What are reservation software?
Published on 20/07/2022 by Ojasvini
Can an online booking system benefit your business? An online booking system or reservation software can help businesses provide customers with the flexibility to make self-bookings. This article will discuss the features and benefits of reservation systems in detail.
In this article
With fast-moving technology trends and people potentially relying on the internet more and more, the online booking service sector might have gained prominence as a convenient offering. From online hotel reservations to ordering food via websites and apps, there might be many elements businesses need to focus on to serve their customers effectively. In fact, ‘the market size of the online travel bookings industry is expected to increase by 83.7% in 2022′, according to IBISWorld.
With such global growth, many organisations might be looking to invest in appropriate reservation software to streamline their online booking process and cater to the specific needs of their customers.
What is an online reservation system?
Online booking systems or reservation software are tools that let customers make bookings online without having to connect with a customer service agent. Such software is generally used in the hospitality industry. For instance, hotel, flight, and restaurant businesses might typically need such software to help their customers conveniently make online bookings or reservations.
In addition to providing the facility of self-service bookings, reservation management software can also help process online payments. On top of that, some such tools keep a customer’s previous booking information in a centralised database, allowing users to refer to past bookings. They also allow customers to manage their own bookings —meaning cancelling or modifying them without connecting with a booking agent.
What are some common features of reservation software?
Given below are some of the common features of a reservation management system.
- Booking notes: some online booking systems may provide customers with the ability to leave messages to the staff while making a booking. For example, a note requesting restaurant staff to make a food item ‘less spicy’.
- Group booking: such software might allow group reservations —for instance, allowing a large group of people to share a restaurant table.
- Auto emails: some reservation software might also provide automatic email features that could help increase business revenue. For instance, a feature where a user would be updated every time an ongoing booking discount is being offered.
- Reporting and analytics: some of these software may also provide detailed reports, including payment details, sales forecasts, customer profiles, peak sales times, and other real-time data.
- Repository of online reviews: some reservation systems might additionally have the feature of collecting guest reviews from multiple channels and displaying them in one centralised place. This might help increase the credibility of your business.
What are the benefits of reservation software?
As per a report by IBISWorld, ‘Australian residents largely use online travel booking providers to research and book flights, accommodation, and tours, prior to travelling’. That said, all sorts of industries providing online booking services might consider opting for appropriate reservation booking software. Below are some benefits such software can bring to your business.
24/7 Online booking service
Each customer landing on a booking website might have a different time preference or live in a different time zone. For instance, people with an eight-hour job might want to make online bookings after their dedicated work timings. Reservation systems —in such a scenario— might give customers the flexibility to make round-the-clock bookings. Such software would run 24/7 for the customers, helping businesses operate fully, regardless of the day or time.
Additionally, this might help minimise the dependency on a customer support team or booking agents. In some cases, reservation software might also provide the option of chatbots, which can further assist customers in the booking process.
Centralised repository for customer-specific data
A booking management system generally offers a centralised repository containing customer-centric information. For example, a flight booking site might have all the data related to a customer’s past bookings. In such a scenario, if a customer would like to book the same flight or compare prices, they would ideally be able to do so. Additionally, details such as name, age, addresses, and preferred payment methods may be auto-selected for a more convenient and quick booking journey.
Advance payment options
Some such software might also allow users to make advance payments for their bookings. Such platforms generally offer different payment options for customers —debit cards, credit cards, mobile wallets, and more. This ability to collect payments beforehand might help improve the overall cash flow. It might also ensure minimal no-shows from the customer’s side.
Consistent updates regarding availability
In addition, many web-based reservation software are automated and get updated constantly with respect to the availability of services. Such a feature might help solve common booking issues such as double booking a room or a restaurant table. Companies can also align their booking system with their business calendar to manage their daily operations more effectively.
Providing customer support when necessary
A booking system might reduce the need to get in touch with customer support agents. However, it may also have the feature of providing necessary customer support via email, live chat, calls, or other methods. Some booking systems might also allow businesses to integrate their system with other communication platforms, enabling them to help customers if they require extra assistance.
Should you opt for reservation software?
There might be many ways a business can benefit from investing in online reservation software. The software potentially caters to many different industries and could provide for the diverse needs of consumers. Not only would an automated booking system help increase the number of reservations, but it could also help businesses in effective resource planning. However, the tool may come with a few disadvantages, such as needing a stable internet connection, maintenance costs, and difficulty choosing a tool that meets your needs and fits your budget.
This article may refer to products, programs or services that are not available in your country, or that may be restricted under the laws or regulations of your country. We suggest that you consult the software provider directly for information regarding product availability and compliance with local laws.