May 2, 2018
Posted by: DevDigital
The Bourbon Street Blues Reservation System is a web based app that enables Bourbon Street Blues guests to make automated seat reservations for specific seats during specific time periods. Prior to creating the Reservation System, guests were filling out a contact form on the Bourbon Street Blues website requesting specific times and seats. A manager was then responding to each email individually and either letting each guest know that "Yes, their reservation is confirmed" or "No, the seats and times requested were not available.” When a seat was not available, there was a lot of back and forth with the guest trying to find different seating or times.
The process was very time consuming; our manager was probably spending 20-25 hours per week (7 days a week) just responding to reservation emails. Bourbon Street Blues did a lot of research on reservation systems in order to streamline the process, but we were finding that the standard systems would not suit our specific issue: enabling guests to choose a start AND end time for their reservation and charging guests a reservation fee. We want our guests to be able to choose an end time for their reservation, so we know at what time we can book the same table next. Other reservation systems estimate how long each guest will sit at a table based on averages; however, since we are a live music venue, the typical averages did not work for us.
We needed reservations that were more specific; therefore, the need to create a reservation system app specific to us was a necessity. We also want to charge per seat to entice guests to actually come for their reservation. Many times we would spend a ton of time making reservations for people only to not have them show up. This resulted in us holding tables for guests who had no intention of coming, and we had a packed house with people standing around looking at us funny because there were open tables with no one sitting at them.
It is a very simple process. First, guests log on to the website reservation page. From there the guest chooses the seat location (downstairs or balcony), date, and time. After making those choices, the guest clicks “Check Availability.” The system then shows the guest which seats are available during the specific times they requested. The guest chooses which seats they would like, add the seats to the cart, and when the guest is satisfied with their choices, they check out. The system sends an automated email confirming the guests reservation date and time and which seats they chose. This cuts down on so much work on the business end because we no longer have to respond to each individual email request. Now, we spend a much more manageable 5-8 hours per week working on reservations.
There was definitely a learning curve when it came to building the Phase One platform. Our reservation system vision had to be streamlined because all the features we initially wanted were not in line with our budget. DevDigital helped us figure out the things that were essential in building Phase One and put other things for Phase Two (and Three!) on the back burner until we knew this system would work.
There are always tweaks that can be made and just when you think you’ve got it down, something else can be changed, expanded, or improved! Being flexible is key and making adaptations along the way is important.