5 Online Booking Red Flags

March 08, 2017

When looking for an online restaurant booking application, there are some serious red flags that you should be aware of. As a venue note these very carefully as these small aspects could cost you a fortune in the long run if it's not handled correctly, and be detrimental to your business.

1. Discounts

You may think that offering discounts is one way to get people to walk in the door, and this may be a great benefit when its a quiet day. But you should be very aware about the message that these whopping 50% discounts send, and how often they are advertised. It inherently cuts your revenue, and while it might get someone through the door - it gives the idea to the customer that your dining and services are worth less than they are and they will be less likely to return to pay full price.

2. Booking system branding

It is very important to note who the email comes from when the customer is contacted. Is it your email address, or is it the booking system's? If the booking system's name or branding appears more than once throughout the booking process, then you have an issue. Your restaurant is a brand in itself that you should be building. And every time the booking system has their logo or name inserted, your restaurant name should be there instead. They are your customers, not the booking application's - so keep it that way!

3. Directories

A lot can be said about directories, so I'll try to keep it short, sharp, and shiny. The two main components are competitive directories, and being locked into one directory.
You need to be wary of which directories you are choosing as some will compete with your website on a simple Google search. And if the customer chooses to book on that directory, the cost will be triple for you per seat. A lot of booking directories will also put ads for specific restaurant names. So when the customer googles your name, the directory will always come up before your website to drive traffic to their site over yours, and it will cost you.
That being said, directories can be great. They bring more traffic to your booking button, and in turn get diners in house that you may not have seated otherwise. If directories are able to provide this much traffic, then why would you only be locked into one? You should be looking at several platforms and multiple directories, if they help you get people through the door, why not have more?

4. Third party advertising

In theory third party advertising sounds great, you have an extra channel of communication that leads to potential customers right? Wrong. Third party advertising may sound fantastic to begin with, however you need to remember that coupled with huge advertising budgets and massive marketing teams, your customers will soon be directed elsewhere.

5. Lock in contracts

Lock in contracts are not the norm when it comes to booking applications. And if the product doesn't work for you and your venue, then any problems you have will be ongoing for a year, and that will cut into your bottom line. If you are entering a lock in contract there will be a hefty fee to remove yourself, or you will be stuck with a system you are paying for that is draining your profit. Sometimes things just don't work out for different venues, and if it doesn't work for you then you should have the right to get out of there hassle free. 

There are many key aspects when it comes down to choosing an restaurant reservation system. Make sure you do your research and look into different options before getting trapped into a downward spiral of issues with an expensive ticket out of there.

If you're interested in getting online bookings, check out our website www.bookbookonline.com.au

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