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What is a reservation system, and why do you need one?

The Bókun Team • March 25, 2022

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The typical traveller today is not just researching about their trip online, but also preferring to book online, many times without any human interaction via mobile or web.

With 72% of travel sales expected to be predominantly made online by 2025, having an online presence is clearly just the first step. The real opportunity lies in converting web visits into bookings (money!) and providing a smooth customer booking experience via a reservation system.

So, what actually is a reservation system?

A reservation system, also known as an online booking system, allows you to accept bookings online directly. Your customer can not only see what tours are available for what dates, but also proceed to book on the spot and even make payment—all handled online and instantly.

Why do I need a reservation system?

Logical and effective customer journey

After browsing through a website, clicking on the call to action (CTA) is actually a logical next step for the visitor. While the CTA can be an email inquiry or a phone call, a Book Now button would send a much powerful psychological message for your visitor to take action right there and then – enabled by a reservation system. If there’s no need for it, why distract your potential customers from their original intention of booking and possibly lose their interest, when you could have a better alternative for them to book immediately?

Edge out your competition

Tour operators recognize the need to be online, but many are still playing catchup to adding a reservation system. So those already with a system in place definitely will have the head start to win the customer’s heart and wallet. And it’s not just that. A reservation system means you’re always open for business 24/7 with live availability online, compared to the business next door who’s only answering phone calls and emails 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. It will be as simple as your customer picking the product and time, and then completing the booking and payment – no unnecessary delay for back-and-forth communication or manual confirmation.

Lifesaver for you and your team

A reservation system isn’t only about adding an online booking function. You get to automate all booking-related tasks to run in the background and instead focus on the best customer experience. Show up-to-date availability and instant pricing, ask for information on the booking form, handle cancellations, booking or tour changes and set up automatic confirmations. Even the payments would be processed or recorded down for any follow-up, and save you lots of administrative headaches!

That’s not all. With the right all-in-one reservation system like Bókun, you can make use of some of the powerful tools on the platform to make your team’s lives easier, optimize customer experience and grow bookings all in one place!  

  • Keep consistent everywhere: With Bókun’s channel manager, you can distribute up-to-date inventory across multiple online sales channels automatically. Instead of logging on to every single channel to make changes, you update the product information on a single portal in Bókun and distribute the changes everywhere in real-time. This way, just like customers from any other channels, your web visitors can access accurate availability and not be disappointed with overbookings
  • Stay on top of your business: With overbooking and manual work out of the way, you can really focus on customer service. Bókun centralises all of your bookings and keeps track of the corresponding booking information. You can easily retrieve the daily manifest and pick-up list for guides and drivers, and access that on the go with the Bókun mobile app. Use the Customers communication feature to send customers an email to remind them of their upcoming booking, communicate on any changes, and more
  • Seek new opportunities: Other than online travel agencies and your website, did you know you can sell your tours and activities through new reseller partners on the Bókun Marketplace, and even offline agents through a dedicated booking portal? And what’s great is that you won’t have to fret about doing more work to handle inventory and availability separately, since it’s all managed on Bókun. Instead, as you grow your product reach, it’d likely be having to consider how much more availability can you increase for sold-out products!

Do I really need a reservation system?

The short answer is yes! As more and more customers are shopping and booking online, not having a reservation system means you will lose out on a huge part of the business and where the money is.

That said, a new technology can be scary and that’s why we want you to try it out first. Set up a free Bókun trial account with your products and add a booking engine to your website. And if you don’t have a website, build one within minutes in Bókun!