So, you’re an independent business. You’ve been through the nail-biting and painstaking initial period of setting up finances, working out how taxes work, building your brand, and now you’re ready to show all that amazing hard work off to the world.
Regardless of how you do business, whether that be physically or online, an effective online booking system can be the difference between a successful sale, or a customer going somewhere else. In a world where the majority of people have been restricted to their homes, online activity has reached incredible highs. People do everything online, from their food orders to grabbing things for home renovation, and let’s not forget the spate of lockdown Zoom quizzes!
Think about it this way, when you’re hungry and fancy a meal out, what’s the first thing you do? If you’re anything like us, you’ll Google them, find their website and have a gander at the menu – you might even look at some reviews to gauge what kind of experience you’re going to have, or to make sure you won’t get food poisoning! Then, when you’re satisfied, you’ll seal the deal and book a table.
Want to know the best online booking system options? This article will offer guidance on our faves that we’ve found useful over the years and that also have a variety of capabilities to help you work smarter, not harder when it comes to organising your client appointments.
Give Your Customer Options
You may already have a website built for your product/service, but how do you make sure that your customer is satisfied and stays with you to a conclusion that suits them and suits you?
Give them options. Give them a journey that has a real conclusion and that fulfils what they came to you for in the first place.
Make things too difficult, or give them too many unnecessary clicks, and they’ll go elsewhere. People are less patient when it comes to their online experiences, so feeding into their sense of convenience is crucial to seeing that potential sale become a reality.
The Benefits of Booking
When you have a service that requires scheduling for your customers, either in person or on the phone/web, allowing them to pick their most convenient dates and times secures business and allows you to plan your day. Alongside this, you can forecast income – especially if you have a payment gateway attached and take payments upfront (stay posted on our Articles for more info on Payment Gateways).
Here are our 3 Best Online Booking System platforms that will help increase your connections.
Now, at Reyt Chuffed HQ we always think of Bookly as the Blockbuster video of booking calendars. You can pick and choose what you need from a whole host of add-ons, which personalise this plugin to your specific requirements.
The free version of this WordPress plugin has some great options, allowing you to add around 5 services, but without the payment gateway connection, meaning any service would need to be paid locally. By adding the Pro version, you unlock payments, plus an unlimited amount of services and staff members.
From there, just pick and choose some add-ons and you’re away! Just bear in mind that if you need a variety of different options, all of which are priced individually, the upfront cost may be something that needs to be taken into account – but the end outcome will be a personalised experience for yourself and your clients.
– Easy to optimise and use for free
– Option to take payments on Pro
– Find an add-on for most things you need
– If you need a few add-ons, this can become costly upfront
– It’s worth checking that Bookly has an add-on for your payment gateway, as some aren’t available
Carrying on with the entertainment provider theme, SimplyBook.me meets a very different need. Picture them as your favourite streaming service – you pay for your level of account required, and then you have access to a whole host of options that can be applied to your booking calendar right off the bat. No need for add-ons, you get everything, whether you watch it or not.
The amount of personalisation is mind-boggling and you can really cultivate every minor detail. The only thing you have to think about, is do you need all the options and is it cost-effective for your business as it stands?
If so, then this is an absolute winner!
– API and other useful integrations
– Customisable Integrated Widget
– Send unique messages, either through email or SMS
– If you are a bookings based service, the free option will not be suitable numbers-wise
– By being so all-inclusive, you run the risk of paying for elements you don’t need
This one is a little different to the previous options in the way that is not really a booking calendar in the traditional sense of the term. However, if you run a virtual service/s and need to book appointments for phone calls/video meetings, this is a real contender.
With the options to set your availability, the duration, location, and more, this allows people to book a variety of events with you.
The free plan can accommodate a single appointment option, with a few customisations, but as you scroll through the various paid plans, the number of appointment options and tweaks increase to really suit pretty much every need that you might have.
In a world where customisation is king, this is a real gunner for the throne.
– Questions to help qualify leads upon initial booking
– Excellent Google Calendar integration
– Email and text reminders for meetings
– Only one meeting type is available on the free plan
– Finding the meeting link can be tricky for non-tech-savvy customers
Schedule For Success!
There you have it, the frontrunners for the ‘Best Booking System Online’ trophy and ones that suit a variety of needs. The next focus is to think realistically about what you’ll need from any calendar you go for and what features will help you in the short and long term.
Got your perfect calendar and are in need of some help with Web Content, Search Optimisation, or Social Media Management to drive business in the right direction? Book a consultation with us and you’ll be Reyt Chuffed with the results! Otherwise, contact us if you have any questions about any of our services!