What is online booking system
Online booking systems are more and more popular. It is definitely a time-saving solution for a customer, who doesn’t have to come in person to make a reservation or waste time on calling to ask if there is any other available date. Currently, the most popular ones are services used for booking accommodations, such as Booking.com or airbnb.co.uk. Another popular service is opentable.com, where you can quickly book a table in restaurants all over the world. Users like such conveniences, because they can quickly check if the date that they choose is available, how much they will pay, what the reviews are, etc. The online booking system is a great comfort also for business owners. When they have such a system, they may store and manage the reservations from one place. What’s important is that they can open the booking system on every device which has access to the internet, so potential customers don’t have to wait until they access their notebook or calendar.
What is the best online booking system
Online booking system may be more or less advanced. Some booking systems, thanks to their individual functionalities can be acknowledged as web or mobile applications. However, such elaborated solutions aren’t always necessary. This is why we have prepared the comparison of a few types of online booking. Each of them allows for fast online reservations, but they differ in the level of functionality and what follows time and cost of realisation.
1. External booking system
It is a good option for those who already have an account on an external booking system like Booking.com or OpenTable. In this case we only have to add a section, in which we will inform a user about the possibility of making a reservation online and add a redirect in a link or a button. This is the easiest way to provide the online booking system, which won’t affect the cost of creating the website. However, remember that you may pay a commission, initial or subscription fee for your account in the booking portal. Also, there is always the risk that the system will stop working and you will lose your online booking tool.
2. Internal online reservations based on a script
By implementing an internal online reservation system, we give users the possibility to make a fast reservation on our website. While entering the website, users can see immediately which dates are available, including days and hours. Time saving and convenience are the two main advantages of automatic online booking systems. The owner of the website can administer all of the reservations from one place and users can easily and quickly choose the date they want to book. The cost of the internal online reservation system may differ according to the functionalities that we would like to add to it. Since it can be based on a ready-made script, usually it doesn’t exceed several hundred pounds. It is a one-time payment and we don’t have to worry about further costs of subscription or commission.
3. Individual online reservation systems
Ready-made and the most popular solutions are not always able to meet our expectations. If we want to give a user some more than the option of choosing the hour and date of the reservation, we have to add to our reservation system dedicated functionalities. We can give users the possibility to choose the type of the service, localisation or a person who will provide the service. The booking system may also send text messages or emails with a reminder about the upcoming reservation, both for a customer and employer. What is more, we can add an online payment system, which will help with making fast payments for a deposit or the service. We can also integrate the booking system with invoice module, platform for meetings online or company’s ERP system - everything depends on the individual needs of a company. Creating individual functionalities is a time consuming process, which definitely has an impact on realisation time and cost of the project. If we want to estimate such functions, we should talk to a developer, who can assess what workload is required, depending on the quantity of individual functions and their level of advancement.
4. Sending requests via form
This is an alternative to the booking system that is very common on various websites. It works through a calendar added to the website, on which users can point out the date that they would like to book. The owner of the website receives an email with this date and can provide a precise answer if he is available or not. This is a good option for those who need some time on verification if they are free on a relevant date. On the other hand, when users send requests via the form, they have to wait for the response, which extends the whole process. Therefore, if we will not provide a relatively fast answer, we may discourage the user. This solution is rather easy to implement on the website and its cost doesn’t considerably influence the cost of the project. This is why it is also recommended to those who want to check if users would be interested in a potential booking system on their website.
Check how this solution works on one of our customer’s webiste - Green Discovery Laos.