Book online

Booking Platform or Website for Bookings?

Posted by

When it comes to accepting online bookings for your training events should you use your own website checkout or should you use a fully integrated booking platform?

With both options your training events are displayed on your own website ready for your customer to book them, so let’s look at the differences and the pro’s and con’s of both options.

Use your own website

You can pay a web developer to design and develop your website for you, or a trend which is becoming increasing popular with smaller training companies is the build it yourself website (if you know how). You can list all of your training events on your own website using software such as WordPress (a web design software tool) and there are ecommerce plugins which will allow you to accept orders from your own website. These plugins have various payment systems built in so payments are taken care of for you.

Configuration
The difficult part is configuring the booking part of the plugin to work with training events. These are not physical products so are not really tailored for as standard so configuration can be difficult with no option for details such as how to ask for the learners name, as this is not a standard feature on most systems.

Security
You will need to purchase an SSL certificate which makes the checkout area of your website secure. This is now a legal requirement under the GDPR, so you must capture customer data in a secure environment. SSL certificates range in price but Genius Software (our company) pays £280 per year for ours.

Updating your website
Your website will need constant updates such as removing events that have started running, and adding new events as you create them. This can become a very time consuming task but it is necessary to keep your website up to date. Imagine if you are looking to book a training event, you visit a website and there are training courses displayed that ran/expired months ago.. what would you think? Are they still in business?

Placing and processing bookings
When a customer places an order they do so using your website and your checkout process. (which must be secure). Each time you receive an order it needs to be processed and the customers details and order details recorded in your CRM or TMS so this will be a duplication of data, either copy and paste or manually re-entering the data yourself.
This all takes time but is necessary if you choose this method.

 

Using a Booking Platform

Using a booking platform is by far the easiest way to go and will save you huge amounts of time. A booking platform works in conjunction with your own website to display your training events and provide a secure booking system and checkout for your customers to book and pay for your training events. There are costs involved usually on a per transaction basis ranging from a very low 2% with Genius TMS right up to 6.5% + £0.49 (Eventbrite Professional) depending on the platform used.

Configuration
A booking platform will integrate with your website easily and seamlessly, for example the Genius TMS integrates with any website by copying and pasting a code snippet (two lines of programming code) which includes secure credit / debit card payments by Stripe.com too.

Security
Security is all taken care of by the booking platform so you are absolved of security responsibilities regarding capturing customer data under GDPR.

Updating your website
When you use a booking platform it is internally linked to your Training Management System, so when you make a change in your Training Management System it is instantly reflected on your own website. When you create a new training event within your Training Management System it is displayed on your website and ready for customers to book instantly, including live availability status which gives your customers that peace of mind. Removing events that have already started is automated too, so your customers know you are on the ball, your website is always up to date without any additional work on your part.

Placing and processing bookings
When you use a booking platform the customer views the training event on your website, then when you click on the Buy button they are transferred over the the Booking Platform. A good booking platform will retain your company logo so the customer knows that they are purchasing from you. As the customer is on the Booking Platform all security is taken care of by the Booking Platform.
Bookings are automatically entered direct into your Training Management System at the time of order without the need for duplication. This means your customer and learner names are added to your system, the order is added and the revenue is all recorded giving you instant real time profit/loss and break even on every event without the need to duplicate any information saving you huge amounts of time.

Conclusion

These are two very different ways to accept online bookings, which one you choose is personal preference. The larger more successful training organisations almost always use a booking platform due to the many advantages including time saving, but there is a trade off with costs. Ultimately the choice is yours

What do you think? which option do you use and why?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *