Filling out forms and booking different services and rentals for multiple people can be a tedious process. Your goal should be to make the customers' experience as enjoyable as possible, and that includes the booking process to charter your yachts or boats.
To make sure that you do not compromise on your flexibility by allowing customers to rent additional gear or services (such as booking flights) while maintaining a straightforward and clear booking process, here are 10 tips to help you out.
1. Make it clear, no waffling
Before starting the booking process, make a checklist of documents your customers need to have at hand to quicken the booking process. For instance, make sure they have their passport details of all passengers and credit card information for payment later on.
Throughout the booking process, provide clear headers and instructions at each new page. You can also underline or bold important pieces of information.
A simple way to double check if your instructions make sense is to read it aloud to yourself. You can also have someone else read what you've written to check if it's succinct and logical.
2. Break it down
To make the booking process as easy as possible, cut down on the fancy design and focus on helping your customers get the task done.
It is advisable to keep each page limited to one part of the booking. For instance, just like how you enter your personal details to book a flight before booking your seat, you should also break down your booking process this way. You could also include a progress bar throughout the different pages so that customers know where they're at in the booking process.
Make sure to have important information such as personal details, size of crew, yacht or boat of choice, date of arrival and departure and contact information down, before moving on to smaller items that can be adjusted after making a booking.
3. Integrate an online form
Gone are the days of sending personal information through snail mail or email. Integrate an online form into your booking process. It makes your company look professional, makes life easier for your customers and allows you to make duplicate copies for administrative purposes.
Check out our online booking and payment system that was designed for yachting and boating companies like yours.
4. Remind customers to check their booking details, and check it again
Just like how waitstaff in restaurants remind you to check the bill before paying, you should also encourage your customers to have a final look at the booking form before payment.
You could include a simple line at the end of the page to remind them, for example, "Are you sure your booking information is correct?" or "Please make sure that the details you entered are correct." Furthermore, you could provide a summary of their itinerary before directing customers to the following step.
Here, you should also give them the opportunity to make changes to their bookings should they spot any errors. This will hopefully prevent too many mistakes from happening and reduce your admin work later on.
5. Provide a clear break down of costs
Apart from the costs of chartering a boat and hiring your services, there are additional costs such as insurance, national park permits, fishing licenses, cruise taxes and so on that might be included in the final amount. Make sure that all these cost are clearly listed on the final page to prevent misunderstandings between you and your customers.
Also remember to include an itemized bill for all additional services such as WiFi, skippers or hostesses, on-board dining, provisions or watersports equipment.
6. Integrate an online payment system
It is worrying when customers have to email credit card details or recite them over a phone call simply because it's not safe to do so. Alternatively, you could also accept cheques through post but that too takes a long time.
Integrate an online payment system that allows you to accept all of card payments from anywhere in the world, at any given time. This ways, customers can pay It is simplifies the booking process further and is much safer than any other method.
7. Highlight terms and conditions clearly
One of the main cause for disputes is when there is a misunderstanding that usually happens with deposits, damage waivers and cancellation policies.
Be sure to highlight the amount of deposit that will be required, the process by which you choose to do this (either through an actual deposit or authorising a card payment for a certain amount) and the associated terms and conditions.
8. Include an FAQ section
You could include this as a separate page and direct customers to have a read through before inquiring or making a booking with you. Categorise your questions in the most logical manner, for example:
- Planning your charter
- Additional costs
- Booking process
- Upon arrival
- During your charter
You could also include a "Recommendations" section where you could list down good and authentic restaurants and hotels for customers. Alternatively, you could start a company blog to tell customers more about the destination, the different sights and activities to be experienced and include hotel and restaurant recommendations there.
9. Send an automated confirmation email
Once the booking has been made, remember to send a confirmation email of the booking to your customers for their reference. Remember to include:
- Dates of travel
- Yacht of choice
- Crew size
- Additional services requested
- Instructions for next steps
10. Be readily available should customers need to contact you
Booking a yacht is no easy feat and coordinating such a trip can be difficult. Make sure customers can contact you should they need to via a phone call, email or Skype. They are paying for an experience and that experience begins the moment they check out your company's website.
Don't disappoint your customers before they even reach the marina. Be readily available to help them out.
Do you have any other tips for simplifying the booking process to charter a boat or yacht?
Are you interested in an online booking and payment system that can do everything we talked about and more?
Written by Nicole Kow
Having graduated from the UK, Nicole travelled around Europe before joining TrekkSoft's marketing team. She is now based in KL and regularly blogs about her travels at Next Train Out.