Online booking challenges – did you just build a bridge to nowhere?

Online booking is all about providing an integrated solution

Question.   What has this picture got to do with Bike Rental and online booking?

Answer.  Lots of stores make this mistake (metaphorically).  They have lovely looking booking widget or form on their beautiful bike rental website.  But behind the scenes they don’t have anything to manage all the bookings they take!   To carry on the analogy they have built a freeway right into the heart of their city – but the freeway just ends letting cars tail back or fall off when they reach the end.

Sound far – fetched?  you’d be surprised.  Now, I’m not talking about real cars falling off real freeways.  But I am saying that when you create an ‘online booking form’ or ‘shopping basket for rental’ on your site you are setting up an expectation with your users.  The expectation is that the form / widget will be easy to use AND when completed the resulting booking will be upheld.  They will be excited about using your kit on that date.

Now this is actually a big expectation to live up to and it often falls way short in reality.  I’ve lost count of the number of friends who have told me they rented a bike / scooter / surfboard only to turn up and have the staff scrabbling around out back to find something vaguely suitable!  This is not good enough. You’ve set yourself up for failure – and have failed before you’ve even started the rental!.  How is that going to get your repeat business or referrals?

If you do online booking, you need to do it properly or not at all.  No half measures.  This means your freeway must extend all the way into your city road system, not end just inside the city limits.  This means having a rental platform, not just a nice looking widget. You need a fully comprehensive back-end to actually manage the operations of your rentals all the way through from booking to delivery and beyond.  Anything short of that is just creating more harm than good.

Of course Bike Rental Manager comes with just about the most comprehensive back-office for managing rentals you can imagine.  Plus of course a world-class online booking engine, which directly communicates in real time with that back end.