In the digital era, having an online reservation system is no longer a luxury, but rather a necessity. Let's take a look at what an online reservation system is and the ways you can add it your website.
An online reservation system is a software you can use for reservation management. The software allows you to schedule and accept bookings online. This allows for more free time to better manage your phone and in-person bookings.
Not only will it increase convenience and the over all experience for your customers by eliminating the need for them to talk to a customer service representative or get stuck on hold, but it will also benefit you, your team, and your business by getting time back in your day.
Ways to Add an Online Reservation System to Your Website
Link to an External Website
Creating a link to an external website to use as your online reservation system is by far the simplest method there is. However, it is not true integration. The only task you have to complete is to create a link that will send your visitors to another destination. Although it is easy to do, there are several disadvantages associated with this method.
If no other options are available, you can use an external link, but there are some serious drawbacks. By linking to an external website, you are sending people off your website which is something you want to avoid. You want to direct traffic to your website, and not away from it so it seems counterintuitive.
This is also unpredictable because you are not in control of the external website. As such, you risk losing the appointment altogether since the external website is slow, laggy, or not user friendly.
Using an external website also takes away some of your analytic and reporting abilities. Because you are sending people away, you will not be able to track them or learn about their behavior or engagement.
Embed an Inline Frame
An inline frame (IFrame) is an HTML document embedded inside another HTML document on a website. The IFrame HTML window is used to insert content from another external source into your own site.
To implement Iframe integration, all you have to do is copy and paste a prepared code into your website which makes it very easy to execute. There is no coding required.
The plus side of Iframe integration is that in most cases, it’s free. Which means a budget isn’t necessary, since most websites that allow embedding provide the code and the option for no cost at all.
Another benefit is that it does not send users away from your website, but it still isn’t considered true integration either.
Install a Software Plugin
Software plugins are a viable option for many businesses. An online reservation system plugin is an add-on for a program that adds functionality to it. It’ll allow your business to have an online reservation system right on your website.
It’s also a sure way to save you time, resources, and even money. Plugins provide a very user-friendly interface and are relatively easy to set up and use -- even for those who aren’t very tech-savvy.
Installing a plugin doesn’t require you to do any programming yourself or hire a developer. The code is already there, made, working, all you have to do is integrate it. When we start to talk about code, it can be intimidating. This is an option that requires no coding knowledge but can still deliver great results depending on what you're looking for.
Connect Using an API
Integrating application programming interfaces (APIs) are the closest your business can get to a true and flawless online reservation system besides developing and programming the code yourself.
The biggest advantage of connecting via APIs is a great user experience. External data is integrated into your websites and your users can use it as such, on your website. Also, you have control of the user interface.
Unlike the previously mentioned methods, APIs enable tracking data and user behavior. They also allow your website to push and pull data.
A major drawback of this option is that it’s very expensive because it requires code development. And it’s not just one and done kind of thing. It requires you to continue updating the code to keep up with the external system, which can get pricey.
Develop Your Own Custom Code (or Hire a Developer)
If you’re a computer science whiz, then this is the option for you. Unfortunately, for most of us, that’s not the reality. Developing your own code (either by yourself or with a developer) offers customization and advantages the other options don’t allow for.
Because the code is developed within your website, it minimizes the issues of conflicting code or other issues that might arise when using other methods for the integration of online reservation systems.
This option gives you the most customization. Because it is your custom piece of code, specifically developed for your website, you have control over everything.
This sounds great in theory, but it does come with its fair share of drawbacks. Developing your own code is the most technical, which makes it a complex process, time-consuming, and costly.
Of course, having a customized code is ideal, but for many, that’s not a viable option. And that’s where GoSite’s Booking tool comes into play.
Use GoSite’s Booking Tool
Every business wants to be able to provide a convenient online booking system for customers, and GoSite’s Booking tool does just that. GoSite’s Booking tool provides a seamless integration right to your website.
It is a complete online reservation system, which is fully customizable to fit around your business, service, and processes.
You have the ability to add an online reservation system to any website and embed your complete online booking system immediately. And the best part is that GoSite handles all of the technical aspects so that you can six back, relax and watch the bookings pour in.
This won't only save you time through automated booking management and communications, it also improves customer experience leading to happier customers and more repeat business. Are you ready to fill your reservation calendar?