How Online Booking Helps Businesses Modernize and Innovate
In busy times like today, we all prefer efficiency and productivity. That’s why everyone can appreciate an excellent mobile booking app. We all rely on our devices to speed up such mundane tasks as making appointments — one of the many reasons online reservation apps are on the rise. For example, in 2021, over 70% of travelers explored travel options online. In fact, people make over 150 million online travel bookings every year.
Additionally, the demand for mobile taxi services worldwide has grown from 36% in 2017 to 44% in 2022. Data from the dining industry also suggests a big favor towards digitalization. Now, almost 30% of all restaurant orders occur online — a clear sign that the future of the hospitality industry lies in the world of online booking.
However, what about other industries? Well, even small businesses, such as hair salons, tutoring services, local healthcare providers and yoga studios, can benefit from online reservation apps. Indeed, a good booking app can even enhance a business’s workflow. Firstly, the software lets your clients make reservations with your business. Secondly, it allows your business to book internally, set meetings and make appointments with the staff. Some scheduling apps can even do both.
Overall, the opportunity to make things happen online is exactly what customers expect now. The growth rate of the online booking market is expected to rise to 13.1% in five years! Thus, each business must respond to such high demand. Why wouldn't they? A booking application can modernize and innovate your business. It can make your workflow more efficient, bring in more clients and reduce the “no-shows” to a minimum.
The benefits of a booking app for businesses
If your business relies on reservations and bookings, reliable online-scheduling software is simply a must. Such apps help you work with clients better and organize an efficient internal workflow. Here are the top five advantages of using appointment-booking applications.
Keep it going 24/7
So, why do businesses prefer their clients to book appointments online rather than call? Keeping your business running 24/7 is too challenging and expensive. However, it isn’t when you use a booking software to handle all your reservations: it’s convenient and fast while requiring no third-party help or in-person consultation. Thus, such software allows you to receive appointments even past working hours.
Besides, people prefer making reservations during times convenient to them. Hence, having the booking process open 24/7 increases your chances of booking more clients. It also seems that younger generations prefer online interaction over phone calls anyway.
Eliminate any mistakes
Human error is a significant disadvantage to any manual booking system. The more employees and clients you have, the higher your chances are of someone messing things up. An appointment-scheduling app can significantly reduce your chances of running into an issue. A proper booking software will keep things straight, preventing slip-ups while providing an easy and convenient organizational system.
Empower your clients
The best booking apps allow clients to find all the key information and manage their bookings without troubling your staff. They have the power to cancel, reschedule, view their bookings, see ratings, search and more, all by themselves. Moreover, they can do all of this in their own time.
You not only enhance the customer experience, but by empowering your clients, you save the time and money you would have spent on employees handling bookings in person. With a booking app, each user can view available slots and make decisions by themselves, leaving your staff to worry about other things.
In addition, booking-app users are more likely to show up to their appointments. Clients receive all the needed information on the app; thus, they can make conscious and thought-out decisions.
Increase your productivity
Most booking applications come with special tools and features aimed at increasing your business’s productivity. For example, you can create a booking app with an instant payment feature — a secure and reliable way to manage your finances digitally. An app can also have a system of automated reminders, such as emails or texts, so you have fewer missed appointments.
In addition, appointment-scheduling software can help manage internal issues, so it’s a perfect tool to book staff meetings and events, set working hours, etc. Such a function can save you time and reduce any scheduling confusion.
Use valuable insights
With online-booking software, you can keep a record of all your clients. For example, your staff can look at a client's profile, see their orders or service history and create a customer database. This helps you gather unique insights: you can now analyze clients’ behavior and the popularity of your services.
First, you get to know and predict your clients’ behavior. Such functions can enhance the personnel-customers relationships. Second, you can adjust your business plans according to your gathered data. Thus, you build a loyal customer base and successfully compete with similar businesses in your niche.
Types of booking apps
Appointment-booking app development can go three ways. The first two deal with customer requests, while the last is internal-scheduling software. You can choose the right type for your business’s intention based on your final goals.
On-demand booking apps
This type allows people to get instant results on their requests. On-demand booking platforms let people choose a service, order and receive it all in a short period. Nowadays, people prefer easy and fast solutions, and the market is swift to respond. Many popular on-demand service apps are the ones most used on our smartphones — daily.
We open Uber to get to work, Doordash to get lunch, Netflix to kick back after work and so on. However, these apps are only the tip of the iceberg. People also use on-demand applications to book mechanic services, dog walking, grocery deliveries and much more.
Each application sits in a narrow niche. Hence, businesses usually enter a tough competition for clients, where customer experience and accessibility can play a decisive role.
In-advance booking apps
This booking type helps clients reserve services for the future. You will use an in-advance booking app whenever you make plans, regardless of whether they are down the road or on short notice. Managing appointments can be a time-consuming, if not overwhelming, task. It concerns both businesses and people. So, we often prefer mobile booking apps to do it for us.
For instance, Airbnb is an in-advanced booking app. You use it to see accommodation options, check reviews, book a room and pay for the room—all in an instant. Any flight-selling apps, such as Skyscanner or WizzAir, fall under this category too.
These apps are simply online schedulers. They can take care of our calendars while we are busy with other things. Businesses often choose platforms like Calendly or SimplyBook to engage with their clients. For instance, teachers can use such apps to book classes online. The sales department can schedule regular calls with clients. Meanwhile, users need such apps to make appointments at a doctor’s office, salons, gyms, etc. The possibilities are endless.
Internal appointment apps
Managing appointments via smartphones can save a lot of time for businesses. An appointment-scheduling software can benefit your internal organization just as much as it does with the booking system. For example, HoneyBook is a famous internal business app that helps you manage managerial work online. Thus, this application and similar online scheduling apps help businesses organize the company workflow. With it, you need only one app to inform the staff about your available hours, make updates in calendars, add new appointments on the fly and manage all internal (and client) bookings.
The key features in all booking apps
Booking-app development can vary depending on the industry, audience and final purpose. Hence, every individual or business prioritizes certain features over others. Yet, all top booking apps share similar key features. Here are the top features any service-booking app should have.
The authorization process can be super simple and fast. For instance, one can have a log-in system through social media pages. It’s convenient for the users and simple to develop. However, having user registration is absolutely necessary. This way, you store one’s booking history, gather customer information, and build a loyal client base.
Search is why people choose to download booking applications in the first place. Such software can help people make the right decisions. It should provide users with relevant information, ratings and other necessary data. Moreover, the process of searching should remain simple and intuitive. The easier it is, the greater the chances that your clients will proceed with the next step.
All booking applications should work 24/7. Hence, your clients are not limited to business working hours or time zones when making appointments. The whole process should be fast and straightforward. Once a customer makes up their mind, guide them to the finishing line. People don’t like to waste their time, so don’t turn it into a daunting process. Offer users whatever information is necessary to make a quick and sound decision.
An automatic syncing feature can be a great addition to online schedulers. It allows synchronizing appointments with personal calendars. Thus, users will automatically receive any updates on their devices.
It’s worth noting that not all companies require their client to pay upfront through an app. For instance, it’s highly prioritized in on-demand services but meaningless in internal-appointment apps. Yet, in most cases, having an option to pay online can be pretty useful.
Of course, choosing the right payment can be a challenge, especially for advanced booking. One must choose a fast, transparent and accessible way to get paid for services rendered. Also, such features can vary on local or international apps. Thus, the latter can include additional international payment methods for everyone’s convenience.
Reschedule and cancellations
We don’t always go through with our plans. Sometimes life happens. A short notice cancellation or reschedule feature can save everyone time and money. Businesses will receive a notice and a last-minute empty slot to fill; clients will have an easy, guilt-free option to reschedule. It’s a win-win situation. In addition, such a feature supports clients’ independence, which enhances the user experience.
Automatic reminders can significantly decrease the “no-shows” statistics in any business. Such a feature can set a reminder in a calendar to inform clients and businesses about upcoming appointments. Moreover, some businesses can choose to add extra reminders via apps, such as push notifications or automatic emails, a few days before a meeting.
Integration with your tech stack
Integrating online-scheduling apps with other software, such as Slack or Zoom, can be a very convenient feature. It can enhance teamwork and lead to a better workflow, so everyone is on the same page and instantly notified about any changes in plans or meetings.
As the market is going mobile and becoming app-dependent daily, businesses can’t question the need for digitalization. An online booking system for businesses is hardly even an innovation anymore: it has become a necessity. The software allows you to manage workflow and schedules in a modern and efficient way.With online booking, you can build a strong presence online, prioritize your customers and manage internal affairs. Meanwhile, your clients can enjoy instant results and convenience in planning activities. Hence, for any business that deals with clients and appointments, having such software can be the difference between failure and success.