rom start to finish, as a rental and activity operator, you are focused on providing your customers will the best possible experience. This is so important to ensure your customers come back year after year, and tell their friends. The service you provide and the way you provide it will set you above your competition.
Using a booking platform, like BookingCentral, supports your efforts by providing a flexible, easy to navigate system. When a customer walks in to your shop to inquire about a rental or books online, the customer or employee can see real time availability, book and make a payment - all within a matter of minutes.
The necessary booking features that aid this experience are outlined below. Some features are helpful when an employee is booking for the customer, while others support customers who book using the online booking calendar. You're likely to get a mix of customers who prefer to book online while others will call or walk in to book. An excellent booking system gives you both options.
For Calls, Texts, and Walk-in Customers
Rental Quickfind. When making a booking for a customer through the back office, the Quickfind feature will allow you to easily see available rentals. Select Date, Rentals, and Length for quick booking. The Quickfind will quickly show any user what inventory is available, for how long and the number of units. Plus, you can sort by category so if you only want to see boat rentals, select Show - All Boat Rentals to narrow the availability search.
Want even more flexibility? Use the Manual Time Entry to book a rental for any time length that works.
Master Calendar. The Calendar view from your booking platform must have certain features in order to make it useful and easy for any employee to use. Features include:
- Layout options that allow for easily seeing inventory and bookings within the same view.
- Various views including Daily, Weekly, and Monthly
- Ability to Filter by date, rental/activity to narrow the search
- A quick way to block inventory if a unit is damaged or needs maintenance
- Employess should be able to move around bookings easily on the calendar
When you can see your inventory and what is available and when with one look, you can act fast to book the customer on the spot.
For Customers who Book Online
Web Search. Many customers that book online for a rental or activity usually know the date(s) that they will be visiting, but they may not know exactly the rental they want to book.
Let’s look at a common scenario:
A family of 5 will be in your area on their summer vacation the week of July 3 - 10. They are planning their week’s activities, and decide that they’d like to rent a boat and spend a day on the water on July 3rd. They have decided to book with your boat rental business because it came highly recommended by a friend who visited last year. They go online to your website, and want to see the availability for the week they are visiting.
Enter Web Search for BookingCentral. Web Search allows them to select the date they want to book a rental, and see all available rentals. The search feature also allows them to sort by a category to narrow the results. For example, customers that are looking for a Pontoon and Kayaks can narrow their search by selecting those rental types, and leave the others unchecked.
The Grid View is another option that shows customers a week at a glance availability. This is great if a family isn’t set on a specific dates, but wants to see what’s available for the week they are visiting.
But wait, there's More. . .
Additional important features that are key to providing top notch service include:
- Text communication to customers
- Ability to add Gratuity to a Booking
- Ability to Rebook a customer from an existing booking
- Smartwaiver Integration - customer can quickly sign a waiver digitally
- Ability to include Add-ons, insurance, or additional rentals all within the same reservation