The reservation process is one of the most important elements of the reservation system. Its task is to guide customers through the steps, starting with choosing what the customer should book and ending with a successful and paid reservation. This process is primarily intended for customers when making online reservations on a reservation page, but is largely identical to the process of making reservations in administration.
The booking process generally consists of several steps in a predefined order. Setting up a booking page offers you the option to adjust the order of the initial steps to best reflect the specific type of business and make it clear to the customer. The basic form of this process involves the display of a calendar, when the customer chooses the corresponding day and on that day he/she displays the offer of specific dates for reservation. By default, the introductory part of the process can also be affected by the use of a signpost or the way the event menu is displayed, taking into account the reservation page settings.
Settings - Reservation page - Basic settings
Procedure for selecting the event
Creating a reservation by the customer (on the reservation page) thus consists of two essential steps, which are choice of the date (offer) and selection of a specific day. Depending on the order in which you want the customer to choose, it is possible to set the booking procedure. In both cases, it is a different visualization of the offer for customers, when the system automatically processes the available dates and adapts them to the overall display of the offer of dates.
Specific views will certainly differ depending on the type of business, for example, for fitness studio is probably the most suitable display with a calendar in weekly mode and choice of day and then date/lesson, for hairdressing then the choice of date/service and only then!
Settings - Reservation page - Basic settings - Webpage with events
"First show options for days and then the event" mode
The most common reservation procedure is to select a day from the calendar and then select a specific date, ie the offer that is available on that day. In this setting it is possible to choose another way of displaying the dates, the default day in the displayed calendar, etc. Within this mode it is also possible to hide the calendar completely and display only the list of events. This is especially useful if you have a one-time event or just a few available dates for booking.
"First show the events and then select the day" mode
The second option is a procedure where the customer first chooses a date, ie the offer of services to make a reservation and only then selects the day when he wants to book the service. Selection of the day then takes place in a reduced calendar, whose display already corresponds to a specific offer of the given date. In certain cases, after selecting the day, the time is selected. This type of display is especially useful if you offer regular services and use the event "Any time".
Selection of specific parameters (time/seats)
If the customer has chosen the appropriate offer, ie the event for the reservation, the next step is specification of the parameters of the particular reservation. Here the situation differs depending on the type of event. When it comes to events such as "One single event" or "Voucher", the situation is simple and you only need to select the event offered. If it is time events ("Intervals", "Custom time", "Multiple days"), then the customer is expected to further specify the time, whether start or end. This choice is influenced by the setting of a specific date (eg minimum and maximum length of the reservation) and depends on the current possibilities and available capacities. Finally, the third way of specifying the booking parameters corresponds to the "Seat reservation/seats" type, when the seat map is displayed after the date has been selected and the customer can choose from specific vacancies (within a single reservation or repeatedly).
In certain situations, after selecting a date and entering parameters, the booking form may not appear in the booking panel as the next step in the booking process. This usually happens if the customer has chosen an event for which it is not possible to book at the moment. Typically, this happens when your appointment is forbidden or the appointment is out of time. Information on why it is not possible to continue booking is clearly indicated in the reservation panel!
Fill out the reservation form
Now it is clearly specified what the customer wants to book (date, time from and to, seats, etc.) and then the step where it is necessary to obtain the customer's data and other information. This booking form is always influenced by the global settings of the system and reflects eg whether the customer is able to make a reservation without registration, whether a login is possible or what information is required. The booking form may therefore include buttons for login or registration. If the customer has already registered an account and at the same time tries to make a reservation without logging in but specifying their email address, the login will be requested. Another important part of this form is information about the price for booking, or a selection of price variants.
In the reservation system it is also possible to define your own reservation forms and assign them to individual dates or collectively for the whole reservation page, ie all dates and reservations. This efficient tool makes it easy to collect the necessary data, including taking into account GDPR personal information or influencing the total cost of your booking according to the filled-in values.
Each event can be assigned its own reservation form, through which it is possible to modify the price of the resulting reservation.
Create a reservation successfully
If all the previous steps are performed and the reservation form is filled in as required, the actual booking in the system follows. There may be situations where the booking cannot be completed successfully. The system always evaluates the possibility of making reservations at several levels, and here comes the last system check. Even though the reservation process has been successful so far, it may have happened that while the customer was filling in the reservation form, another customer had made a reservation earlier, using the appropriate capacity of the event or reserving specific seats. In this case, the customer is informed and must make the reservation again if possible) using different parameters.
The customer is immediately informed on the reservation page about the successful creation of the reservation and the corresponding information is sent to him/her by e-mail or SMS message (depending on the notification settings in the system). Likewise, employees or system administrators can be informed at this time, or so-called own messages can be activated, all with regard to the system settings.
Settings - Notification
Payment for reservation
The created reservation is recorded in the system and if it has a price defined, it is necessary to deal with its payment. This can be done in several ways depending on the capabilities and settings of the system.
- No need to register payment for reservations/reservations are free - there is no need to solve anything and you do not need to set anything in the reservation system from this point of view. Payments are handled outside the system and payment or non-payment does not affect the reservation.
- The customer makes the payment on the spot - here the situation is similar, there is no need to set up the system. However, you can use the manual reservation setting for your information.
- The customer can pay for the reservation on-line, but it is not an obligation - in this case, one of the payment gateways must already be set up and after the successful creation of the reservation the customer has the opportunity to immediately use the on-line payment gateway and pay the reservation. If they fail to do so, they can pay the reservation on the spot, according to your possibilities and processes.
- Customer must pay for the reservation on-line - in this case the payment gateway must be set in the system and at the same time the payment request for the reservation (globally or within a specific deadline) must be set. If the customer fails to make a payment within a certain time after making the reservation, the reservation will be automatically canceled!
In all scenarios, you can also use physical payments using SumUp Air payment terminal. For more information on payments, see "On-line Payments".
It is worth mentioning a specific situation, namely reserve substitutes. An alternate is someone who is interested in making a standard reservation, but there is currently insufficient capacity for booking. In this case, they only show an interest in the reservation, but the reservation will not be created until the corresponding capacity is available. To allow alternate reservations, you must enable this option and set its parameters within a specific deadline.
Events - (Editing event) - Alternates
The reservation process is exactly the same, with the difference that the customer is always informed that he is booking only as a substitute and this is also displayed as a confirmation on the reservation page. If the alternate does not turn, then the system is no longer alerted or envisaged. If it comes to his turn, his reservation becomes a classic successfully created reservation, with all that is related to this moment - sending a reservation notification, request for payment, cancellation in the case of non-payment, etc., according to system settings and deadline.
The Substitutes function is available and only available for the event "One single event". The alternates are queued and the system automatically activates these alternates when the deadline is released. The customer is not sent any notice of making a reservation "as an alternate", but it is sent only when the alternate becomes a standard reservation!
Substitute reservations are not processed in the standard way by the system, as it is basically an expressed interest in booking. For example, if you want to see alternates in the reservation overview, you have to adjust the filtering parameters accordingly.