Get ready NOW for your season 2018 bookings!

Get ready NOW for your season 2018 bookings!

We understand that switching from a paper-based diary to an online booking system is a big decision.

Are you still managing bookings the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper diary?

The hotel industry has online bookings sewn up but there are still plenty of businesses out there in the outdoor holiday arena using spreadsheets and paper files to manage their bookings and customer details.

This is fine, if it works, but most would agree they would benefit from a reduction in the admin load. If you are one of those getting fed up with lost information and manually flicking through pages of entries looking for bookings or customer information, you should probably think about adopting an online booking software to streamline how you work.

Choose a booking system that’s specific to your industry, that understands your needs and gives you the power to run your business your way. If you are a campsite, glamping site, motorhome or self-catering holiday cottage business, activity centre or a combination of these, cue Anytime Booking.

One of the big wins with a system like ours is that everything is in one place. All the booking, customer and financial information is updated in everyone’s view at the same time and all email communication related to your bookings is automated.

Is it hard for a paper-based business to transition to an online platform?

Honestly, no, not with us. Here at Anytime Booking we give you a dedicated Customer Success Manager to help you through the entire process. From set up, to training and aftercare support, we make the transition as straight-forward and painless as possible.

Once you are up and running, you will instantly see how we improve your business; everything is automated, from managing bookings and OTA (online travel agent) channels, through to confirmation emails and cash list reports. We help you save time and increase revenue while you enjoy giving great customer service.

Just some of the benefits of taking that step

Cloud-based access from anywhere – multiple users can access the booking system from any device with internet connection; no need to share one desk-diary or update multiple spreadsheets.

Sharing real time availability – once a booking is made, no-one else will be able to select those dates for that particular pitch, pod or cottage (an easy mistake to make when you’re working with spreadsheets and post-it notes!)

Dashboard – gives you an instant snapshot of all new bookings, departures, arrivals, and outstanding balances in one place, no cross-referencing spreadsheets.

Your bookings, your money – we power commission-free direct bookings from your website at any time of day or night, but you can use it to process telephone bookings too.

Automated confirmation and balance reminder emails – restore your sanity! Send automated emails for all bookings, whether confirmation, pre-arrival, balance reminder or post-stay.

Keep in control of your pricing – manage all your rates and rules for minimum stays and occupancy levels all in one place; set up special packages and discounts.

Channel management – share your rates with OTAs (online travel agents) if you wish to drive more bookings through multiple sales channels like Pitch Up, Airbnb and Booking.com (commissions to the channel will apply).

Fantastic customer support – get unrivalled service from the Customer Success and Helpdesk teams at Anytime Booking. We have spent thousands of hours becoming specialist in the outdoor holiday market.

When is the best time to look for a new booking system for your holiday accommodation?

There is no time like the present. Act now to get live online for the 2018 season!

Tips to increase direct bookings to your campsite or glamping site

Tips to increase direct bookings to your campsite or glamping site

Do you want to take more direct online bookings and cut down on the commission you’re giving away?

 

Online travel agencies (OTAs) can be very useful for upping your occupancy in the shoulder months. They can take the sweat out of your marketing efforts, dressing you up in their shop windows and showing you off to thousands of potential visitors without you having to put in too much effort. But with that, you give away fistfuls of cash every time you take a booking from them.

 

While Anytime connects campsites, glamping sites and holiday cottages to a whole host of industry-relevant OTAs and portal sites to give you the choice of where you want to sell your offerings, you may want to concentrate on taking more direct online bookings.

 

Tips

 

  1. We’ve just said that OTAs eat up a chunk of commission every time they push a booking your way, but listing with them can increase the number of people who visit your website direct after hearing about you through them. So, list with them. But you don’t need to put every pitch, pod, room or property up (wink).
  2. Make your website really appealing. It doesn’t need to be expensive or pages and pages long. You just need to succinctly tell potential visitors what you have on offer, why you’re different from the rest and show them some gorgeous (but truthful) photography – it’s always worth investing in a professional photographer as quality images really do sell the dream.
  3. Two little words: Book Now. Make sure you have a prominent Book Now button on every page of your website, it’s the most powerful call to action you have. Don’t make people dig around trying to find it, they’ll turn away and you’ll lose business. Install one of these and your direct online bookings will sky rocket.
  4. Use videos. Footage from your smartphone will do. Talk to camera about what someone can expect from a holiday with you, give them a little tour. Better still, ask a departing guest to leave you a quick video testimonial about their experience. You can offer them a free night on their next stay for their trouble – but the extra business it will push your way will more than make up for the giveaway. Instant video reviews result in more direct online bookings.
  5. Your accommodation is your bread and butter, no question, but today’s discerning guest expects more. Whether it’s a free box of eggs for your camper to cook over a campfire or a personalised welcome hamper on arrival at their glamping pod – think of the little extras that might encourage more direct return business or recommendation to friends. Customer loyalty can only mean good things for you!
  6. Build up a community on social media and email marketing. Share your news and anything anecdotal you might find about the space you occupy. It’s fun to do once you get into it, you’ll find your style and followers help to create a buzz around your business. Encourage your visitors to post their holiday pics and say nice things about you. It works. Engaging with your existing customers is a powerful tool on your road to increasing direct online bookings.
  7. Improving your customer experience includes improving their booking journey. Ignore this at your peril. You need a good online booking and management system at the heart of your business. Your booking process must be responsive to any size mobile device (ours is). It must be intuitive (tick). It must be able to calculate all those extras like dogs and awning hire (check). It must be able to take live payments (like ours) and send out confirmations automatically (yep).

We do have loads more tips but if you’re ready to act on at least tip number 7, contact us now!

Five simple top tips to increase your direct bookings

Five simple top tips to increase your direct bookings

1) Make sure booking online is simple and easy and make sure your website is mobile friendly

2) Offer prospective guests free upgrades and add-ons for booking direct

3) Give exclusive discounts to specific audiences through discount codes by email, Facebook, Twitter or other social media

4) Advertise value-added packages such as free parking, spa services, or tickets to local attractions when people book direct

5) Up-sell at check-in – when guests check in, offer them a special discount to book direct next time they book with you

Ask the team at Anytime Booking how our system can help you achieve any of these on info@anytimebooking.co.uk.

Glamping: going somewhere, fast

Glamping: going somewhere, fast

The outdoor market did once wonder if the glamping phenomenon would fall away just as quickly as it had risen. A simple analysis of the term camping in google searches shows that this is very much a fluctuating seasonal search term, but the term glamping is on the steep incline, all over google, all year round.

The outdoor movement has grown massively, but glamping has enjoyed a notable surge in growth as it appeals to camping and hotel lovers alike. It’s the winning of the hotel lover that is boosting this sector so much, attracting a whole new affluent clientele to the outdoor market, securing the glamping industry well into the future.

There have also been questions about the future security of the staycation. Worries withdrawn. World economy, the threat of terror strikes, Brexit, displaced societies and the refugee crisis and political unrest in the UK have all lent themselves to a strengthening of the staycation trend.

The key to staycation success is really about the value and quality of the experience on offer. What seems to be playing right into the hands of glamping business owners is that the holiday destination itself seems to be becoming less important to the glamping demographic than the actual experience itself, giving them the opportunity to constantly evolve and adapt to win the business.

What should you be thinking about if you are launching a new glamping business?

  • Less location, more experience – while the South West still comes in at number one for glamping destinations, make the most of your offering, provenance and experience. Research the type of glamping that is reaching saturation point in your area and go against the grain. Offer the little extras: thought about bush-crafting, bread-making, wine-tasting, weddings?
  • Pricing – hit the right mark; your prospective visitors should already be fumbling for their debit card as they peruse your gorgeous website.
  • Service and facilities – quality all the way. Look at the finer details of everything. MMFS! Make me feel special!
  • Customer expectations – ignore these at your peril. Glamping customers are ‘seekers’, they all want to ‘find’ something. Make sure they don’t leave your site still looking!
  • Connectivity & accessibility – a top class website with an integrated online booking management system to capitalise on online booking behaviours. Part of your success matrix must be a good PMS (property management software).

Anytime Booking will be your perfect PMS; we have put years into becoming specialists in this market. We work in an agile methodology, constantly inspecting and adapting what the development priorities are, keeping in tune with the nuances and fluctuations of the glamping market.

 

Do you want to control access to your park using a barrier system?

Do you want to control access to your park using a barrier system?

Anytime Booking integrates with IDS Group for seamless access control

We are pleased to announce that Anytime Booking is now integrated with IDS Group’s barrier and ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) solution. Working with multi-award winning Padstow Touring Park and IDS Group, we have developed a simple access control solution from within the booking system for holiday park and campsite owners who want to fully control who is on site.

Tas Kyriacou, Head of Business Development IDS Group said, “The Anytime Booking software is an excellent tool which is widely accepted in the industry, so it extends the scope of our offer. Together we now provide a one-stop solution for customers who want to increase their business efficiencies. Holiday parks who utilise Anytime software can commission our barrier and ANPR system to seamlessly work in tandem. This first project with Padstow Touring Park gave us the opportunity to work together and take advantage of the benefits of both systems, making life easier for staff and customers.”

Philip Barnes, Padstow Touring Park Director said, “We feel the barrier system is invaluable to our business and having the link between the Anytime platform and the IDS barrier makes booking in faster and cuts out some of the human errors. We are always looking to improve existing systems and to stay ahead of other caravan sites where we can; we feel that we can work with Anytime and IDS Group over the coming years to keep moving with the times and give customers what they want whilst making things easier for the staff to use.”

Vanessa Glossop, Communications Director, Anytime, adds “It is fantastic to be working with IDS Group to give customers like Padstow Touring Park more benefit to the technologies they’ve invested in. While IDS Group can efficiently restrict and manage vehicular access to our customers’ premises with their barrier system, a car registration entered at the point of booking in our system is automatically recognised by the ANPR camera as visitors approach for their holiday, giving them immediate access. The partnership gives further edge to our offering as a booking management platform for holiday parks and larger campsites. ”

If you are interested in a quote for this solution let us know and we will put you in touch with our friends at IDS Group.