Nowadays, people who use computers or mobiles can get the bookings done to anything and everything on an appointment booking platform. An online appointment booking system allows users to look up the schedule details, book a meeting or get an appointment, etc... 

If your business depends upon bookings and appointments, then an online appointment booking system is the lubricant that will help keep it running smoothly. Whatever services your business provides, movie ticket booking, flight and train booking, hotel reservation, restaurant reservation, or salon service, appointment booking is a must-have solution to have a hassle-free, speedy and accurate appointment with the clients. 

As a software development agency of online booking and appointment scheduling solutions, we have seen the impact of an online platform like ours and how it can positively affect a business. An online appointment booking system allows individuals to conveniently and securely book their appointments and reservations online through any web-connected device. Real-time online appointment scheduling is a solution to the frustrations that both clients and businesses face.

If you have a query in mind seeking answers to what exactly are the benefits of using an online appointment booking system over traditional methods. What is it, and how does it work? We’ve compiled the most frequent questions about appointment booking systems and some specific questions related to the current situation. 

If you are undecided whether an appointment booking system is worth your investment, the following pointers offered in the article will help you make your decision easy.

What Is An Appointment Booking System?

An appointment booking system, also known as an appointment scheduling solution or appointment management solution, is a business tool that allows clients to book, reschedule, and cancel appointments through a web interface. When clients want to make an appointment, they go to your business's website, Facebook page, or anywhere else the booking scheduler is supported, and choose an available date and time.

On the other hand, service providers could set up the time when people could book certain services. Based on business hours, they set as well as the times and dates that their staff or other resources are available. It prevents double booking or over-booking and gives service providers the flexibility to block off times when certain services may be unavailable. 

An appointment booking system also makes it easy for service providers to manage appointments. Before such systems were available, in order to track bookings and manage availability, businesses had to work with a series of spreadsheets and enter the information manually.

The tools within an appointment management solution can include:

  • Internet booking

  • Mobile app booking

  • The user interface for call center workers

An online appointment booking system uses smart technology that eliminates the risks associated with manual input and human error. It simplifies the booking process for you and your customers by automatically updating processes such as payment, scheduling, managing availability, and notification reminders.

It allows customers to book and pay online 24/7.

Its automation capability also provides benefits for your business, such as managing resource availability, generating reports, and more.

Who Uses Online Appointment Booking System?

Appointment booking - who uses

When you think of online appointment booking, you may think about industries like healthcare facilities, veterinarian offices, or government offices, but there are so many more businesses that can benefit from online appointment booking. It automates the process for customers and lets them schedule appointments through the company’s website or an app on their cell phone which easily fills gaps and seamlessly integrates walk-ins with customers who have an appointment booked. 

So, any business that makes client appointments can benefit from an automated appointment booking system, including:

  • Doctor/Dentist offices

  • Salons and spas

  • Hotels

  • Home services companies

  • Real estate companies

  • Gyms

  • Auto dealers and maintenance departments

  • Restaurants

  • Sales teams that perform product demos

  • Organizations that offer tours, such as museums or gallery

  • Higher education such as colleges and universities

  • Health care organizations

  • Financial institutions

  • Special Events

  • etc…

No matter what services your business provides, adding online appointment scheduling to your website or process is like adding more lanes on the highway to let more traffic move swifter. It replaces your traditional appointment book with appointment scheduling online. Instead of email back and forths, or calling over the phone and rescheduling or canceling, customers are found much happier to book appointments at their own convenient time over the internet.

How Does Appointment Booking System Work?

There are several ways, but the most common appointment booking systems work like this. We’re going to dive into the three parts of an online appointment booking system your business will use and how everything works together:

  1. Front-end booking: what you plug into your website to allow guests to book online

  2. Back-end management: your home base for managing your reservations and operation

  3. Third-party integrations: other tools you can connect to help run your booking-based business

If you’re considering adopting an online appointment booking solution for the first time, but feel a little confused or intimidated by the functionality; you’ll hopefully get a better understanding of how an online appointment booking system works and how to make it work for your business.

Let’s get started. 

Front-end Booking

The front-end booking, also known as the guest-facing side, is what probably inspired you to look into a booking system in the first place. 

Appointment booking - frontend

The customer-facing front-end of the appointment booking system should ideally be simple so a customer can easily book and pay.

First-time customers will need to fill in a form where you capture their details, but after that subsequent appointment, bookings will be even quicker.

Online appointment booking systems are designed to safely handle online payment processing and are protected by encryption and log-in and password protection.

Once an appointment booking is made, the system automatically updates itself in real-time, and your customers can receive email or SMS notifications of any changes or simply be reminded of the upcoming bookings.

There are a few ways you can do this with an online booking system:

1. Link a hosted booking page

A hosted booking page is available by default with a booking software account. Essentially, it’s a stand-alone page and external link that ties to your official URL. 

While it’s the quickest way to start taking bookings online, there’s a risk that your guests might feel like they’re leaving your website.

2. Embed a Booking Widget

On the other hand, if you want a reservation process that fits nicely on your website, a Booking Widget is the way to go. All you have to do is generate a shortcode from the add-on in your booking system, then copy and paste it into your web page HTML. 

The Booking Widget is fully responsive and adapts to your website layout. You can play around with colors and fonts, as well as select which products you want to display, organize categories with a drop-down or tabs, and include a search box and calendar.

3. Install a booking plugin

If you use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, you can easily install a booking plugin for your website. The embedding process is very similar to the Booking Widget and has the same flexibility in customization. If you are using WordPress CMS, you can consult WP Schedule Plugin as a solution.

4. Connect to an API

If you’ve got programming chops or access to a developer, you can always customize the styling and tweak the booking process to your needs with an application programming interface (API). 

But that’s not all. There’s a bit of overlap between the guest-facing side and the back-end platform where you’ll find extra features you can set up to make for a well-rounded booking experience, such as:

  • Automated email and text notifications for confirmation, reminder, and thank-you messages.

  • Digital Waivers and Guest Forms for customers to fill out online before check-in.

  • Customizable Gift Certificates to inspire bookings for upcoming holidays and celebrations.

  • A website builder to give your site and booking flow a cohesive look and feel while optimizing for conversions.

Back-end Management

Here’s where the real magic lies. If you’ve dreamt of having a central place to manage your reservations and operation instead of flipping through a daily planner or running around with a radio — this is it.  

Appointment booking - backend

The best part of the appointment booking solutions is the back-end, which only you and your staff can see. With it, you can take a hands-off approach to daily booking tasks so that you can focus more on the big picture. 

The back-end is commonly displayed as a dashboard management tool that allows you to set up, manage, and review your appointment bookings and availability. The benefits here are that all the information about your business can be viewed from the same location rather than having to cross-reference between multiple spreadsheets.

Every business has its own unique set of policies and so the initial set-up of a new online appointment booking system requires configuration and set up to meet your business requirements.

Once all areas of the system are activated – including your services and resources, payment settings, notifications the automation kicks in and everything else is straightforward.

Third-party integrations

If that’s not enough, an appointment booking solution also acts as an ecosystem where you can plug in anything else you need to run your business. This enables you to bind your favorite software tools and orchestrate a common mission as data passes between them.

appointment booking - 3rd party integration

There are different types of booking systems that each come with different integrations and add-ons, but for the most part, you should have options to:

  • Keep guest records updated with customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. 

  • Connect your live inventory and availability to online travel agents (OTAs).

  • Accept online payments at the time of booking with payment processing providers like Square or Stripe. 

  • Re-target almost-bookers with advertising tools like the Facebook Pixel. 

  • Build your mailing list with email marketing platforms like MailChimp or Constant Contact.

There are still so many more. It all depends on your needs as a business. 

Types Of Appointment Booking

Appointment booking is one of the most important aspects of a service-based business. If it isn’t done properly, you can end up missing valuable appointments and losing both money and customers.

Different businesses schedule their appointments in different ways. Many companies feel that an online appointment scheduling solution won’t work for them in a way that fits them. They need a complete system that offers a range of features that allow businesses to take all types of online scheduling and fit perfectly with their business model. 

The key is to find an appointment booking solution that fits your existing demands and scales. Look for a plan that allows maximum customization so that your appointment scheduler evolves to meet your business needs, not the other way around. 

Nowadays, many technology development companies offer tailored appointment booking solution development services. CMSMART is one of them.  Feel free to contact us if you need a specific system for your business. 

Now, let’s take a look at several types of appointment booking systems and how businesses can benefit from taking them online.

 1. Time-slot scheduling

Also known as “first come first serve’ (or FCFS) scheduling, time-slot scheduling is a popular and straightforward method to stay organized.

It works by offering the customer a range of time slots. The customer selects the time that works for them, enters some basic information, then gets a confirmation notification by email or SMS.

Pros of Time-slot scheduling

  • Customers can choose an exact time that works for them

  • Businesses can offer specific slots on specific days

Cons of Time-slot scheduling

  • If time slots quickly fill up, it can mean that some customers may not be able to book a slot at all.

  • If a customer turns up late for an appointment or an appointment runs over, it can push the rest of the day behind.

How can you take this online?

This is one of the easiest types of appointment scheduling to take online. Simply sign up to a time-slot scheduling system, create your online booking page, and start accepting bookings.

From there, customers will be able to see your availability, easily visit your page, and select a slot.

2. Wave Scheduling

Wave scheduling works well when you have a lot of back-to-back customer visits.

You can offer a flexible time slot. This gives customers much more flexibility to be seen when it is convenient for them and allows staff members to schedule multiple people at once. It also allows for better prioritization based on client needs.

The wave system is very flexible because it allows clients to choose their own appointment bookings within your office’s open times. It’s a great way to stagger appointments and also saves businesses from spending too much staff time on booking appointments one after another. Instead, people just turn up during a period and are served in the order they arrive.

Pros of Wave Scheduling

  • Much more flexible booking for customers, as they can turn up at any point within a window.

  • Allows staff to easily prioritize the customer’s needs.

Cons of Wave Scheduling

  • Doesn’t work well for more complicated processes or consultations that require a lot of time.

How can you take this online?

Wave scheduling is also quite simple to transfer to an online appointment booking system, as long as the scheduling program allows for multi-booking a time slot You would set it up similar to time slot-scheduling, but allow multiple people to book the same slot.

Be sure to accurately limit this number, or you could end up with too many people turning up at once.

3. Open booking

Open booking is one of the most flexible types of appointment scheduling on this list.

It is also known as walk-in appointment scheduling and doesn’t give clients a specific time to turn up to their appointments. Without having any set time slots or days available, customers can attend an appointment anytime on a day that suits them best.

Although walk-in services are particularly popular with businesses, open booking has plenty of disadvantages.

It’s hard to forecast demand and footfall; some days might be chaotically busy, but it can also happen that the business stays open for no customers at all. This is particularly common in retail. It’s much more difficult to build and maintain a customer database and analyze appointment behavior.

Pros of Open booking

  • Complete flexibility for customers.

  • Basically no admin work for the staff.

Cons of Open booking

  • Can be difficult to manage during busy spells.

  • No reporting or forecasting for busy times, and small chances of building a customer database.

  • No control over overcrowding.

How can you take this online?

To transform a walk-in service or open booking business to a more organized scheduled appointment environment, you first need to identify the average length of your services. Then you can set up the online appointment booking system of your choice and create the slots with the duration you identified.

4. Wave Plus Walk-In

This variation of the wave scheduling model combines the walk-in component with a wave scheduling system. It is perfect for businesses with limited space, such as a salon or doctor’s office.

Let’s say you offer ‘waves’ of appointments every hour. You could give customers the option to book a timeframe within the first 30-minutes of that hour, and offer walk-in appointments for the rest.

This gives customers the flexibility of walk-in appointments but also the security of a designated appointment window.

The downside to this system is that it can be difficult to get the correct balance between waiting clients and those who have booked appointments in advance, especially if you are also wanting to prioritize customers based on their needs.

Pros of Wave Plus Walk-In

  • Mixed appointment types cater to different customer needs.

  • Allows staff to prioritize customers.

Cons of Wave Plus Walk-In

  • Prioritizing walk-ins and wave bookings can be challenging

How can you take this online?

The wave aspect of this type of online scheduling can easily be taken online. You can use an appointment booking system that allows multi-customer booking and customers can book a slot during the wave window. The walk-in side can then be left unbookable to allow customers to turn up as they please, although you will need to be mindful of overcrowding.

5. Priority Scheduling

Priority scheduling is where you reserve certain appointments for people who may have urgent needs. You can then offer them the chance to book an appointment before other clients.

You can do this one of two ways:

  • Clients turn up and are added to the queue depending on how pressing their issue is. However, this can mean that some people are seen much sooner than others who have been waiting a while.

  • Reserve a particular time slot for certain types of people. For example, during peak pandemic lockdown, some supermarkets and grocery delivery services allow NHS and healthcare workers to book priority delivery and shopping times.

This type of scheduling is great for businesses that need to ensure certain customers are given urgent care or attention.

Pros of Priority Scheduling

  • Allows businesses to put their most important or urgent customers first

Cons of Priority Scheduling

  • Can cause long wait times for non-priority customers and result in dissatisfaction

How can you take this online?

To take this online, you’ll either need an online appointment booking system that allows customer queues or you’ll need to manually approve each booking as it comes in.

For the first type of priority scheduling, customers will need to book onto an online queue. They will then have to wait their turn until something suitable becomes available for them or someone is available to see to their needs. This can be used in hospital or doctor’s waiting rooms, or even in restaurants during the pandemic to allow walk-in diners to wait for a table.

In the second type of appointment scheduling, you simply use an online appointment booking system to offer priority booking slots to certain groups. However, you will probably have to have a staff member manually approve the bookings to check the less urgent customers.

6. Round Robin Scheduling

This is one of the best types of appointment scheduling for sales professionals and call centers. A round-robin is where you offer a set number of fixed-time slots for clients, and a number of staff members are available to take the appointment bookings. The staff members are placed in an order and are booked in that order. However, if one staff member isn’t available, the next person will get booked, and so on.

This provides a fair way for multiple customers to schedule appointments with staff members. It means nobody misses out on appointments and also ensures that one staff member doesn’t end up too busy.

This type of scheduling is great if your office has a lot of people coming in during busier periods but maybe less good for planning individual staff schedules.

If you have lots of staff who can perform the same role such as a sales call or quotation booking, or if you want to ensure that everyone gets their fair share of the office’s capacity, this is the scheduling process for you.

Pros of Round Robin Scheduling

  • This method encourages equality when it comes to appointments slots

  • Great when lots of staff can perform the same role

Cons of Round Robin Scheduling

  • During busy periods, people might need to wait a while for a slot to be available

  • Customers aren’t able to choose their staff member as it’s selected randomly

How can you take this online?

A round-robin appointment scheduler is easy to achieve with an AI-powered online appointment booking system because it doesn’t require any human judgment. All you’ll need to do is decide how many slots you want to offer, days, and times and your online booking provider will pick the next person in line for the booking.

7. Double scheduling

Double scheduling is when you allow two or more customers to book the same slot. This may seem counter-intuitive – it is allowing double bookings after all – but it works very well in some cases.

For example, if a customer needs urgent attention, but the diary is already full, double scheduling allows them to book an appointment and be seen where they otherwise would’ve been turned away.

This type of schedule is also useful when you’re expecting high demand in the immediate future but want to save precious slots for people with more pressing concerns. It’s also commonly used by beauty professionals, like hairdressers who can take on a quick haircut or blow-dry while another client is waiting for the hair dye to take effect.

Pros of Double scheduling

  • Can provide a lifeline for those who need emergency care during busy periods.

  • Gives businesses more flexibility if they have a full schedule.

Cons of Double scheduling

  • Can cause long wait times for less urgent customers.

  • Can clog up diaries with overbookings.

  • It also requires staff members to know how to handle this type of booking.

How can you take this online?

Double scheduling is another simple type of appointment scheduling to use with an online appointment booking provider. Many providers allow businesses to offer more than one slot to people, so you’d simply need to enable this option to be able to take appointments.

Online appointment scheduling can work wonders for your business, clearing backlogs, saving administrative work, and making booking appointments more convenient for customers. The key is picking the type of schedule that best suits your needs as a business. No matter how many types of appointment scheduling methods are out there, it’s important not to abandon your standard booking practices and make them work for you.

How Does An Appointment Booking System Help Boost Your Business?

Your business can benefit tremendously from having the right appointment booking system. Here is how the appointment booking system helps to boost your business. 

24/7 Appointment Scheduling

Having an online appointment booking system enables you to take bookings at all hours, which can be a big boon for your business.

appointment booking - 247 service

Today’s consumers appreciate the ability to reserve appointments outside the usual 9 to 5. People want to reserve their appointments when it’s most convenient for them, and in today’s busy and fast-paced environment, that can often mean doing it outside traditional business hours. Since you can’t sit by the phone 24/7, an appointment booking system enables you to attract clients even when you’re not on-site.

An Easier Booking Experience

The traditional way of booking appointments can be quite cumbersome and involve a number of back-and-forth communication between you and your customers.

For starters, the client has to pick up the phone, inquire about available time slots, and then make a reservation (this is assuming that you’re on the other end to take the call). You, the service provider, would then need to manually take down the customer’s information, and you also have to be diligent about following up so they don’t miss their appointment.

appointment booking - easy booking

The process not only takes a lot of time but also leaves room for human error and miscommunication. Since the last thing you want is to deal with unhappy customers, it’s worth investing in a solution that paves the way for a smooth booking process. By using an appointment booking system that your customers can access on their own time, you eliminate the back and forth of traditional booking.

The software displays the services you offer and all available time slots, so your customers can reserve the time that works for them. Most solutions also have the ability to automatically add appointments to your calendar (as well as your clients’) so everyone is on the same page.

Additionally, many appointment booking systems can send reminders to your clients to help ensure that they make it to their appointment. And should something come up, your customers can easily reschedule through your portal instead of having to pick up the phone and go through the back and forth process all over again.

Fewer No-Shows

For service-based businesses, no-shows aren’t just minor inconveniences — they are missed revenue opportunities and they represent a lot of wasted time and effort.

If your business is plagued with no-shows, get yourself an online appointment booking system that sends automatic confirmations and reminders. 

Another way to reduce no-shows? Take the hassle out of rescheduling or canceling appointments. Once again, your appointment booking system can be a huge help here. By allowing your customers to change their reservations online (instead of doing it over the phone), you’re making it easier for them to reschedule.

Better Google Visibility

If you’re operating a business with a physical storefront, local search traffic is something that you’ll want to capitalize on. 

Having a strong online presence in today’s Google-centric world can do wonders for your business and allow you to get in front of potential customers in your neighborhood.

Fortunately, accomplishing that is pretty easy if you have a good appointment booking system

Marketing Made Easy

Advertising and marketing dollars are rapidly moving online and for good reason: people are now consuming more content on the web. To that end, having a digital marketing strategy is no longer “nice to have” — it’s practically mandatory. If you want to get the word out about your business, you need to put your efforts into web-based activities.

Online appointment booking systems can make this lot easier, not to mention more effective. Having a scheduling URL gives potential customers a clear destination when they click on your ads or social media posts. So, instead of sending them to a generic or poorly-designed website, you’re leading your customer to a page that puts them on a fast track to actually booking a service.

Better Insights into Your Business

What’s your most popular service? What are the busiest days and times in your business?

Most appointment booking solutions (the good ones, anyway) offer booking data and analytics so you can easily answer these questions and extract insights to take action on.

appointment booking - schedule staff shift

If you’re aware of your peak business hours, then you can schedule employee shifts more effectively. Or if you’ve figured out what your least popular services are, then you can determine the best way to market them which you can not do with a traditional booking system. 

Time (and Paper) Savings

If you ever feel that there aren’t enough hours in a day to run your business, you’re not alone. 

An appointment booking system enables you and your customers to do everything online, you can spend less time penciling in dates and contact details and devote more energy to serving your customers and growing your business.

That means you won’t have to deal with traditional appointment books and calendars, which means you can cut back on paperwork. It’s a win for you, your customers, and the environment.

Multi-Channel Appointment Scheduling

Modern consumers are constantly switching between channels and devices when they research, browse, and buy products and services. It’s not uncommon for a customer to see a salon’s storefront in person, check out their website on their computer, and eventually book an appointment online using their phone.

Staying competitive in today’s tech-driven environment requires you to keep up with consumers across multiple channels. Having an appointment booking system that works on multiple devices helps you accomplish that and ensures that you can be there for your clients no matter where they are and what device they’re using.

Reduced Human Error

Committing mistakes — such as writing down the wrong phone number or scheduling a client for a different time slot — can be embarrassing. Not only that, but these errors can also lead to unhappy customers.

Though human errors are largely preventable if you have the right systems.

This is where your appointment booking system comes into play. An appointment booking system automates tasks such as recording customer details, adding appointments to your calendar, and sending reminders, so you and your team will have a lot less manual work to deal with. That, in turn, results in fewer human errors and better client experiences.

More Growth Potential

Businesses that automate their appointment scheduling process typically see higher growth compared to those that don’t.

Why? Consider the following:

  • More successful bookings: Having an online appointment booking system helps you win over consumers who prefer to book their appointments over the internet. But it’s not just about getting more bookings. The ability to send automatic follow-ups and reminders can increase the number of completed appointments, which means you bring in more business.

  • Happier customers: The reason why people love online booking is it’s more convenient for everyone. Aside from reducing back and forth communications, web-based scheduling lets clients reserve their appointments at their own time and pace. All this to say that giving people what they want (i.e., online booking) and making sure that the experience is seamless, will lead to happier customers who are more likely to come back.

  • Higher profits: Streamlining your booking process can reduce admin work and human error, so you can spend less time and money on tedious tasks. That can translate to a higher bottom line and a healthier business overall.

What Factors Should You Look For In An Appointment Booking System?

As mentioned, each business is unique, for most service-based companies, the following capabilities are a must when shopping for an appointment booking system:

Features That Maximize Booking and Attendance 

The solution should make it simple for you and your clients to manage appointments. In addition to an online booking portal, your appointment booking system should have features like appointment confirmations, reminders, waitlists, and more. 

Put it simply, your online booking solution should go beyond just letting people schedule appointments. It should also help manage your booking, maximize attendance, and reduce no-shows and cancellations. 

Marketing

Speaking of maximizing your bookings, your solution should have features that enable you to market your business with ease. These capabilities can include:

  • A booking link that you can easily share

  • Social media booking buttons

  • Google booking capabilities

  • Staff Management

This is critical if you manage a team. Your online appointment booking system should be able to support multiple users and allow them to view and manage their calendars as well as communicate with clients if necessary.

Another important feature to look for is permissions management. Depending on how your business is set up, your solution should enable you to set different levels of access, depending on the role of each team member. 

This helps keep your system tight and secure.

Payment Processing

Your appointment booking system should have payment processing features that allow you to take payments on the platform.

apointment booking - payout

This feature is critical, especially if you take deposits at the time of booking or if you charge late cancellation and no-show fees. 

Flexibility

Every business is unique and the best appointment booking system knows that every business has a diverse need. Hence, they let you tailor your bookings. Do you want customers to select one of your services? Do you want them to specify the appointment locations? The best appointment booking systems let you customize such aspects.

Calendar Synchronization

Almost every online appointment booking system lets you sync with the calendar. Some even require it. That way, you can see your business's scheduled appointments along with other important information, such as when you'll be closed for holidays or renovations. Plus, the app can cross-reference your availability with the events on your primary calendar.

Multiple points of access

Once you set up an appointment scheduling service, how will your clients access it? The best appointment booking system gives you options. Likely you'll want to embed some code into your website to display the appointment scheduler, but you might also prefer a custom URL with all the booking tools in one place. Maybe you have a Facebook business page but no other website. In that case, you'll want to be able to integrate the booking tools on Facebook. Whatever your situation, the more options the better.

Standalone functionality

There are hundreds of booking applications that work as add-ons. The very best appointment booking system stands on its own, making it easy to support the flexibility and multiple access points you're looking for.

Features To Keep In Mind During Development Of The Online Appointment Booking System

The features of the online appointment booking system should be designed for both the admin and the user. 

User Panel Features

For the user panel, the online appointment booking system should include the following features:

1. Registration and login

The online appointment booking system must have a feature where it asks the new user to register themselves and sign in with their email address and contact number. It’d be great to provide your customers with the best way to sign up/login into your application. You could set up the authorization through Gmail, Facebook, or even Apple ID if it is the most convenient option for your users. The number of options is actually limitless: we can even offer an automated registration during the first-time booking process to make the user’s interaction with your app as smooth as we can.

2. User roles setting & profiles management

Depending on your online appointment booking system type, you’ll actually have either two or three user roles: customer, vendor, admin with different user permissions, and a specific profile template for each type of user. 

You also consider creating a level model for customers, where you specify that he or she has to pay different fees depending on the level. And if they have spent a lot of money on your website, they get a discount. 

3. Service in the online appointment booking system

After registration, the user is navigated to the service selection. At this place, one can choose the service for which he/she wants to get a booking done. After choosing the service, he will be directed to the ‘select the time’ for the appointment and after that, the user will be directed to the payment system.

The process of booking should be customized to the type of your business. For the restaurant booking, it could be the number of people, table location (outside or inside, smoking or non-smoking zone, etc.). For hotels, it will list the room size, type, view, etc. The point is to take into account every detail and really provide a possibility to book a service without additional communication with a company’s representative.

You should also consider the “My booking/booking history” with an option to repeat a booking.

4. Rating & review

It’s hard to imagine an online appointment booking system without a review & rating section: it’s a must-have feature for both customers and service providers (especially when cooperating with multiple vendors). 

5. Recommendation system

Customization of recommendations is a good way to engage your customers, feature the relevant service providers, and enhance user experience. 

Admin Panel features

These are the features that an online appointment booking system development will have for the admin control or facilitate the service providers to operate easily.

1. Data Management

The admin panel’s feature of data management is to ensure that the data collected by the appointment scheduler is securely stored in the content management system and analyzed to be of further help to the customers. This may include the booking history, the payment mode saved, the addresses saved. This data can be accessed and changed with the account login details filled in by the user.

If your service website works as a booking marketplace, this feature could work for different user roles:

  • For vendors to check the number of bookings, get reports on profile statistics, booking, user engagement, and even keep the income records;

  • For the app team to verify vendors’ & customers’ profiles, provide support, manage user access levels.

2. Third-party integrations

An online appointment booking system may require integration with third-party services for different purposes:

  • Google calendar for adding the appointment details and getting notifications about the upcoming bookings. 

  • Google (Apple Core) Location API (or similar tool) for getting the customers’ geolocation data. 

  • CRM for getting the appointment details and user information directly to your customer relationship management system and set up manually or trigger automatically a sequence of actions (follow-up emails, reminders, surveys, etc.).

  • Chatbots for offering instant and smart replies to the users, and sorting their queries out. It helps to simplify guest interaction with smart answers, which saves the time, cost, and efforts of the organizations. Chatbots acts like a human and have the ability to offer service 24/7.

3. Multi-Language & Global Currencies Support

We are living in an era of globalization. There are no geographic boundaries and success depends on targeting not just the local audience and local market. Your online appointment scheduler has to target an audience across the globe. It is important that the online appointment booking system provides inbuilt support for multiple languages and currencies. Multi-language & global currencies support increases popularity among globetrotters. This function offers support to users who often encounter problems traveling in a foreign land.

4. Payment Process

Define which payment system is the best option for your target customer and make sure it works seamlessly.  

What’s The Total Cost to Build An Online Appointment Booking System?

Building an online appointment booking system is advantageous, but it comes at a cost. This makes it necessary for companies to evaluate how money is needed to invest in building an online appointment booking system and how much ROI can be expected from it.

Let’s discuss this major concern that comes in the way of developing an online appointment booking system, its cost, and overall budget. 

The cost of developing an online appointment booking system depends upon the nature and size and complexity of the business. For large-scale enterprises, the features in the online appointment scheduler will be more and the staff operates the functionality of the appointment scheduler. The cost will rise in the case of large volumes of bookings monthly.

The cost of an online appointment booking system development service includes:

1. The design and the user interface.

2. Features of the appointment scheduler

3. Developers, project manager, engineers’ team

4. Compatibility on the mobile devices

5. Payment feature

It might take up to 500-600 hours on average. For building a more complicated system or building a complete website it might take up to 1,000 to 2,000 hours depending upon the complexity of the features to be included in it and the size of the business it would cater to.

The cost of building an online booking system isn’t a fixed amount. It varies depending on factors such as for what purpose consumers would use the appointment scheduler, what features are to be incorporated, and the overall complexity of developing the system.

Also, the cost of building an online booking system depends on the hourly rate that your developer team offers. This rate is different in each location. For example in the United States, the hourly rate is around US$100-120, while in some Asian countries like India or Vietnam, it is around US$30-35.

It is better to work with a development agency that already has the infrastructure in place and is staffed with qualified professionals. When they are handling your appointment booking and saving you the additional time you might otherwise have to spend hiring new employees, you can devote more of your time to work that helps your business bring in more revenue.

That’s how you maximize growth!

If you are planning to create your own service booking system and you wonder how much it will cost, contact us – we will estimate it. We are an experienced development company with expertise in booking solutions development so our experts have all the competencies needed to provide a high-quality product for your business.

Additionally, we can develop some unique features as per your requests and create a beautiful design to help your product stand out.

Conclusion

Online booking is gaining steam. Moreover, there are many reasons as to why you should embrace this technology as we have described in the article the service allows businesses to develop a seamless system for creating, managing, bookings.

These services are highly flexible, customizable, and come with a ton of integrations. They can be tweaked at instances to meet your specific needs. If you manage to get the implementation well, your business is guaranteed to benefit tremendously.

The overall goal of the different online appointment booking platforms may be the same, but that doesn’t mean every program is made the same!

The process of selecting an online appointment booking solution should be treated with the seriousness it deserves. It offers to be the backbone of your business since it is the first interface between your business and your customer. 

There will always be unknowns during any search, a little preparation can make a great difference while zeroing on the perfect solution for you. All of the items mentioned in the checklist should be addressed in the investigative process to ensure that the solution that is being chosen, is the best fit for your customer, staff, and business in general.

Ask all the questions you have in your mind, and ensure that you are satisfied with the answers you receive, it is all about making your business more successful than ever!

If the article resonates with you, and you feel the need for an online appointment booking system, feel free to leave a comment below with your contact information or send us an email at sales@cmsmart.net. We would love to hear from you about your ideal online appointment booking system.