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In Germany in 2012, e-bikes had the stigma that “only old people would ride them.” But that didn’t stop Bernd Repenning from opening ERHAHRE Hamburg, an e-bike rental business. Initially, the number of customers was low, but as the popularity of e-bikes grew so did his company, which brought its own problems. As the number of reservations grew, so did errors and overbooking until Bernd found Booqable, which has solved this issue altogether.
E-bikes have seen incredible growth in popularity across Europe over the last decade, credited to the increase in social consciousness for environmental issues and improvements in technology. It was found that people cycle 30% further on an electric bike than they would on a standard bicycle, thanks to the electronic assistance and reduced effort it takes to ride places with them.
Bernd Repenning founded ERHAHRE Hamburg in 2012 when the reputation of e-bikes wasn’t the best in Germany. However, there was a big push for people to use them instead of driving their cars. This resonated with Bernd, and he started his e-bike rental business with the faith that the popularity of e-bikes would grow.
He initially purchased 50 e-bikes to rent and would have days where nobody would come to rent them. However, years later, they are incredibly popular, and they are fully booked out daily. So Bernd now rents out and sells e-bikes and cargo bikes to his customers with a mix of city e-bikes, supersport e-bikes, and bikes more suited towards families.
This gives him the ability to let people try e-bikes before deciding to buy one, which helps both sides of the business support each other. He also caters to many tourists who visit Hamburg and gives them tips on the best places to ride and share his secret spots for them to enjoy.
From Excel to excellence
For several years, Bernd and his team would use Excel spreadsheets to book customers manually. This was an exhausting process that took valuable time and resources away from them, and the unfriendly nature of Excel spreadsheets led to many errors, including overbooking.
Finally, in 2018, Bernd sought out rental software and came across Booqable, which met his needs perfectly. He was looking for a modern booking system that was easy to use in the front end so customers of all ages could easily book their bikes and easy to use in the backed so he and his team could easily manage and track bookings.
The live booking system means that there are no longer double bookings and errors. At the same time, the online store allows customers to book the bikes they want precisely when they want them. This has given Bernd and his team much more time for other tasks, and they only have to intervene in the booking process if there are any questions.
More time, fewer problems
Bernd estimates that — using Booqable to accept rentals online — he and his team spend around 400% less time than booking phone or email orders manually. This time has also increased thanks to the reduction in cancelled bookings as customers now make prepayments through their online store.
He has been using Booqable for three years now and has commented that it is intuitive, fast, and good-looking. The extra time and flexibility in booking orders have given him the freedom he was seeking. Now, he and his staff can concentrate more on serving customers and maintaining their stock.