The tool massively cuts down on the admin that is involved with booking lessons and accommodation freeing up time and making more money for users…
What is the problem and how are you attempting to solve it?
The problem is that many Surf Accommodations and Surf Schools don’t have a booking tool that allows people book on their websites
In 2014 we began discussing this issue with some of our surf accommodation and school partners who use our booking site www.surfholidays.com.
We got mixed feedback from how they were taking their bookings. Most of it involved a lot of emails, phone calls, back and forth admin and then bank transfers for payments.
Some had tried generic hotel booking widgets, or broad activity booking systems but none where working particularly well or suited their surf market. And some had given up and gone back to taking bookings over the phone or by email again.
We started working with a few camps and schools to develop a booking system specific to the surf market.
The idea was to make it really clear and simple for someone to book on their website. It had to be in three steps.
It had to be as easy for an eight year old and an 80 year old to book. It had to allow the providers to sell whatever they liked which is usually a mix of accommodation, lessons, Surf & Stay packages, airport transfers and extras like SUP & Yoga.
It had to accept all major international payment methods. It had to work great on mobile. And for the surf school/accommodation it had to be really easy for them to add it to their website.
Why can’t people do this for themselves? What is wrong with current methods?
They can outsource it to their web developer who can build one but it will takes months to do this. They also need a merchant account to accept payment and obtaining one can be a very long process.
With ours you can add it to your site and be taking bookings within 15 minutes. You can also use generic booking systems which tend not to convert half as many people as they can be very confusing, are not designed for the surf market and they often don’t allow them to sell surf packages or lessons.
And of course there is the traditional methods of accepting booking over the phone or by email which will continue but why not let your website do a lot of the work for you and give people the option of booking online.
How easy is it to use for both the user and school to implement and use?
For the user our main focus was to keep it to just three steps: Run a search, select your level and type of lessons, then pay.
Really simple and clear. For the providers adding it to their website they just have to enter their prices and lessons details which usually takes 10 minutes.
This will generate a few lines of code that can be added to the back end of their website. Most new websites will allow them add it easily but if they cant add it themselves we can do it in a few minutes for free.
How many people are using the tool at the moment?
Over 40 surf accommodation and surf schools since launch in June.
What is the cost to use?
It is free to add it. We take a small commission from each booking. There is no long term contract or commitment
Is that just Europe based? Are you looking to expand that?
No, we are worldwide although we have launched it in Europe first
Can you see it going beyond surf?
Our focus is the surf market but we currently have an SUP and 2 x Kite Surfing schools using it.
What is next for you and your team?
We have a team of six developers so we are constantly adding new features and updates. Our two main products are our website www.surfholidays.com and the Direct Booking Tool.
We are currently working on our next product, our affiliate model, and will launch this in September.
To find out more head over to the Surf Holidays site now