Everyday, hundreds of concerts and events, local and otherwise, lose money from unsold tickets. Yet we live in the era of the internet – an era where interconnectivity rules all and connects every corner of the globe. Utilizing the web to create a space for booking is a simple matter with the right partner.
Just look at the success of sites like the infamous Ticketmaster: they charge nearly 50% on top of the standard ticket price, making money hand over fist with each ticket. Yes this is outrageous, and most people agree – but Ticketmaster is still doing fine.
The success of this online booking website, much like Priceline, Hotwire, Kayak, and others is due to one thing: the market potential is enormous. Not only does an online booking site help raise awareness of events, travel destinations, concerts, and deals, they make purchasing tickets simpler. If you have a booking website idea, let’s get the ball rolling.
So how do you create your own online booking site and get your own piece of the pie? There are several necessary features to a website of which you need to be aware. My recommendation is to study this resource and others to learn what is needed in a booking website and send us any further questions you may have.
The front end, or user interface (UI), of an online booking website, or any website or app for that matter, is the part of your product to which your consumer is exposed. For instance, this link directs you to SDI’s homepage – the front end. Even the page on which you are currently reading this blog is the front end. What we see on our end is completely different – the back end, which we will cover momentarily.
The best way to do this is the same way we develop anything in the tech world: prototyping. Sketch out your design on paper, then design in photoshop (or any other graphics software). Share your design with team members, friends, and family. The idea is to show a few people within and without your project to develop the best design possible.
If you have been in this biz for long enough, you’ve probably heard of Magento. For all intents and purposes, it is one of the best e-commerce site builders out there. After all, what is an online booking system other than an e-commerce site? Just like Amazon, it sells product units digitally.
Basically, Magento is a series of precoded software “plug-ins” that allow developers to quickly create a highly functioning e-commerce website, including booking systems and reservation software. The best part of Magento is that it is open source. While so-called cookie-cutter code chunks can present some issues, an open source option is a great choice because it’s still quite customizable.
Magento isn’t the only program of this type out there. Woocommerce and Prestashop are also popular e-commerce scripts, and tools like PhoneGap provide a similar service for mobile apps. If you would like to know more about the best ways to utilize tools for your business, get in touch with us and we can walk you through the advantages and disadvantages.
Obviously, a great UI and smart usage of eCommerce scripts is not the only thing that goes into an online reservation system. An entrepreneur looking to build his own reservation software doesn’t need to know how to do the actual coding himself – but it behooves him to know some details.
♦ Scheduling software
Obviously, reservation systems, whether it’s for a ticket or a doctor’s appointment, necessarily requires some sort of scheduling software. One of the first steps in building an online booking system is to figure out what you’re selling – plane tickets require a different sort of build than appointment booking.
Your development team will be the ones to determine the build, but it’s your business, so you need to make clear what sort of business it is. If you want to sell plane tickets and book dinner reservations – no problem. Just remember that planning is everything – take some time to figure out your best strategy.
♦ The Database
Creating a database diagram is a recommended step. Being able to visually see what your resources are and how you want to structure access to those resources will help you communicate with developers. Clear communication is a key feature to the success of any business.
Essentially, a database contains a series of tables all containing different types of variables. Determining what each variable is, where it belongs and how it will be presented to customers is the foundation for the overall user interface of your website.
While there is much more we could cover on this topic, this is a good start. There are a lot of steps that go into making a successful online booking system. It can be an intimidating process, but the market is hot right now! Just look at the recent huge acquisition of Orbitz by Expedia and the equally big purchase of AS Digital by Priceline and OpenTable. The industry is only growing and the potential money making opportunity is vast.
Ready to make your own online booking site? Our market and industry experts think that eCommerce sites built for SMB by SMB owners are going to be the next big tech market. We’d love to get in on the ground floor with an interested party – so much so that we’re offering 30% any eCommerce project. Give us a call at 408.802.2885 now or contact us to get started.