Online Booking System – Sign Up For A Free Trial Today
Thinking of purchasing a new or updating your current online booking system? You might want to consider PlanIt-BookIt. Here’s a useful guide to what it can do to help you with your decision making process.
At the core of any good online booking system there should be a graphical calendar. The calendar is where most of your user activity will take place. Calendars should clearly show timings in a graphical format. In most booking systems the calendar timings are displayed down the left-hand side of the screen.
Next the calendar should show what resources are available for booking. These are usually displayed horizontally across the top of the screen.
The screen shot below shows the calendar as used in PlanIt-BookIt’s online booking system. The system below was set up to work for squash court bookings, with three courts available, Glass Back, Court 1 and Court 2. It could have easily been set up to work with different resources. Golf courses with tee times for example or perhaps booking sessions for an all weather pitch, etc.
What’s particularly clever about PlanIt-BookIt’s online calendar view is that it has been designed to automatically resize itself depending on the smart device it is being displayed on.
To demonstrate this, here is the application as displayed on a smart phone…
Everything is exactly as you would find on a desktop or laptop view but conveniently shrunk down to the size of your smartphone or device.
In the screen shot you can also see that it’s very easy to navigate to another day in the calendar. There are forward and backwards day buttons and an option to select a date directly from a calendar control.
Online Booking System Setup
For a booking system to work correctly for your club or organization it needs to be initially set up. Set up includes loading in opening and closing times, resource availability and what the cost of each resource is to the various member or contact types that your club supports.
With PlanIt-BookIt we are currently doing the bulk of the set-up process for you as part of the two-month trial period. You simply provide us with the specifics for your club and we do all the rest for you.
You don’t want to be trawling through each calendar page to see exactly which bookings you’ve already made. So most online booking systems provide a list view of the bookings you have made as well as a calendar view. Below is the list view as seen in PlanIt-BookIt’s system.
Contact / Membership Management System
Equally as important as a graphical calendar view is a contact or membership management system. An online booking system isn’t much use if your customers cannot logon and make bookings.
The membership portion of the system should have a simple sign up process. It should enable members / contacts to keep their personal information up-to-date.
PlanIt-BookIt’s contact management and membership system is very comprehensive. It has been designed so that it can run stand-alone. Ideal for clubs or organisations that want to manage their membership but don’t have bookable resources.
The membership system can be tailored to your needs. Meaning that we can add new membership fields that meet your requirements. As a standard, there are contact fields, address details and a notes section for recording anything else that may be of value.
The membership system enables your members to set their own preferred level of privacy settings. Meaning they can choose what personal information is disclosed to others and what communications they receive.
PlanIt-BookIt has built in reminder functionality. The person who makes a booking and her opponent if applicable receive an email notification as soon as the booking has been made. Then also, the day prior to the booking a reminder email is sent out.
When memberships are up for renewal PlanIt-BookIt reminds your members by displaying a message on the home page. Clicking the message allows people to renew their membership directly online via PayPal
Notification of Cancellations
There is additionally a feature in PlanIt-BookIt to be notified if there are any booking cancellations. This is useful if say all courts are booked out at a time that you wanted to play. You specify the date and time periods of the resource that you want to book. If someone cancels within that period the system emails you to let you know.
PlanIt-BookIt can optionally accept payments for resource bookings and / or membership payments / renewals. Different fees can be associated with different membership types and times. For example, the system can automatically charge off peak members a premium if they choose to book during peak times.
All our payments are handled by PayPal. We chose PayPal due to their strong security and encryption. Once your payment card is registered with PayPal you never need to disclose your credit card information online again providing you use PayPal for your transactions.
Online Booking System In The Cloud
PlanIt-BookIt is hosted securely in the cloud on Microsoft Azure severs. But what does this mean? Well in simple terms we host our application on a collection of interconnected servers. The servers are geographically distributed across the globe. They are managed, supported and maintained by Microsoft.
In Microsoft’s own words… “Microsoft Azure is a growing collection of integrated cloud services that developers and IT professionals use to build, deploy and manage applications through our global network of data centres.”
90% of fortune 500 companies use Microsoft Azure due to its high levels of security, privacy and compliance.
For more information on Cloud computing, please see What Is Cloud Computing
To enable you to be able to communicate directly and quickly with your customers / members a Facebook newsfeed can be optionally displayed on PlanIt-BookIt’s homepage. The newsfeed can be directly linked to your existing Facebook page. Meaning more people are likely to see your communications.
An online booking system that makes things just a little bit more fun and competitive… Welcome to rankings! For sports based bookings where you play against an opponent, such as squash, tennis and badminton for example. There is a built in ranking system. You play your match, submit your score and PlanIt-BookIt adjusts your ranking. The top 5 rankings can be optionally displayed on the home page.
The ranking system uses the elo rating system. It was originally designed as a new rating system for chess. However, it’s since been used to rank people in many other sports.
What’s clever about the system is that the rating you receive is much greater for wins against players ranked much higher than yourself. We rank players on a game-by-game basis rather than a match-by-match basis. What this means is that if a low ranked play plays a high ranked player and loses 3-1 for example. Then the high ranked player may end up losing points and the lower ranked player may end up gaining points. This is because the higher ranked player would have been expected to win the match 3-0.
Manage your club’s documentation with PlanIt-BookIt. Documents can be stored privately so that only administrators can view or they can be made public for all your membership / customers to view.
Send out communications directly from PlanIt-BookIt. If you need to send out an email to all existing members or even members whose membership has recently expired, then you can with PlanIt-BookIt’s built in email correspondence system.
Attachments can be added or you can refer to documents that you make available via the built-in document management.
As an added bonus, built into our online booking system is a fully integrated events module. Meaning not only can your customers / members book resources that you make available but also they can book on to any events that you organise. This could be anything from a competition to a Pie, Peas and quiz night.
The events module allows you to optionally charge an event signup fee and it also enables you to make your event to be available to registered contacts and / or members and if required the wider public too.
The system generates a sign-up url which you can make available for your customers to click on directly from your web site. Please note we do charge an additional 3.75% transaction fee for customers on our standard plan. For pro users there are no transaction charges, it’s all included.