We understand: You need one more thing on your to-do list like you need a hole in your head. Between all the craziness that comes with running a business, vetting online booking systems for your tour, activity or rental company might be the last thing on your mind when there's finally a moment to catch up or take a breather.
At ZOZI, our goal is to give you back more time in the day, which is why vetting potential business tools during your slow season—whether it's two weeks or two months—can be a game-changing decision that dials down the chaos and dramatically streamlines operations.
Even if you've already got an online booking system, here are five reasons why your slow season is the most ideal time to consider the options available to you.
You Don't Have To Feel Pressured Into Making A Hasty Decision
For highly seasonal businesses—a water sport company in New York, for example, or a Colorado campground owner who shuts down in winter and re-opens in April—your slow time of year is the ideal opportunity to reflect on what’s working, what could be improved, and explore smarter solutions.
Think about days that felt really hectic, and what generated the most stress: Having to constantly answer the phone when it was ringing off the hook? Helping customers figure out how to reserve a rental online, because the checkout flow was too confusing? Trying to accept credit card payments on-site? Evaluate pain points while the season is still fresh in your mind, and keep those handy when considering better options.
If you decide to switch booking systems or implement a new one for the first time, doing so during the off season—even a slow week, since it can take as little as 48 hours to get up and running on ZOZI Advance—is an ideal window to settle in with a new system. It also sets your business up for success when things get crazy again. If your employees are out of the office, the San Francisco-based ZOZI Advance support team is happy to schedule additional trainings when convenient (although ZOZI Advance is so easy, one person could easily teach it to the rest of the team).
You Can Take A Breather, But Your Pre-Season Bookings Don't Have To
You don’t need standing near a phone or checking your inbox 24/7 to capture pre-bookings for next season. With intuitive features like automated confirmation emails and daily manifest reports that get sent directly to your staff, an online booking system such as ZOZI Advance means you can take those two weeks off and actually enjoy it. Even if your business shuts down for a couple weeks or months out of the year, make it easy for potential customers to plan their trips and activities ahead of time by having an online reservation system in place. It’s a simple way to capture pre-bookings before your season ramps up again.
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.
It Can Help Capture New Revenue, Even When Things Are Slow
The National Retail Federation reported last year that gift cards were the most requested gift item nine years in a row, and according to CardCash, 69% of customers are more interested in purchasing electronic/digital gift cards now than they were several years ago. With consumer demand for digital gift cards on the rise, having an online booking system that lets you easily create and sell gift cards is key to cashing in on this trend.
See how Raquel Navarro, owner of See.Eat.Love Local Food Tours in Oakland, uses ZOZI Advance to easily sell gift cards:
Creating discount codes and promotions for specific time periods is also a cinch with ZOZI Advance, from setup, to redemption, to tracking how well your promotion is performing. By incentivizing guests to book ahead in the off season, you can potentially lasso some extra revenue and generate additional buzz around your business.
It Prepares You For When Things Gets Crazy Again
When vetting online booking systems, you’re not just picking a software. You’re picking a partner. Being confident in who you team up with is a proactive move that sets your company up for success, especially when the seasons shift and business catapults to mach 5.
Implementing an online booking system in the slow season also means you’re poised to capture key business insights when things get hectic again. With reliable, easy-to-understand data at your fingertips, be even more confident with year-over-year forecasting and critical decision-making. ZOZI Advance provides access to the same types of reporting tools that were once only available to very large companies, unlocking new information that can help attract, serve and retain more business.
Your Business Is Your Baby, And You Deserve To Be Picky
Conducting an apples-to-apples comparison of online booking systems might be the last thing you feel like doing, especially if you've already got a system you like. The good news? It doesn’t need to be your slow season, or even a slow week, to consider better solutions. In the case of ZOZI Advance, a team member can walk you through the system in as little as 15 minutes. That's a short amount of time for a product that could potentially transform the way your business operates, from streamlining communications, to increasing bookings, to reducing operational costs.
Next time there's a lull, shop around and get a feel for the options out there. Whether you find a better booking system or decide to stick with your current one, you have nothing to lose, and only peace of mind to gain.