What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of an Online Booking System?



facebook ad copyFor many companies that take bookings, there’s an unspoken rule – if it’s working well enough, don’t fix it. When it comes to taking bookings, that means many don’t stray from old fashioned telephone-based systems, which typically require members of staff on hand or coordinate and organise bookings by hand.

Needless to say, there’s a better way of doing things, however. We speak, of course, about online booking. Online booking systems like BookingLive work by providing a secure and customisable booking platform by which your customers can see event availability, book and pay all on your site.

As a supplier of online booking platforms for customers both big and small, we’ve seen the impact an online booking platform can have on a business, boosting sales and greatly simplifying the booking procedure for both customers and staff.

We’re also aware that sometimes, the advantages of online booking might not be immediately obvious. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to share with you the advantages and disadvantages of an online booking system.


Advantage: Online booking systems save your staff time

When you think about the workflow of your customer service staff, it’s plain to see that an awful lot of time is taken up handling phone calls from people looking to book, explaining options to customers and managing schedules.

The demands of a phone-based booking system require a member of your staff is constantly available to handle bookings. You might not consider this a problem with customer service staff on hand, but consider the man hours which could be released by moving to an online booking platform.

Because BookingLive is fully automated, if there’s space available for a given date, your customer can choose their options, pick a date and time, pay and receive an email confirmation without any human interaction on your end – freeing up your staff to do more valuable things with their time. That’s a huge advantage of online booking platforms, and one which can greatly benefit your business.


Advantage: Removing the bottleneck of phone booking systems

One of the major advantage of online booking is that with a phone-based booking platform, you’re introducing a huge bottleneck into your business that can prevent customers from placing their bookings with you.

Most telephone booking systems rely on customers calling during office hours, but for many people, they simply don’t have the time to book whilst they’re in the middle of their work day. Not to mention the fact that only one caller can book at a time, unless your operating multiple phone lines (which, in turn, require more staff to deal with). This will not only free up your time but also may open up a new revenue stream.

No matter which way you cut it, that’s a bottleneck that can stifle success and reduce revenue.

Online booking platforms like BookingLive, on the other hand, offer the distinct advantage of letting customers book anytime and anywhere they see fit, on whatever device they’re using. It means immediately removing any bottleneck within your booking procedure and unlocking the true potential of your business.

There’s no disadvantage to be found from boosting your booking availability, so don’t hold back on making an online booking platform a part of your online business strategy.

Advantage: Greater sales and marketing synergy

How often do you find yourself saying “all our information is on our website” a day? We’re willing to bet that it’s more than a handful. These days, our websites are more than mere contact information for our brick-and-mortar locations, they’re huge repositories of information regarding our business, what we offer and more.

So, why not offer the opportunity to book alongside that compelling copy? By making your customers leave your product page or website in order to place a booking order, you’re introducing unnecessary complications for your customers, cutting their chances of making the kinds of impulse bookings which bring so much revenue in.


Advantage: A modernised approach to booking

Today’s customers aren’t discovering companies through telephone books, and they aren’t finding information about mobile_booking_softwareyour products and services by sending off for a catalogue. No, they’re increasingly finding out everything they need to know about you’re offering by heading online.

There’s no shortage of reasons why that’s the case, but you’d be missing out on a huge advantage by not making the most out of the tremendous opportunity the internet offers businesses. By integrating your booking platform with your product pages, you can go where, increasingly, all of your customers are.

As telephone booking trend slowly dies, the competitive disadvantage of not having an online booking platform will widen, leaving you behind. So keep up with the booking trend and move online.


Advantage: Increased revenue thanks to upselling

In any business, you’re going to face immense competition, which typically leads to something of a race to the bottom in regards to price. That’s why it’s so important to upsell goods and services to your customers. That might mean a meal included on a tour, items available to hire for an activity or a follow on course.

Online booking platforms like BookingLive introduce upselling into the booking process, letting you offer context specific items and offers to customers who might have come across them otherwise. It’s just another advantage of online booking platforms, and another way to help to grow your business in an age of internet-first bookings.


Disadvantage: Can come at a cost

One of the major disadvantages of online booking platforms is that, for all their positives, they do come at a monetary cost – don’t believe the promises of free online booking systems.

Some charge you per transactions, whilst others charge a flat monthly fee, so you’ll always know how much you’re paying. Custom made online booking platforms will charge you a hefty lump sum up front, as well as recurring costs for bug fixes and support.

Ultimately, the benefits of an online booking system for your business far outweigh the small monthly cost it would take to implement one, but the notion of cost is something you’re going to have to come to terms with. To find out more about our pricing click here.


Disadvantage: Online booking platforms require internet access

Though internet access is widespread these days, it remains true that one of the major disadvantages of online booking systems are their reliance on internet connections. In order to book through an online booking system, your customers will have to have access to the internet. This can be on their smartphone, tablet, computer, laptop or any other internet-enabled device.

That’s why at BookingLive, our system enables you to maintain telephone bookings, plugging the information directly into our system so you can easily maintain and manage your bookings, even from non-online bookings.


Online booking systems open your business up to a range of opportunities, from saving your staff time to a new revenue stream through offering to upsell items.  So keep up with the online booking trend today and contact us, where a member of our staff would be more than happy to discuss how we can help you implement an online booking system.

To see what our current customer’s experience of an online booking system then watch this video!

Advantages and disadvantages of anonline booking system



BookingLive’s Newest Team Members


Over the past year, the BookingLive team has carried on growing and managed to appoint a brilliant board.

So now’s your chance to find out more about the BookingLive team, if you haven’t met them already!

The Team

Louise Chawich

Operations Manager

Plamen Nankov


Chris Smith

Service Delivery Executive

Bethany Dunster

Marketing Apprentice

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Louise is responsible for quality control and day to day operations of the business. You will often catch Louise working hard whilst rocking out to music. Plamen is one of our many talented developers with his experience, there’s no problem he can’t fix. Chris is responsible for training all of our clients on their system. There is no better person to so with Chris’s extensive knowledge of the product! Beth’s the youngest in the office and manages all things marketing, from blog posts to our corporate social responsibility!


Shane Smyth

Sales Executive

Paige Clark

Finance & Admin

Paul Wilkinson

Project Manager

Chris Charlick

Account Manager

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With a strong background in sales, Shane is great at making sure customers are happy throughout the sales process. You can catch Shane on the Webinar! Paige is responsible for everything finance, from invoices to running payroll. So if you ever have questions about finance, Paige is your girl!  Paul guides our clients through their projects from start to finish. With a strong background in project management, Paul is great at making sure all projects go to plan! Chris is the newest addition to the team and has the important job of looking after all of our clients, ensuring every client is implementing the best practices and getting the most out of our system.


The Board

Steven Priscott

Board Member

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Dean Mayer


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David Dixon

Board Member

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Strategic and commercially focused Board Finance Director. Ten years experience within Venture Capital backed high tech companies. Corporate financial advisor with significant experience as a debt and equity fund raise manager. Business strategy development and commercial expertise with 10+ years as a business advisor.

Chris Jones

Board Member

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Zac Barratt

Board Member

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A technical director highly-experienced in project delivery, systems consultancy and technical documentation.  Zac has been the Finance and Operations Director of The Summit Group for 20+ years.


If you ever want to find out more about the team or even come and meet us, feel free to contact us and we could try to arrange this!

Essential Software for Small Businesses

Nobody said that running a small business would be easy, but the difficulty can catch many off guard. On top of managing staff, payroll, stock and premises, you’ve now got the added pressures of maintaining and competing in an increasingly tough online marketplace.

Thankfully, with the increased complications of SME businesses in 2017 has come a raft of fantastic, low-cost, high-utility software designed to take the pain out managing a small business.

Small business software is designed to help you run your business better, cut your costs and increase productivity. So, what is the best small business software you should be investing in for your enterprise?

essential software for small businesses

Here’s our six picks for accounting, communication, project management, office software, security software and small business booking system:

Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses: Xeroxero logo

If you haven’t heard of Xero before, let us give you a brief introduction: it’s the most comprehensive business accounting software available today, and yet it doesn’t feel complex or confusing. That’s some feat, but Xero manages it with style thanks to a design that fits across smartphones, tablets and computers.

Their software allows for instant bank reconciliation, so you can import your banking, credit card and PayPal transactions with ease. That’s alongside inventory, payroll, invoicing, expenses, bill and purchases management tools. Oh, and that’s just the start of this incredible small business management software.

Starting from just £10 a month and with a free 30-day trial, it’s also a tremendous value.



Best Communication Software for Small Businesses: Slack

Slack has quietly taken over the world of business communication, and for good reason too. This web and app based

communication tool gives your employees the power to create specific “channels” where your team can converse on specific topics. It might be a project, a topic, a team within your team or anything else. You can even set up private channels for invited team members only, for those sensitive conversations.

You’ll also enjoy the ability to drag and drop files for your team to download and the ability to make instant video calls to anyone on the team, helping you all stay connected. Oh, and that’s without going into the countless other integrations it boasts. Best of all? It’s free on the basic plan, so you can discover whether it’s for you before you take the plunge.

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Best Project Management Software for Small Businesses: Dapulse

Let’s face it, those projects aren’t going to manage themselves, but how do you ensure your staff are on task, on time and on the right track? The answer is dapulse.

Designed to offer a highly visual project management platform for businesses of all types, dapulse gives you the power to manage everything from aa single board, where you can track everything your team is working on and the status of their individual tasks. It’s shockingly easy to add new tasks, projects, goals and to-dos, and you can simply assign staff to tasks.

It also acts as a communication platform between your staff, so they can easily chat about specific projects in context, rather than heading over to their emails.

Those are just a handful of the fantastic features that make up dapulse, and make it an essential small business software choice. Pricing runs from £22 per month for their basic software with 5 users or less, and can be scaled up from there depending on your requirements.


Best Office Software for Small Businesses: Google Drive

It might seem like something of a controversial choice given the hegemony of Microsoft’s Office software (especially now it’s launched on smartphones and tablets), but Google Docs takes our crown as the best office software for small businesses. Why?

Well, between its three components (Docs, Sheets and Slides), you’ve got three fully featured Office replacements. Docs offer all the benefits of Microsoft Word, Slides beings Google’s magic to the PowerPoint formula and Sheets is a terrific Excel clone. Put together, you’ve got the three most commonly used google drive logoofficeapplications. The real benefit of Google Drive is that you’re able to invite colleagues to view and work on a document with you at the same time, on their computer, meaning that you won’t have to keep sending your suggestions back and forth via email as you’ll be able to instantly edit the document instead!

Google Docs can open Office documents and even export them too, so you’ll enjoy full compatibility with Office users around the world. As far as small business software goes, it’s something of a no-brainer, especially given the completely free cost – all you need is a Google account.


Best Security Software for Small Businesses: Avast Endpoint Protection Advanced

The value of digital security should never be underestimated, even in a small business. Of course, whilst you could equip every computer in your office with a free antivirus, they don’t offer centralised control and they require staff to be trained to use them effectively.

That’s why when it comes to the best small business software, you’re always better off with dedicated small business security software. To that end, we recommend Avast’s Endpoint Protection Advanced. It’s the most basic business software that Avast offer, but it’ll allow all your businesses PCs to remain secure in day to day operation and your IT manager to deal with the security of your PCs from a single location.

Barebones? Yes, but with up to 100 users/nodes and fantastic basic security, it’s a low-cost way to secure your business and avoid costly data leaks or IT failures, and is totally essential small business software.


Best Online Booking System for Small Businesses: BookingLive

Managing bookings can be extremely time-consuming in a small business, especially if you’re reliant on booking. That, in turn, costs you man hours and could decrease productivity. That’s why online booking software is essential SME software, whether you’re an activity centre, tour operator or run courses.

BookingLive is our choice for the best small business booking system for a number of reasons, but none more so than its sheer flexibility. Easy to set up with live support available and designed for the modern internet with a design that fits in to match your live website. You’ll love the integrations available, top-tier security and ease by which you can use BookingLive to automate your entire booking procedure.

Customers can book from your website with a rolling monthly contract starting from just £50, you’ll be amazed at what BookingLive can do. A free demo is available so you get a chance to see what BookingLive can do for your business.

To find out more about how BookingLive can support your SME, get in contact with us today or head over to our small business web page!



Beginner’s Guide to Online Booking and Appointment Software

The internet has fundamentally altered every aspect of running a business, and that includes the way we make and take bookings. The days are gone in which customers would pick up the phone, you pull out our diary and pick a date which worked for both parties.

In 2016, many more people booked online through social networks, dedicated websites and third party comparison sites. Our calendars automatically update to reflect the bookings we make and we’re instantly emailed a reminder to keep us from missing them. Put simply, we’ve entered an age of overwhelming simplicity for the customer, but what about for the business?

If you’re interested in online booking systems but don’t know how booking works or any other detail around online booking, you’re in luck. In this guide, we’re going to break down everything you need to know in this beginners guide to online booking systems.

What is an online booking system?

Put simply, an online booking system is a piece of software which allows a potential customer to book and pay for an activity or service through your website. Advanced booking systems allow customers to book through social networks and even on their mobile phones, helping deliver bookings wherever your customers happen to be, at whatever time they desire.

Online bookings have grown rapidly to supersede traditional phone booking systems, which required members of staff to be on hand to take bookings and manage them manually.

How does an online booking system work?

An online reservation system exists entirely within your website and requires no installation from online paymentyour customer to continue with their purchase.

A customer will land on your website and choose which activity or service they’d like to book, and then will click through to the booking page. At this stage, the customer will fill in a booking form. Custom forms can also be set, allowing you to harvest whatever information you require in order to complete the booking.

The customer will then pay through a secure payment gateway, and the payment will be transferred to you. This information is displayed in our secure Content Management System, which is only accessible via a login and password, offering greater security than competing booking methods.

Online booking systems, sit on a private server and allowing your customers to make reservations within your business. With BookingLive, your customers can visit your website or social media page and make a reservation, either paying online or paying in person once they arrive at your business.

Are online booking payment secure?

Computerised booking systems are, on the whole, extremely secure. Gone are the dark days of the Internet where every transaction felt like it might be a scam, replaced instead by a broadly secure framework which supports consumers.

All transactions placed through BookingLive’s software are very secure. Every payment gateway that we use is chosen to help keep payments secure and customers safe from fraud. That means the use of HTTPS and proprietary security protocols which ensure trust in your business is never eroded by unscrupulous scammers.

How does BookingLive keep my data secure?online payment

Data security has never been more crucial than it is right now. Hacks have become global news, so the prospect of having your customers’ data revealed to hackers is a real worry. That’s why at BookingLive we go the extra mile to ensure the safety of our customers’ data.

Our servers are PCI compliant and have regular data backups and SSL enabled technology to ensure absolute security for our clients. Coupled with mandatory and automatic HTTPS encryption on every website with BookingLive booking software and you’ll find that many online booking systems prioritise keeping data secure.

Finally, our servers are structured so that every customer has their own database. This means that in the extremely unlikely event of a hacker gaining access to our servers, they would only be able to access information for one site – this is something which is which most of our competitors don’t do.

What payment methods do online booking systems accept?

Online booking software enables payments through a variety of methods, accepting all Visa and Visa Debit cards, credit cards and trusted online payment providers like PayPal and Google Wallet.

Which types of businesses can benefit from an OBS?

If your business, company or organisation takes bookings of any kinds, it too can benefit from an online booking and reservation system. The following are examples of businesses which we’ve helped implement successful online booking platforms:

  • Schools
  • Local government
  • Childcare providers
  • Activities companies
  • Cookery Classes
  • Courses
  • Events
  • Meeting Room Hire
  • SMEs
  • Training providers
  • Tour operators

So, if you’re wondering what impact an online booking system has on your business, the answer is a huge one. Put plainly, if you’ve got a business that takes bookings and a website, so keep up with the online booking trend, and more importantly – ahead of your competitors.

How much do online booking systems cost?

Online booking systems are cheaper than many imagine them to be, and are scalable for businesses, making them a compelling option for businesses of all sizes.

A key advantage of BookingLive as on online booking system provider is that we have pricing plans that fit businesses of all sizes, starting from £50 a month.

Do online booking systems take a cut of my bookings?

Many free online booking software platforms make their money by taking a slice of your transaction in return for connecting you with your customer. However many online booking systems which you pay for on a monthly plan don’t usually charge per transaction, instead of working on a flat, fair rate that works for everybody. This is something which we do here at BookingLive.

Can customers book via their smart devices with online booking systems?

The simple answer to this is yes, of course, they can. Many online booking systems rely on old code, which offers a fantastic booking experience on desktops and laptops, but a poor one on mobile devices.

That’s not good enough, especially for a business which is interested in generating online bookings and reservations well into the future. That’s why we’ve built BookingLive to resize to fit perfectly on whatever device you’re using. Whether you’re on a computer at the office or using your phone on the train, BookingLive’s booking and reservation system are designed to be perfectly flexible.

Advantages of online booking software

Online booking software platforms have a huge number of potential benefits for businesses and consumers alike. Here are just a few examples:

online booking system


Does my business need an online booking system?

By now, we’ve covered every aspect of online booking systems and answered many of the most commonly asked questions that are put to us on a near daily basis. However, we haven’t touched on perhaps the most vital of all – does my business need an online booking system?

The simple answer is; if you have a business that takes bookings and you have a website, absolutely, yes. The big trends in e-commerce over the last 5 years has been simplification. Research has revealed that the more steps between your customer and their purchase, the less likely they are to go through with it.

By forcing your customer to book over the phone, you’re severely limiting the number of bookings you can receive, and in tough economic times, that’s an ill-advised position to take.

Getting started with an online booking system couldn’t be easier. Simply request a free demo from our team and we’ll work with you to meet your businesses needs. A dedicated member of our staff will be with you every step of the way and before you know it, you’ll be taking orders and managing customers online with ease.

Have more questions? Look at BookingLive’s frequently asked questions or contact us.

BookingLive Secures G-Cloud Nine Certification

It’s been a great week over here at BookingLive HQ. Why? Because we have been officially granted the G-Cloud 9 certification! To public sector businesses, that’s music to their ears. However, for everyone else, it might well sound like meaningless techno-jargon. So join us as we explain what the G-Cloud 9 is and what the approval will mean for BookingLive.

So, what is G-Cloud?

The G-Cloud Framework was set up by the UK Government in order to standardise the terms and conditions between cloud hosting providers and public sector organisations, like local councils, the NHS and police force.

Launched in 2012 G-Cloud has been in operation for over five years, and has amassed thousands of certified suppliers with over ten thousand services on offer to public sector businesses, with more in the pipeline.

In those intervening five years, the government have moved to regularly modify and clarify the G-Cloud Framework, making it safer, more secure and simpler for everyone. Here’s what’s changed in G-Cloud 9:

  • A unified framework: Ever since the release of G-Cloud, there have been two iterations of the G-Cloud Framework. That’s no longer the case with G-Cloud 9, as it replaces both 7 and 8, simplifying purchases.
  • Greatly simplified structure: Many users found the previous structure wasn’t an accurate representation of the cloud tech environment. There are now three categories, called ‘Cloud hosting’, ‘Cloud software’ and ‘Cloud support’, with new descriptions that will help users understand which technology and support should be provided through G-Cloud.
    There are also changes to the questions that each of the category providers are asked, alongside expanding the categorisation of services and granting suppliers the ability to maintain up-to-date descriptions of their services, thereby improving the quality of the Digital Marketplace.
  • A new funding model: In response to the 2015/16 Government Spending Review, the CCS is rolling out a change to its funding model, increasing the management charge for G-Cloud 9 from 0.5% to 0.75%. This change affects all charges billed by the supplier to the buyer.

These new changes mean that G-Cloud suppliers, like ourselves, will have to resubmit their products and services, but it does mean that public sector businesses can buy in confidence, know their data is secure and their costs transparent.

BookingLive and G-Cloud 9.g cloud 9 approved

You might be wondering though exactly why BookingLive needs to be G-Cloud 9 secure in the first place? After all, isn’t BookingLive’s online booking platform based on your own private server?

The simple answer is no. The reasons behind this are plentiful, running the gamut from greater ease for the customer to rapid updates and superior uptime. However, it also means that our software has to be G-Cloud 9 certified if we want to continue supporting our incredible public sector, clients. Thankfully, we’ve done just that.

Security first – always.

Our constant improvements to our secure cloud hosting service have meant that achieving G-Cloud 9 approval was a mere formality, thanks to our PCI compliant cloud hosting. Regular data backups and SSL enabled technology to enable superior security y and absolute piece of mind.

Indeed, unlike many of our competitors, every customer has their own database. What does this mean? If we only used one database it would mean that if someone got access to it, they would have access to all information stored on all sites. By ensuring that each site has its own database we can guarantee that it is impossible for a security breach on one site to gain access to another of our customer’s data. And tonline booking system securityo further reduce the risk of hacking, we enable HTTPS as standard on every website.

As an additional added security measure, we never handle any payment details; instead, we hand over the customer to a registered, secure payment gateway like SagePay or PayPal. These companies then collect the payment information, encrypt it and then destroy it, once the transaction has been completed.

Whilst this security ensures that public sector business’ data remains absolutely secure, your business can benefit from it too. Data breaches cause untold financial and reputation damage to any business – damage which can be notoriously hard to recover from.

With BookingLive’s G-Cloud 9 accreditation, you can be certain that whether your data relates to Registrar or meeting room bookings treated treat with absolute sensitivity.

To learn more about BookingLive’s G-Cloud 9 certification or our superior security on our online booking system, speak to a member of our team today.

BookingLive raises £500,000 investment

The Summit Group and Creative England fund development of new freemium product

We will be radically expanding our customer base beyond enterprise-sized firms later this year thanks to £500,000 of funding raised to launch its new freemium version.

The funding has been secured from two sources: venture capital firm The Summit Group, who are investing £300,000, and non-profit investors Creative England, who have provided the remaining £200,000.

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Our founder and CEO, Vinnie Morgan, has long had ambitions to offer a free version of our product that would be accessible to any organisation of any size: from SMEs to local voluntary organisations. Thanks to the new funding, this new product will be released soon, possibly as early as Q3 of 2017.

Like other free booking products, our freemium product will collect a commission from the customer booking on all bookings sold. Although the pricing model is still being finalised, we have committed to charging lower prices than other services currently on the market.

Although we are entering a market with several established players, we are confident we can quickly establish itself as an attractive option for organisers. As Vinnie explained to the media recently:

“BookingLive is not a startup. We’re an established, profitable company with a growing customer base among large organisations with complex needs. We will be using that expertise to create the best booking software option for the freemium section of the market.”

“For several years we have collected enormous amounts of data on how organisers and customers use booking software. This is allowing us to design a freemium version that will be exactly right for SMEs and smaller groups. The freemium product will not be exactly the same as the enterprise product, but it will not simply be a stripped down version either. It will be a tailored fit with a huge focus on an intuitive mobile-first and an easy-to-use administration system.”

Although we are excited about growing our customer base, BookingLive will continue to provide its current cloud-based booking software product to larger companies and public sector organisations alongside the new freemium product. We remain committed to growing our successful enterprise-level business through innovation and great service, as well as always developing that product further.


If you would like to receive updates on our new products features and launch, then stay tuned!

How to Start a Tour Operator Business

Though the popularity of many many industries wax and wane, tour operators remain remarkably resistant – after all, people are always going to want to see the sights. Over the years tours have really developed as to where you are able to go and what you are able to do on them.

Tour operators exist all over the world, either directly running tours themselves or acting as a central agency by which anyone can book a selection of tours, provided by outside firms. They can also be highly profitable endeavours, regardless of which form they take, should they be run properly.

If you’re planning on launching a tour operator business your responsibilities are clear; provide your customers with safe and unforgettable experiences at prices which remain competitive with the rest of the market.

Getting your tour operator business started can be a struggle though, especially if it’s not an area you’re familiar with. That’s why we’ve put together this guide, to share with you the vital steps you should take if you want a successful tour operator business.

tour operator booking system

Invest time and money finding the right local suppliers

As a tour operator, you are effectively a middleman connecting and packaging together local service suppliers like coach companies, hotels, restaurants, guides, museums and more, ready for your customers.

It’s your task to find exceptional local suppliers for your tours, negotiate prices and ensure that the smooth running of these services together, creating a seamless tour experience for your clients. Without them, you’ll never be able to offer a successful experience, so landing the right ones is key.

In this regard, social media platforms can be a useful tool for finding out more about a potential supplier. Try giving your supplier a search on Facebook to see if they’re receiving regular negative or positive feedback about their service. It’s always worth speaking to your supplier’s face to face too, in order to build a strong personal relationship – doing so helps you repair your relationship should issues occur down the line.

Put the safety of your customers first

Tour operators have a significant responsibility for the health and safety of their guests, one that should never be taken anything less than seriously. Companies like Argent and SGS offer tour operators health and safety audits.

One helpful tip we would recommend is joining the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO), as members are offered discounts on health and safety audits, amongst other helpful advice.

Recruit the besttour operator booking system

Successful tour operators live and die by their staff. They help keep the wheels turning behind the scenes, organise sometimes chaotic groups and deal with countless hiccups over the course of each tour. To handle that with grace is a real skill, and not a common one.

Nevertheless, it’s what you need to find. Attracting the best people isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible. Sell your vision and set incredibly high standards, you should only be hiring tour managers who are committed to your ideals and the ideals of your business.

Though there are no ‘required’ qualifications for tour managers, courses are available from the Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality and the Institute of Travel and Tourism, which are worth keeping an eye out for on CVs when recruiting new team members.

Build yourself for the online age

Tour operating is a very old business, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to change. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Today’s successful tour operators (old and new) make superb use of the internet, using it for promotion, customer outreach and sales; so, don’t get left behind. It starts, of course, with a social media presence and website, where you can share your latest information and promotional materials, but it should go much further than that.

Partnering with online travel agents can lead to huge benefits, and maintaining a blog on your website can boost your SEO, helping to drive more potential customers to your website. Whilst there, you should implement a tour operator booking platform, which will allow your customers to see live availability and prices, as well as book and pay for their tours at any time, on any device.

There are other benefits to a tour operator booking system, like automatic reminder emails for customers, letting them know their tour is coming up and where they should be, making a booking platform all but mandatory for any modern tour company.

A Tour Operator Booking System is something that many businesses now have – so it’s important that you keep up with the trend and your competitors.


To find out more about BookingLives Tour Operator Booking System, sign up to our free demo!

Open Source Booking System vs. BookingLive

There can be no debate that, if your business takes bookings and has an online presence, you need an online booking system. These platforms enable your business to take advantage of the sea change in online buying habits and reach customers that simply wouldn’t discover your business otherwise.

Quite simply, they’re an invaluable part of any modern business strategy but deciding you need one is the easy part. The harder part? Well, that would be deciding which one is right for you.

As with any product though, you’ll find that there are a good number of options available to you, each competing for your attention. Ultimately though, your choices could boil down to two options – open source reservation systems or BookingLive.

Each system boasts their own advantages, but which is the one your business should opt for? Join us as we take a look at what each platform has to offer.


Open Source Booking System Advantages & Disadvantagesopen source booking system code

At their most basic, all booking systems will allow businesses with an online presence to take and manage bookings through their website, helping to relieve pressure on phone lines, customer support staff and boost sales.

Open source booking systems, however, have the added benefit of absolute flexibility. Open source booking systems are free of charge and can be extremely flexible as they are delivered as code which you can then re-write or add to as you need. Obviously, though this assumes a fairly high level of programming knowledge in potentially multiple languages i.e. PHP, Javascript, HTML.

That means you can download an open source booking system and begin to work on it, so that it suits your specific requirements. The nature of open source software means that it’s often been developed by more than one person, and may be liable to problems in ways you can’t immediately predict.

Indeed, because the software isn’t owned by anybody and licensed to you, it requires you to host it on your own dedicated server. That means that unlike other online booking and reservation platforms, you’ll be tasked with maintaining the uptime on your booking platform, as well as troubleshooting any issues that arise.

Whilst this is the kind of work that a business with a dedicated IT department can look after, for businesses which don’t operate their own servers or have IT staff to hand, this can be a costly and time-consuming practice – one which undermines the free nature of open source booking systems.

Clearly then, open source booking platforms do have their advantages, but they’re hamstrung by the fact that any and all management falls on you, a fact that’s far from ideal for most businesses. If you’re not very tech-savvy outsource someone to set up your open source booking system and problems occur you may not know how to fix it.

BookingLive Advantages & Disadvantages

BookingLive, much like an open source reservation system, lets your business take bookings through your website, offering all of the advantages that any other online booking platform would offer.

typing on laptop

Specifically, in regards to an open source booking system, BookingLive boasts incredible support. BookingLive customers receive online support regarding issues they may have with their booking system. Whether that’s a question about functionality or an issue with compatibility, you’ll receive prompt and professional help. This is the key feature which was a missing from the open source booking system.

That begins with your very first steps with BookingLive. A member of our team works with you to set up and implement BookingLive on your website and even show you around the system. Once it’s all set up you should be ready to get back to doing what you do best – running your business.

BookingLive also greatly benefits from the years of working alongside a huge variety of businesses we’ve enjoyed. That experience has meant that over the years, we’ve been able to craft an online reservation system that suits every business, with added benefits like reporting systems, a customer MyAccount, vouchers/promotions and more.

Oh, and if it doesn’t suit your business out of the box? Our range of integrations allows you to expand the capabilities of your BookingLive system, all even without you touching a line of code. It truly is the most comprehensive booking platform around!


If you are interested in finding out more about BookingLive then sign up for our free demo where we will walk you through our software.

35 Advantages of a booking system with BookingLive

We understand that running a business or department of a business can be stressful. Sometimes you would have had a system that’s been in place for years, and maybe it’s just been ticking along nicely – but there is always more that could be done. Our online booking system has been recognised to transform how businesses take their bookings.

In fact, this kind of thinking is so entrenched, the most common question we’re asked is, what the advantages of online reservation systems are. If you’re still unsure of whether an online booking system is suitable for your activity centre, events or room hire business, you’re not alone.

In this guide, we’re going to share with you 35 advantages of using BookingLive as your online booking system, designed to help you to make your decision easier.

Let’s dig in!

1.Capture full or part payments (deposits) in advance with secure payment gateways like PayPal, WorldPay, SagePay and many more.

2. Reduce overheads by redirecting staff hours away from handling bookings and towards other tasks.

3. A user-friendly experience for both customer and business ensures a simple process every time.

4. Unlike telephone or email based booking systems, online booking platforms like BookingLive enable round the clock, 24/7 bookings – boosting orders and simplifying the booking procedure.

5. Designed for and alongside a huge variety of industries. From activity centres to the Public Sector.

6. Gives your customers the ability to book online and from any device, with a fully responsive design.

7. You are able to see real-time bookings/orders that have been placed through your booking system.

8. From being able to track the amount of bookings placed to have access to instant, in-system, reports.

9. Enjoy a fully managed booking solution with our dedicated support team.

10. Available for multi-site/multi-location centres, offering greater scalability and competing alternatives.

11. Built in support for packages, group bookings and upselling, generating greater revenue.

12. Take bookings for activities, courses and accommodation.

13. Track your daily, weekly, monthly or yearly progress with measurable results.

14. Manage your staff by assigning them to certain bookings.

15. Keep customers engaged during the booking process with our automatic email and text system, which not only sends a receipt to their email address, but also checks up on them after a pre-determined period and can even remind a customer if their booking is approaching.

16. You will have the option to upsell items when your customers are placing a booking through your booking system.

17. No more double bookings with a live availability checker.

18. No hardware required – everything is hosted on our servers.

19. A huge suite of integrations mean that you can expand the capability of BookingLive in a number of ways.

20. Utilise email marketing to reach your clients, boost sales and gain valuable feedback.

21. The ability to have more than one admin users set up on the booking system (depending on what pricing plan you’re on)

22. Cancel bookings through the attendees MyAccount, freeing up phone lines for other customer service requests.

23. You will have instant access to your attendance of events history.

24. Generate reports on attendance, sales and more with our built-in tools.

25. Enable easy online bookings from major third-party agents like Groupon and Buy a Gift.

26. Flexible pricing plans ensure that any business, big or small, can enjoy a secure and reliable online booking platform.

27. Support for custom vouchers.

28. Build promo codes and time sensitive sales events with our built-in tools.

29. Taking payments online with ease.

30. Cut down on the amount of time your staff spend time managing, updating and dealing with booking requests via the phone.

31. Enjoy a fully managed set up process, no technical skills required.

32. Join us for a free 30-minute demo, or request an on-site demo.

33. Setup multiple currencies and languages, ideal for business with overseas operations.

34. Enable permissions to restrict user access, ensuring safety and security across your booking procedure.

35. Calendar view for bookings and list views for courses help guide customers towards days, times and events which suit all parties.

And that’s just the start! Find out more about BookingLive today and discover how your business can benefit.


If you have found any advantages of our real-time booking system which you are interested then get in contact with us today.


Three Ways to Schedule Your Staff


staff meetingRunning or managing a business with an of full-time and part-time staff is, more often than not, about coordinating and scheduling your employees. It’s a thankless task and one which can eat up a great many hours in the working week as you deal individually with each member of staff regarding their hours and responsibilities.

For lots of businesses, the tried and tested method of charting staff hours and events out on pen and paper or an excel spreadsheet are still in use, but both have serious limitations that slow you down and could lead to confusion amongst your staff.

Thankfully, there are better ways to go about staff scheduling rather than just good old pen and paper

A Slack Channel

Slack has made a huge impression in the world of business over the last couple of years, and it’s easy to see why – their super fast instant messaging platform has dozens of fantastic business focussed features like channels, drag and drop sharing and instant search. They have recently included the feature to have a video call/conference call for when staff are working from home.

However, it’s also a useful tool for managing schedules within your business. By setting up a dedicated ‘schedules’ channel in your team’s slack group, you and your team can have space solely dedicated to the latest schedule information – whether you want to swap shifts or assign a member of staff to a certain location at a certain time, you can let people have updates on the go.

You can drag and drop an excel sheet in there so your staff can see what the latest hours are or simply discuss who’s doing what when, but its greatest asset is in helping members of staff find cover for their shift.

Its utility is also aided by the fact Slack is multiplatform, with applications built for Windows, iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

A Shared Google Calendar

When it comes to business tools, there’s no company quite like Google. However, whilst google cal (2)many businesses have begun to adopt Google Docs for its collaborative writing and editing tools, Google Calendars remain a somewhat underutilised tool for scheduling.

Its main advantage comes from the deep integration that Google Calendars offer with smartphones, letting your staff see their shifts from anywhere, at any time, with updates sent live to their devices.

To start a shared Google Calendar, simply start a new calendar and begin adding events as your shifts, ensuring that you include your employee’s email address as an attendee of the event. With your schedules set, invite your employees to subscribe to the calendar and sit back as your staff enjoy their latest schedule. It’s not perfect, but with so many people already using Google’s services, it’s accessible.

BookingLive’s Scheduling Software

BookingLive enables your business to take secure bookings 24/7 on any internet enabled device, but that’s
just one of its many features. Most interestingly for this conversation, BookingLive’s system allows an admin to assign staff to the events they create within the system. These staff will then be unavailable for clashing events as a result of this.

Say, for example, you run a tour guide service. Your 1PM tour is listed as an event within the system, you can then assign a member of staff to, which they can clearly see on their schedule. The system will automatically make these members of staff will be unavailable for any clashing events. That solves one of the biggest problems when it comes to scheduling – awkward clashes and double bookings, avoiding extra stress on staff and disappointment in customers.

If you are interested in finding out all of BookingLive’s features then head over to our feature page on our website!