If you offer a service that customers need to book in for (e.g. travel, treatments, classes, events, etc.), you’ll know how important it is that customers show up to those appointments. This is why it’s important to send booking reminders in the lead-up to the appointment.
In order for a booking reminder to have the greatest impact, it should be personalized. In this blog, we’ll talk about how to personalize booking reminders in Ortto, as well as best practice tips for sending booking reminders so that your customers don’t miss their appointments, and you don’t lose business.
Timing booking reminders effectively
Booking reminders are transactional in nature, with the main goal to ensure customers honor their bookings. Variations of booking reminders may include:
Whatever the message, the most important thing is that it’s timely and relevant. With Ortto, you can automate messages so that they reach the right customers at the right time and make the right impact.
For example, depending on the type of booking, a business might want to remind their customers two to seven days before the appointment date, in case they wish to reschedule or cancel. Later in this blog, we’ll outline how to do this in Ortto.
Adding personalization to booking reminders
Although booking reminders are transactional, adding personalization is important – it fosters trust and builds customers’ confidence in your business because it satisfies them that their booking has been secured in your system, and they have a record of it. Personalization also adds a human touch.
You can add personalization by including one or more of the following elements:
Time of booking
Time of booking
As well as sending the booking reminder at the right time, it’s essential that the date and time of the booking is included in any communications regarding that booking, so the customer has the right information. This is especially important when a customer has made a booking of high value (such as a treatment at a spa, or a booking with a removalist company) where a no-show would be a major loss for both customer and business.
Below are examples of what a booking reminder might say, and how it might reference the date and time:
Your appointment at [salon name] is on [date] at [time]. Text Y to confirm or N to cancel. Note: there is a 24hr cancellation fee.
Hi, this is a friendly reminder that your booking at [restaurant name] is on [date] at [time] for [X] people. To reschedule or cancel your booking, call [restaurant number].
Reminder: Your scheduled booking at [parking company] is in [X] days, on [date] at [time]. To edit or cancel your booking, click here[link].
This is to confirm that your appointment at [clinic] has been rescheduled. Your appointment is now at [date] at [time]. We look forward to seeing you.
You can reference the nature of the booking in the message to remind the customer what exactly they are scheduled for. This is important in instances where the customer has a repeat booking or has booked in for multiple things – for example, a series of skin treatments. Or, when a booking number has been provided.
Examples of including booking details in a reminder message:
Booking reminder: You have booked [treatment] at [salon name] on [date] at [time]. To modify your booking, click here[link]. To cancel, please call us on [salon number].
Confirming your [taxi company] booking #[booking reference number] for [date] at [time]. Track your taxi here[link].
Adding the customer’s name to a booking reminder is an easy way to add personalization and establish a relationship between the business and the customer.
Examples of adding the customer’s name into a booking reminder:
Hello [first name] [last name], this is a courtesy reminder of your [appointment type] at [clinic] on [date] at [time]. Please reply Yes to confirm or call [clinic number].
Hi [first name]! We’re looking forward to seeing you at [salon name] on [date] at [time]. If you need to modify or cancel your booking, please give us a call on [salon number]. Please note there is a 24hr cancellation fee.
If your business operates in multiple locations, you may choose to specify the location of the appointment in the booking reminder to minimize any confusion that could arise.
An example of referencing location in a booking reminder:
[Parking company] booking reminder: Your booking at [parking location/address] is confirmed for [date] at [time] for [X] hours. Click here[link] for directions. To cancel this booking, click here[link].
You may choose to include prerequisite details in the booking reminder to provide additional instruction and ensure customers arrive at their appointment feeling prepared.
For example, a spray tan clinic may want to remind customers to arrive make-up free, wearing loose-fitting clothing. Or, if someone is getting a root canal, the dentist surgery might inform the patient that they will not be fit to drive immediately after the procedure.
Examples of adding prerequisites to booking reminders.
Hi [first name], it’s almost time for your first class at [fitness studio name] on [date] at [time]. Please arrive 10 minutes early to complete a consent form, and don’t forget to bring water, a towel, and a pair of socks. We’re looking forward to seeing you!
Your booking at [venue name] is on [date] at [time]. When you arrive, please go to [entry details] and present your booking confirmation and ID.
Using SMS instead of email to send booking reminders
Sending a booking reminder via email is a popular method, but there is a danger it will get lost in the chaos of the inbox. Instead, sending booking reminders via SMS may be more effective.
In fact, more than two-thirds (67%) of people would rather text a business about appointments than scheduling via email or phone, possibly due to the ease and convenience of using SMS. Also, considering that SMS has a high open rate (text messages have a 98% open rate, compared to about 20% for emails), you can be confident that you are getting the message across to customers regarding bookings, so you’re less likely to miss out on crucial business.
How to personalize booking reminders in Ortto
Building personalized customer journeys that trigger relevant and timely messages is easy in Ortto. Below are three examples.
Split journeys based on actions, conditions, or filters
Personalize email subject line content
Specify the ‘From’ details in an email
Personalize email/SMS content
For example, an airport carpark could create a Salesforce custom object for the booking time and call it ‘Reservations’, and use it as entry criteria in a journey. In the example below, when the ‘Entry date/time occurs in seven days’, the customer is entered into the journey. Then, there is a time delay of three days, after which the customer is sent an SMS booking reminder. If the customer doesn’t confirm the booking, they are sent an email three days later that asks them if they still want their parking spot.
2. Create custom activities
Once you connect your data source, create custom activities based on specific actions to then use those custom activities to trigger timely messages. For example, a B2C company might connect their booking system to Ortto and set up custom activities based on specific actions like ‘Booked an appointment’. Then, using these custom activities, they could create an SMS/email journey in Ortto that triggers every time that specific action is taken, and sends the customer a booking reminder 3 days before their appointment.
3. Use merge tags
You can use any fields or activity attributes you’ve created as merge tags, and use them to add context to your email/SMS messages.
For example, a gym that holds a variety of fitness classes across multiple studio locations might have a number of different booking fields, such as class type (e.g. yoga, Pilates, HIIT, barre), studio, and date and time, as could use them as merge tags to personalize booking reminders. See example below.
Transactional messages might seem plain and simple, but personalizing them can boost booking attendance and strengthen the customer-brand relationship. Try personalizing your booking reminders by signing in or signing up to Ortto today.