Instant Book – Explained
Nov 14, 2019 | 4 minute read
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Instant Book is one of our most popular features, both among captains and customers. An important ranking factor and an enticing option for anyone looking for a fishing trip, it’s no surprise that most FishingBooker bookings are made this way. But do you know the full extent of how it works?

We’ve collected our most frequently asked questions about Instant Book and are ready to give you the full story. Read on to find out what’s new with short-notice bookings, how the feature affects your ranking, what happens if you need to cancel, and more. 

Man looking at a phone with Instant Book trips

What happens when you have Instant Book on your listing?

When you enable Instant Book, three things happen:

  • Any bookings you get for your free dates are accepted automatically (as long as they’re not short notice).
  • You get a ranking boost. 
  • Your listing gets the “Instant Book”/”Instant Confirmation” icon, letting customers know they can book with you quickly and easily.

Instant Book means customers can book your free dates right away, without you having to accept or decline their request. This is a huge benefit for customers – and can make your life easier, too. We promote listings with this feature and it makes you show up better in search results. At the same time, customers almost always choose to book instantly rather than having to wait for confirmation that their trip will go ahead. 

But getting access to these benefits relies on one thing: you keeping your calendar updated. It’s not a good experience for anyone if the customer gets instant confirmation for their trip, only to learn that they can’t go because their captain is taking someone else out that day!

Declined bookings are our customers’ number one frustration. So, we make sure they have a good experience by promoting captains who have a good record of accepting trips. When you enable Instant Book, your trips get accepted automatically, giving you more visibility.

Add all this together, and Instant Book makes your listing stronger in three ways. It gives you a boost in the rankings, it makes customers more likely to book to begin with, and you get yet another push in the rankings for accepting the trips that come your way. 

Benefits of instant book on background with boats

How do you turn it on? 

Instant Book becomes available on your listing when:

  • You have a successful booking with FishingBooker;
  • You speak to one of our Captain Relations Specialists to learn how the feature works.

Here’s how you set everything up:

Read more:

When can customers book you, and how has this changed recently?

We hear you: “Accepting bookings automatically is all well and good, but I need time to prepare properly for the trip.” This is a very valid point! No matter how conscientious you are about updating your calendar, we understand that you simply can’t agree to every single trip, especially if the customer booked at the last minute.

That’s why our new advanced notice settings work differently for listings with Instant Book compared to listings without it. Now, when you choose how soon before the trip date you want your listing to be available, you get two options:

  • NEW: To only receive Instant Bookings and to get no booking requests outside of your advance notice period.
  • To receive Instant Bookings outside of your notice period and manually approve booking requests for short notice bookings. 

Which of these options you go for is up to you. We usually recommend setting a notice period of at least two days before the trip date, but you can go for anything from the day before the trip to seven days in advance. 

Annotated screenshot how to set advance notice settings

How do bookings work?

Instant Book makes organizing your trips very simple. Block off the dates you can’t accept bookings in your calendar, and whenever a customer chooses an available date on your listing, the trip gets automatically confirmed. All you need to do is keep your calendar up to date. 

Once the booking goes through, we’ll send you the trip details and the customer’s contact information right away, so you can get started with planning for the day. 

What if you can’t make the booking?

There are two main reasons captains need to cancel Instant Bookings, and our system approaches them differently. They are:

  • You have other commitments on that date.
  • There’s bad weather or your boat has mechanical issues.

As we only enable Instant Book for our most reliable captains, there’s a limited number of times you can cancel bookings because of other commitments. 

If you cancel an Instant Booking three times, the feature will stop being active on your listing. We usually refer to this as a “three strike” policy. 

Don’t worry – even if your Instant Book gets turned off, your listing will still be live and bookable! We just won’t promote it with Instant Book any more. This is because we can’t guarantee to our customers that there’s a high probability that their booking will go through. 

When you need to cancel the trip because there’s a storm, or your boat has a problem that affects how safe it is to run, it’s another story. We hope for your and your customer’s sake that this doesn’t happen, but if it does, just get in touch. We would never recommend taking a trip when it’s unsafe to do so and understand that this is beyond your control. So, we don’t count these types of cancellations towards the three strike policy.

FishingBooker calendar

With a twofold ranking boost, a more attractive listing, and an easier booking process, there’s a lot to like about Instant Book. If you’re committed to keeping your calendar updated and set up your notice settings in a way that suits your business, it can be a very positive influence on how your charter is advertised online. 

Like to know more or want to share your experience with the feature? Get in touch below.

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