The Year of the Millennial and How This Affects Business Growth

The Year of the Millennial and How This Affects Business Growth

Millennials are the demographic cohort born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. By 2036, researchers have calculated millennials will top out at 81.1 million. It’s apparent that this demographic already has a significant presence. Now is the time to start shifting your business focus to millennials, as well as the potentially more obvious cohorts. If you do so, you can tap in to additional income, revenue and success.

Word of Mouth (W-O-M) Matters

Although it often seems outdated, word of mouth is fast becoming the most influential factor in the purchasing decision process. This is particularly apparent in relation to the buying patterns of millennials. It may be taking place through social media rather than literal word of mouth, but it’s important to keep this technique in mind.

Earlier this year, Huffington Post reported 68% of millennials are likely to purchase after seeing a friend’s post about a service or product via social media. That means if you make 100 sales you could make an additional 68 without having to do anything other than maintaining and encouraging active social media profiles! You can do this via interaction with each mention you get on sites such as Facebook, even those that are negative. If there is a negative comment the second worst way to handle it – the first being to react in an angry and argumentative way – is to ignore it.

The best way to deal with this is to thank the commenter for their feedback, promise to take it on board and offer them a solution. As well as offering to assist the original commenter, potential customers will view these replies and see how helpful your business is. You’ll also have access to unedited feedback which can help you develop and grow.

Millennials Influence on Travel Trends

As well as social media, millennials can be found frequenting the travel industry. Air travel bookings are becoming cheaper, which is providing the younger generation with new opportunities and aspirations. In fact, 70% of young adults are more likely to have budgeted for annual travel than their older counterparts.

Alongside their love of travel, millennials are already moving on from the age of the ‘selfie’, opting for the far more aptly named ‘braggie’. Surveys suggest that in 2013 alone the number of social media users worldwide increased by 18%, with an average of 350 million photos uploaded to Facebook each day!

In an age where social media profiles are carefully crafted and constructed, not only by businesses but by individuals, it’s no surprise generation Y are wanting to share their carefully selected memories. This is good news for businesses, as they can tap in to public sharing and ensure they’re getting snapped!

How to Attract Millennials

Travel goes hand in hand with tours, activities and various other forms of adventure which is useful for businesses within those industries. Utilise your tour or activity business so it’s getting seen by millennials. Market your bookings as fun and adrenaline-filled, put adverts in places millennials will frequent – e.g. university halls – and provide online booking options to keep up with their shift to technology.

More and more people are booking online rather than over the phone, so it’s vital you provide this option to prevent losing out on custom. Booking Live offer specialist online booking systems for professional activity and tour businesses, as well as many other industries, so get in touch today to find out how you can start attracting additional custom.

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How to Survive ‘Mobilegeddon': Make Sure You’re Mobile-Ready

How to Survive ‘Mobilegeddon': Make Sure You’re Mobile-Ready

What is ‘Mobilegeddon’?

It’s always best to start with the basics when tackling any major technological update, which is why we’re here to fill you in on the latest digital updates. ‘Mobilegeddon’ is the fittingly dramatic nickname given to Google’s latest algorithm change. As of 21st April, Google will be penalising any websites which aren’t mobile optimised. Although the mobile-readiness of a website has always had an affect on Google rankings, it is now becoming more and more influential. ‘Mobilegeddon’ is coming.

Google announced “this change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results”. But it’s not all bad, as “users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” Either way, tech experts are saying it’s imperative businesses focus on making mobile experiences even better than desktop.

Is My Site Mobile-Ready?

If you aren’t sure whether or not your website is mobile-compatible, you can use handy tools such as Google Webmasters to check. Simply input your URL and Google will assess whether or not your site is mobile-ready. ipadpeek is another good site to check out. Here you also type in your URL, then ipadpeek will show you how your website looks across various devices, including mobile.

My Website Isn’t Mobile-Ready!

Don’t panic, here at Booking Live we offer expert website design solutions. We can create a mobile-ready site for your business which seamlessly incorporates your mobile-ready booking system. That’s right, our booking systems are mobile-ready too. Simply contact us for more information.

Booking Live’s Mobile-Ready Solutions

To find out more about ensuring your business is mobile-ready and to discuss your online booking system and website design options, contact us today.

If you’re interested in seeing our mobile-ready booking systems in action, book on to a free webinar demo - you’ll even have the chance to take part in a live Q&A session!

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Online Travel Booking: Would you Rather Book In Person or Online?

Online Travel Booking: Would you Rather Book In Person or Online?

It’s a simple yes/no question, but the answers seem to be causing controversy. Recently there have been bold claims travel agencies are becoming redundant in favour of online travel booking, yet if you pop out to your local highstreet you’ll still see the likes of Thomas Cook and Trailfinders.

When you think about it, if you’re working 9-5, Monday to Friday do you really have time to go out and book a holiday? Surely online travel booking is much more appealing? It certainly seems that way for most, with over 45% of people now booking trips online – an increase of more than 10% in just four years. Research clearly suggests the presence of physical travel agencies are on their way out. Read on to find out how you can prevent loss of custom through implementation of online travel booking software.

Enhance Online Travel Bookings

As well as supplying expert online booking systems to tour and activity centres, Booking Live’s online booking systems integrate with multiple add-ons and plugins. We ensure all your customer’s online travel queries can be answered via your website.

Skyscanner

With the Skyscanner integration your customers can quickly and easily compare cheap flights, car hire and more. This helps to simplify their online travel booking journey and promotes the ease of use your site provides, increasing chances of repeat bookings.

Google Maps

The ever-popular Google Maps feature can be added to your online booking system so your customers can find personalised directions to your venue. Not only does this save your customers time, but it also prevents staff members having to respond to multiple direction queries.

Postcoder

Allies Computing’s clever piece of software saves your customers time and provides an impressive booking journey. Customers simply enter their postcode and click to look-up their address, rather than having to enter it all manually.

Check out our Online Booking System Extras page for more integrations. If you’re interested in adding any of these features to your Booking Live system get in touch today.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Let us know and we’ll see what we can do.

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Booking Live Updates: From HQ Moves to Booking Live Newbies

Booking Live Updates: From HQ Moves to Booking Live Newbies

As many of you are aware, there have been a lot of new and exciting developments here at Booking Live over the last couple of months. Alongside the implementation of Booking Live 3 we’ve moved to a bigger and better HQ, as well as welcoming new team members! It’s safe to say there’s a lot going on.

We just wanted to take a moment to say a huge thank you to all our clients for bearing with us over this period. Although the majority of our clients won’t have been aware of any changes, we wanted to let you know what’s going on in the world of Booking Live.

Due to rapid growth we’ve had to employ more team members. This hasn’t been easy. Here at Booking Live we only work with the best, digitally-driven individuals out there, so it takes a lot of time to sift through applicants before finding the right one. In order to help us out with this process we employed a local recruitment agency, Novate IT. We haven’t worked with a recruitment agency before, but found we simply didn’t have enough time to focus on the task as well as we needed to.

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We worked closely with Stewart, an IT Recruitment specialist from Novate, to find an additional developer for our team. With the introduction of Booking Live 3 and an increase in clients we needed more hands on deck for development and support tasks. We interviewed a handful of Novate’s carefully selected candidates here at our Booking Live HQ before finding the right one. Thanks to Novate we were able to start working with a top developer, who has a wealth of experience and loves all things tech. You can rest assured your Booking Live systems are in the right hands!

We’ve also welcomed a new Sales Manager and Project Manager to our team too! This is great news for our clients, as it means they’ll have more booking system experts working with them, and it’s great news for us because we’ll have more drinking buddies – not that we go for post-work drinks… The more the merrier!

If you’re interested in joining our team head over to our Careers Page (please note: we aren’t currently looking to work with any other recruitment agencies for these roles). Fancy have a nose at our new HQ (and team members)? Get in touch, we’d be happy to show you around.

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Client Spotlight: Youngstars – Booking Systems for Holiday Camps

Client Spotlight: Youngstars – Booking Systems for Holiday Camps

John Wardle, the Director of Youngstars, runs a successful holiday camp business. He needed to improve his booking process so got in touch with us. Currently working across six venues, with more lined up, Youngstars run holiday camps for children aged three to ten. Having launched their booking system for holiday camps at the end of January, Youngstars are already noticing the benefits.

How Did you Deal with Bookings Before Your Booking System for Holiday Camps?

“We relied on a process which involved multiple emails being manually sent to and fro between ourselves and parents. We were then having to copy and paste booking details from the emails in to individual spreadsheets for each venue. As you can imagine this involved us spending a huge amount of time on admin tasks! The expansion of venues and an increase in customers also meant we weren’t able to keep up with demand. ”

How Do you Deal with Your Holiday Camp Bookings Now?

“The main benefit of Booking Live is the time it saves us. We’re no longer spending hours taking and managing bookings. The reporting features offered by Booking Live are another huge bonus. Reports for registers are perfect. At the start of each camp we can quickly log-in to our system and simply download the day’s schedule. This includes all participant’s details, so staff members can see at a glance any special requirements and monitor attendance levels.

Although any sort of new change is likely to cause problems, we’ve barely had any parents contacting us confused about using the system. Booking Live is great for saving us and parents time.”

John told us one of the reasons he chose Booking Live over other providers was because we’ve worked with a large amount of businesses similar to his. He could tell we knew what we were doing. If you’re looking for an online booking solution but need a bit of help, feel free to get in touch with us today. Our expert team are more than happy to help you along your online booking journey.

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Want your business in the Client Spotlight? Email caitlin@bookinglive.com for more info.

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Reclaim your Voucher VAT

Reclaim your Voucher VAT

Here at Booking Live we integrate with various voucher providers such as Groupon, so our client’s customers can redeem various discount codes. We also provide clients with the ability to set up their own internal vouchers, providing anything from discounts to gift options.

One of our clients, Steve from Wild Wood, recently got in touch about a voucher VAT redemption method that he’d discovered. He kindly asked if we could share his findings with the rest of our clients, so you have Steve to thank for any tax refunds you receive!

“All vouchers not redeemed after their valid expiry date can have their VAT reclaimed!” Steve, Wild Wood

You can reclaim the VAT spent from as far back as your first voucher sale, as long as you have been selling vouchers since then. To prove to HMRC that they are unclaimed, you simply need to produce a report, which can be done through your Booking Live system. You can then get back up to 20% of their value in your next VAT return.

If you have any handy hints and tips that you’d like to share feel free to post them on the Customer Forum or email caitlin@bookinglive.com. For more information about setting up vouchers head over to the User Manual. Thanks again Steve!

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Essential Cloud-Based Tech Trends for SMEs in 2015

Essential Cloud-Based Tech Trends for SMEs in 2015

In a world where technology is constantly changing it’s surprising to discover tech trends for SMEs haven’t changed that much over the past year. Having said that, major trends have become more influential, determined and accessible, especially in relation to SMEs. A key contender is automation, with mobile, cloud and software all falling under the tech trend’s spell. We’ve put together three key tech trends for SMEs to look out for to ensure their businesses are streamlined and up-to-date.

The Cloud

Use of the cloud has dominated SME tech trends over the past few years, with a huge increase in the amount of businesses using the web-based phenomenon to streamline various processes. A significant proportion of companies have even started to remove on-site technology, such as desktop computers and printers, in favour of running their IT infrastructure from the cloud. For SMEs it may not be as easy to get rid of hardware, especially if large costs were involved in sourcing them, but shifting the way your business is run so the cloud comes in to play is a good start. The more popular cloud solutions become the more affordable the options, so make sure you keep an eye on the latest services.

Booking Live are advocates of cloud-centred approaches. Not only do we run our online booking systems from the cloud but our software requires no downloads so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world, all you need is an internet connection. We also love the cloud because it allows us to perform regular, automatic backups so not only does our data stay secure but our clients’ does too.

Increased Data Security

Following on from backups, the security of data is an integral component of any business, from customer details to financial history it’s vital information is kept safe. As tech trends for SMEs expand so do the inevitable security risks. In regards to booking system data Booking Live’s software is hosted by the experts at Rackspace. The hosting providers have state-of-the-art tools to highlight any potential security breaches so they can prevent them before they even happen.

Run your Business from your Mobile Phone

It’s no secret there’s been a huge shift towards mobile-first approaches to running a business. From mobile optimised websites to user experience, it’s obvious a brand’s online design is key to success.

Booking Live enables clients to run their business from anywhere at any time, with fully mobile optimised systems. Our client’s customers are also able to book from anywhere at any time through mobile optimisation. We even offer web design services to ensure your website matches the responsiveness of the booking system.

So there you have it, a quick round-up of 3 key tech trends for SMEs to look out for this year. If you have any questions or would like to know more please contact us today.

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Online Booking Systems for Activity Centres of All Shapes & Sizes!

Online Booking Systems for Activity Centres of All Shapes & Sizes!

Along with a variety of other industries Booking Live work closely with multiple activity centres who’re based all over the world. If you’re unsure as to whether or not your activity centre should implement Booking Live’s solutions, then you’ve come to the right place! Read on to find out about some of the many features we offer, in specific relation to activity centre providers.

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Happy Customers

Online booking systems such as Booking Live provide your customers with a log-in feature, so they can view and edit their bookings from anywhere, at any time. This reduces the likelihood of no-shows as customers are able to edit their bookings when they want, rather than having to phone during business hours.

Booking Live also integrates with Trip Advisor, so you can display customer reviews and photos on your website. Nowadays reviews are central to generating new business, so showing your customer’s positive experiences will ensure more people book on to your activities and courses.

Expert Integrations to Manage your Entire Business

With Booking Live’s online booking management systems you can manage all aspects of your business from one place. Integrations with emarketing tools such as Mailchimp makes staying in touch with customers is a breeze. You can even manage accounts and finances with Booking Live’s partners such as QuickBooks and Xero.

Additional integrations include Skyscanner and Google Maps, so your customers can easily find the best route to your activity centre no matter where they are in the world.

Sell and Redeem Vouchers, Merchandise and More

Booking Live software works with EPOS hardware so you can set-up your very own ecommerce website or web page enabling you to generate additional revenue. List and sell items online throughout the year. You can even make the most of events such as Christmas by providing your customers with discounts – which can be set up using Booking Live – or vouchers – which can be redeemed via Groupon.

International Online Booking Systems

Booking Live work with activity centres in the UK, US and even the UAE. With remote servers our booking systems can be accessed anywhere, there’s no need for any downloads. We also provide multi-lingual interface options along with multiple currency options, so you can run a successful activity centre with our international online booking systems.

We don’t want to ramble on for ages so we’re going to stop there, but we do have a number of other features available so make sure you check out our feature list. If you’re interested in setting up an online booking system for your activity centre, or want to know about other businesses that we work with then contact us today!

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Client Spotlight: Clifton College – Booking Systems for Holiday Clubs

Client Spotlight: Clifton College – Booking Systems for Holiday Clubs

Working in the heart of the second largest technology hub in the UK has enabled us to gain a handful of Bristol-based clients. As with all our clients, we’re extremely proud to have Clifton College as part of our online booking community. Andy from Clifton College tells us all about the company’s online booking system for holiday clubs and how they came to find us here at Booking Live.

What Do you Do?

“We run holiday clubs throughout the school holidays. Focusing on three main age groups: 3-4, 5-7 and 8-13 year olds we offer a range of activities including swimming and outdoor play. Our holiday clubs include day courses, half day sessions and full weeks.”

What Were you Looking for?

“Before Booking Live we had our very own, in-built booking system. Despite being developed specifically for us, our old system was created years ago so wasn’t able to keep up with the demands of our Holiday Clubs. I researched online booking systems for holiday clubs and came across Booking Live. I took my findings back to the team and found out we’d actually contacted the company before during previous searches – they’d obviously stuck in our minds!

Along with reliability and robustness we needed a system which came with accessible support. Booking Live stood out due to their Online Helpdesk which provided as close to 24 hour support as we could find.”

What Do you Think?

“So far our Booking Live experience has been pretty good! Our Account Manager Florina was excellent at getting us up and running and the Online Helpdesk is particularly helpful – the support team reply quickly to any raised issues.  Booking Live’s reports are also really easy to use. When we had our previous system I had to email people requesting specific reports, but now I can simply log-in and export the desired report myself.”

What Do your Customers Think?

“We haven’t had loads of responses from our customers, but the general consensus is that this system is better than our previous one. Although parents are finding they’re having to input their child’s details each time they make a new booking this problem will be resolved via the online account feature. From here parents are able to log-in, view and manage their bookings which will save them loads of time.”

Thanks Andy! We’re looking forward to working with a business based in our very own Bristol and can’t wait to continue growing our client base. If you’re looking for an online booking system then contact us today! For more information about featuring in a Client Spotlight piece contact caitlin@bookinglive.com.

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‘Appcessories’ Are the New Black

‘Appcessories’ Are the New Black

It’s old news that the use of mobile devices to access the internet has increased dramatically over the past few years. Don’t worry, we won’t go on again about how important we think mobile-first approaches have become. Instead we’re going to tell you all about the latest mobile trend: ‘Appcessories’. The Telegraph define appcessories as “app-activated objects that can be plugged into a device, connect through Wi-Fi, or the increasingly common Bluetooth connection”. Examples of appcessories range from smart watches, a form of ‘wearables’, to augmented reality board games. Chances are you’ve already come in to contact with a variety of appcessories such as these, you may even own some, without having known the insider terminology.

Appcessories for Good

Although many describe their latest mobile or tech toy as “a lifesave”, appcessories are literal lifesavers to others. Personal medial devices such as blood sugar monitors which send automatic text message alerts to individuals or caregivers when said individual is at risk. Appcessories are enabling many with the independence they never thought they’d have. Many appcessories – including smart watches – are set to decrease the amount of unhealthily overweight individuals there are. Linking to popular apps including FitBit users are able to monitor the amount of exercise they’re doing versus the amount of calories they’re consuming within seconds. The app does all the maths, calorie counting has never been so easy!

So there you have it, not only is technology entertaining and fun but it’s also sometimes vital for life.

How does Booking Live fit in?

Booking Live’s online booking and business management software may not come in the form of a wearable app but that’s because it doesn’t need to. Each Booking Live system is accessible remotely via dedicated cloud hosting and, as no downloads are necessary, you can access your booking system from anywhere in the world. All you need is an internet connection! As the latest version of Booking Live is now fully responsive our clients can access their systems from a mobile device so they can keep track of bookings whether or not they’re in the office safely and securely.

If you’re looking to implement an online booking system in to your business please contact our Sales Team today. More information can be found via our website www.bookinglive.com.

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