Website Booking Calendars Explained

Website Booking Calendars Explained

Website booking calendars are an essential feature of online booking systems. With BookingLive you can easily add a website booking calendar to your website. From here your customers are able to book and pay within seconds. Simply insert Booking Live’s booking calendar widget into your website and you’re off!

Key Benefits Include:

View Live Availability

With a whole host of features and benefits we can’t think why you wouldn’t want a website booking calendar. Not only do they speed up the entire booking process but they also increase interactivity with customers. Customers are able to view live availability with colour coded booking slots where green can be set to show availability and red can show when an option is fully booked.

Minimise Staff Time Spent on Phones

Website booking calendars also enable customers with information about each bookable option you provide. You can even feature FAQs so customers have all the answers in one place. This leads to a decrease in staff time spent on the phone taking bookings and giving customers the same information over and over again. Customers are also more likely to use your services again due to the seamless booking process website booking calendars provide.

Eliminate No-shows & Cancellations

When customers book via a website booking calendar you’re able to send them confirmation and reminder emails and SMS messages. Encouraging customers to attend and keeping up communication are guaranteed ways to eliminate no-shows and cancellations.

Fully Customisable

Not sure if a website booking calendar will work on your website? With BookingLive you can choose from a selection of fully customisable website booking calendar options. We can modify size, colour and font type to ensure the calendar fits your brand’s identity. There’s no need to worry if the services or products you offer change regularly. You’re able to customise the drop down menu options as many times as you like. Check out a handful of our current clients’ website booking calendars on their home pages below.

website_booking_calendar

Wildwood Adventure

website_booking_calendar

Aerial Extreme

website_booking_calendar

Croydon NHS Trust

Want a website booking calendar but don’t want it on your homepage?

That’s not a problem. We can modify your system so the calendar is visible at other stages within the booking process. Examples below include the website booking calendar on pages such as activities and “Book Now”.

website_booking_calendar

 Funky Town Adventure

website_booking_calendar

HH Helicopters

 

How to Sign-up:

Lite Customers:

  1. Sign up for the a Booking Live Lite system
  2. Set-up your payment gateway. We recommend using one of our partners so you can post any questions you may have on our community pages.
  3. Configure the system – refer to the user manual if you get stuck.
  4. Add and edit your pages and content
  5. Go live by clicking the ”Save and Publish” button

Enterprise Customers:

  1. Contact a member of the BookingLive team by completing our online contact form or phoning us directly to arrange a call back.
  2. We’ll then call you with an overview of BookingLive and answer any questions you may have. If you’re still interested we can grant you access to our demo site for a free trial.
  3. If you’ve decided Booking Live is the online booking system for you then we’ll set up a call with our Operations Manager who’ll consider your requirements when setting up an agreement.
  4. Once this agreement is in place our Technical Project Manager will scope your requirements to make them a reality.
  5. When this is confirmed and agreed custom development will be scheduled. You’ll then be granted access to your CMS User Manual and Project Management tools in order to keep track of the project status.
  6. After your Booking Live system is live your Project Manager will carry out a post go-live check-up. Here they’ll record any further development you want or need and any problems you may have.

For more examples of our website booking calendars check out our Facebook album “BookingLive Portfolio“. If you have any other questions please contact us today!

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Compare Booking Software

Compare Booking Software

There’s no need to worry if you’re finding it difficult to compare booking software, we know it’s a challenging and tiresome process. Although we’re extremely proud of our work here at BookingLive we understand our services aren’t the best fit for all businesses. We also understand your business’s needs are individual and that you’ll be looking for certain features rather than others.

But before you rush into making a decision we want you to consider all your options. That’s why we’ve done our research and put together leading booking systems’ facts and figures so you can compare booking software for yourself quickly and easily.

 

BookingBug Checkfront BookingLive Bookfresh Bookeo
Established 2009 2010 2009 2007 2008
Price (pcm) £15 £29 £29 £13 £26
Trial 14 days 21 days 10 days 30 days 30 days
Refunds No Yes Yes No No
Ideal for
  • Appointments
  • Activities
  • Courses
  • Accommodation
  • Events
  • Activities & Tours
  • Accommodation
  • Rentals
  • Appointments
  • Activities & Tours
  • Courses
  • Events
  • Appointments
  • Tours
  • Events
  • Courses
  • Activities & Tours
  • Courses
  • Appointments
SMS Cost £0.10 £0.03 £0.05 £0.06 £0.06
Head office UK Canada UK US US
Server locations UK UK / US UK / US US UK
Hosting type Shared or dedicated Cloud Cloud or dedicated Cloud Cloud or dedicated
PCI compliant Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Email hosting No No Yes No No
API Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Escrow Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Web Design No Yes Yes No No
Support FAQs, Feedback Forum, Knowledge Base, Email Support, Phone Support, Account Manager, Team Training, Videos FAQs, Forum, Online Support, Email Support, Tutorials, Video Tutorials FAQs, Forum, Knowledge Base, Online Support, Phone Support, Video Tutorials Support Centre, FAQs, Email Support Help Portal, Email Support
Languages English Chinese (Simplified), Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Irish, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Welsh + Google Translate English 31 to choose from including Chinese (Simplified), Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French and German
Supported Devices Android, iPhone-iPad, Web-based Android, iPhone-iPad, Web-based Android, iPhone-iPad, Web-based Web-based Web-based
*Information is correct at time of posting
*Costs compared on like for like requirements based on minimum priced plan.
* This is not a complete list of every company providing online bookings. 

 

We hope this information has helped you in some way but if you still have any questions feel free to contact us or check out our FAQs page. Alternatively find out which of the BookingLive packages would be best for you by answering a few quick questions. We wish you luck on your booking software journey.

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Mobile Booking Systems: An Insight into 2014 Technology

Mobile Booking Systems: An Insight into 2014 Technology

Since 2007 the number of smartphone and tablet users has grown significantly worldwide, reaching 51% in the UK alone. It’s predicted this increase will have reached 75% by 2015. Here at BookingLive we’re up to date with such developments and now offer fully responsive mobile booking systems.

Our mobile booking systems have the potential to make your services more flexible, more adaptive and much quicker. This will provide a better overall experience for you and your customers.

Recent surveys show more and more customers want access to websites on their mobile as part of their need to find information anywhere and within seconds. BookingLive’s mobile booking systems allow bookings to be made directly from your customers’ mobiles and tablets. This means they can book from anywhere at any time, decreasing the amount of staff time spent on phones. Your number of existing customers will increase as they’ll be able to see all updates in a matter of seconds. By offering mobile services such as mobile booking systems we’re ensuring your satisfaction whilst also staying ahead of our competitors.

With BookingLive your online booking system automatically detects the device your customer is using. This provides them with instant access to the main features they’ll need all in a single, uncluttered and specially designed interface. You don’t even need to worry about modifying your online booking system as it comes with automatic upgrades as standard.

Businesses need to be prepared for new kinds of online engagements as their audience’s patterns adapt to new technologies; make sure you don’t miss out by signing up for BookingLive today.

mobile_booking_systems

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Online Booking System: What to Look For

Online Booking System: What to Look For

Online booking systems have benefited numerous businesses worldwide. Travel agencies, tour companies, course or training providers, event organisers are among those who have taken full advantage of the many features offered by online booking systems such as BookingLive. Through implementation of an online booking system organisations are able to maximise their business opportunities and online sales.

It is important to look for certain features when looking for an online booking system. We’ve put together a list of these to help you choose the ideal online booking system for your business:

1. Use of high resolution images

Online booking systems which provide image galleries entice customers to book online and are far more successfully than those which don’t.

2. A simple but attractive “book now” button

This will further entice customers to make a booking with you due to ease of access.

3. Facilitation of real-time booking and email

Customers want reassurance their bookings and reservations have been made. Online booking systems should have features which enable automated confirmation emails to be sent to customers.

4. Updates and information

Booking systems should be integrated with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This way customers have access to all updates on the latest deals and promotions.

5. Security and support

Payments through online booking systems must be secure. PayPal, Sagepay, Worldpa are all preferred ways for customers to pay online. Customers should also be aware of the presence of online and phone support that they can turn to if they have any queries.

6. Display live availability

Customers should be 1 click away from booking and within booking live you can show live availability anywhere within your website.Additionally show customers where they are during the booking process.

7. Consider a multinational audience

Online booking systems should offer a choice of various languages and currencies to account for a global audience.

9. Consider cloud hosting

Here at Booking Live we host with rackspace cloud which allows you to access files remotely, saving time. Cloud hosting also allows you to expand and process large volumes of bookings in a short space of time.

BookingLive offers all these online booking system features and more. We are proud developers of an award-winning web-based tool which comes with a free trial and free set-up. Find out more about our variety of price plans or contact us with any questions today.

online_booking_system

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Increase Online Bookings Quickly and Easily: Top Tips

Increase Online Bookings Quickly and Easily: Top Tips

Congratulations, your brand new BookingLive system is up and running! Now all you need to do is let customers know so you can start taking online bookings as soon as possible.

We’ve put together a simple 6-step plan to ensure you successfully advertise and promote your new booking system so as to increase online bookings straight away.

1. Spread the word

People are more likely to be active on social networking sites than they are on your website so you should start by posting short, to-the-point Facebook and Twitter updates. These could be along the lines of “You can now book online 24/7! Head over to our website to see for yourself…”; anything that grabs their attention and gets them onto your website is great. We also advise sending an update or newsletter via email so your existing customers are aware of the new booking process.

2. Make yourself seen

Ensure website visitors don’t have to look for the fact you now take online bookings, include headers or buttons on each page saying something like “Book now!”. Make sure any website visitors can’t miss this development and you’ll efficiently increase online bookings.

3. Reward your customers

We strongly recommend you encourage customers to book online rather than over the phone, especially in the first few months of going live. You can do this by providing incentives such as coupons and discounts for booking online. This will also allow you to track the increase of online bookings enabling you to further promotion; it’s win-win for both you and your customers!

4. Update company information

Make sure all your information – such as email signatures, flyers and business cards – inform customers they can now book online. Include details of discounts such as “Save 10% by booking online!” to successfully increase online bookings.

5. Stay active on blogs and social network sites

Customers need to know your business is active so you should aim to blog weekly, posting links to your blog on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. This will help increase online bookings by creating a strong online presence.

6. Ask for feedback

By including links to an online feedback form on confirmation emails and social media pages you’re providing customers with the chance to send you feedback. This is a great way to interact with them and improve your services at the same time.

Start following these 6 simple steps today and you’ll be well on the way to increasing online bookings! For more information on how to promote your new BookingLive system contact your account manager or contact us online.

increase_online_bookings

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Universal Analytics (The Google Analytics replacement)

Universal Analytics (The Google Analytics replacement)

On the 2nd April 2014, Google released their new analytics platform Universal Analytics. While this new platform brings a host of new features, please be aware that BookingLive does not currently support this.

A few clients have upgraded their Google Analytics account, which means their site will no longer track their website without code changes. This is a one way upgrade, and there is no rollback process to go from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics.

While we are investigating this for the new product, we advise all customers not to upgrade their accounts as of yet, if they wish to use it with the booking system. Unfortunately, any support won’t cover this change, and subsequently may be chargeable.

We are currently ascertaining the impact on our code base, if the changes are small we may look at updating client systems on an adhoc basis. Thank you for your understanding.

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OpenSSL Heart bleed – was your booking system affected?

OpenSSL Heart bleed – was your booking system affected?

There has been lots of talk in the media, about the OpenSSL Heart bleed vulnerability in recent days, causing concern throughout the IT community.

Obviously for us, it was a concern but we do benefit from being relatively small compared to networks with over 2 million SSL certificates issued like Cloudflare.

We’ve conducted the risk assessments, and to set minds at ease you’ll be glad to know all our servers on the Rackspace platform were not vulnerable to this. The majority of our customer base are on Rackspace, so for us this is a big relief.

Despite this we’ve upgraded to the new patched OpenSSL version anyway, to ensure we’re in line with the rest of the industry should any more flaws in older versions come to light.

In regards to any clients on domains with IPs 81.201.129.XXX on our other network, you’ll be pleased to hear the system was patched last night.

Password changes

Some in the security industry, are telling the global public to immediately change all of their passwords. While we think this is slightly reactionary, we have taken precautions and done this on our servers.

We would urge our customers, to possibly review their passwords given the light of this information, and take the opportunity to update them for their main logins for your booking systems.

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Better support for your booking system

Better support for your booking system

Booking Live have upgraded their support system for Better support for your business and your booking system. Booking Live are proud to announce the upgrade for our support system.

Our customers will be receiving activation emails for the new service. The service brings a host of new features such as:

  • A fresh and easy to use interface
  • Fully usable on mobile (and a mobile app)
  • Single sign on (Google / Facebook / Twitter)
  • Company level logins (View tickets made by others at your company)
  • SLA management

We have proudly chosen to partner with Freshdesk for this service, and we hope it helps us assist you better going forward as we strive to provide excellent support, uptime and SLA to our customers.

If you do not receive an email for the service in the coming weeks just contact us and we’ll get you setup. Thank you for your custom.

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Booking Software Schedule Maintenance – 17th May 2014

Booking Software Schedule Maintenance – 17th May 2014

Please note we have maintenance scheduled for the 17th May 2014, this will affect the majority of clients (including enterprise dedicated clients).

Those clients not affected are on the IPs 81.201.129.1 to 81.201.129.254. To determine your IP address of your booking software, you can use the service https://www.whatsmydns.net/

The maintenance will take place between 00:01 and 06:00 BST, but expected to be completed around 02:00 BST. There will be no risk to data, however there will be total loss of the network, due to machines being powered down and moved.

Should you have any questions or concerns please contact booking live. We apologise for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

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BookingLive – Monitoring our systems

BookingLive – Enterprise level monitoring

At BookingLive, we take the quality of our booking systems seriously. Although we traditionally support 09:00-17:30 we are monitoring our services 24 hours a day.

Over the years BookingLive have relied on services such as Pingdom, but noticed that these services only help you once the server is down. We were not happy with the scenario, and as such sought to implement monitoring akin to organisations 100x our size.

The bookings market, is primarily seasonal, and as such the usage of the servers spike during different periods of the year. Without concrete statistics, a company cannot plan for growth and implement change when required to their servers, before it’s too late.

Our objectives

  • Continually improve learning about what causes outages
  • React to outages before they become client facing
  • Log as much data as possible for post analysis
  • Closely monitor security events
  • Notify all key staff of events
  • Reduce downtime
  • Automate recovery processes

Implementation

While we won’t share the tools we use to accomplish the tasks, we can say that they are widely used around the world and considered an industry standard. Below is just a taste of what we do here, with the scope growing each day.

Server monitoring

The first task of implementation was to get the systems working at a good base level. This of course started with getting the core applications running across our network and through our firewalls!

Goals

  • Get basic monitoring configured
  • Configure notifications to staff
  • Start building a statistical base

Outcomes

Once setup, we were quickly able to build data from our live systems. Below are some example datasets that we record minute by minute from all our servers to a secure location.

The initial setup had us monitoring:

  • CPU statistics
  • Memory usage
  • Database utilisation
  • Disk space utilisations
  • Critical service monitoring (Web service / FTP / Database)

An example CPU utilisation graph

BookingLive Monitoring - CPU utilisation

 

An example CPU load graph

BookingLive Monitoring - CPU Load

 

Benefits

  • Quickly build up profiles of the servers
  • Analyse peak usages and spikes
  • Change internal IT practices to smooth the load
  • Warnings for monitored items when hitting thresholds

Individual client monitoring

While monitoring an individual server with many Bookinglive clients is fantastic, we were not happy. Quickly we expanded out the product to monitor individual client sites, and key business processes. If a customers key process was bookings, we sought to ensure and report on whether the booking process was active.

It is important when a client identifies a problem with their site, that we can verify/corroborate their version of events.

BookingLive Web Monitoring

The above example, is a 7 day track of response times for a client, if they report a slow down on the site at a certain time, we can use over 400 monitoring points to track exactly why the slow down occurred.

Automation of key tasks

Additionally to monitoring clients sites, we also must monitor other key factors such as

  • Security
  • Error logs
  • Automated script runs

With so many servers, manually combing through log files, and doing access audits is a task that cannot be done manually every time! We routinely monitor our servers on aspects such as server access, and rogue internet users automatically, as well as manual checks.

Because we are so flexible, we can react to any new threat, and setup monitoring across all servers for the same instance of events with a few clicks of the mouse. This has drastically reduced the time to deploy new processes, and improved security on our servers, as well as client systems.

In  closing…

BookingLive is continuing to improve our service, and monitoring solutions are playing a crucial role in maintaining the levels of service and expertise this coming year.

No solution is one that can solve every problem, but our monitoring framework is moving us quickly towards maintaining visibility of our growing client base, and keeping quality levels consistent.

2014 is the year of big data, and BookingLive wants to ensure we have the data we need internally to support our clients. You will never appreciate the full value of historical data, until you depend upon it to solve a problem…

Hope you found it an interesting read!

Written by Robert Cox

 

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