Get it Booked!
Having an online customer booking system for your establishment reaps huge benefits. With almost 82% of adults in Great Britain using the internet daily in 2016*, it’s time to make sure the digital side to your business is up to date and easy to access.
“It’s as important to measure your digital processes as it is to measure front-of-house processes,” said Steven Pike, managing director of HGEM, the authoritative voice on guest management. “The customer-facing part of the system needs to be visually attractive, easy to use, and welcoming. The guest has to feel engaged and that their experience is being managed. In other words, a digital experience should involve minimal effort.”
Make it easy
Customers want an easy, simple and effortless booking system that they can access with no hassle via your website. Don’t overcomplicate the system or have too much going on – instead, have a clear, visual link on your homepage that will lead them directly to the form.
How to book
The main details should include date, time, name, party number and either email address or phone number – asking too many details will put customers off using the form. Once date availability has been confirmed, the next thing you need are the booking times. To prevent no-shows or booking mistakes, send an automatic confirmation email or text message as soon as the reservation has been made.
Offer an alternative
To manage disappointment if a specific date or time isn’t available, why not have alternative dates and times clearly posted on the site. Having a banner at the top of your website with the times and dates you’d like to promote will not only impress the customer but help them to make an instant decision rather than leaving the site to return at a later date or indeed, never at all.
Not only will an online booking system free up staff and customer time that would have otherwise been spent on the phone, it increases traffic to your website. Remember that people will be viewing your website on different types of devices. Whereas the younger generation are likely to be viewing on a mobile phone or tablet on the go, your older clientele could be accessing through a computer at home. It’s vital your website is fully optimised for mobile and desktop devices, this will give customers a great impression of your establishment before they even arrive.
The benefits of an online booking scheme are endless; it will indicate the number of covers and plates that will require preparing and as such the staffing level needed. It also prevents any mistakes being made when details are taken directly from the customer face-to-face or on the telephone. You can also build up your own database from customer details you receive (if given permission), and keep customers updated on events and offers by email or SMS message to encourage repeat visits.
With apps and websites like Opentable and Quandoo allowing us to make restaurant reservations online, it’s now easier than ever to pick up your mobile and with just a few clicks have a table booked for the evening. Potential customers will type in their location, and your business will appear if it’s within their area. Setting up on a restaurant booking app is a great opportunity to drive sales and promote your business to app users.
- Stand out on your homepage
- Optimised for both mobile and desktop devices
- Easy to use
- Send a confirmation of booking
*Source: Office for National Statistics