Times have changed dramatically and your business should change with them. Here’s why you need online booking now more than ever.
Online booking is a must-have for businesses in the spa, wellness, and hospitality industries. This is more the case in 2021 than it has ever been in the past.
Prior to the massive changes brought about in 2020, online booking was in big demand and seeing an increase in that demand.
Reports show that:
- An estimated 700 million people will make a booking online by 2023
- 83% of US adults want to book their travel online
- Of the 148 million online travel bookings in 2018, 82% were made without any human interaction, via a mobile app or website.
This number is not going to shrink. It is going to grow. Here are some reasons why, and why you need to be on board.
People expect fast, convenient, and contactless experiences
You know how you feel when someone asks you to send or receive a fax? That’s how people feel when you tell them they have to book your services by phone.
Over the past year people have become accustomed to the convenience of contactless experiences and getting things they want when and where they want them. They’ve gotten used to not having to go out of their way. As Kenneth Ryan, Vice President of Global Wellness, Spa and Fitness Operations for Marriott International, recently told Spa Executive about the use of technology in the spa and wellness space:
“It should be less about the transaction and more about the experience. I love those functions and features that make that possible. That’s huge and I think people want that. Guests like the convenience of ordering products and having them delivered to your car or curbside. We learned that behavior now, and we’re comfortable with it. There’s a way to integrate that into the spa experience.”
Online booking is a key part of this.
Consumers want to book on their own schedules
Consumers don’t want to have to work around your schedule or that of your call centre. An April, 2021 survey by GetApp that asked about online booking for medical appointments found that 59% of respondents are frustrated with waiting on hold and the inconvenient office hours related to scheduling appointments by phone, and that 94% of respondents would be more likely to choose a new service provider if that provider offered online booking options. Moreover, nearly 70% of respondents say that they’d choose to book online if a variety of booking options were available, compared to only 22% who would choose to book by phone.
Yet, 33% of respondents said they are still booking appointments by phone.
When consumers were asked about their biggest pain points when booking by phone, the top three were: long hold times, not enough available time slots, and waiting for the provider to open to book by phone
A separate survey on the same topic made the surprising find that nearly 60% of doctors’ appointments were booked outside of office hours.
People want immediate, last-minute service
Consumers make spur of the moment decisions and they don’t want to wait.
Case in point: 72% of mobile travel bookings reportedly happen within 48 hours of last-minute Google searches that include the words “tonight” and “today.” In 2019, 84% of millennials had booked a last-minute trip
People booking a last-minute, spur of the moment trip or travel amenity experience, like a spa or an excursion, are not going to want to jolt themselves out of that exciting experience by dialing a phone number, pressing buttons to get to the right person, and sitting on hold.
Everyone hates being on hold. Research has found that 27.6% of people are willing to wait one minute on hold while nearly a third of people are not willing to wait at all, and 60% of customers will hang up after one minute. Less than five percent said they’d wait as long it took.
That is a huge number of people who will hang up. Adding a callback option can help, but there is still an element of risk there. Any amount of wait time or interruption to the flow of the booking experience allows customers to change their minds, decide they don’t want the service after all, or book with someone else.
This seems like such an incomprehensible risk to take when the situation is so easily remedied with the addition of an online booking option.
Don’t lose money over something so simple.
Learn more about online booking and what Book4Time can do for you here.