Is Your Booking Software Company Really There For You?

By Erick Tomaliwan

Booking ManagementBooking Management

A white water river rafting tour

You work hard to deliver an incredible in-destination experience. You discover what guests want, delight them with thoughtful details, and make improvements based on their feedback. Can you say the same about your booking software company?

I’m not talking about how the booking system helps your guests; I’m referring to whether the platform serves your business. 

After all, it’s supposed to be software as a service (SaaS). While you strive for customer satisfaction, your booking software provider should be doing that for you. And actions speak louder than words. 

So is your booking software company really there for you?

One way to find out is to break down the booking platform, bit by bit. Look at what they offer and how they meet your specific needs. You can start by asking the following questions:

Does it work with your favourite tools?

Everyone has a preference. Some business owners like using Quickbooks Online, whereas others prefer Xero. You might be a fan of ActiveCampaign rather than MailChimp. And that’s okay.

There’s a reason why you use the software tools you do. Not only is your business unique, but you might have a particular way of doing things, a system that works well. Adopting a booking solution could’ve changed that — thrown everything out of whack.

Your booking system might come with popular integrations you were already using. However, if some got left out, you might be manually transferring information between apps now. Or worse, switched to alternatives that are compatible, but lack the features you need.

So much for that

Your bookings are sales; they make your business go round. That means most of your workflows overlap with the booking process in some way. As such, your reservation tech should support every corner of your operation without making any cuts.  

P.S. Checkfront integrates with Zapier, which allows you to automate your routine booking tasks with your favourite business apps. Get your early access today. 

Can you optimize your best booking channels?

You’ve heard time and time again why booking online is better for your guests. But who is telling you that? The company behind your online booking system, of course. 

Wait, doesn’t Checkfront shout that from the rooftop? Let me explain. 

With website bookings, you broaden your horizons. Your guests have one more way to make a reservation. Plus, anyone from anywhere can discover your business and book whenever they want. In turn, this helps you get more bookings and grow internationally. 

On the other hand, you might have the perfect location for a brick and mortar store — one where crowds of tourists walk by daily and stop in out of curiosity or convenience. Walk-in bookings could be your bread and butter.

That’s why online shouldn’t be pitted against offline. Any booking software company that pushes you in one direction might have a hidden agenda — just saying.

Two cats fighting with light sabers

Instead of focusing on one or the other, it’s best to provide an omnichannel experience. Optimizing both channels means you can expand your reach by meeting the needs of those who prefer to book either way. 

Can you choose between online travel agents?

Since we’re on the topic of channels, let’s talk about distribution. There have been a few acquisitions in the tours and activities space — including TripAdvisor and Bokun, and Booking Holdings and Fareharbor.

While these big moves validate the industry, it brings to question what’s going to happen to inventory and data. If your business uses one of the above booking engines, there’s a risk of getting locked in.

Just because your booking software company picked a side, it shouldn’t mean that you have to as well. 

Pick a side

Although commissions are high, online travel agents (OTAs) offer a huge opportunity for your business. With a global brand and a massive marketing budget, they can significantly drive awareness and sales for you. But here’s the thing, they all cater to a different audience.

By mixing it up, you can expand your customer base — tap into markets you haven’t been able to before. So if you want to diversify your distribution, an independent booking system is your best bet because they aren’t tied to one OTA.

Does your booking solution meet your needs?

Hyper-personalization is all the rage nowadays. Perhaps you even apply it to your current marketing strategies. If you haven’t yet, your booking software might already accommodate a personalized experience with custom notifications, Guest Forms, or Currency Display

But doesn’t your business deserve a little hyper-personalization, too? You’re so busy providing concierge-like service to your guests, where’s yours?

Most reservation SaaS companies have free support and professional services. Their teams know the booking platform inside and out. With their help, you can solve any issues you may have and get a customized setup that works best for your business.

Game show contestant wearing big ears

Just remember, there’s a big difference between offering a cookie-cutter solution and listening to your specific needs. 

Now, what if you require further customization? Well, your booking software company should also provide a developer API. What is that?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. In layman’s terms, it’s a set of programming instructions and standards for interacting with a web-based application. When it’s public, other software developers have the freedom to expand and build upon it, powered by its service.

Regarding bookings, access to a custom API means you can create a fully customized booking solution — from your website storefront to the apps you use in the back-end. You can make it exactly what you want.

Is there room to grow on your terms?

The booking system cost is probably one of the first things you looked at during your initial search, and understandably so. Any software solution should fall within your budget.

Of course, pricing varies across booking platforms, not just in the total, but the overall payment model. Some companies offer a free booking system, offloading the fee to your guests. While others structure a tiered pricing plan so that you can upgrade as you increase in booking volume. 

Both of these models have pros and cons. With the former, you can get started for next to nothing, but potentially turn guests away due to a surprise fee. As for the latter, you pay out of pocket, but once you gain momentum, it’s easy to grow as you go. 

The choice is yours

Either way, you know the best way to run your business. A booking fee might work in the beginning, and a flat rate might be better later on. That’s your call; you should be able to pick one or the other and switch as you see fit. All while using the booking platform that has everything you need.

Guess what? Checkfront gives you a choice between payment models. You can go with a subscription or our brand new zero payments plan — Flex.

Final thoughts

There are many types of booking systems, but they all have something in common — to serve your business. By looking at the booking software company with a fine-tooth comb, it’s plain to see whether they stick to that or steer away.

Looking for a booking software company that has your back?

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