case: Your online booking software should give you the ability to create different pricing schemes throughout the year. Look for software that allows you to create your own seasons with a date range. ZOZI Advance features seasonal pricing, which automatically adjusts prices for your activities depending on the day of the week or the time of year.
2. Multiple Rental Pricing Methods
Not all rental equipment is used the same way—or for the same amount of time. That's why it's important to consider which pricing methods make the most sense for certain types of equipment.
Take, for instance, bike rentals. One customer will come along and rent the bike for, say, three hours, which makes an hourly rental rate the most practical choice. But if you're renting motorboats at a popular lake destination where visitors flock for vacations and weekend getaways—it makes sense to charge a daily rate. Or perhaps you specialize in glow-in-the-dark stand-up paddle boards. Consider renting them out at a nightly rate, so people can paddle as late as they want and return their board in the morning.
Tip: If you're like many watercraft rental businesses and offer guided tours and activities in addition to equipment rentals, it's important to choose an online booking system that also lets you charge a per-person rate.
3. Parameters For Inventory Availability
If the mere mention of "inventory management" brings on a pounding stress migraine, it's a sign: your online booking system isn't pulling it's weight! Look for a software that lets you specify availability time windows for each piece of rental equipment (i.e. a specific type of bike) or for groups of rental equipment (i.e. all kayaks). The right rental software will also make it a cinch to take inventory offline for needed repairs, and even schedule recurring maintenance windows.
4. Scaling Discounts For Different Group Sizes
If your customers are getting a discounted rate for booking as a big group, make sure they know it! Use a robust online booking solution that lets you to create multiple pricing groups (e.g. 1 to 9 people and 10+ people). By offering a more appealing per-unit pricing structure, larger groups know they're getting a great deal.
5. And Don't Forget...
Beware of Generic Software
As you've probably already guessed, generic software doesn't work very well in the rental pricing space. Look for an online booking software created by a company with deep expertise in the rental market. Ultimately, setting up and managing your rental pricing should be easy, flexible, intuitive, and simple to maintain. This lets you focus more on the customers, instead of messing around in the minutiae of scheduling and maintaining prices.
Keep Customer Experience Top of Mind
Speaking of customers: A successful rental pricing solution delivers a seamless customer experience where the right price is calculated every time, no matter the variations—be it quantity, duration, unit type, group size, special promo codes or add-ons. By providing a clean and intuitive booking interface for guests, you're setting the tone for a top-notch customer experience right from the get-go.
Choosing the right online booking software for your rental business can be a challenge, but once you've found it, your day-to-day can transform from frazzled to fantastic. Fewer mistakes, more visibility, a freer schedule, and less stress are on the horizon—not to mention the elimination of inefficiencies when doing things by hand.