Online booking systems are a must for many businesses, especially service-based businesses. When offering a service, allowing customers and clients to make bookings online poses many benefits to you and your business. It increases conversion rate, streamlines your workflow, and helps to increase your overall profits. Whether you’re a hairdresser, personal trainer, consultant, lawyer, medical practitioner, car mechanic, or any other type of business that works with appointments - you could potentially benefit greatly from using an online booking system in your business.
What Makes a Good Online Booking System?
At Neko Web Design, we have had numerous clients ask us for recommendations when it comes to online booking systems. Ideally, a good booking system should be easy to use, support multiple users, support multiple appointment types/services, and be easy to integrate with your website. It should also have a slick, intuitive user interface on the front end so that your customers have a great experience. There are many options out there which can be overwhelming, so in this post we will detail our top 3 online booking systems to make it easier for you.
Monthly cost: Free, $15, $25, $50 (depending on the tier)
Acuity is a great online booking system that can be easily integrated with ANY type of website, and it is currently our favourite. The team behind Acuity provide very extensive documentation, so you can have almost any question answered. Also, a useful feature of Acuity is that you can use it with or without a website in place. Your clients can book with you online when you provide them with a direct link to your client scheduling page (hosted by Acuity). This means you can start taking bookings whilst your website is under development. Acuity works well for all types of businesses as it supports teams, multiple locations and multiple services/appointment types.
Key benefits and features (all paid plans):
- Native iOS and Android apps
- Stand alone booking page
- Can embed directly into your Instagram page, so customers can make bookings directly on Instagram
- Sync with iCloud and Google Calendar
- Zoom integrations for online meetings
- Accept payments and deposits via PayPal, Square or Stripe
- Integrations with QuickBooks, Freshbooks and Xero for invoicing and accounting
Cost: $59 a year
If you are looking for an appointment booking plugin to integrate with the backend of your WordPress website, Amelia is a solid option. Like Acuity, there is plenty of documentation available so you can navigate the system and its features easily. The dev team behind Amelia are very active, so there are regular releases with new features and updates. Amelia is accessed directly from the backend of your WordPress website. For security, you can assign user roles to members of your team as Amelia users - this means that they can only access Amelia functionality, and not other areas of your site's backend. Useful for teams.
Note: there is a free, limited version available (Amelia Lite) that you can experiment with, but we really think the paid version is worth it for businesses!
Key benefits and features:
- Able to manage multiple employees
- Can customise the design of the front-end elements to match your themes and branding
- Can manage user roles and permissions for your team
- Can take payments during bookings via Stripe
- Synchronisation with Google Calendar
Price: $20 per user, per month
CozyCal is great for booking meetings and appointments online. The developers behind CozyCal are growing the platform as we speak, with new features and enhancements being added regularly. You can schedule a demo with them if you want a more thorough insight, and they are open to receiving feature requests.
Key benefits and features:
- Synchronisation with Google Calendar and Outlook calendar
- Automatically detects timezones, so customers can book either at their local time or in your timezone
- Can set multi-day event duration
- Can connect with Stripe to take payments on your booking page
- Can manually accept or decline event requests to take full control of your schedule
Acuity, Amelia and CozyCal are currently our top 3 online booking systems. They cover all areas that our clients tend to need, they are easy to integrate and use, and they meet all the requirements a good online booking system. If you're curious and want to explore additional options, then two others we feel deserve a special mention are:
When providing solutions for our clients, we make recommendations on a case by case basis depending on the clients unique circumstances and needs. If you need help with a web design or development project, click here to get in touch with us.
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