Automating Bookings and Saving Time with Stour Kayak

It’s a great feeling when you’ve been planning something for a while, and it all finally comes together. Robin Brooker had spent two years planning his kayak rental business among the unpredictability...

Stour Kayak

Founded

2022

Industry

Kayak rentals

Location

Great Henny, UK

Key features used

  • Online Bookings

  • Squarespace Integration

  • Availability Calendar

It’s a great feeling when you’ve been planning something for a while, and it all finally comes together. Robin Brooker had spent two years planning his kayak rental business among the unpredictability of the pandemic. This summer, he was finally able to open the company, and he chose Booqable to manage reservations and accept online bookings with his Squarespace website.

Starting your own business is a mix of terrifying and exciting, and when things don’t go to plan, it can be easy to give up. However, persistence is the key to any business, and despite setbacks, you must stay strong and see your vision through. It may feel like it’ll never happen, but one day opportunity will come knocking, and you’ll be able to fulfill your dreams.

Stour Kayak

In 2020, Robin Brooker began planning for his kayak rental business with the idea of opening it that summer. He had the perfect setting in the beautiful village of Great Henny in Suffolk, along with stylish and practical kayaks in mind. However, it wasn’t meant to be. The unpredictability of the pandemic meant it was difficult to determine what activities were permitted.

So, he went back to planning and had many conversations over the following two years. 2022 came around, and he decided he could no longer put it off and ran with it. By May, he finally opened Stour Kayak at a popular gastro pub along the serene River Stour. This location was chosen for its meandering river past meadows and an abundance of wildlife.

He now rents out 1-person and 2-person Wavesport kayaks for periods of between one and three hours. Robin chose these because they were stylish, practically unsinkable, and very maneuverable. It’s a simple offering that complements the exceptional customer service and high safety standards he has developed over the past couple of years.

Pre-launch checklist

Of course, having developed his business model over two years, Robin had plenty of time to get the best tools to get started. He knew he would need rental software, and there were a few things he wanted to be able to do with said rental software.

Firstly, he wanted a way to automate the booking process for hourly, two-hourly, and three-hourly rental periods within operating hours. This needed to be flexible and allow customers to start a hire at any given hour throughout the day. Robin wasn’t keen on set hire start times because they were too restrictive, and he wanted to give customers the freedom to choose.

He also needed the ability to collect additional information from customers. For example, buoyancy aid sizes and the number of cars the customers traveled in. It was essential to monitor these things as he needed to ensure he had a sufficient number of buoyancy aids and there was space to fit everyone in the limited parking available.

Finally, he wanted the flexibility to add padding time between rentals to give him a short period to clean the kayaks. This was essential for safety checks and deeper cleans, given that everyone is still wary of COVID-19, and preventing the spread was important. A practice every rental business has adopted and maintained throughout.

Complete automation

Robin chose Booqable as it solved the above issues perfectly and offered features beyond this that sealed the deal. It has allowed him to completely automate the booking process, from integrating with Squarespace to asking for additional information and allowing padding time between each rental order for the required cleaning routine.

Now, customers can visit his website, select their kayak, choose their dates, pay, and add the required information. Booqable then takes care of everything else as it automatically reserves the kayaks for the rental period and sends a booking confirmation to the customer once the reservation is complete. An automatic email is then sent to customers reminding them of their booking thanks to a Zapier integration.

In addition, managing inventory is very easy, thanks to the quick setup of products and the ability to add maintenance time instantly. These features, plus automating bookings, have made a world of difference for Robin. He couldn’t imagine operating his kayak rental business without Booqable taking care of all the tasks that would usually consume a lot of time.

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