Accommodating last-minute bookings is a great way to acquire new clients, boost revenue and demonstrate you're ready for business. For some entrepreneurs, a last-minute client can be undesirable. However, by following the tips in this article, you'll be able to shorten your required lead time, capture more opportunities, outperform the competition, and charge more.
I'm using the term "last-minute" to encompass the concept of accepting a booking with a tight lead time. Depending on the service, this could be as short as same-day bookings (real estate photography) and might even be a couple of weeks (wedding photography) to be considered last-minute.
1. Offer more than one package.
Your website should be the most helpful resource for people looking to hire you. For each service, it's best to have multiple packages. It allows you to cater to various price points, and with proper descriptions, it quickly gives someone a clear picture of your offering. By giving people options with packages, you're more likely to keep them on your website and provide something that fits their needs and budget.
2. Show your pricing and packages online.
Last-minute bookers don't have a lot of time to make their selection. If they don't see pricing on your website, there is a good chance they will leave to look elsewhere because they don't have the time to go through a lengthy sales process. Think of this as an efficient information gathering stage during the buying process and very logical behavior. Showing pricing and packages lets people know you are confident and ready to be hired.
3. Require payment in full before accepting the booking.
Often, last-minute bookings will be willing to pay in full for your services because they understand it's short notice. After all, when there is not much lead time, you need to make sure the client is serious and ready for you to start prepping for their booking. People hate extra fees, so you should avoid surcharges for the short notice and count on them being impresses and referring friends after delivering a great experience.
4. Offer Online Booking
Now that you're showing pricing and packages on your website, you should also allow someone to book online. Online booking makes taking the next step in doing business with your company just a click away. Clients love the feeling of locking in a service they need and doing it all online. Be sure to use a high-quality online booking system like Check Cherry because online schedulers are not designed to sell services online.
5. Offer Online Chat
Add a chat feature/widget to your website. There are even free options like Drift, which also offers iPhone/Android apps so you can see the chat come similar to a text message on your phone. Just like online booking, chat lowers the barrier and makes it easier for prospects to continue the process of doing business with your company. It's also a great way to uncover adjustments you can make to your website to ensure it helps answer the questions people often have before hiring you.
Not just about last-minute bookings
Keep in mind the tips above don't just work for last-minute bookers. They'll help you lower the bar and make it easy for website visitors to take that next step in doing business with your company regardless of lead time.
Get everything you need to do online booking right.
Check Cherry provides everything you need to do online booking right. From limiting your availability to prevent double bookings to organizing and showcasing your packages online. Also, if someone starts but does not complete the booking process, Check Cherry will create a lead and alert you to follow up, close the sale, and you can send a proposal for signature and deposit.