Right now in 2016, 2.1 billion people have a smartphone. For many of those people, it’s the only way they access and interact with the internet. By 2020, smartphone ownership is estimated to reach an astonishing 2.87 billion people, helping to expand the World Wide Web to more people than ever before.
With such a rapid expansion of mobile internet usage, the web itself has changed dramatically. The mobile web has blossomed, and a mobile-friendly website is now the least customers expect when they land on your ‘site.
However, with all that change, there’s one area many businesses have neglected to adapt to, and that’s mobile booking platforms. But what is a mobile booking platform, and do you need one?
Mobile booking systems are, at their very basic, a mobile-friendly version of an online booking system. With mobile booking software embedded in your website, a potential customer can arrive on your website via their mobile, discover your service and book directly from their smartphone or tablet.
Best of all, because the software has been optimised for mobile usage, the design is automatically reformatted to fit perfectly onto whatever screen is displaying it. That means no tiny icons, zooming in to read text or misplaced button presses.
That might sound like a minor usability improvement for customers, but it dramatically increases the level of engagement that we see from customers, many of whom are ‘impulse’ booking via their smartphone on the recommendation of a friend, colleague or family member.
By forcing your customer to return to a full computer or, even worse, a phone in order to book in person, you’re creating an unnecessary barrier between a potential customer’s desire and your product or service that reduces the likelihood of them booking at all.
With BookingLive, our software automatically re-flows to fit whatever device is viewing it, making it effortless for customers to book and pay you instantly without ever leaving their smart device.
Between 2011 and 2015, mobile bookings in the travel industry have risen an astonishing 1700% – a move which meant the difference between 1% of online revenues to 18%. Consider for a moment that those statistics are in spite of the fact that many businesses in the sector still cling to desktop only booking systems and you’ve got a measure of just how popular online bookings have become.
It didn’t stop in 2015 though, as growth has continued unabated in a world where the mobile web is, increasingly, the ‘real’ web.
The evidence of this is everywhere, but a recent comScore report into US web usage found that mobile internet usage now accounted for 65% of all internet usage, up from just 53% in December 2013. Meanwhile, desktop internet usage has gone from a solid 47% in December 2013 to a woeful 35% – a downwards slide which seems unlikely to end in the short term.
Of course, desktop internet usage is unlikely to come to a juddering halt anytime soon, thanks to many legacy computers and businesses utilising them, but for the rest of us, mobile internet will continue to become ubiquitous in its usage.
For businesses which offer bookings, then, mobile booking platforms aren’t a luxury for the distant future, they’re a necessity now that will only grow more crucial as the days pass.
It’s not just your customers which benefit from mobile reservation systems, it’s you too.
As a modern business, we know that whether you’re in the office or not, you’re business hours never truly stop. Today, we manage much of our business from the comfort of our living room via our laptops. Whether it’s firing a quick email off in the evening or managing your supply chain as you pick up a cup of coffee.
So, with BookingLive we designed our visual booking dashboard management software to work whenever and wherever you need it, all you need is the software and your login. So, if you receive a booking as you’re settling in for your evenings TV, you can manage it right from the sofa.
If your business takes bookings, then you need mobile booking software. Just as though it’s no longer acceptable to force customers to book over the phone, forcing customers to use desktop booking interfaces on their mobile is unacceptable.
So, whether you’re in the leisure industry, a tour provider, a hotel, restaurant or any other business which relies on bookings, don’t settle for ‘good enough’. Accept only the best, and that means a dedicated mobile booking platform.
Whilst many competing online reservation platforms make their customers pay extra for access to mobile versions of their systems, we at BookingLive believe that our customers should never pay more for such a crucial and basic feature.
Since we launched mobile booking in 2013, we’ve worked continuously alongside our customers to understand what’s required to increase sales, improve usability and drive new business. Today, we continue to do so.
As such, every customer who joins BookingLive gets free, instant and automatic mobile reservation software as a matter of course. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on our base or top level plan, you’ll have mobile booking software as standard. It’s just our way of helping you be ready for the future.
To find out more, contact us where one of our sales team would be more than happy to discuss our online booking software to you.