As a small business owner that regularly sees clients, appointment making, scheduling and follow-ups can dominate your time. So, you might have been looking into booking systems and implementing them within your holistic business, but how do you know which system is going to be the right one for you?
In this blog, I want to talk through some of the key considerations you should be pondering over as you decide, and a brief comparison of some popular booking systems available today.
What do you want to achieve with your booking system?
Any booking system can help you save time, energy, stress and even money if you consider the time you can spend elsewhere rather than on arranging appointments. But booking systems can offer more functionality than you possibly realise, so it’s a good idea to consider these when deciding on the right app for you.
Do you want your customers to pay for their appointment or make a deposit at the time of booking?
Some booking systems are effectively a calendar that syncs with your own diary to offer availability but are not designed to take payments too, whereas other booking systems offer a more comprehensive solution, so do consider if this is something that’s important to you both now or in the future.
Do you want to be able to send appointment reminders to your clients?
Missed appointments can cost you time and money, so being able to send reminders 24 or 48 hours before can be a good idea. It gives you the opportunity to book someone else in if your client needs to rearrange or cancel but again, not every booking system offers this functionality.
Do you want to make bookings available through social media?
You might have seen the “book now” button on Facebook pages that take you straight through to their available appointments. If social media marketing is something you use to promote your business, this might be very beneficial for you and worth considering when deciding on the booking system for you.
It’s worth noting that some booking systems will offer these benefits as standard or as a paid premium option. So, in some cases, it’s not worth paying for all the bells and whistles of one booking system over another where you can just opt-in for what you want as you need it. It really is worth sitting down and thinking over what you feel is essential to help you save time and energy in your business right now so you can devote it where it’s needed most.
Ok, so here are some of the most popular booking systems I’ve come across and supported my holistic business clients with many of whom see clients regularly in a health and wellness capacity.
A very popular booking system used by businesses of all shapes and sizes from yoga teachers to the NHS, BookWhen offers a free version of up to 150 bookings a month. However, the paid version (starting at just £9 per month plus VAT) offers the ability to take payments, automatic reminders, zoom integration and online event bookings too.
One drawback from user reviews is that it’s difficult to take deposits for bookings, BookWhen is set up for full payment at the time of booking or pay later. They are working on a deposit feature but if this is something you need to implement straight away, another booking system might be better for you.
Designed with health and wellness businesses in mind, BookedIn makes it easier for you and your clients to set up recurring appointments, take deposits and payments at the time of booking or later and you can send automatic reminders too. One advantage of Bookedin over other booking systems is their client management function, enabling you to create a profile for each client and make notes, such as allergies, preferences, etc.
The main drawback of this booking system is cost, you certainly pay for the extra features with prices starting at $29 per month for the features I’ve just discussed, but the benefits may very easily outweigh the cost for you.
This is a very popular online booking system, and it has a lot of features to offer. Acuity Scheduling offers the same automatic reminders, payments at booking, etc but it also offers the option to sell gift certificates. Meaning you can offer your services for sale as a gift if that is appropriate for your business. It also enables you to arrange bookings for group classes and online events.
Again, the cost is the major factor to consider with Acuity as it starts from $23 per month for the features I’ve just outlined, the cheaper version is essentially just for scheduling appointments.
There are many online booking systems out there so it is worth doing some deeper research if this is something you think your business would benefit from. If you do need any further advice, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for a quick chat and consultation on how I can help you set up and manage your online booking system.