Moving to a new place is a scary prospect, but if you can integrate well, you can call this new place your home. The husband and wife team, Richard and Joei, found...
Moving to a new place is a scary prospect, but if you can integrate well, you can call this new place your home. The husband and wife team, Richard and Joei, found this when they emigrated to Ireland in 2018 and started their bike hire and repair business. They have grown it over the past few years, and since integrating Booqable into their website, they have seen great results.
Bikes play a significant part in the daily lives and leisure activities of many people across the world. A hub in the community where they can be rented and repaired is essential in the 21st century. It has been one of the quickest growing industries recently, and more and more entrepreneurs are bringing these services to local communities.
In August 2018, Richard and Joei emigrated to Carlingford in the Ireland. They were eager to integrate into their community, and being avid cyclists, they decided to establish a bike rental business in Carlingford Marina. This location proved ideal as it is the start of the Carlingford Lough Greenway, which runs 7km along the shoreline.
They found an existing fenced area that was ideal for a bike hire depot and quickly secured a lease. Next, they craned in a shipping container to serve as their store and acquired several bikes to launch their business, On Yer Bike, in April 2019. Initially, many customers were walk-ins, but soon they started to spread on social media, and the company began to grow.
This social media attention meant that they soon had a roster of returning customers, and people were coming to them after being recommended by existing customers. At this point, Joei gained her qualification as a Velotech Gold bike mechanic, and she could begin to take on bike repairs from residents and passing cyclists.
Despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, they continued growth as relaxed rules meant they could reopen in the summer. In this time, they saw an increase in positive reviews and social media attention which fuelled growth in the business. They then produced a video about the local cycling trails, which gained significant attention.
Due to the growth they saw during the pandemic, it became more challenging to manage the day-to-day running of the business. The majority of their orders would come via phone, email, and walk-ins. They kept track of these bookings by making manual notes, and they struggled to get the information they needed in advance to allocate bikes to reservations.
These struggles meant it was not easy to identify which stock was reserved and what was available to rent. As you can imagine, this time was stressful and led to more than a few double bookings due to human error. At the same time, it made the opening of a second location challenging to coordinate as they couldn’t identify the stock that was needed in each space.
In addition, having no way for customers to make bookings online meant that their social media attention didn’t lead to as much growth as it could have. Therefore, a more convenient way for people to make bookings was needed. As well as a way to properly manage and allocate inventory for bookings made across their sales channels.
In early 2021, the effects of the third wave gave them a chance to regroup and find the tools they needed to solve their problems. They started using Booqable to manage orders and integrate online booking with their website to create another sales channel. This proved to be a very effective solution that revolutionized the business.
Integrating Booqable with their website has given them an online store where customer can choose their bikes, the duration of their rentals, and pay. The bikes are automatically reserved for them, which is reflected in the online store too. In addition, any orders taken through calls, emails, or walk-ins are manually entered and tracked alongside online orders.
Now, they can accurately manage stock across all sales channels and prepare orders for the day ahead. They can set aside stock that has been reserved and physically identify which stock is available for any new or walk-in orders they receive during the day. Then, as new orders come in, they can pick from the available inventory to serve walk-in customers more efficiently.
Since installing Booqable, Richard and Joei have seen 57% of their bookings come from their online store, while revenue has almost doubled. This has allowed them to expand their fleet to around 100 bikes and open a second location in Carlingford, which focuses on Irish-built Kuma eBikes. As well as winning the Tripadvisor’s Travellers Choice award for their second year running.
The extra time from reduced manual orders has allowed them to develop strategies for ‘accessible and inclusive’ cycling experiences. For example, they have introduced Special Needs adapted trailers that will enable people with disabilities to enjoy cycling. This has led to them being a qualified AXA Community Ride leader, a prestigious honor in this community.
Richard says that “Booqable has helped us tremendously with our growth in 2021, and we find that its ease of use, breadth of capability, and reasonable pricing is ideal for our business.” He and Joei are looking to continue their expansion moving into 2022 with a range of flexible offerings and additional locations. As a result, they have recently upgraded to a Pro account to facilitate this growth digitally alongside the ‘real-life’ development of the business.