Unlike other tours and activities businesses, kayak operators need a certain set of tools at their disposal to manage their fleet of kayaks, schedule and manage reservations, and communicate with customers effectively. If you're not using online booking software designed to fit the unique needs of your business and kayak rentals, not only are you missing out on revenue opportunities, but you're also compromising your ability to deliver exceptional customer service.
Here are some key reasons why kayaking businesses need to use online booking software.
1. Streamlined Online Booking Process
Giving customers a chance to book their entire trip online saves time and administrative costs related to scheduling and communicating with your customers. Consider how many people are involved and how inefficient it is to log customer information, manage a paper calendar, track kayak inventory, and keep track of cancellations. Pen-and-paper methods can be time-consuming, inefficient, and also run a high risk of errors that can lead to customer dissatisfaction, low ratings, and negative reviews.
Setting up a booking process with a secure and streamlined checkout system boosts customer confidence and helps to ensure a positive customer service experience. Use an online booking software that allows you to embed a "Book It!" button directly on your website that links to a guided, secure checkout where customers can pay online and get an immediate email confirmation about their reservation. And, don't overlook the benefit of having a mobile-friendly site available. MMGY Global reports that 9 of 10 of today's "digital elite" travelers have made travel reservations online this year and 57 percent of those travelers used websites optimized for mobile.
2. Impactful and Efficient Customer Communications
Use an online booking software program that allows you to manage and navigate your customer database with a few clicks. This database is populated with customer information the moment they register on your site or go through the booking process, capturing essential information such as the customer's full name, email address, phone number, address, and billing details. You'll be able to set up automated confirmation and email "thank you" messages directly through the software program—reducing and even eliminating the need to communicate with the customer directly at any time during the booking and checkout stage. And customers will still have the chance to call or email you for assistance about their kayak rental or reservation, and you can respond to those inquiries individually.
Sending personalized emails to customers, whether they're in the booking stage or not, is another benefit of using online booking software to manage your customer database. Gigya reports on the benefits of personalized email marketing campaigns, indicating that sending emails with a custom subject line boosts open rates by 26 percent, while sending personalized emails generates six times higher transaction rates than non-personalized messages. With email marketing, you can maintain contact with each customer and subtly promote your business in the form of an email newsletter, special offers, and sharing interesting content such as articles, blog posts, or videos to keep the customer engaged and interested in your kayaking business.
3. Fast and Efficient Scheduling
Stop worrying about overbooking and missed reservation opportunities by using an online booking software program that updates your availability and bookings in real-time. Use a program that shares a virtual calendar of all available kayak excursions and rentals based on real-time inventory data. This eliminates the risk of overbooking and gives customers a chance to choose from several available dates and options as they go through the online booking process. Since overbooking is no longer an issue, you will only need to purchase and maintain enough inventory for daily operations—there is no need to buy extra inventory to cover times of peak demand or as backup.
4. Multiple Pricing Configurations
Rental pricing formats for kayak businesses can be tricky since the final price is dependent on several factors, such as the length of the rental, number of people, types of kayaks, days of the week, and even the season of the booking. You'll need an online booking software program that can handle complex pricing configurations so that every booking is confirmed without any hiccups. Look for a software program that allows you to set up a variety of different configurations in the backend so that you can price and sell each option effortlessly. For instance, ZOZI Advance has launched special features designed to handle even the most complex equipment rental pricing configurations for kayak operators.
5. Tiered Pricing Options
In addition to setting up multiple pricing configurations, you may want to offer tiered pricing for groups, couples, and individuals. Small business owners and executives agree that tiered pricing gives customers choices and can help the bottom line, as this QuickBooks article suggests.
If some of your business offerings involve organizing group outings or extending packages for different events and occasions, you will need a tiered pricing option built into your booking software program. Tiered pricing allows you to organize all booking options based on the number of people in a group—couples or groups may be eligible for a discount compared to individual bookings by selecting a certain package. Make this process as simple as possible by using a software program that can be configured for tiered pricing.
6. Track Inventory with Ease
When you need to keep track of a fleet of kayaks available for use and those that need to be repaired, take advantage of booking software that allows you to manage your entire equipment inventory from a single screen. Inventory tracking features allow managers and tour guides to quickly assess what equipment is available for an upcoming tour or event and plan accordingly. You can obtain accurate, up-to-date information about every kayak you have available for rental, in repair status, and in storage so that you can coordinate an outing effortlessly.
7. Options for Add-On Services
Even though kayak rentals may be your primary business offering, you may want to give guests a chance to book add-on services such as one-on-one classes, specialty excursions, or make a purchase of a kayak and related supplies from your store. You can make all of these options available with little effort by using a software program with add-on service features. Just select what types of add-ons you want to include with each type of rental from a drop-down menu and these will appear next to each offering at checkout.
Using online booking software to manage kayak rentals can help you and your team take care of customers with a high level of customer service and ensure your kayaking business runs smoothly. Look for all of these robust features and options when shopping around for an online booking software program.