How to create a booking system for a therapist
This tutorial uses a massage therapist’s schedule as an example but it also applies to different types of needs, such as for booking meeting rooms, photography sessions or driving lessons. These types of schedules are known as resource schedules. You can use these guidelines for bookings made by one person at a time.
Booking a one-on-one appointment
The resource schedule allows people to book one-on-one time with a person, an item or a specific space.
This tutorial demonstrates the following:
- using the schedule as a simple appointment booking tool
- offering several appointment types and lengths in a drop down menu
- collecting payment with each appointment
You can view the end result on the therapist’s demo page.
Setting up the schedule in 5 easy steps
The most efficient way of setting up your schedule is by using a build-and-test cycle:
Setting up a basic schedule using the New Schedule Wizard
Before you begin
In order to follow the steps in this tutorial, you need to have an account. It’s free and all you need is a valid email address. Log in to your account to reach your Dashboard.
Select the appropriate schedule type
Click New Schedule in the menu on the right hand side of your Dashboard. You will be directed to the New Schedule Wizard where you can select the correct default settings for your schedule. You will first need to choose whether you want to create a Resource, Capacity or Service schedule.
A resource schedule (which allows people to book one-on-one time with a person, item or specific space) is the ideal schedule for a massage therapist who cannot have two appointments that overlap.
Determine who can make changes to the schedule
Select the first option, Booking or reservation system, which requires clients to sign up to make a booking. The second option, the Self service schedule allows users within a defined group to make or delete appointments. This would be suitable if, for example you were creating a conference room scheduler within a company. The last option, the Event calendar, allows authorized administrators to make changes while users can view but not to make any changes to the schedule.
Select one or more resources
A massage therapist may be the only resource that can be booked, so the first option, One: A single resource, person, object or location is best for this type of schedule. If you have more than one person or thing that can be booked, you will be able to list them under the second option for multiple resources.
Name your schedule
The title you give to your schedule in combination with your account name forms the URL that your clients will see in their browser when they use your schedule. Provide a short but descriptive name for the schedule. You can always change it (as well as your account name) later but note that if you do so, the schedule’s web address will change accordingly. Type in the schedule’s title, for example “Therapist” and click Next.
Set your availability
The settings here provide basic constraints. You can change the opening hours for individual days (or resources). When appointments are configured to begin and end at predetermined times, the system can create a clear user interface by generating predetermined time slots (or chips) that clients can click on to make an appointment. The demo shows this type of setup.
You can set appointments with a fixed length and enter *:00, *:30 to make the system draw such a box every half hour, for example. If you offer treatments with differing lengths, rather allow the user to click any spot on the calendar to select the required time.
Clicking Finish creates the schedule and makes it accessible online. You now have a functional appointment scheduling system. Move on to Step 2 to try it out to check that it works.
Trying out the schedule to see if it works as expected
To use your schedule as an administrator, click Use in the main menu. Note this is only visible when you are logged in as an administrator.
Regular users will see the same schedule but with fewer options. You can also find Use on your Dashboard.
Create an appointment
Click on a time slot (or predetermined chip as can be seen in the demo) and a New Reservation dialog window will appear. If this window is in an inconvenient place you can simply drag to a more suitable place on your screen.
To select the appointment date, you can either select from the pop-up calendar or manually enter it. By default the system only asks for a name and a phone number but you can add additional fields to collect more booking details.
Click Create Reservation and the schedule will update to show the time slot has been booked. If you would like to edit the appointment, click on it again to make changes. Click Update Reservation before closing it to save your changes.
Adjusting the configuration
You now have a functional yet basic appointment scheduling system. You can view and change the default settings to better match your needs by clicking on Configure in the main menu. The Overview contains a summary of all the options you can change. Here you can also temporarily block the schedule or delete it entirely.
Resources contains the settings that define the people, things or spaces that you are scheduling. Note that Resources will look different to this when you are building a capacity schedule.
For massage therapy, the main resource is a person. You could add, for example, another therapist’s availability to the schedule. Note that if you delete a resource, all the associated reservations will also be deleted.
You can find more information about configurations under Access, Process and Layout under documentation pages.
Define your reservation
Under Term used to describe an entry, you can select a term from the list or use a custom term to refer to reservations. In this example “session” or “treatment” might be preferable. This term will be used in all dialog boxes, help text and email confirmations.
Enter the singular form and the system will automatically convert it to plural where appropriate. For foreign words, enter the term as in singular and plural forms, separated by a comma, for example, “traitement de spa, traitements de spa”.
The term used to refer to a “user” can also be customized and can be found via Layout Settings. For example, you can choose “client” or “customer”.
Limit per user
Next, determine the number of appointments a client can make under Limit per user. When the maximum is reached, the client can only change or delete existing appointments.
You can select whether previous appointments should be included in the total or whether it should only include upcoming appointments. You can also specify a separate limit for the number of appointments that can take place on the same day or in the same week.
There are three options for determining appointment length:
- The client determines the length by choosing start and finish time. You can provide minimum and maximum durations to limit their choices.
- All reservations have the same fixed length. Simply specify this length as a default value.
- The client selects the length from a drop down list. When you select this option, a selection box where you can list the options. The accompanying instructions and help text explain how to specify the options.
The therapist demo schedule offers Introduction sessions (60 minutes), Medium treatments (90 minutes) and Long treatments (120 minutes) so in this example, select the drop down option.
Specify what you will charge for a booking. Whether or not you require payment can be configured via Process. The payment method can be configured via the Dashboard under Payment Setup.
You can choose a fixed price or base the price on the length of the appointment, the day of the week or several other factors. If you allow repeating appointments, the specified amount will be multiplied by the number of appointments a client makes.
SuperSaaS offers you a broad array of payment options, ranging from presenting services’ and resources’ prices to collecting credit card details, handling online payment or using our credit system. You can also offer your clients various types of discounts and promotional offers.
More information can be found under Adding payment to your schedule.
You can specify your default length and buffer time. If you set a buffer time to anything other than zero the system will block the specified time in between appointments. This can be used to provide time for setting up in between appointments.
The buffer time is not applied between opening time and the first appointment or following the last appointment, before closing time.
In the Constrain start times field, you can list the times that your clients can select as a start time. When the start times as well as the length of appointments are fixed, the system can display a user interface with ‘chips’ the client can click on to make an appointment. In this case the default length will set the size of the chip.
Note that if you don’t enter start time constraints, an appointment can potentially start at any time, possibly leaving your schedule full of holes. Set a suitable rounding time to avoid clients booking irregular times such as from 2:07 pm to 2:23 pm. If you specify start time constraints as well as rounding times only the finish time will be rounded.
Should you offer a service that will allow your clients to book resources for an entire day, such as renting bicycles, you can round all times accordingly. Selecting Round all times to the nearest day will omit the display of hours and minutes.
You can further limit availability by specifying opening hours.
Testing the schedule from a visitor’s point of view
Test the scheduling process from a client’s perspective to make sure you catch any errors before engaging with your clients and to ensure the schedule behaves as expected. You will need to switch between administrator and user access, which is discussed under Testing the schedule you created.
Every schedule has its own web address, which can be viewed via Configuration under Overview. When a client enters the schedule, they will be able to login at the top right corner.
Integrating the registration system into your website
Once you have configured your appointment schedule and tested it tested to ensure that it behaves as expected, you need to direct your clients to it.
There are essentially two options to get people to visit your schedule:
- Create a link to your SuperSaaS appointment schedule on your own site.
- Embed the SuperSaaS page inside a frame on your own site.
Learn more about how to Integrate a schedule in your website.
SuperSaaS can be displayed to users in several ways and it can be integrated into your website using an iframe, used on a mobile device or just link to SuperSaaS.
You can use the space above the schedule to give a more elaborate description or to add instructions. If you’d like to change the schedule’s appearance, there are several formatting options including changing colors and adding pictures.
Now that you have a functional schedule, you can find useful tips to help you on work with your schedule day-to-day. Although you can design your own workflow with SuperSaaS, this section will focus on a few common operational processes that will probably be of use to most of our customers.