If you’re a boat, watersport, or fishing rental business, you want to be able to spend your time on the water. Perhaps you offer fishing charters or kayak lessons – all that requires you to be present with your customers. This is what you love, so it’s where you want to be.
In order to get the customers to join you on the water, it’s important that you provide a seamless and easy way to book your rentals or activities. This is why it’s crucial to have a booking platform integrated with your website.
Not just any booking system, though. You want to look for one that meets the unique needs of your rental business. Offering these types of rentals such as boats, kayaks, jet skis, and other watersport equipment requires a specialized type of system that can manage it all, and manage it well.
When deciding on a reservation system, you’ll want to focus on these key features:
It MUST be a time saver. With a booking system that you can embed directly onto your website, it’s 24/7 reservations for you. No need to spend extra time on the phone or answering reservation request emails. Let your booking platform handle this for you. A good platform will come with a booking widget or embedded calendar that you can add to your website, so watersport enthusiasts can make a reservation with you at any time. Your customers can make a booking quickly and simply directly through your own site. Plus, it should offer automatic notifications, so once booked, your customer will immediately get all the details of the booking sent to their email.
It NEEDS to easily manage inventory. It’s imperative that you can see at a glance what inventory you have available, and be assured that nothing gets overbooked. A booking system will replace your need for spreadsheets (or pen/paper) to manage this key aspect of your business. Your booking platform should come with a master calendar view that shows you what’s booked and what’s available. Of course, it must have real-time availability, so as soon as a booking comes in through the website, back office, or even Facebook, the system will automatically update your availability.
It HAS to be Flexible. This will be important if you have multiple boat types with varying pricing rules. Many of you offer pricing discounts as the rental time increases. Or you have seasonal pricing that changes per time of year. Perhaps you offer hourly, daily, and multi-day rental options for your boat. These are all key parts to running your business and meeting the needs of your customers. Look for a booking system that can handle these situations easily, and make it a smooth booking process for your renters.
It needs to be EASY for you to get PAID. Taking bookings online is one thing, but having the ability to set your own payment rules to get paid at the time of booking is even better! Your booking system must allow you the flexibility to set your own deposit rules – 25% of the total, flat fee of $100, or even credit card to hold the booking. You decide what’s best for your business when it comes to getting paid.
It should allow you to EARN MORE. The system should come with extras such as the ability to upsell or offer gift cards. You want to offer a tube rental along with the pontoon? How about a lunch sack for your daily kayak rentals? Perhaps a GoPro rental to record catching that big fish with one of your fishing boats? Yes, yes, and yes! These are key items that can help you get increased sales. A good booking system will have a feature that allows you to offer these add-ons when a customer is booking online, or give you the opportunity to add these to a booking when the renter comes into your shop.
Sounds like a tall order, right? The great news is that there are booking systems out there that can do all this. The best booking system for rentals is WebReserv. It was designed for booking boat and watersport rentals and comes with all these must-have features and more. Even better, they offer an affordable system that doesn’t charge a booking fee to you or your customers for using the system. This means you keep your money, your customers are happy, and you can spend time where you want to be – on the water.