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The road to success isn’t always a straight one, and Norberto Diaz discovered this when he started Bicyclean Helsinki over ten years ago. He has had his fair share of growing pains during that time, but today he runs a successful bike rental business. He started using Booqable four years ago and saw his bookings skyrocket within just the first few months.
Finland has some of the most beautiful mountains of any European country and is strongly associated with winter sports. However, more and more people are discovering the value of its extensive cycling routes. Over the past decade alone, the number of tourists visiting to cycle has risen.
In 2010, Norberto Diaz founded Bicyclean Helsinki as a bike rental store located in the Katjanokka neighborhood of Helsinki. An area is known for its elegant art nouveau buildings that greet large cruise ferries carrying visitors from Europe. This picturesque harbor creates the perfect welcome to the city of Helsinki with scenic views and idyllic restaurants.
Initially, Norbert started Bicyclean Helsinki as a bike rental store offering just a few city bikes, but soon this grew to include trekking bikes, kids bikes, eBikes, and more. He has been able to keep up with trends in the industry, and many new additions have proved favorites among his customers.
However, he didn’t stop there. As early as 2012, he offered additional accessories like bags, tents, sleeping bags, phone holders, child seats, GPS systems, and bike carriers. Moving beyond bicycles made his store even more popular, and the number of customers has continued to grow since then.
How busy is too busy?
While growing his product offering and attracting more customers, Norbert began to run into some potential problems. As Helsinki became more popular among summer tourists, so did his business. Unfortunately, this meant a manageable bike rental operation became much more complex and stressful to work with.
Norbert doesn’t know how he did it, but he managed to get through the busy periods by the skin of this teeth. However, he found it challenging to keep up with booking updates and manage the pickup and return of bicycles. In addition, his booking system made it difficult for customers to reserve bikes which led to trust issues.
Making it easier
In 2017, Norbert had finally had enough of just managing to get through the busy season and decided it was time to get professional rental software. His choice, of course, was Booqable, and he couldn’t be happier with the results he had seen. Not only in the management of his business but also in the customer experience.
He can now keep accurate track of all of his bookings as the system automatically registers when customers make a reservation online. This has enabled not only him but also his team to check when bookings need to be picked up and returned at a glance. As a result, now busy seasons are much more manageable than they had ever been previously.
His customers also have a much better booking experience now, thanks to the excellent integration of Booqable components on his website. Norbert says that customers trust the system and know that there won’t be any issues when they pick up their bikes as everything is handled.
In addition, he says, “Thanks to the constant updates to the Booqable system, we have been able to offer more options to our customers when they are booking their bicycles.”
Within just the first high season of using Booqable, Bicyclean Helsinki saw growth in rentals of over 30%, and it has continued to grow since. Norbert has been expanding his offering year upon year with the confidence that he has a system that can manage anything he throws at it.
Recently, he has started to offer a bicycle delivery and pickup service for private customers. He delivers to their homes, vacation rentals, and even to the harbor when they get off the boat. This service also extends to companies and big groups who are fond of using his bike rental service.