Online Booking System: What to Look For

Online Booking System: What to Look For

Online booking systems have benefited numerous businesses worldwide. Travel agencies, tour companies, course or training providers, event organisers are among those who have taken full advantage of the many features offered by online booking systems such as BookingLive. Through implementation of an online booking system organisations are able to maximise their business opportunities and online sales.

It is important to look for certain features when looking for an online booking system. We’ve put together a list of these to help you choose the ideal online booking system for your business:

1. Use of high resolution images

Online booking systems which provide image galleries entice customers to book online and are far more successfully than those which don’t.

2. A simple but attractive “book now” button

This will further entice customers to make a booking with you due to ease of access.

3. Facilitation of real-time booking and email

Customers want reassurance their bookings and reservations have been made. Online booking systems should have features which enable automated confirmation emails to be sent to customers.

4. Updates and information

Booking systems should be integrated with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This way customers have access to all updates on the latest deals and promotions.

5. Security and support

Payments through online booking systems must be secure. PayPal, Sagepay, Worldpa are all preferred ways for customers to pay online. Customers should also be aware of the presence of online and phone support that they can turn to if they have any queries.

6. Display live availability

Customers should be 1 click away from booking and within booking live you can show live availability anywhere within your website.Additionally show customers where they are during the booking process.

7. Consider a multinational audience

Online booking systems should offer a choice of various languages and currencies to account for a global audience.

9. Consider cloud hosting

Here at Booking Live we host with rackspace cloud which allows you to access files remotely, saving time. Cloud hosting also allows you to expand and process large volumes of bookings in a short space of time.

BookingLive offers all these online booking system features and more. We are proud developers of an award-winning web-based tool which comes with a free trial and free set-up. Find out more about our variety of price plans or contact us with any questions today.

online_booking_system

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Increase Online Bookings Quickly and Easily: Top Tips

Increase Online Bookings Quickly and Easily: Top Tips

Congratulations, your brand new BookingLive system is up and running! Now all you need to do is let customers know so you can start taking online bookings as soon as possible.

We’ve put together a simple 6-step plan to ensure you successfully advertise and promote your new booking system so as to increase online bookings straight away.

1. Spread the word

People are more likely to be active on social networking sites than they are on your website so you should start by posting short, to-the-point Facebook and Twitter updates. These could be along the lines of “You can now book online 24/7! Head over to our website to see for yourself…”; anything that grabs their attention and gets them onto your website is great. We also advise sending an update or newsletter via email so your existing customers are aware of the new booking process.

2. Make yourself seen

Ensure website visitors don’t have to look for the fact you now take online bookings, include headers or buttons on each page saying something like “Book now!”. Make sure any website visitors can’t miss this development and you’ll efficiently increase online bookings.

3. Reward your customers

We strongly recommend you encourage customers to book online rather than over the phone, especially in the first few months of going live. You can do this by providing incentives such as coupons and discounts for booking online. This will also allow you to track the increase of online bookings enabling you to further promotion; it’s win-win for both you and your customers!

4. Update company information

Make sure all your information – such as email signatures, flyers and business cards – inform customers they can now book online. Include details of discounts such as “Save 10% by booking online!” to successfully increase online bookings.

5. Stay active on blogs and social network sites

Customers need to know your business is active so you should aim to blog weekly, posting links to your blog on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. This will help increase online bookings by creating a strong online presence.

6. Ask for feedback

By including links to an online feedback form on confirmation emails and social media pages you’re providing customers with the chance to send you feedback. This is a great way to interact with them and improve your services at the same time.

Start following these 6 simple steps today and you’ll be well on the way to increasing online bookings! For more information on how to promote your new BookingLive system contact your account manager or contact us online.

increase_online_bookings

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Universal Analytics (The Google Analytics replacement)

Universal Analytics (The Google Analytics replacement)

On the 2nd April 2014, Google released their new analytics platform Universal Analytics. While this new platform brings a host of new features, please be aware that BookingLive does not currently support this.

A few clients have upgraded their Google Analytics account, which means their site will no longer track their website without code changes. This is a one way upgrade, and there is no rollback process to go from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics.

While we are investigating this for the new product, we advise all customers not to upgrade their accounts as of yet, if they wish to use it with the booking system. Unfortunately, any support won’t cover this change, and subsequently may be chargeable.

We are currently ascertaining the impact on our code base, if the changes are small we may look at updating client systems on an adhoc basis. Thank you for your understanding.

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OpenSSL Heart bleed – was your booking system affected?

OpenSSL Heart bleed – was your booking system affected?

There has been lots of talk in the media, about the OpenSSL Heart bleed vulnerability in recent days, causing concern throughout the IT community.

Obviously for us, it was a concern but we do benefit from being relatively small compared to networks with over 2 million SSL certificates issued like Cloudflare.

We’ve conducted the risk assessments, and to set minds at ease you’ll be glad to know all our servers on the Rackspace platform were not vulnerable to this. The majority of our customer base are on Rackspace, so for us this is a big relief.

Despite this we’ve upgraded to the new patched OpenSSL version anyway, to ensure we’re in line with the rest of the industry should any more flaws in older versions come to light.

In regards to any clients on domains with IPs 81.201.129.XXX on our other network, you’ll be pleased to hear the system was patched last night.

Password changes

Some in the security industry, are telling the global public to immediately change all of their passwords. While we think this is slightly reactionary, we have taken precautions and done this on our servers.

We would urge our customers, to possibly review their passwords given the light of this information, and take the opportunity to update them for their main logins for your booking systems.

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Better support for your booking system

Better support for your booking system

Booking Live have upgraded their support system for Better support for your business and your booking system. Booking Live are proud to announce the upgrade for our support system.

Our customers will be receiving activation emails for the new service. The service brings a host of new features such as:

  • A fresh and easy to use interface
  • Fully usable on mobile (and a mobile app)
  • Single sign on (Google / Facebook / Twitter)
  • Company level logins (View tickets made by others at your company)
  • SLA management

We have proudly chosen to partner with Freshdesk for this service, and we hope it helps us assist you better going forward as we strive to provide excellent support, uptime and SLA to our customers.

If you do not receive an email for the service in the coming weeks just contact us and we’ll get you setup. Thank you for your custom.

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Booking Software Schedule Maintenance – 17th May 2014

Booking Software Schedule Maintenance – 17th May 2014

Please note we have maintenance scheduled for the 17th May 2014, this will affect the majority of clients (including enterprise dedicated clients).

Those clients not affected are on the IPs 81.201.129.1 to 81.201.129.254. To determine your IP address of your booking software, you can use the service https://www.whatsmydns.net/

The maintenance will take place between 00:01 and 06:00 BST, but expected to be completed around 02:00 BST. There will be no risk to data, however there will be total loss of the network, due to machines being powered down and moved.

Should you have any questions or concerns please contact booking live. We apologise for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

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BookingLive – Monitoring our systems

BookingLive – Enterprise level monitoring

At BookingLive, we take the quality of our booking systems seriously. Although we traditionally support 09:00-17:30 we are monitoring our services 24 hours a day.

Over the years BookingLive have relied on services such as Pingdom, but noticed that these services only help you once the server is down. We were not happy with the scenario, and as such sought to implement monitoring akin to organisations 100x our size.

The bookings market, is primarily seasonal, and as such the usage of the servers spike during different periods of the year. Without concrete statistics, a company cannot plan for growth and implement change when required to their servers, before it’s too late.

Our objectives

  • Continually improve learning about what causes outages
  • React to outages before they become client facing
  • Log as much data as possible for post analysis
  • Closely monitor security events
  • Notify all key staff of events
  • Reduce downtime
  • Automate recovery processes

Implementation

While we won’t share the tools we use to accomplish the tasks, we can say that they are widely used around the world and considered an industry standard. Below is just a taste of what we do here, with the scope growing each day.

Server monitoring

The first task of implementation was to get the systems working at a good base level. This of course started with getting the core applications running across our network and through our firewalls!

Goals

  • Get basic monitoring configured
  • Configure notifications to staff
  • Start building a statistical base

Outcomes

Once setup, we were quickly able to build data from our live systems. Below are some example datasets that we record minute by minute from all our servers to a secure location.

The initial setup had us monitoring:

  • CPU statistics
  • Memory usage
  • Database utilisation
  • Disk space utilisations
  • Critical service monitoring (Web service / FTP / Database)

An example CPU utilisation graph

BookingLive Monitoring - CPU utilisation

 

An example CPU load graph

BookingLive Monitoring - CPU Load

 

Benefits

  • Quickly build up profiles of the servers
  • Analyse peak usages and spikes
  • Change internal IT practices to smooth the load
  • Warnings for monitored items when hitting thresholds

Individual client monitoring

While monitoring an individual server with many Bookinglive clients is fantastic, we were not happy. Quickly we expanded out the product to monitor individual client sites, and key business processes. If a customers key process was bookings, we sought to ensure and report on whether the booking process was active.

It is important when a client identifies a problem with their site, that we can verify/corroborate their version of events.

BookingLive Web Monitoring

The above example, is a 7 day track of response times for a client, if they report a slow down on the site at a certain time, we can use over 400 monitoring points to track exactly why the slow down occurred.

Automation of key tasks

Additionally to monitoring clients sites, we also must monitor other key factors such as

  • Security
  • Error logs
  • Automated script runs

With so many servers, manually combing through log files, and doing access audits is a task that cannot be done manually every time! We routinely monitor our servers on aspects such as server access, and rogue internet users automatically, as well as manual checks.

Because we are so flexible, we can react to any new threat, and setup monitoring across all servers for the same instance of events with a few clicks of the mouse. This has drastically reduced the time to deploy new processes, and improved security on our servers, as well as client systems.

In  closing…

BookingLive is continuing to improve our service, and monitoring solutions are playing a crucial role in maintaining the levels of service and expertise this coming year.

No solution is one that can solve every problem, but our monitoring framework is moving us quickly towards maintaining visibility of our growing client base, and keeping quality levels consistent.

2014 is the year of big data, and BookingLive wants to ensure we have the data we need internally to support our clients. You will never appreciate the full value of historical data, until you depend upon it to solve a problem…

Hope you found it an interesting read!

Written by Robert Cox

 

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Tour Operators Get More Bookings Using BookingLive

Tour Operators Get More Bookings Using BookingLive

Tour operators get more bookings and can cash in on the growing market of tourists by investing in a web-based booking system. Tour operators can get more bookings if their website is integrated with an on-line booking platform that features numerous benefits specific for tour operators.

Our booking systems are hosted on dedicated servers with Rackspace to best ensure that your business is available 24/7. Travel companies and tour operators maximize their revenue streams with such availability.

BookingLive has been designed to be mobile responsive and encourage upselling through promoting extras, related activities and sending automated messages to customers.

BookingLive provides Silverstripe CMS within the booking system allowing you to enhance user experience and include photos and videos to visualize their tours or holidays. Contact details of the tour company like phone number and e-mail address with contact forms can also be displayed on the booking system.  It also pays if the system has a survey feedback form that customers can submit on-line – something available automatically within BookingLive. Other features of the booking system include pages such as an About Us page, widgets such as an availability calendar and social media integration to keep customers updated on deals and promos.

These features are found on the BookingLive website, a market leading online booking system developed in the United Kingdom. BookingLive help process millions of bookings for companies from different markets all over the world.

Find out more about how BookingLive can provide a Tour Reservation System for your business. Contact us.

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What is Saas Booking Software?

What is SaaS Booking Software?

Software as a Service or SaaS is any program that is hosted by a service provider and offered to customers online.  In simple terms, the software is rented by users online instead of purchasing and installing the program on their computers. BookingLive, a SaaS booking software, requires users to use a web browser to access, edit and save their files.

Our SaaS booking software is simple, cost-effective and the main reason why many businesses and individuals choose to use BookingLive. Any business can benefit from our Saas booking software via a web-enabled computer or even a smartphone. Instead of purchasing expensive bespoke booking software for reservations, payment processing and other business requirements, simply sign up online and pay for the SaaS booking software on a monthly basis.

One of the more reputable, long-standing Saas booking software in the market today is BookingLive. The software helps businesses improve their online sales and efficiency through its different business management tools and modules. Customers can have their website and booking system set up in minutes using the wizard. UK based, BookingLive is managed by a team of more than 30 years combined experience.

The SaaS Booking Software is hosted on dedicated servers with rackspace, ensuring uptime is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Technical support is also made available to enterprise clients during and after the booking software development.

To find out more, please contact BookingLive today.

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We’re Hiring: Business Development Manager

Business Development Manager (Sales)

Role Description:

The following Business Development Manager role is primarily to generate new business at BookingLive. Along with an excellent salary base + commission, you will be working for a software development company that has already seen tremendous dominance in a competitive market. You will be within a professional environment in Bristol with commitment to success and development.

Key Responsibilities:

- Lead generation, qualify enquiries, meet targets
- Liaise with the managing director during job costing phase
- Gain extensive knowledge of BookingLive and the marketplace
- Market planning and execution
- Deliver webinars (demos), attend events and trade shows
- Account management

Required Skills:

- Minimum of 2 years sales experience
- Software development knowledge and experience
- Enthusiastic, professional, confident, dedicated and likeable
- Excellent sales skills, literacy and English as the primary language
- Negotiation, commercial planning, account and retention planning
- Commitment for 3+ years

If you are interested, please forward us your CV and covering letter.

We don’t work with recruitment agencies.

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