Your online booking systems enables a potential customer to book and/or pay for an activity or service using your website or mobile app.
Many businesses are offering online booking systems as an alternative to phone or face-to-face booking due to consumers’ increasing preference for online booking systems.
Online booking systems are faster and easier to manage because, unlike face-to-face or telephone booking, they are available around the clock, which is more convenient for customers.
Increasingly, offline businesses are driving more of their business online through websites, Google listings, and social media profiles, and online booking systems helps bridge the gap between online and offline.
Here we will explore some of the benefits of using online booking systems, the key features businesses need to look for when choosing a platform, and a few popular booking systems available in the UK.
What are the benefits of using online booking systems?
The following are several ways businesses can benefit from automated, online booking systems:
Customers’ booking preferences are being appealed to
A recent survey by getapp showed that customers increasingly prefer to make reservations through online booking systems. online booking systems showed up in 70% of the survey as the preferred booking method.
Save time for staff and customers
Booking appointments online saves customers the trouble of calling to schedule them, which makes it easier and more convenient for them. Businesspeople save the time they would otherwise spend receiving calls and making appointments by using this service.
There were fewer no-shows
Customers who online booking systems can receive automatic reminders via email or text, or they can be asked to confirm their appointments, so they won’t forget. Users can also be checked for double bookings via some systems.
Booking appointments are available 24 hours a day
When you are not available or unable to answer the phone, customers can make bookings using the booking system. Consequently, fewer potential clients are lost.
Customers should be able to visit businesses safely
As a result of COVID-19, booking systems have become more important as more businesses offer appointments as a way for customers to visit their stores.
The Graham & Green website lets customers schedule store visits by using a booking system.
Online booking systems: key features
The ease of use
A booking system needs to be user-friendly, both for businesses and for customers. Users should have access to as much ease and convenience as possible during the booking process. The booking process should include intuitive navigation, clear steps, and good information.
Systems should be easy to manage from a business perspective, so business owners have access to upcoming appointments and can see key data that will allow them to manage staff time.
The ability to accept payments
Those businesses that do require it may not be able to process their payments securely and smoothly, but those that do should be able to do so.
Bookings via mobile
76% of bookings take place via mobile devices, 21% via desktop, and 3% via tablets, according to Bookedin. Therefore, booking systems need to be mobile-friendly.
Reminders by email and SMS
Emails and SMS reminders can provide customers with useful reminders to reduce the risk of missing their appointments.
The sync of calendars
Using this method, booked appointments are automatically displayed alongside other key information on a company’s existing calendar software.
The customer should have enough detail to make an informed decision regarding a booking, which means that booking times should be obvious, as well as other important details like the length and cost of the appointment.
Analyzing data and information
Data such as booking volumes, popular seasons, and the sources of booking should be collected and analyzed by the system. Providing businesses with this kind of information can help them manage resources and markets more effectively.
Using social media for booking
Placements of booking options on social media pages can help to drive more bookings. Additionally, Google My Business listings can include the ability to book directly from the search results.
This feature provides a clear call to action for bookings, which can drive business. You should check whether the booking system you’re considering is one of Google’s approved providers.
Choosing a booking system
It’s important to consider what you need from a booking system in the first place. Many of the features listed above will be essential to businesses, but others, such as accepting payments, may not be applicable to them.
The idea of ease-of-use and mobile optimization should be a priority, and you should also consider how complex your site needs to be, which payment methods you want to support, and so on.
Additionally, you should consider how booking systems will handle additional traffic if you grow, and how effective and efficient the customer support will be. Are they able to provide customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
This article examines a few of the online booking systems available, their pricing structures, and what online booking systems reviewers have to say about them.
The Resurva online booking systems are used by several barbershops that I have seen. The application includes a weekly calendar, text and email reminders, analytics, and the ability to manage reservations across multiple business locations.
Rates are determined by the size and volume of bookings. For small businesses, the basic package costs $20 per month; the top united package costs $75 per month, with additional fees for additional locations.
- With a cost of $20 per month, it’s a really cost-effective solution that’s also easy to get started and comes with a 60-day free trial
- version for Apple iOS devices
- Appointment waiting lists alert customers when available appointments become available
- Reviewers have expressed dissatisfaction with Resurva, citing out-of-date software and poor customer service
- Even though the website mentions Facebook, Google, and Twitter integration, it is not clear how the platform can be integrated with social media platforms
- There is no integration with Google My Business at the moment and it is not an approved booking provider by Google
With more than 40,000 active users, Bookeo claims to have processed more than 47 million bookings. Booking software is available for a variety of businesses, including basic appointment scheduling, course registration, and booking for travel and activities.
You can embed the booking widget into Facebook pages, WordPress websites, and payment gateways, such as Stripe, that integrate with online booking systems calendars and payment gateways.
The cost is determined by the booking type. The basic appointments start at $14.95 per month with a maximum of 200 bookings per month and one staff login. Currently, there is a small business tier at $29.95, which allows three staff log-ins and 1,000 bookings. There are then additional charges up to $79.95 based on the number of bookings and staff logins.
Overall, Bookeo has positive reviews on online booking systems, but there are a few complaints.
- Easily integrates with major online platforms and can be used on Google My Business and other social networks
- Receives positive reviews from other users
- Seasonal businesses could freeze their accounts during quiet periods and pay only 30%
- The software is easy to use, according to reviews
- There are cumbersome software updates and a confusing interface
- The only method of technical support is by email
- As their businesses grew, some reviewers felt that Bookeo was outgrowing them
- Due to a lack of features for more complex bookings
The 10to8 booking software allows businesses to schedule, cancel, and reschedule appointments as necessary. Besides Gmail, Outlook, iCal, and Mailchimp, 10to8 integrates with other software such as Zoom, and WordPress, and can embed booking buttons and forms into websites.
A free version of the software is available for up to 100 appointments per month, and the software can be purchased for as little as $9.60 up to $40. Increasing your payment increases the number of appointments, staff logins, and level of support.
- You can use it for free, and its paid packages have low starting prices, making it cost-effective
- Tento8 reviews are overwhelmingly positive, which suggests that many customers are satisfied with the service.
- Excellent reporting features to track seasonal trends and growth.
- For $9.60, it is an affordable option, to begin with
- Users have complained about the usability of the appointment scheduling system
- since it does not currently integrate with Google My Business
- Initial setup can be difficult, according to some reviews
Restaurant industry booking system OpenTable is used by over 60,000 restaurants. OpenTable is easy to use and offers an easy interface for customers.
Bookings can be made, tables can be managed, and customers can receive reminders.
The basic entry-level package for OpenTable costs £29 per month plus an additional fee for network coverage and a booking widget. For the most comprehensive package which includes automated guest emails and staff scorecards, costs rise to £299 per month.
- Business users generally praise the system, but there are some complaints about its ease of use
- This plugin integrates with Google, TripAdvisor, and other significant sites, enabling you to provide booking options beyond your own website
- Because it’s the largest booking system in this market, it brings with it a large user base of customers who have the app installed, or who trust and know how to use it.
- Customers can contact customer support by phone or email.
- One of the major drawbacks is pricing, as some advanced features require users to pay more
- There are limited customization and special request capabilities
- There are some complaints about the usability of the mobile interface
BookSteam is a booking platform designed for businesses of all sizes, allowing clients to make online booking systems and businesses to manage them behind the scenes.
Using this system, businesses can send SMS and email reminders to customers and take payment at the time of booking. It also includes branded booking pages, reviews, and a ‘Book Now’ widget that can be embedded on your website or Facebook Business Page.
Prices start at $19.95 per month for small businesses, rising to $79.95 per month for large businesses. While the features are the same, the pricing levels are based on the number of staff members and the number of locations. Many small and medium-sized businesses will find the mid-tier option at $29.95 with five staff logins and five locations useful.
- It’s suitable for a wide range of businesses, with different pricing tiers to match different budgets and services
- The reviews are positive, and the customer support has been praised
- The staff can check and access bookings through a mobile device
- Personal calendars can be synced to the Books team
- For now, Google My Business and all social media platforms do not integrate with it
- The setup process can also belong, according to reviews
- The only way to contact customer service is by email, and that can be problematic for some
A cloud-based booking platform aimed at SMEs, Reservio is a cloud-based solution for your business. Reservio offers online booking systems, appointment management, and automated reminders.
With additional options of £14 and £29, you can add more users and customize the application to your needs. Pricing starts at £7 per month, and you can upgrade at any time.
Booking systems are provided for a variety of businesses with different adaptations for different types of businesses through its integrations with Google Calendar and iCal. In addition, you can set up booking pages, add a ‘Book Now’ button to your website and connect your Facebook page through a widget.
- The reviews for Reservation are overwhelmingly positive and praise its ease of use.
- The program integrates with Google Calendar and other popular calendar apps.
- Starting at just £7 per month, it’s an affordable option.
- Currently, it is not listed on Google’s supported provider list, but it will be included soon
- There are some reports of double bookings.
- Customers must contact customer support by email.
Simplybook.me is a service-based booking website that can be added to your existing website or provide a full-featured booking website.
Additional features include online booking systems, notifications via SMS or email, and the ability to accept online payments.
Free and paid versions are available; the free version is limited to 50 bookings per month, and the paid versions are $10, $30, and $60 per month, respectively. A loyalty program and added customizations are included in the paid versions.
- The system enables booking widgets to be added to Facebook pages and Instagram accounts and integrates with Google Calendar
- The interface is described as simple in reviews
- Clients can also provide more information during the booking process.
- The customer reviews are generally positive, but there are some negatives highlighted including poor customer service
- limitations and a limited number of features for the more expensive plans
- The first price plan allows for 100 bookings per month, which is less than many competitors
In addition to providing appointment booking services for businesses, Bookedin provides services for a wide range of industries, initially focusing on the health and wellness sector but now extending its services to a wide range of industries.
Features include recurring appointment options, custom booking forms, appointment reminders, and integration with social media platforms.
A limited version is available for free. Monthly plans start at $20 and go up to $65.
- Reviews praise Bookedin for its ease of use and review of scheduled appointments
- The customer service is fast and responsive
- Client profiles can be saved for future reference
- Offering a variety of payment options (monthly/yearly etc.) to meet business needs
- One of the most expensive options
- There are no customization options for the booking pages so that companies’ logos are shown instead of Bookedin’s
- Currently not integrated with Google My Business
You can find many more online booking systems options out there, but these five should present you with an idea of what’s available, what’s out there, and what you might expect to find.
Despite the fact that some booking systems are specialized for certain types of businesses (for example, there is a lot of restaurant booking software), the majority can be used across various business types.
Pricing differs greatly across the booking systems listed here and can indicate the type of business they are targeting with their software.
Some providers focus on enterprise clients and may have less time for smaller businesses. This is not necessarily the case, but it’s something to consider when choosing a provider.
As a small business, it’s important to look into free trials. Several systems offer free trials for a month or more. This allows you to test the software out without committing and to try out a few different things.
Many providers also offer basic versions with limited features, which are more affordable for small businesses. This is also a great way to see how a booking system can boost business.
Prices are generally determined by the volume of bookings, so it’s a good idea to consider how many bookings you currently take on the phone or via other methods and work with that.
Choosing the right software can be challenging because there are so many options. Look online booking systems for reviews and ask other businesses like yours about the software they use.