We admit: a couple of years ago, the motivation to switch to an online booking platform was mainly driven by administrative reasons of the surf school. Scheduling (and rescheduling!) 20 sessions a day over the phone just takes huge amounts of time, and with a proper platform this could be done much smarter.
Times have changed however, and research is now showing that your customers not only are used to booking by themselves, they actually prefer it over other methods like making a booking over the phone or in person. Due to Covid, the acceptance level of paying online in advance has also risen dramatically, which has the advantage of streamlining your payments and limiting no-shows. When customers are able to book and schedule their surf lessons online, this gives them an increased sense of control over their purchase, in turn leading to higher likeliness of purchasing.
Don’t underestimate the effect that proper, automated e-mail and SMS communication has on your customers. Surf schools often are surprised when their customers compliment them on the clarity of information after switching to Viking Bookings, that came from what are in essence automated ‘generic-but-personalized’ email templates (booking confirmations and lessons approvals).
For a surfschool it’s easy to perceive that manually sending emails to customers, equals a high level of customer service, simply because it’s very time intensive. However we have to accept here that automated emails are far superior at any front. Because they are not prone to user error (forgetting some customers) and can be designed more carefully with a set-and-forget mentality, our experience is that Viking Bookings always improves customer satisfaction levels.
Because Viking Bookings will save lots of time on the booking, communication and rescheduling front, you will actually have more time left to focus on other important business area’s. Think of: better marketing, teaching more lessons, or increasing your customer service levels in even more ways.
We know how it works: in high seasons things are chaotic and without a proper system in place, payments get done in different ways, keeping track of open lessons doesn’t always work out well, etc. And then, at the end of the season when things finally calm down, you’re still left with an administrative mess that you have to make sense of. Not anymore with with the CRM that is implicit in using Viking Bookings. All your customer data is stored safely, accessible from any location, and flawlessly builds up over the seasons. With Viking Bookings, you can make CSV exports of all the information you might need for bookkeeping purposes or segmenting customers for email newsletters. In addition it will give you comparable statistics between seasons, such as revenue and lesson occupation ratio’s, to make data-driven, well-informed business decisions.
This ties in with reason #1, because making it easier for customers to book and schedule their lessons will simply result in more bookings. It’s no surprise our statistics at Viking Bookings show that our clients tend to increase their revenue, especially in the first and second year of making the switch to an online booking platform. But it doesn’t end there. The after-sales process also becomes much better than what surf schools had in place before. Now they can use automated up-sell emails that are sent the day after a surfing lessons, either prompting customers to write a review or book a new session. It sounds simple, but actually works and the set-and-forget nature of these templates mean you don’t have to think about it in high-season any longer.
These are just a couple of insights that we got from our experience of developing and improving Viking Bookings software for over 5 seasons. Now it’s up to you to find out for yourself.