How to use a booking calendar on your site to get more customers
If you had to book a service over the phone and your call was unanswered or you were forced to wait on hold, would you go somewhere else? According to research by GetApp, most people would.
Having to call, wait on hold, as well as the inability to schedule an appointment after business hours are some of the things that customers find most frustrating when booking over the phone.
The reality these days is that most people prefer to book online rather than by phone. Why? Because it’s fast, convenient, and they don’t have to talk to anyone.
Is that an option you’re offering to visitors on your website? If not, you’re most likely missing many opportunities to get more customers. How many? Research shows that 31% of people would be more likely to choose a new service provider if that provider offered online booking options.
In this post, we’ll share some of the biggest benefits to using a booking calendar on your website, and how to quickly add one to yours and get more people booking your classes, events, and services online.
The key benefits of using a booking calendar
If your business has gotten this far without a booking calendar, you might be wondering: do I even need one? Why bother if you already have people calling and emailing to book your services.
There are many reasons to add a booking calendar to your site. Let’s look at a few of the most important ones.
1. You can take bookings 24/7, no matter your hours of operation
If a potential customer calls and gets routed to voicemail, they may call back later, or they may call their second choice. A booking calendar means you don’t lose potential customers. Similar to how your website is always available and lets people learn more about your business, a booking calendar makes it easy for customers to book with you whenever is most convenient for them.
They can visit your website anytime – at 10pm or 2am, on the Tube to work or while listening to a podcast. They can check your upcoming events or availability on your calendar, and they can book on their own, at a time that’s right for them. So, instead of closing the doors at the end of the day, a booking calendar keeps them and your business open 24/7.
2. You’re not tied to a phone or time-consuming manual entry tasks
If you’re taking appointments by phone, you probably have a system where you need to manually add all that customer information into a spreadsheet. This may include names, phone numbers, addresses, events booked, services needed, dates and times, and maybe more. That’s a lot of typing that’s taking up time out of your day.
A booking calendar can free you up from all that manual data entry. You won’t need to worry about it because all that information is typed in by your customers when they book an appointment with you. This saves you time so you can focus on more important tasks, like growing your business, relaxing, or spending more time with your family.
3. It creates a pleasant and straightforward customer experience
Thanks to smartphones and easy access to the Internet, we’ve been hardwired to believe that anything’s accessible in a matter of seconds. That might also explain why we are so impatient and get frustrated so easily when we’re put on hold.
Taking bookings on your site not only speeds up the process for you but also for your customers. In just a few minutes, visitors on your site can book your events or services, add their information, and get a confirmation of their booking.
That’s the kind of experience your customers will appreciate, and the chances are they’ll come back and recommend you to others.
4. It helps you stay organised
Are you taking bookings by phone or email, manually adding all the customer information into a spreadsheet, maybe also writing some on sticky notes, a piece of paper or a planner? What happens if you accidentally lose a sticky note with a booking and fail to show up? Or if you realise you’re double-booked for a specific day and time?
If you’re serious about your growing your business, then you need to get organised. Fortunately, with a booking calendar, you have everything you need to run a successful business in one place.
So, how do you add a booking calendar to your website?
If you have a domain with 123 Reg, now’s the perfect time to use our Website Builder to create a professional website that you can customise to include all the features you need, including a booking calendar. If you don’t yet have a domain name yet, you can get one free for a year when you purchase Website Builder.
If you’re already using the 123 Reg Website Builder, then you’re set. You have access to some very useful widgets that let you display a calendar with your availability and events, as well as customisable contact forms that allow prospects to book your online courses, events, or services.
For example, you can use the Google Calendar widget to allow visitors to easily view your availability or any upcoming classes, seminars, and events that you’ll be hosting.
Go to your Website Builder Editor, and then select the page you want to add your calendar to. Click on Widgets on the left and run a search for Google Calendar. Now simply drag and drop the calendar onto your page. A pop up shows up where you can add your public Google Calendar to your site so visitors can see all your upcoming events and availability.
Here’s an example of how it looks an all devices – desktop, tablet, and smartphone:
Next, add a contact form widget below it so visitors can immediately book your services or sign up for any events that interest them. Here are two examples of how this might look, depending on your chosen template:
You can customise the form to include whatever information you require – name, email, address, the service needed or the name of the seminar or event they wish to attend, date and time, and more. You can also choose where to send the submissions and integrate it with other tools like Google Sheets or MailChimp.
These widgets are free and included with your Website Builder so make sure you take advantage to encourage more visitors to attend your events or book your services.
People prefer to book events and services online rather than by phone. It’s fast, convenient, and they don’t need to wait to talk to someone. But this also means they’ll quickly go to your competitors if your site doesn’t provide an option to book online. So, whether you sell online courses, events, or services, a booking calendar can improve both customers’ experience with you and your revenue.