With COVID-19, grocery stores now have reservation systems, and you also need to make bookings for hiking in a park. Is this forever or just temporary?
Many businesses have seen a considerable benefit to booking. People can reliably access services, avoid lines, space out traffic, and better understand utilization patterns. Restaurants started using a hybrid of reservations and walk-ins decades ago, now, it seems the rest of the world is waking up to the possibilities of a combined model.
Booking doesn't need to be the only way to access services, but can be a great benefit to both the providers and the consumers.
Fighting fear and the pandemic
Whilst we were familiar with the concept of booking pre-covid, its ubiquitous application in our daily lives is a direct consequence of the pandemic. Room booking apps, advance registrations, and working from home or office hotdesk practices are all ways we have needed to adapt our lifestyle habits and space management practices.
Recent surveys have shown that worries surrounding the virus are still prevalent – 86% of Americans report feeling somewhat or very concerned about the COVID-19 situation in the US. In addition to that, two out of three US workers say they feel uncomfortable about going back to work. A year into the pandemic, booking ahead is becoming second nature to people as a way to ease fears about reopening.
Life after the pandemic
Businesses and consumers alike are looking for ways to emerge into the ‘new’ normal. Sectors such as entertainment, hospitality, and travel industries all look set to take on reservations and bookings as standard for visitors. Scheduling software is here to stay, with 70% of those surveyed saying they planned to visit a museum or gallery within the first month of reopening, and use an online booking system to do so.
For businesses, pandemic office trends such as using a room booking app will continue to enable a symbiotic relationship to emerge between working from home and the office. Multinationals like Google and HSBC have switched to a hybrid home/office workweek and have said they will continue for the foreseeable future.
Benefits of booking: The tech revolution
Thanks to scheduling software and digital technologies, businesses and public facilities have been able to slowly reopen, while making sure they comply with social distancing restrictions.
This has helped customers feel assured of their safety and enabled businesses to overcome complex manual scheduling challenges that may have previously hindered smooth and efficient operations.
By spacing out visitors, businesses can prioritize sanitation procedures, as well as spend more time meeting the needs of each customer to improve their overall experience. With more people working part-time from home, offices can downsize as employees share desks on a rotating basis. In addition, scheduling software and room-booking apps aid businesses to better track visitation patterns and footfall, which generates data that supports future sales forecasting or visitor predictions.
Booking in advance might have seemed unusual at first, but people have adapted and now expect the certainty and benefits which reserving brings. Not all services and amenities will require reservations forever - of course, businesses will still appreciate the spontaneity of a walk-in customer - but for many, this is a welcome change of pace.