Best Booking Apps for Wellbeing Practitioners
Created: Thursday, 25 February 2016 09:17
By IICT Member Ginny West, Spirit in Business
Want to find the best booking apps and appointment schedulers for your wellbeing practice?
With all the new apps and booking systems available it can be a little confusing to decide what will work best for your practice, so let’s take a look at a few options on the market at the moment and what might work best for you, your clients and your business.
Any booking system you use should give you the option to offer one on one appointments, classes, workshops, events, packages, gift vouchers, discount codes and products. Even if you don’t use all these features now, it will save you changing systems later if you expand. You should be looking for a system that is easy to manage for you and your clients, both via its app and website integrations. You should also look for a system that is scalable and financially viable for your business from where you are now, to where you will be in the future. There is no point paying for an expensive system now if it is financially unsustainable for your business. Despite all the promises of drawing in customers for you, many practitioners pay substantial sums on booking systems that have done little for their class numbers, and may have been better spent in other areas of marketing. Don’t just expect clients to come flooding in, you will still have to do the work. So let’s look at a few options on the market and how they may offer solutions for your business…
Mind Body Online
Mind Body Online is probably the most well known scheduling software for the wellbeing industry. It starts from $45 per month for its most basic program which is still missing a lot of key features like workshop and event scheduling that only comes in at the pro package $99 per month price point. It has great CRM (customer relationship management) functions which means on the plus side you get lots of information about your clients, and on the down side your clients will have to fill in a lot of forms before they get to see and pay for what they want. They will also need to create an account with MBO before they can book with you. With increased customer awareness on information gathering this may turn clients off before they finish booking.
Feedback in reviews seem to be very polarised. Customers either love it or they hate it. Common criticisms say that customer service and tech support is pretty average. It will cost extra to embed it in your website, and MBO will redirect scheduling to their website. Your SEO (google ranking) is increased with the amount of time people spend on your website, so MBO is effectively taking your clients’ time to their page to fill in forms, which rewards their own SEO. It is also quite difficult for clients to head back to your website from their page. MBO was founded in 2000 to rave reviews, obviously filling a need in the market, but has since slipped down the rankings with the release of new appointment schedulers and apps. It could be a great option for larger studios whose scheduling need are a lot more complex than sole practitioners. If your business is in a tourist area the mindbody app may help holidaying clients find your business, you just need to weigh up costs for results on that.
Packages start from $19 per month for solo practitioners. If you are coming over from another system, Timely will help you transfer your data from your current booking system for free. It won’t take clients away from your website, helping you increase your SEO, and uses popular cloud technology so no need to freak out about lost data if your computer system goes down. Timely does charge 15 cents per text so this can add up quickly if you use this feature. Customers service and tech support reviews are generally really positive. And the system is easy to use. Timely specialise in beauty salons, massage therapists, health clinics and fitness so are well placed in understanding wellbeing.
Acuity is my choice for booking coaching appointments. I’m not an affiliate, but I am a big fan. They have two things I really love in business which are quirkiness and impeccable customer service. They even resized the timezone button for me specifically for my website theme. You can get a free basic version, otherwise the $10 US a month gives you loads of services you need to pay more for on other systems. I will say it’s not the most attractive system available, and I had a couple of glitches in getting my settings right for my interstate travel appointments (my fault). Acuity is easy to embed in your website and like Timely, it won’t direct traffic off site while your clients finalise your booking. If you struggle with tech this is an incredibly easy set up, customer service is incredibly patient courteous and solution oriented. Not even a hint of a smirk in emails answering questions.
Acuity was founded in 2006 by software developer Gavin Zuchlinski whose Mum, a massage therapist, was struggling with booking and managing clients. To me that says he really has compassion for the industry because he has seen his Mum working in the nitty gritty day to day reality of a wellbeing business. I can really feel that respect come through in the customer service. I can also imagine she’ll get on his back if something’s not right or there’s room for improvement!
Do your research and see what programs feel like a right fit for your business, most programs have a free trial (although be sure and check out the rules around this as your credit card may be charged before the free period has ended). Timely and Acuity don’t ask for a credit card during the free trial period. If you don’t have a website yet, you can simply add your scheduler to your tabs on your Facebook business page or use the app on your phone. Having booking systems makes life so much easier, rolls money straight into your bank, integrates with most accounting software, websites, mailing lists and calendars. It offers an automated service to communicate clearly and professionally with your clients, including thank you emails, reminders and texts, oh and best of all, watch those cancellations disappear. If you feel a bit shy about taking money (we’ll be talking about that soon), this is a great way of helping dissolve the energetic charge around that and focussing on what you should be promoting, which is your beautiful work. Choose the right system, market it proficiently and you’ll be taking bookings while you sleep…
About the Author:
Ginny West provides business consultations, workshops and retreats around Australia on creating heartfelt success for Wellbeing practitioners. To find out more about Spirit in Business or to contact Ginny West call 0413 596 784 or follow these links: