People like booking online. If you go to the trouble of presenting an availability calendar, why not allow your visitor to complete the booking there and then ?
Holiday accommodation, theatres, consultants, activities, restaurants; whatever your business, if you need to take advance bookings, schedule appointments or manage reservations, it makes sense to free your staff from handling booking calls, and does away with customers' frustration at having to wait in a telephone queue.
If you take this step, you have to do it right. It is very easy to build a bad online booking system, an immensely frustrating thing to encounter, and the surest way to put people off booking.
No two booking systems are ever completely the same. Each business will have its own idiosyncrasies that need to be represented and accounted for. This takes careful planning. Do it right, and your customers will love you.
Case Study : Treesurfers online booking system
Because of the nature of the business, they need to be able to define different periods of availability for different times of the year, for each activity independantly.
For instance, during quieter periods, they need to create time slots at weekends only, sometimes only for one activity, with later opening times and earlier closing times.
They also need to be able to create vouchers and special offers, and have them redeemable against bookings.
Reports that give an overview of daily activity, daily takings, and takings over freely definable periods of time are also vital to help with the management of the business.
The system integrates seamlessly with SagePay's Go payment gateway.