Online Reservations versus Reservation Pages

There has been a lot of discussion in various groups and forums lately about online reservations and their value.  First of all, I have to say that I

online reservations

Do you want to book reservations online?

believe a page on your website for a reservation request is absolutely necessary.

Now, let’s do some defining of the terms.  Online reservations have evolved to mean being able to make a reservation online, provide a credit card number and in a number of cases, be able to pick your site.  There are a number of companies that are currently providing this type of service since it would be extremely costly to provide this type of system for an individual.

A reservation page on the other hand is merely a page on your website where someone can fill out the information that you would normally request at the time of check in, size of rig, number of adults, pets, etc.  This information is then emailed to the email address you assign.  Now the person at your front desk who takes reservations can call the customer, verify the information and get the credit card information for a deposit if it is needed.

In other words, the question becomes do you want to “Book” reservations online or do you want to “Take” reservations online?

What Do You Do?

Reservation pages

Do you want to take reservations online?

If you have online reservations, what do you do once a reservation is entered?  Do you call the RVer and confirm the reservation or just send an impersonal email?  Do you receive any notification about the individual reservations or do you just wait for the RVer to check in?

If you aren’t calling back to confirm, you may be making a major mistake.  I’ve heard all the reasons for not calling back and for using an automatic responder – It takes too much time, I don’t have enough employees, It’s easier, etc.

So I would like to ask you one thing.  How do you feel when you call a company where you are going to spend money and only get their voicemail?  How do you feel when they don’t call back?  Or maybe just show up with what you were looking for.

Do you get irritated?  Do you decide to go to another company?  Well, your customers aren’t any different.  If they don’t hear from you, they aren’t going to be real confident that they are going to have a place to stay when they get there.

What About Hotels?

I’ve heard this argument also.  When I book a reservation at a hotel, they don’t call me to confirm.

So my question here is, if you were to book at two different hotels and one of those called you to confirm and give you information about the area, while the other one didn’t , which reservation are you going to keep?  I’m betting it will be the one that took the time to treat you like a guest and not just another reservation number.

So Why Have a Reservation Page?

That is an easy one to answer.  By having a reservation page, you have most of the information that you need in order to enter a reservation before you talk to the customer.  After you have made your call to confirm with the customer and to get their deposit, you can now take your time about getting the reservation into the system.  You don’t have to tie up the phone line while you ask them to spell their name, what town they are from, phone number, type of unit or any of the other questions that are involved with putting a reservation into your system.

You will get more reservations because people won’t be on hold waiting for you to finish entering the last reservation before getting to them.

Your customers aren’t going to give up because the phone just continues to ring without anyone answering it.  After all you are on the other line entering a reservation, you don’t want to put them on a long hold do you?

You don’t have to identify sites like you do for online reservations.

You don’t have to make people wait at the front desk while you finish up a phone reservation.

Are those enough reasons for you to create a reservations page for your website?  I do have one caveat.  Don’t make your reservation page so involved that people feel like you are asking them for their life history.

Need help?  Give me a call and I can help you decide what you need to get started.

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 21, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like you’re reading the same LinkedIn groups as I am. As you probably remember I have a reservation page on our RV park site but not a Booking Page per se. Even if we do decide to go with a booking page where the entire process, including credit card, is taken online, I will still send a personalized confirmation email and a phone call just like I do now with just the online reservation form. Even if it’s just a phone message letting them know I’d love the opportunity to share some area info and events that may be happening during their stay or to give more detailed travel directions to our city and park.
    If the guest reserves far in advance I usually extend a courtesy call a day or so in advance just to make sure they have no last minute questions and to make a final confirmation of their arrival.
    I never book a reservation online. I always call. I gives me a feeling for the place I’ve chosen before I get there, their customer service, etc.

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