While most people are getting into the festive spirit and looking forward to the holidays, taxi and private hire companies are bracing themselves for the year’s busiest period.

That’s why it’s so important to use your Ghost system to its full potential. Here are five things you can do to help everything go smoothly this Christmas.



1. Update your blacklist and whitelist

When available vehicles are few and demand is high, you don’t want to waste time on customers who don’t turn up. Equally, if a valued customer needs a ride during the festive period, you can’t let them down.

If you aren’t using Ghost Management’s blacklist and whitelist, now’s a great time to start. You can find both lists on the Ghost Management homepage.


Add new blacklist entry interface


Simply click ‘New’ to add someone to the black or whitelist, and add their telephone number or address (if you add telephone and address, the operator taking the booking will only be warned that a customer is black or whitelisted if both the phone number and address are entered).

You can also add a reason for blacklisting or whitelisting the customer. This will show up as a message to your operators when that number or address tries to make a booking. Likewise, the operator will be notified when a whitelisted customer is calling, so they can make sure they receive the best service possible.



2. Create seasonal app promo codes

Spread the festive cheer by giving app customers a discount promo code. Apart from driving more customers to your business, there’s the added bonus of increasing automation levels by encouraging people to use your app.

To create a new promo code, first you must create a new loyalty reward scheme. Access Loyalty Reward Schemes through Ghost Accounts. Click ‘New’ at the top of the screen. You can enter a name and discount amounts for your reward scheme, either by percentage or fixed amount. Click ‘OK’ to save the reward scheme.


View Loyalty Reward Scheme interface


Now go to Loyalty Cards in Ghost Accounts and click ‘New’ at the top of the screen to create a new loyalty card. This is where you will create the promo code and link it to the scheme you have just created.

Enter your promo code in the ‘Loyalty Card Number’ field. Make it something relevant and memorable – like XMAS20. Select the reward scheme you just created under ‘Card Type Properties’ and click ‘OK’ to save.

Your customers can now cite the promo code to get a great holiday discount through your branded booking app. Share the code via social media or text marketing to drive more customers to your business this Christmas.

Don’t have an app yet? Find out how Autocab’s Passenger App can help you grow your business.



3. Enable overbooking protection

Don’t get snowed under by the Christmas rush – use booking controls to protect against overbooking.

To enable overbooking protection, first you must create a timetable by going to Ghost Management, Booking Control, Overbookings Protection, then Overbooking Timetables. Create a new timetable by clicking ‘New’ at the top of the screen.


Overbooking timetable interface


In the table, the number you enter is the maximum number of bookings you can take in any 15-minute period within that hour. For example, if you enter 10 in the 5:00 box, you will be able to take 10 bookings between 5:00 and 5:15, 10 more bookings between 5:15 and 5:30, and so on until 6:00.

Once you’ve created the timetable, go to Overbooking Criteria to set a new rule for this timetable. You can choose which zones it applies to, vehicle capabilities, and a date range – perfect for the Christmas and New Year period.

Once you’ve set up overbooking protection, operators will be warned when they are about to take on more work than your fleet can handle, helping you avoid overstretched drivers and disgruntled customers.



4. Set up driver shift patterns

Making sure you’ve got enough drivers to meet demand can be a challenge over the festive period. While you might be more flexible with shift patterns the rest of the year, you might want to set out driver shifts for the Christmas period.

To create a new shift pattern, go to Shift Patterns on the Ghost Management home page and click ‘New’. Use the grid to create a new shift. You can click and drag to quickly add a new shift pattern.


Driver shifts timetable


You can also specify times to start and finish a shift. Press the F4 key to add a start time, and F5 to add a finish time. If you do this, drivers will only be able to start a shift via their MDT or Driver Companion during these times.

Click ‘OK’ to save your shift pattern. You can now assign shifts to specific drivers under the Drivers section in Ghost Management. Simply select a driver and choose a shift pattern under ‘Options’.



5. Make the most of textback messages

It’s likely that passengers will be using taxi or private hire services several times over Christmas and New Year. That means you’ve got an opportunity to win repeat custom.

Textback messages are used to alert customers that their vehicle has arrived, but they are also a great marketing opportunity. You can include web links in these messages, directing customers to check out your website or download your app.

An Autocab engineer will have set up textback as part of your Ghost installation, but you can customise the messages sent to passengers in Ghost Management.


Textback messages interface


From the Ghost Management homepage, select Messages then Textback Messages. Click ‘Edit’ at the bottom of the screen to edit your messages. When you are finished, click ‘Save’.

You can add a seasonal greeting and include a link to your website. Make sure that any web links you include begin with http:// or https:// so it shows up as a clickable link on Android and Apple phones.



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