When is the last time you spoke to an airline reservationist to book a flight? Today you’d probably prefer to do it yourself and save the time of waiting on hold before you get a live person to check to see if the flight time you want is available and assign you a seat. When it comes to online reservations, it doesn’t stop with the airlines. Most booking for cars, hotels and increasingly restaurant reservations are handled online.

With so many ways consumers use online bookings these days, could it be time for your spa or massage practice to extend the same convenience? Today there are a wide range of offerings for online booking software, many of them that are cloud-based – that is, you don’t need to acquire any software to run on your computers. You access the booking software from a browser and pay a subscription fee, which varies between providers. Some of the offerings start out as a free trial so you can decide if you are satisfied with the service before you buy; others such as Appointy offer a free version.

Many of the online booking offerings do more than just make it convenient for clients to book a massage or skin care. Some, in addition to enabling clients to book more than one appointment, access client history and provide reminders so you know what services clients requested in the past and the at-home product they selected. Also with many of them cloud-based, you can access your calendar from a mobile device while you are on the go, so you’re always up to date on scheduling, which helps in managing employees’ schedules. Furthermore by eliminating the need for someone to be on the phone all the time, you free up staff so they can work on other projects – updating retail shelves, managing your social media channels and marketing activities - or even taking a training course.

Online customer scheduling also means your clients can conveniently schedule an appointment 24.7 which can help to boost appointments. As you evaluate offerings, here are some of the must-have features recommended in “11 Must Haves for Your Online Booking Software”.

  • Must integrate with your website: Promote your online booking throughout your website
  • Updates to your appointment book: Should allow clients to check for available times by therapist or esthetician. Once an anointment is booked, it should update your appointment book.
  • Text message confirmations and reminders: Confirmation should be text or email•Share on social media: Make sure your online booking capabilities integrate with your social media sites.
  • Personalize the experience: In addition to making it easy to book an appointment, customers should be able to look up their service history.
  • Showcase services: Highlight special service you want to promote.

If you want to be where your customers are these days – then online booking software is the place to be.