How to Turn Inquiries to Bookings
Apr 21, 2021 | 4 minute read
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Most online buyers nowadays like to compare several different options before deciding to reach for their wallets. Your customers are no different. The question is, how do you make them confident enough to book with you and not somebody else? And how do you work that into your busy schedule?

We’ve compiled a list of five key steps you can take to turn your inquiries to bookings. These are proven to work with FishingBooker’s Instant Messaging, and you can also apply them to how you run your business as a whole.

Be Responsive

Did you know that 78% of online consumers buy from businesses that respond first? That’s right, responding early can make a huge difference when it comes to getting new bookings. And anglers value a prompt response more than most!

According to our research, captains who respond to inquiries within the first hour are seven times more likely to convert an inquiry into a paying customer, compared to captains who respond in 4–8 hours. Why risk losing a customer to another captain when you can give yourself a huge chance of winning them over with a timely reply?

a testimonial from an angler named Cindy, who tells a story of how the first captain she reached out to failed to respond, and how she ended up booking with a captain who was quick to reply to her inquiry

The best part is that you can respond to inquiries quickly and easily through your Captain App, wherever you are.

Learn What the Customer is Looking For

All the responsiveness in the world will mean little if you and your customer aren’t on the same page. Learning your customers’ needs is crucial if you want to maximize your bookings. Once you know what their priorities are, you’ll be able to tailor your trip to what your customers want to do. You can also upsell and suggest even better trips!

Knowing your customers’ priorities also plays a huge role in setting realistic expectations. In that way, you’ll give yourself a good chance of getting a nice review, while boosting your overall realization rate, too. But don’t take our word for it, take a look at the awesome review Captain Tyler got – it really shows how customers appreciate you addressing their needs.

But how do you find out what your customers’ needs are? Here are a few good questions you can ask to get the ball rolling:

  • Is this your first time fishing?
  • Do you have any preferred species you’d like to catch?
  • Would you like to keep your fish or are you fishing for sport?
  • Are you bringing your kids along?

Be Detailed in Your Response

You’re used to arranging trips all the time. But for your customer, this might be the very first time they’re going fishing. That’s why it’s particularly important that you give them a detailed response to their questions.

This will also make you seem like a real person, and that’s something customers really appreciate. In fact, customers tend to stick with captains that connect with them on a personal level, even when they’re communicating online. Here’s a couple of examples of how a detailed response can make a customer want to book you.

a picture of two messages exchanged between an inquiring customer and a fishing charter captain, showing how FishingBooker captains can make the most out of their customers' inquiries by being detailed in their response

Now, we get that things can get busy on the water, and that you don’t always have time to write long messages. But thankfully, there’s a hack! With Saved Responses, you can type detailed answers to your frequently asked questions, and just save them to use whenever you need to. 

The best part is that you can pull up a saved response and customize it for each customer if you need to. Which brings us to the next tip. 

Tailor Your Offer

So your customer has reached out and you’ve responded timely. You found out what they’re looking for, responded to their questions, and you’ve got a good conversation going. Now, you can make an offer especially tailored to them and their needs. If you’re talking to customers through FishingBooker, you can do this by sending a Special Offer. Here’s how this works.


Special Offers let you customize every part of your trip. Whether you want to shorten the outing, have a later departure time, or give a veteran’s discount – you can do all of this. Check out our article to learn more about creating Special Offers.

💡 Pro tip: Sometimes, captains send a special offer but provide very little additional info. The truth is that customers rarely accept these offers. A short message explaining what the offer is will assure your customer that this is the trip you both agreed on, and it adds a nice personal touch as well.

Follow Up

Here’s the truth: doing all of the above may not be enough for some customers. People have different plans and, sometimes, they’re just not ready to commit to booking right away. But you know what? Simply following up with these customers can make a huge difference.

For example, if you get an inquiry for a trip that’s a couple of months away and the customer doesn’t book immediately – try sending a message a few weeks later. A friendly reminder can be one of the easiest ways to earn a few extra bookings.

An Offer They Can’t Refuse

Prompt, detailed replies and learning your customers’ needs will give you a great chance of turning inquiries into bookings. Once you’ve got a good line of communication going, you can set yourself apart by creating an offer that’s especially tailored to your customer’s needs. And in case you don’t receive a positive reply right away, don’t hesitate to follow up – the extra effort can really pay off!

So if you haven’t done so already, check your inbox, and start reeling those customers in!

And that covers it. Do you have any questions about how to handle Instant Messaging inquiries? Any tips you’d like to share? Drop us a comment below, we always like to hear from you!

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