Web Design Blog : Toolkit Websites

Web Design Blog

Toolkit's Guide to: Online Booking Facilities

Online booking facilities are great for making your life easy. Before you add one to your website, you'll need to consider a few things first.

Do you really need one?

It might be an obvious question to ask, but you'll need to consider whether you need an online booking facility before adding one. It's an attractive idea to have clients or customers able to book a room, event, service, venue, appointment etc automatically through your website, but you need to think about it from the users point of view.

Firstly, it needs to be simple and easy to use. Not everybody that lands on your website is going to be comfortable filling in details (or making a payment) through a third party booking system. You'll need to do your research on the booking system you intend to use, and test it out to make sure it's easy to use.

Secondly, you need to be able to keep track of each booking and/or demand. There are a number of booking facilities that can be synced with your Google Calendar or email account. The booking system will need to take the exact details you need in order to do business with the person who is booking and a system needs to be established to make sure that each one is received and dealt with accordingly.

Do your research...

If you are looking to take payment through your booking system, then you also need to be aware that some third party booking systems may take a cut. You may have a booking system that requires you to pay to use their services in order for you to access all of their features and plugins.

You will also need to check that the company have a good support service. In case you get stuck or need help with using the booking system, or something goes wrong, you're going to want a customer service line or email address that you can contact in times of need.

By doing your research, you can find a number of companies that provide great looking booking systems for free. Just be aware that your web design company will not be able to offer you help or support on a system that does not belong to them. They'll be able to help you with implementation of the booking system on your website, but will be unable to manipulate, change or edit the system in anyway.

Examples of GREAT booking systems...

We've come across some really good booking systems that offer free options, and that look great. One of these systems is called You Can Book Me. They have great customer service, the booking system is really easy to set up and manage, and they have a dashboard with a host of options or items you can edit and update as you wish.

Below is an example of how it could look:

In the dashboard you can dictate what dates and times are available to book, how much you want to charge, what details to collect from the person booking and more. You can also manage what information you want sent to the person who has booked, and whether it is by email, text or other.

Some other great third party booking systems include:

Skedda (venue booking) 
Smooth Book (appointment booking) 
Square Up (purchasing products) 

If you have any questions at all, let us know!