Master the Art of Marketing your Bookings

Every pub should have a slick, all-singing, all-dancing website to play with, and a huge part of this is down to an efficient booking system that can be used by a member of staff at any time of day. You want to be everything that Basil Faulty is not: on the ball, totally calm, and ready for action.

Your booking system should be adept at handling enquiries and checking availability, accepting or rejecting bookings, taking deposits and payments, refunds, offering alternative accommodation (we’ll go over this in a bit), and – most importantly – keeping an accurate record at all times. This looks like a lot, but imagine life without it…trust us, it’s worth it!

Handling enquiries
Nowadays, customers can get in touch any time, so you need to be on-hand to answer any inquiry that comes your way.

The simplest way of taking bookings is through an online system. However, your guests may want to know more information, so it’s nice to offer up a more personal approach; make your phone number prominent on your website so people know where to go if they want to talk. This is a nice opportunity to demonstrate your great bedside manner too, and creating a rapport with a prospective customer will make them more likely to choose your pub.

Make sure you have a professional yet personalised voicemail too, so if you’re just too busy with all your existing customers to answer the phone, they can still benefit from a personal touch. Where e-mails are concerned, inject a bit of personality into your replies, as this will help recreate the kind of immediacy you get from a phone-call.

Your bookings, your way: online and offline
Let’s face it, working online is blooming efficient, so you can manage your bookings from start to finish whether you’re working on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. It’s a great way to save time, and it will also open you up to an international bank of potential customers.

Isn’t technology brilliant? When you pick your online management system, keep in mind a few things:

  • It should be easy to use, so any member of staff can access and work with the bookings
  • It should make all your booking flow seamless and keep key tasks and information in one place.
  • Ensure it’s safe, secure and PCI compliant with a clearly communicated support system and process in place. It’s even better if there is a customer support team for you to speak to if needed.

This kind of software doesn’t have to cost you a pretty penny or two, and it will make running your pub incredibly simple, so it’s definitely worth the investment.

Why not check out Eviivo’s My Diary? It is packed full of all of these features and more, designed to help your business run like clockwork.

What an online booking system can do for your business
Technology has advanced in such a way that you can effectively manage all your bookings from start to finish on the go, whether you use a laptop, tablet or smartphone. Some of the super-duper things that you can do with an online booking system are:

  • Get bookings from a number of different online channels, including Expedia and TripAdvisor
  • Add, cancel or amend bookings
  • Accept payments and administer refunds
  • Monitor guest payment activity
  • Real-time booking and room availability checks
  • Easy access to guest information
  • Add special offers or seasonal discounts

Juggling bookings

High demand is, generally, the best thing that can happen to you as an owner, right? Well, occasionally this can cause a spot of bother, so it’s important to know how to handle a sticky situation. Let’s look at an example.

Say you have three double rooms all booked up, and one twin room which is empty. You receive an enquiry from a couple who want a double room for five nights – what’s your plan of action?

A five-night stay is too good to turn down, surely, so since you do have an extra room to play with, take the booking and see if you can work some magic. A single guest may have booked one of the double rooms, so they might be willing to switch to a twin (throw in a discounted breakfast or bottle of bubbly and you’re onto a winner!). Alternatively, the couple may be happy to take the twin room with the beds pushed together.

There are ways around most booking dilemmas, so long as you do as the British wartime posters say: keep calm, and carry on. Keep everyone in the loop (staff and customers alike), and you can find a solution to please them all!

Managing bookings needn’t be a headache. An efficient online system, and a practical approach to any challenging situation, will work to keep you totally on top of all your rooms and the guests within them, helping you create a smooth, relaxed, and enjoyable B&B experience.

However, just in case your customers definitely don’t want a twin room, and you’re not sure how to handle the situation, we’ve got you covered!