You're not alone if the thought of making changes, such as implementing an online booking system, seems overwhelming. But streamlining businesses operations can mean more freedom and revenue, and it could be the best thing you do for your business this year.
From stand-up paddle boards, to camping gear, to electric scooters, to handmade cake stands, we've worked with a vast variety rental businesses to get them running—and making more money—with an online booking system. Here are some common concerns we've seen from business owners who are hesitant to take the leap, and why it's important to push past those perceived roadblocks.
1. What I Offer Is Too Complex
Challenge accepted! Don't underestimate the power of technology and the options available to you. Nowadays, there are some great systems out there when it comes to online booking software. For example, a platform like ZOZI Advance can take all the curveballs you throw at it, including...
Dynamic rental pricing for a clean checkout flow (e.g. prices automatically update based on variables such as duration and quantity)
Real-time equipment tracking
Credit card pre-authorizations for security deposits
Add-ons during the checkout flow
Maximizing revenue while avoiding over-bookings
Customized questions that customers are required to read and respond to during the checkout flow
Tip: Another good business practice to consider? Simplify your offerings. Too many choices leads to indecision in consumers, and sometimes, providing too many different rentals could actually be working against you. Whether you're switching online booking systems or starting fresh, use this as an opportunity to re-evaluate how your tours, activities and/or rentals could be packaged for more profit.
2. I've Always Done Things By Hand – It's What I'm Used To
Doing things by hand can give you a false sense of control. If the way you want your business to run is mostly stored inside your head, that means you're the only one who can "do it right." It also makes training new staffers a pain, because there are no repeatable processes or systems in place to ensure a consistent customer experience.
Tip: If you're planning on selling the business one day, remember: It's not a business unless it runs when you're not there. Who wants to buy a "business" if you are the business?
3. I Like Talking Directly To People, And I Don't Want To Lose That Human Connection
If maintaining that personal connection from the get-go is important to you, perfect! With ZOZI Advance, you can opt to accept pending bookings online, but still require a phone call to verbally seal the deal and confirm the reservation.
4. I Have An Online Contact Form, So That Counts—Right?
An online form is a step in the right direction, but if you're not accepting payment and scheduling online, it doesn't help much in the ways of (1) time management, (2) a consistent customer experience, and (3) automated processes to help you do more with less staff.
5. We Rely On A Lot Of Walk-Ins And Phone Calls For Business, So Doing Business Online Isn't Really Necessary
Adopting an online booking system for your rental activity business doesn't mean you're going to neglect walk-ins and phone reservations. But here's what it does mean:
It's going to create an even better experience for walk-ins. With an online booking system, you can quickly check-in walkups on the spot, accept payments from anywhere, and look at a real-time calendar to see what availability looks like—all from your smartphone, iPad or laptop.
You'll also scoop up additional customers who prefer to book online and not over the phone. You're simply opening up one more channel of convenience in which to serve your guests.
It can free up more of your time.
6. I'm Worried About The Cost Of An Online Booking System
The right activity rental booking and management platform will more than pay for itself each month by allowing you to generate additional business, minimize mistakes, and free up staff time. It may cost more up front, but will save (and generate) more revenue in the long run. ZOZI Advance is priced from $39 a month, with unlimited bookings and industry-low 1.99% credit card fees.
7. Our Competition Doesn't Do It, So We Don't Need To Bother
Whooaaa, Nelly—this is all the more reason for you to accept online scheduling and payments! If the competition doesn't offer online booking and you do, you're way more likely to scoop up people who are browsing online, especially if your booking system delivers a clear and easy checkout flow. Take this as an opportunity to set your business apart from the rest!
Taking bookings online is a lot easier than you think these days, so don't let that hold you back. Invest in technology that simplifies business operations, delivers a great customer experience, and sets your company up for growth and success.
User spotlight: See Why Business is Booming for East Coast Paddle Sports!