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The 10 “must-have” features of an online booking system

Tips & Advice


Olivia Oberle Ruiz
June 2, 2020


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Whether you offer cookery courses, quad-bike tours or Exit-Games, you will certainly want to make the online booking process as innovative and easy for your customers as possible.

Why? Because customers nowadays book hotels with their smartphones, reserve tables in restaurants and buy tickets for concerts online with very few clicks. Because they do it whether from home, on their laptop or on the move. And they also expect this option for leisure activities. This is where an online booking system comes into play.

In choosing suitable booking software, however, there are a few things that you really need to think about. Because a good booking tool should not just offer functions which:

  • make life easier for your customer
  • relieve you of tedious and time-consuming jobs.

So to help you a bit more, we have listed the 10 must-have features of a booking system which you definitely should take into account in choosing yours:

1. Online bookings in real time.

One of the greatest features of a booking system is that you no longer have to first make enquiries and then wait for your response, and you don’t have to process these enquiries manually. Instead, your customers will be able to see all the available dates directly, and make a booking. If there is no further availability on one date, this will be blocked in real time to prevent further bookings, without you having to lift a finger!

2. Various currencies and languages

You, as most organisers of leisure activities also want to reach international customers. So it is really important to have the opportunity to book at least in English and in the best case scenario in your own language, and to pay in their own currency. Ultimately there is a risk that if a customer cannot understand what or how he can book because of a language barrier, he will simply book with a competitor. Ideally, the online booking system, based on the customer’s IP address, will detect which language and currency to use

3. Voucher generation and management via the online booking system.

For many reasons, voucher are extremely important for business. These include not only gift vouchers to purchase, but also special promotions which have a stimulating effect on the marketing of your experiences. Whatever kind of vouchers you use, an efficient booking system generate and manage them efficiently and in a clearly understandable way. It should also be possible for the customer to enter vouchers from external voucher portals such as Groupon, so that they can redeem them during online booking.

4. Payment via PayPal

PayPal is a secure and simple way of paying online, which is why it is used with increasing frequency. And by users from anywhere in the world. It proves that you value your customer’s security and privacy, which creates trust. At the same time, you have the assurance that you will receive guaranteed online payments direct from your customers . PayPal as a payment option should therefore not be missing feature of a booking system.

5. Intelligent calendar/diary

An intelligent and easy-to-understand booking or occupancy calendar provides the user with a summary of all bookings. Also, capacity and turnover for the required periods at a glance. This will greatly simplify your resource planning. To avoid unnecessary work, a great feature of a booking system is to synchronise with digital diaries already used, such as Outlook or Gmail.

6. Online and telephone support for booking software

Sooner or later, when using software, you always reach a point where you need help from the developers. At those times there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to get the help you expect from the software house, or even help which was promised. Often a detailed Help database is sufficient for you to find the solution to problems connected with bookings, reservations or capacity quickly yourself. But if that’s not the case, you should be able to contact the developer both online and by telephone. One little tip: when you are testing out booking software, test the Support function too!

7. Automated e-mails make management easier

Sending out regular standardised e-mails, such as booking confirmations, reminders of a reservation, cancellations etc. takes up far too much time. It is tedious and tiring work and a booking system should automate it. For example, the customer should receive a a booking confirmation immediately after the online booking. This gives the customer certainty that the booking has actually gone through. The booking system should not just send confirmation e-mails to your customers, however, but also offer the option that you are also informed.

8. Booking management via Smartphone and Tablet

People offering outdoor activities in particular do not sit at a PC all day long, but often have to run their businesses on the move via a Smartphone or Tablet. This is why, to be run on a Cloud, is one of the features of a booking system. Then, it will not only be accessible worldwide, but also be automatically updated and maintained.

9. Integration of marketing platforms

In choosing your booking solution, you should ensure that it has integrated various different marketing platforms. These might include, for instance, TripAdvisor, GetYourGuide, EventimGuide, Jollydays, or Viator. These booking portals increase accessibility for potential new customers and in the best case can also generate a few bookings. It is important that these bookings are automatically synchronised immediately with the booking software. Then you retain full control of quotas, dates and prices.

10. Secure capital management

Of course, your next booking tool offers at least the first nine points, ensuring that your everyday work is made significantly easier. But none of these functions will help you, unless the tenth point is also fulfilled. The most important factor of all is that the solution is provided by a reliable and trustworthy company which picks up your data and capital generated securely. Which includes the fact that in the event of insolvency, your money will be safe. This is possible if your capital is not in fact managed by the company itself at all, but in the best case scenario a trustee account is set up for you with a reliable Bank which itself manages your capital.

Any other questions? You want more features of your booking system – Book a demo today.


Olivia Oberle Ruiz

Head of Marketing at bookingkit, and an avid traveller herself, Olivia enjoys helping operators of Tours, Activities & Attractions professionalize their business, not just through software, but also through providing helpful tips and best practices. Her favorite travel destinations are Puglia, Scotland and Istria - all amazing places with hidden gems to be discovered!

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