A few years ago our company director was on holiday in Devon where the bicycle hire companies are probably at its peak.
The family fancied a day out cycling and exploring Devon on bicycles and so they booked online on one of the very few bicycle website hire companies in the UK that actually have a booking system.
The booking was placed a few days before the event and the company paid by credit card online. On the day itself, the weather forecast had changed and it was likely to rain. The family still decided to proceed with the booking as they had already paid for it but they were very sure that if they hadn’t already paid for it in advance, then they would have cancelled and done something indoors instead.
This is just one example of many, why the system leads to more bookings. People pay in advance and are less likely to cancel. The family ended up having a great time together and the weather managed to stay dry. They were appreciative of the fact that they had paid online before and reserved their places which enabled them to avoid the sudden rush of customers who wanted to go out once the weather had cleared up.
If you want more bookings and to increase the potential of bookings, then by asking people to pay a deposit upfront then they are far less likely to cancel.