Whether you offer DJ Services, Wedding Furniture Hire or Party Services, you will certainly want to make the online booking process as innovative and easy for your customers as possible.

Why? Because customers nowadays are used to bookings hotels with their Smartphones, reserving tables in restaurants and buying tickets for concerts online with very few clicks – whether from home, on their laptop or on the move. And they also expect this option for other activities. This is where an online booking and planning system comes into play.

In choosing suitable booking software, however, there are a few things that you really need to think about. Because a good booking tool should not just offer functions which make life easier for your customer, but also some which relieve you of tedious and time-consuming jobs.

So to help you a bit more, we have listed the 8 must-have features which you definitely should take into account in choosing your online system:

1. Online bookings in real time

One of the greatest benefits of a booking solution is that customers no longer have to first make enquiries and then wait for your response, and you don’t have to process these enquiries manually. Instead, your customers will be able to see all the available dates directly, and make an enquiry or a booking with you lifting a finger!

2. Discount management via the online booking system

For many reasons, promotions and discounts are extremely important for business, as they can have a stimulating effect on the marketing of your business. Whatever kind of discounts you use, it should be possible for them to be generated and managed efficiently in a clearly understandable way in the booking system.

3. Payment via Stripe or PayPal

Stripe and PayPal are secure and a simple way of paying online, which is why it is used with increasing frequency. And by users from anywhere in the world. It proves that you value your customer’s security and privacy, which creates trust. At the same time, you have the assurance that you will receive guaranteed online payments direct from your customers . Stripe or PayPal as a payment option should therefore not be missing from any excellent online booking system.

4. Intelligent calendar/diary

An intelligent and easy-to-understand booking calendar provides the user with a summary of all bookings, capacity and turnover for the required periods at a glance. This will greatly simplify your planning. To avoid unnecessary work, it should also be possible for the booking diary to be synchronised with digital diaries already used, such as Google Calendar (coming soon to Celebrant Planner).

5. Online and telephone support for booking software

Sooner or later, when using software, you always reach a point where you need help from the developers. At those times there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to get the help you expect from the software house, or even help which was promised. Often a detailed Help database is sufficient for you to find the solution to problems connected with bookings quickly yourself. But if that’s not the case, you should be able to contact the developer both online and by telephone. One little tip: when you are testing out booking software, test the Support function too!

6. Automated e-mails make management easier

Sending out regular standardised e-mails, such as quotes, booking confirmations, reminders, etc. takes up far too much time. It is tedious and tiring work, which should certainly be automated by a booking system. A booking confirmation, for instance, should be sent to the customer immediately after the online booking. This gives the customer certainty that the booking has actually gone through. The booking system should not just send confirmation e-mails to your customers, however, but also offer the option that you are also informed.

7. Booking management via Smartphone and Tablet

People often do not sit at a PC all day long, but often have to run their businesses on the move via a Smartphone or Tablet. This is why the online booking system should run on a Cloud. Then it will not only be accessible worldwide, but also be automatically updated and maintained.

8. Website integration

Of course a good booking tool should offer at least the first seven points listed above, to ensure that your everyday work is made significantly easier. But none of these functions will be any use at all, unless this point is also fulfilled. One of the most important factors of all is that the solution can be integrated into your own website. This offers not only valuable traffic to your website to boost your SEO rankings, and keeping your clients there, but also ensures you look like the ultimate professional.