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ZOZI Advance is the fastest growing web-based reservation, payment, and customer management platform used by thousands of activity, tour, and event merchants.

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Managing reservations and equipment are everyday logistics for rental merchants. But when manual tactics for staying organized are outpaced by customer demand, these everyday logistics can morph from "calm waters" to "perfect storm." Here are the top four challenges rental companies face, and tips for sailing seamlessly through peak season:

1. Tracking Rental Equipment Availability

Managing bookings can be a major pain when you factor in equipment availability. And if you're still using schedule templates from Excel, the margin for human error is inescapable—even for the most spreadsheet-savvy rental merchant. But in this Golden Age of technology, smart online booking systems like ZOZI Advance let you say "sayonara" to tedious spreadsheets and "hello" to streamlined inventory management.

Solution: Use an online booking system that...

  • Automatically adjusts equipment availability in real time. 

  • Lets you view all upcoming reservations from one consolidated dashboard, and manage equipment inventory from one place. 

  • Lets guides check in, and check out all rental units. This makes it easy to track all inventory, gain visibility into which staff members check in and check out gear, and prevent theft and lost rental items. 

2. Managing Complex Bookings & Pricing Models

Photo credit Ironwoods Rental

Photo credit Ironwoods Rental

Tracking bookings manually is tedious, period. And if you're an outdoor activity outfitter like our friends at Cannon Falls Canoe & Bike Rental, chances are you're not just specializing in one type of rental or experience. Time to consolidate the crazy!  

Solution: Use an online booking system that...

3. Maintaining Equipment

Twitter_East Coast Paddle Sports 2nd Quote (2).jpg

Whether you specialize in stand-up paddle boards, electric bikes, kayaks, jet skis, ATVs or motorboats, the world of equipment rentals has a golden rule: Maintain your gear. Having high-quality, clean, and cared-for equipment keeps guests safe, sets you apart from competitors, and adds authenticity to a customer's experience.

Solution:

  • Train your staff to know when gear has reached a state of not being suitable for renting.

  • Make a daily checklist available to all of your staff, and hold them accountable for completing the maintenance checks.

  • Use an online booking software that makes it simpler to reference when equipment was rented out, and how often it's been used. This will help you identify when specific pieces of equipment may be in need of a more thorough evaluation—or when they have run their course and are due to be replaced. With ZOZI Advance, you can easily take inventory offline for repairs. 

4. Delivering Amazing Customer Service

Photo courtesy The Marina At Cherry Creek

Photo courtesy The Marina At Cherry Creek

Perhaps the most important aspect of running a successful company: providing customers with a positive experience. Here are few quick tips every rental merchant can implement today to help ensure customer satisfaction.

Solution:

  • Offer a painless online booking experience: Make it easy for customers to (1) understand all their different options, (2) view your calendar availability in real time, and (3) make a reservation 24/7 on your website. With an online booking system like ZOZI Advance, walk-up customers can even register on the spot via a mobile app. 

  • Ask for feedback: Always follow up with your customers after their experience. Their feedback will help your business improve—and if they were happy customers, this marks an opportune time to ask for referrals or reviews! With ZOZI Advance, you can automatically send fully customized follow-up emails asking for feedback, and provide convenient links to third party review sites and/or your social media pages.

  • Keep in touch: Speaking of social media pages, remember to invite customers to share images or video from their experience. This is one of the best ways to generate word-of-mouth enthusiasm for your business!

Though peak season presents its difficulties for rental businesses, implementing a few easy fixes can have you running better than ever. Utilizing booking software can streamline the day-to-day, and free you up to focus on the bigger picture...which we wager is quite beautiful from where you're standing. 

Photo courtesy of Paddles By The Sea

Photo courtesy of Paddles By The Sea

*****

And while you're thinking about overcoming some major business challenges for rental businesses, let's zero in on a big one we mentioned in this article: rental pricing. A robust online booking software can help manage the pricing nuances for your particular rental business, but how do you avoid investing in an online booking solution that only works for some parts of your rental business?

Here's how to make sure your online booking system can handle pricing complexities:

 
 
 
 

Blair Franklin

Blair is the Production Manager for ZOZI. In her past life she was a tech marketing writer, a newspaper editor, award-winning journalist, and general hooligan. She likes drinking Buffalo Trace Whiskey and snowboarding, preferably at the same time.