Reclaim your Voucher VAT

Reclaim your Voucher VAT

Here at Booking Live we integrate with various voucher providers such as Groupon, so our client’s customers can redeem various discount codes. We also provide clients with the ability to set up their own internal vouchers, providing anything from discounts to gift options.

One of our clients, Steve from Wild Wood, recently got in touch about a voucher VAT redemption method that he’d discovered. He kindly asked if we could share his findings with the rest of our clients, so you have Steve to thank for any tax refunds you receive!

“All vouchers not redeemed after their valid expiry date can have their VAT reclaimed!” Steve, Wild Wood

You can reclaim the VAT spent from as far back as your first voucher sale, as long as you have been selling vouchers since then. To prove to HMRC that they are unclaimed, you simply need to produce a report, which can be done through your Booking Live system. You can then get back up to 20% of their value in your next VAT return.

If you have any handy hints and tips that you’d like to share feel free to post them on the Customer Forum or email caitlin@bookinglive.com. For more information about setting up vouchers head over to the User Manual. Thanks again Steve!

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Essential Cloud-Based Tech Trends for SMEs in 2015

Essential Cloud-Based Tech Trends for SMEs in 2015

In a world where technology is constantly changing it’s surprising to discover tech trends for SMEs haven’t changed that much over the past year. Having said that, major trends have become more influential, determined and accessible, especially in relation to SMEs. A key contender is automation, with mobile, cloud and software all falling under the tech trend’s spell. We’ve put together three key tech trends for SMEs to look out for to ensure their businesses are streamlined and up-to-date.

The Cloud

Use of the cloud has dominated SME tech trends over the past few years, with a huge increase in the amount of businesses using the web-based phenomenon to streamline various processes. A significant proportion of companies have even started to remove on-site technology, such as desktop computers and printers, in favour of running their IT infrastructure from the cloud. For SMEs it may not be as easy to get rid of hardware, especially if large costs were involved in sourcing them, but shifting the way your business is run so the cloud comes in to play is a good start. The more popular cloud solutions become the more affordable the options, so make sure you keep an eye on the latest services.

Booking Live are advocates of cloud-centred approaches. Not only do we run our online booking systems from the cloud but our software requires no downloads so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world, all you need is an internet connection. We also love the cloud because it allows us to perform regular, automatic backups so not only does our data stay secure but our clients’ does too.

Increased Data Security

Following on from backups, the security of data is an integral component of any business, from customer details to financial history it’s vital information is kept safe. As tech trends for SMEs expand so do the inevitable security risks. In regards to booking system data Booking Live’s software is hosted by the experts at Rackspace. The hosting providers have state-of-the-art tools to highlight any potential security breaches so they can prevent them before they even happen.

Run your Business from your Mobile Phone

It’s no secret there’s been a huge shift towards mobile-first approaches to running a business. From mobile optimised websites to user experience, it’s obvious a brand’s online design is key to success.

Booking Live enables clients to run their business from anywhere at any time, with fully mobile optimised systems. Our client’s customers are also able to book from anywhere at any time through mobile optimisation. We even offer web design services to ensure your website matches the responsiveness of the booking system.

So there you have it, a quick round-up of 3 key tech trends for SMEs to look out for this year. If you have any questions or would like to know more please contact us today.

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Online Booking Systems for Activity Centres of All Shapes & Sizes!

Online Booking Systems for Activity Centres of All Shapes & Sizes!

Along with a variety of other industries Booking Live work closely with multiple activity centres who’re based all over the world. If you’re unsure as to whether or not your activity centre should implement Booking Live’s solutions, then you’ve come to the right place! Read on to find out about some of the many features we offer, in specific relation to activity centre providers.

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Happy Customers

Online booking systems such as Booking Live provide your customers with a log-in feature, so they can view and edit their bookings from anywhere, at any time. This reduces the likelihood of no-shows as customers are able to edit their bookings when they want, rather than having to phone during business hours.

Booking Live also integrates with Trip Advisor, so you can display customer reviews and photos on your website. Nowadays reviews are central to generating new business, so showing your customer’s positive experiences will ensure more people book on to your activities and courses.

Expert Integrations to Manage your Entire Business

With Booking Live’s online booking management systems you can manage all aspects of your business from one place. Integrations with emarketing tools such as Mailchimp makes staying in touch with customers is a breeze. You can even manage accounts and finances with Booking Live’s partners such as QuickBooks and Xero.

Additional integrations include Skyscanner and Google Maps, so your customers can easily find the best route to your activity centre no matter where they are in the world.

Sell and Redeem Vouchers, Merchandise and More

Booking Live software works with EPOS hardware so you can set-up your very own ecommerce website or web page enabling you to generate additional revenue. List and sell items online throughout the year. You can even make the most of events such as Christmas by providing your customers with discounts – which can be set up using Booking Live – or vouchers – which can be redeemed via Groupon.

International Online Booking Systems

Booking Live work with activity centres in the UK, US and even the UAE. With remote servers our booking systems can be accessed anywhere, there’s no need for any downloads. We also provide multi-lingual interface options along with multiple currency options, so you can run a successful activity centre with our international online booking systems.

We don’t want to ramble on for ages so we’re going to stop there, but we do have a number of other features available so make sure you check out our feature list. If you’re interested in setting up an online booking system for your activity centre, or want to know about other businesses that we work with then contact us today!

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Client Spotlight: Clifton College – Booking Systems for Holiday Clubs

Client Spotlight: Clifton College – Booking Systems for Holiday Clubs

Working in the heart of the second largest technology hub in the UK has enabled us to gain a handful of Bristol-based clients. As with all our clients, we’re extremely proud to have Clifton College as part of our online booking community. Andy from Clifton College tells us all about the company’s online booking system for holiday clubs and how they came to find us here at Booking Live.

What Do you Do?

“We run holiday clubs throughout the school holidays. Focusing on three main age groups: 3-4, 5-7 and 8-13 year olds we offer a range of activities including swimming and outdoor play. Our holiday clubs include day courses, half day sessions and full weeks.”

What Were you Looking for?

“Before Booking Live we had our very own, in-built booking system. Despite being developed specifically for us, our old system was created years ago so wasn’t able to keep up with the demands of our Holiday Clubs. I researched online booking systems for holiday clubs and came across Booking Live. I took my findings back to the team and found out we’d actually contacted the company before during previous searches – they’d obviously stuck in our minds!

Along with reliability and robustness we needed a system which came with accessible support. Booking Live stood out due to their Online Helpdesk which provided as close to 24 hour support as we could find.”

What Do you Think?

“So far our Booking Live experience has been pretty good! Our Account Manager Florina was excellent at getting us up and running and the Online Helpdesk is particularly helpful – the support team reply quickly to any raised issues.  Booking Live’s reports are also really easy to use. When we had our previous system I had to email people requesting specific reports, but now I can simply log-in and export the desired report myself.”

What Do your Customers Think?

“We haven’t had loads of responses from our customers, but the general consensus is that this system is better than our previous one. Although parents are finding they’re having to input their child’s details each time they make a new booking this problem will be resolved via the online account feature. From here parents are able to log-in, view and manage their bookings which will save them loads of time.”

Thanks Andy! We’re looking forward to working with a business based in our very own Bristol and can’t wait to continue growing our client base. If you’re looking for an online booking system then contact us today! For more information about featuring in a Client Spotlight piece contact caitlin@bookinglive.com.

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‘Appcessories’ Are the New Black

‘Appcessories’ Are the New Black

It’s old news that the use of mobile devices to access the internet has increased dramatically over the past few years. Don’t worry, we won’t go on again about how important we think mobile-first approaches have become. Instead we’re going to tell you all about the latest mobile trend: ‘Appcessories’. The Telegraph define appcessories as “app-activated objects that can be plugged into a device, connect through Wi-Fi, or the increasingly common Bluetooth connection”. Examples of appcessories range from smart watches, a form of ‘wearables’, to augmented reality board games. Chances are you’ve already come in to contact with a variety of appcessories such as these, you may even own some, without having known the insider terminology.

Appcessories for Good

Although many describe their latest mobile or tech toy as “a lifesave”, appcessories are literal lifesavers to others. Personal medial devices such as blood sugar monitors which send automatic text message alerts to individuals or caregivers when said individual is at risk. Appcessories are enabling many with the independence they never thought they’d have. Many appcessories – including smart watches – are set to decrease the amount of unhealthily overweight individuals there are. Linking to popular apps including FitBit users are able to monitor the amount of exercise they’re doing versus the amount of calories they’re consuming within seconds. The app does all the maths, calorie counting has never been so easy!

So there you have it, not only is technology entertaining and fun but it’s also sometimes vital for life.

How does Booking Live fit in?

Booking Live’s online booking and business management software may not come in the form of a wearable app but that’s because it doesn’t need to. Each Booking Live system is accessible remotely via dedicated cloud hosting and, as no downloads are necessary, you can access your booking system from anywhere in the world. All you need is an internet connection! As the latest version of Booking Live is now fully responsive our clients can access their systems from a mobile device so they can keep track of bookings whether or not they’re in the office safely and securely.

If you’re looking to implement an online booking system in to your business please contact our Sales Team today. More information can be found via our website www.bookinglive.com.

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Manage your Events & Business with Ticket Booking Software

Manage your Events & Business with Ticket Booking Software

If you run an events business or you run a business which offers events then you’ll no doubt have come across event ticket booking software before. Perhaps you’ve always thought you could get by without it or you’ve put off using it because you think it’s too technical. Either way here at Booking Live we know the hugely positive impact event ticket booking software such as ours can have on businesses.

Make Life Easier for Your Customers & Attendees 

By incorporating ticket booking software in to your business not only are you streamlining admin processes but you’re also making your customers lives’ a lot easier. With Booking Live’s ticket booking software event attendees are able to register and then log-in to view and update their registration details. Users can also easily cancel their event registration which prevents the likelihood of no-shows as well as freeing up spaces for replacement attendee.

With event ticket booking software it couldn’t be easier to stay in touch with event attendees. Notifying them of any updates such as a last minute change of venue can be done within a few clicks! You can also set reminder emails and SMS messages to send to further maintain communication. Automatic confirmation emails can also be set up to send to all new attendees which cuts down on staff admin time.

Event ticket booking software such as Booking Live can be used to set event capacity limits to prevent double bookings and ensure customer satisfaction.

Make Life Easier for Yourself

Not only does event ticket booking software save you vast amounts of time that would otherwise be spent on the phones or filling out Excel documents, but it stores all details safely and securely. You can even track booking data and produce accurate and insightful reports quickly and easily. All attendees can download and print e-tickets which saves you from mass printing costs, ensures they aren’t able to lose them as well as being better for the environment!

Booking Live systems are hosted with 100% uptime so even during busy periods you can rest assured your customers and attendees will be able to book on to events. You can also set up waiting list features for when your events reach maximum capacity.

Easily Market your Events

Booking Live can design and set-up your very own company website or can set-up individual booking pages to use on an existing website. This in itself will help publicise your events as well as providing visitors with the ability to book on to them all in one place!

You can also set-up registration forms with custom fields so you can collect the information you want and need. Saving attendee’s details also gives you the option of sending them information about upcoming events – chances are if they’re booking on to one event they’ll book on to more! Integrated emarketing tools such as MailChimp are offered with some ticket booking software, such as Booking Live, to allow for easy and trackable marketing activities.

Generate Additional Income

Ticket booking software comes with features that allow you to set-up your system so you can sell items such as merchandise online before and/or after your event. Booking Live’s expert EPOS booking systems make setting up and taking payments a breeze. Not only will you be taking online bookings but you’ll be running an ecommerce site!

Interested in Event Ticket Booking Software? Contact our Sales Executive today!

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What is User Experience and How Do I Use it?

What is User Experience and How Do I Use it?

Before looking at Booking Live and the user experience – also known as UX – it’s important to distinguish between UX and usability. User experience involves how a user feels when using a particular system, such as a website, whereas usability is about how user-friendly a system is. Despite their differences, usability plays a pivotal role in user experience. This post aims to help you understand digital user experiences so you can make sure your customers have the best digital experience possible.

Why Should I Consider User Experience?

By ensuring your website provides a positive user experience you’re more likely to grab attention and increase bookings. Customer satisfaction is key to almost all businesses so it makes sense to provide customers with great experiences. When considering user experience it’s a good idea to start by envisioning your target market. By designing your user experience with current and potential customers in mind you’ll be able to keep those who matter happy. This will increase profit and turnover rates as people are more likely to make repeat bookings if they know there’s a great website to come back to. Although it may sound like an expensive addition to your digital presence, investing in user experience is a good idea. The money you’re putting into your website’s user experience will lead to new business and multiple bookings, generating ROI.

How To Improve The Booking Journey User Experience..

It’s easy to improve user experience on your business’ website as well as incorporating it when designing a new website. When creating or editing a website consider the times other websites have made you feel confused, angry or even stupid. Then put yourself in the place of your customer. Are they looking to book themselves on to a 60 years+ yoga class? Chances are they may not be all that familiar with technology. Make sure you keep factors such as this in mind and you’ll be well on your way to creating the ultimate user experience.

Peter Morville, an information architect, represents user experience in an User Experience Honeycomb. This steams from his idea that user experience is based on a core of how valuable each user experience is. From here he believes it’s important to consider how useful, usable, desirable, findable, accessible and credible your website’s user experience is going to be. By applying these considerations when creating your UX, you can make sure people keep coming back to your website. More information about the User Experience Honeycomb can be found here.

Booking Live Can Help

Our latest version of online booking software, BookingLive 3, has been created with user experience at its core. Your customers are our priority which is why we’ve made multiple improvements to their user journey when making a booking. With BookingLive it’s not just your customers who benefit from a great user experience. Our simple and efficient admin area means you’re able to navigate around the booking system quickly and easily. You can locate bookings via our new calendar sync which enables you to view all upcoming bookings on your favourite calendar format such as Google calendar. Streamline your user experience with BookingLive by visiting our pricing pages or contacting us today!

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Digital Bristol Week: Booking Live’s Visit

Digital Bristol Week: Booking Live’s Visit

The UK’s Second Largest Tech Hub

Last Monday saw the start of Digital Bristol Week (DBW), a week of free, forward-thinking talks, events, exhibitions and more! It’s now official that the Bristol and Bath area is the second largest UK tech cluster after London. The latest report by Tech Nation found 61,653 people currently work within the technology sector in Bristol and Bath alone – that’s 5,508 more than Manchester! With Bristol’s strengths highlighted as education technology, software development, data management and analytics we’re thrilled to be a part of such an innovative community.

The Engine Shed

During Digital Bristol Week I made my way to The Engine Shed. Self-proclaimed as ‘the gateway to enterprise in Bristol and Bath’, the business hub is the place to be for all things tech related. No stranger to The Engine Shed after previous networking events I made myself at home in anticipation for the afternoon’s talks.

DBW Talks

Looking to find out more about other Bristol-based businesses such as ours the final talk I attended featured the Creative Director of The Watershed. Renowned as a ‘cultural cinema and digital creativity centre’ the business welcomes various creative individuals and companies to collaborate. It’s no surprise that one of the company’s main projects, known by the name of Pervasive Media Studio, has already seen overwhelming numbers pass through its doors. Providing an interactive studio for creative personas to integrate is a brilliant idea which is already forming solid foundations of mutual growth.

During DBW’s concluding talk Mick Jackson also spoke about his company, Webstart Bristol. Mike, along with many other successful entrepreneurs, moved from London to Bristol in search of new opportunities. From here Mike set up an internet incubator which supports local Bristol-based businesses and helps them grow.

From my time at Digital Bristol Week I’ve learned Bristol is not only extremely successful but it’s extremely proud. There are a whole host of resources available to local businesses and there’s no longer a need to have a London address to succeed. As a digital company the team at Booking Live feel Bristol couldn’t be a better base for us. We’re able to stay up-to-date with the latest technological advancements so our online booking systems can remain at the forefront of software development.

If you’re ever in the area and fancy checking out or HQ, or you simply want to know more about our tech hub, please feel free to get in touch.

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GHOST Vulnerability: Your Booking Live System is Safe

GHOST Vulnerability: Your Booking Live System is Safe

Late last month you may’ve noticed the news featuring a new-found online vulnerability. This was discovered in the Linux OS, in specific relation to a module used by many applications on the web and the general OS. It goes by the name of GHOST (CVE-2015-0235)  due to its GetHOST functions. The vulnerability enables remote attackers with complete control over their targeted system without needing system credentials.

The good news is Booking Live’s online booking servers have been patched to ensure this vulnerability doesn’t breach our systems. Despite us not using any mail services, which this bug exploits, we deemed it best practice to ensure we keep our systems free from known and publicised vulnerabilities.

As we discussed in our post about the Shellshock Bash Bug, we feel it’s important to keep you updated about the latest security scares and to inform you of the work we’re doing to maintain the safety and security of all your data.

Working within the technology industry we’re no strangers to the ongoing attempts at security breaches. Unfortunately no one can predict when the next one will hit but rest assured that the Booking Live team will always be here to protect your data and keep you informed.

If you want to find out more about the GHOST vulnerability we recommend these great resources:

As security is at the forefront of all businesses’ minds we provide additional security options with all Booking Live systems, including SSL Certificates. Our partners at 123-reg describe this practice for us: “SSL encrypts information sent between your website and a visitor’s web browser so that it cannot be read as it is sent across the internet”. If you’re interested in setting up an SSL, or you have any further concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Client Spotlight: Wimbledon Park – Online Booking System for Schools

Client Spotlight: Wimbledon Park Primary School – Online Booking System for Schools

As schools are currently in the minority of online booking system users we were curious to find out the advantages of implementing one from one of our clients. Helen from Wimbledon Park Primary School answered some of our questions about their experience with Booking Live so far and how an online booking system for schools has helped them. 

How do you use Booking Live within a school environment?

“We take online bookings for after-school kids clubs. Many of the pupils who attend these clubs do so because their parents work full-time, so it made sense to start providing them with online booking options so they could make bookings quickly rather than having to phone up. We’re already seeing great results and now take approximately 200 to 300 bookings each week! This was unheard of before we set-up the system. Like many schools we used to take our bookings via email or over the phone which involved the creation of complicated spreadsheets. We were making mistakes and it was taking up a huge portion of time which wasn’t being justified by the end results. We’re now able to make use of handy features such as viewing the number of children who are booked on to Kids Club. We can then use this as a reference to ensure we have things such as enough food for each child.”

Why did Booking Live stand out?

“We first came across Booking Live through our local council, Merton Borough Council, as they use it to take bookings on their website so thought it must be pretty good. We then went on to research online booking systems and chose Booking Live because we were looking for a system that could be tailored to our individual needs. Although Booking Live is somewhat of an off-the-shelf product we picked it over others due to its bespoke qualities which have enabled us to tailor the system to suit our needs.”

What would you like to change about Booking Live?

“It would be great to see further defining channels within manifests and reports but have heard this is on the way in version 3. Although helpful, the terms used via the online helpdesk are often a bit too tecchie for us so it’d also be good to have simpler instructions at times!”

What’s the best thing about Booking Live so far?

“Our project wasn’t delivered on time, due to complications on our side rather than Booking Live’s, so we really appreciate the amount of time and patience the team have put in to getting us up and running! The online helpdesk is good and we always get prompt responses. We’re looking forward to completing the setup of various features such as reporting and manifests to make our online booking process even better.”

It’s so great to hear that online booking technology is being welcomed in to areas such as schools where it hasn’t been used previously. It’s even better to hear how well people are getting on with Booking Live’s online booking system for schools, thanks Helen for your insightful feedback! As many of you already know we’re in the process of updating the entirety of Booking Live, from version 3 to a brand new user manual, so any overtly technical terms will be a thing of the past.

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If you’re an existing client and would be interested in featuring in a Client Spotlight piece please email caitlin@bookinglive.com. If you’d like to leave us feedback you can do so via our online feedback form. For more information about online booking systems for schools contact us today.

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