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    Optimizing bookings: The 5 best management systems for your business

    best booking management system

    Can you blame someone for having an unexpected skin outbreak in the middle of the night and wanting to schedule an appointment ASAP to look their best at their friend’s wedding? 

    In the beauty and healthcare industry, the clock never stops ticking. And your beauty salon, med spa, or cosmetic surgery clinic shouldn’t be hitting the snooze button either. 

    This is where a booking management system becomes your 24/7 ally, by allowing clients to book appointments anytime, anywhere. Additionally, it provides you with the flexibility to keep track of and manage appointments from any device. 

    Traditional booking methods can’t deliver this level of accessibility, so we donned our detective hats to uncover the top five booking management systems.

    What is a booking management system?

    A booking management system is a cloud-based software solution designed to help you manage appointments more easily and conveniently. 

    And it’s not just about easing your workload, it’s a win for your clients too. With 24/7 availability, flexible payment options, and automatic reminder emails and texts so appointments don’t get missed, their experience will be taken to the next level.

    In essence, booking management systems help you simplify your day-to-day operations so you can have more time to focus on what really matters — your clients.

    Key functions of a booking management system

    • Online booking: With online bookings, your clients can effortlessly schedule appointments through your website’s booking platform. Plus, you won’t have to limit the online bookings to your website only, you can also integrate the online booking link to your social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram. 
    • Calendar management: A comprehensive calendar will provide you with a centralized view of all your scheduled appointments, making it easy to manage your schedule and avoid any booking conflicts. Color coding based on the type of service will also help your front-of-house keep a clear, real-time overview, especially on hectic days.
    • Client management: Reservation software should automatically store client information from their initial appointment booking. This includes their booking history, the treatments they’ve had, and any relevant information such as allergies. Having all the information readily accessible and, most importantly, stored safely, is a non-negotiable.
    • Payment processing: The payment processing feature in your booking management tool should simplify the online payment process, so clients can pay in full, or pay a deposit. It should also provide flexibility with multiple payment option such as saving the client’s preferred card on file. After all, small businesses that offer several payment options, such a credit cards and online payments, see an increase in revenue by nearly 30%.
    • Automated confirmations and reminders: To reduce no-shows in your clinic, sending automated emails or text messages to confirm bookings and remind clients of upcoming appointments is crucial. Any booking engine you choose should be able to do this. 
    • Reporting and analytics: A system with robust reporting and analytics tools provides insights into your booking data, such as peak booking times, most popular services, and revenue generated. This helps future planning and strategic resource organization.

    Benefits of a booking management system

    • Increased efficiency: The reservation software will help you seamlessly manage all your day-to-day processes, such as appointment scheduling, sending reminders via email or SMS, taking payments, and everything in between to improve overall efficiency.
    • Reduced costs: With a reservation system, you’ll eliminate the need for manual work for your booking needs, which will save tons of time and money as you won’t have to hire more staff members to do the work.  
    • Improved customer service: A reservation management system will provide a convenient and easy-to-use booking experience for your clients, so they can make bookings when it suits them, not just during business hours. This means happy clients, and an enhanced client experience can lead to a revenue increase of 10-15% and reduced costs. 
    • Increased revenue: The 24/7 online reservation capability ensures a consistent flow of appointments and the pre-set required time for services will help you utilize staff shifts better, leaving no booking slot empty. This, and the various conveniences provided by online booking systems, will help you increase your clinic’s revenue. In fact, even a 30-45% revenue increase is possible with appointment scheduling software.
    • Better data management: A robust scheduling system will automatically store all your data. This functionality not only enhances your ability to deliver personalized treatments to clients but also contributes to the overall improvement of your business operations.
    Related:  Boosting your practice's growth and retention rates with Pabau's marketing tools

    The 5 best booking management systems

    Having too many options makes decisions harder and can cause “analysis paralysis.” And, even if you do go ahead, research shows that people often regret their decision. 

    The thing is, if you’re new to the world of online booking systems you might find it difficult to separate an OK software from an excellent one. That’s exactly why we’re here: to narrow down your search and help you choose between the five booking systems that are worth trying — it’s up to you to choose which one is right for your business. 

    And if you still want to explore your options, check out 15 more booking software alternatives.

    1. Pabau

    Pabau is feature-rich software that covers the diverse needs of businesses in the beauty and healthcare industry, including med spas, cosmetic surgeries, and salons and spas. 

    Pabau provides a first-class booking experience, both for the staff and the client’s side. The calendar that your staff manages is user-friendly and easy to use, and will tell you everything you need about your appointments, at a glance. With a simple drag and drop functionality, it’s not only simply to schedule appointments but it’s quick to reschedule them too.

    You can also access any other client information without having to leave the calendar view. 

    booking calendar

    And that’s not all. Once you book an appointment, Pabau will automatically send a confirmation email or SMS to your client to confirm the appointment and prompt them to complete a consent form before they come into your practice. 

    Any information they add to the forms will be automatically synced to their client record (built into Pabau) and you’ll have up-to-date medical information of all your patients.

    And for clients, the online booking process with Pabau is as simple as 1+1.

    Pabau has a simple online booking tool that means clients can book appointments while you sleep. You can also customize it. For example, all new clients need to book a consultation first.

    client booking portal

    You can charge your clients deposits to reduce no shows and use the client portal to help clients self-manage their bookings (which also wins you back you time). 

    Pabau’s key features don’t stop there. The really great thing about Pabau is that it’s an all-in-one solution. that means it will also help you with other operations in your clinic, such as your marketing needs, inventory management, creating intake, pre- and aftercare forms, face plotting, taking before and after images, easy reporting and analytics and more. 

    If you’re curious to find out everything Pabau offers, schedule a demo

    Related:  Treating clients who’ve had overseas aesthetics treatments

    Key booking features 

    • Easy drag-and-drop calendar management 
    • Different calendar view types — day, week, month view
    • A patient portal where clients can book and reschedule appointments 
    • Automated appointment confirmations and reminders, by email and SMS
    • Automated intake forms and questionnaires. tailored to the service

    Integration capabilities

    As we said, Pabau can meet a lot of your needs on its own. However, some useful integrations that you’ll probably need are Stripe and Klarna for payment processing, Xero for accounting, The Doctors Laboratory for lab results, Signature RX and CloudRx for prescriptions, and more.

    2. Zoho Bookings

    With Zoho Bookings you can manage complex team schedules with ease. 

    Zoho integrates and syncs your appointments with Google, O365, and Zoho Calendars so clients can schedule appointments only for slots that are available. It has all the fundamentals you need from a booking software, as you can also block slots for breaks, time off for vacations, add special time when working overtime, or covering for a colleague.   

    You can also set deposit and cancellation policies to minimize canceled appointments in your clinic. However, Zoho Bookings has no variables for appointment lengths, which can be a big problem, especially for businesses that offer a lot of different services.

    Booking features 

    • Set up buffer times to give yourself time to prepare for appointments.
    • Allow online bookings within a set scheduling window to avoid last-minute, surprise appointments.
    • Schedule online meetings.

    Integration capabilities 

    Zoho Bookings integrates with other Zoho apps and also offers lots of third-party integrations for marketing needs, messaging, finances, quote management, signing documents, and more.

    3. Square Appointments

    Square Appointments is specifically designed for beauty and personal care businesses. 

    As well as booking services, Square Appointments enables you to add and manage classes and make resources, such as rooms and chairs, bookable. You can assign them to services so they get automatically booked when clients schedule their appointments.

    With Square Appointments, you can send automated email and SMS reminders and also set cancellation and no-show policies. 

    But, for any other needs, like payroll, OPS, or marketing, you need to integrate with the other Square apps, which can be inconvenient and expensive at the same time. 

    Booking features 

    • You’ll have access to an automated messaging tool that responds to your clients to confirm, cancel, or reschedule appointments on your behalf.
    • Clients can book several services online with different service providers, and the system will streamline the checkout process with a single transaction and automatic tip splitting.
    • You can create a waitlist for popular services so you can fill gaps in your schedule if someone cancels or reschedules an appointment last minute. 

    Integration capabilities 

    Square Appointments integrates with a bunch of third-party apps from which some offer free plans and some require additional payments, such as vCita to sync Square payments with client records in real-time, 123FormBuilder for building forms, Hurdlr to track business expense and income tax, WordPress, WooCommerce, and more.


    With you can accept online bookings from your website and directly via Instagram, Facebook, or Google. The system also offers both client and admin apps so you can manage booking on the go and clients can seamlessly book your services. will also send SMS and email notifications to staff and clients whenever appointments are booked, rescheduled, or canceled. It also has templates for your online booking page design, so you can create your booking page quickly and easily. 

    Additionally, it offers some customized features such as coupons, gift cards, tips, memberships, and others, but all at an extra price – which might make it quite expensive.

    Related:  Understanding practice management software: A comprehensive overview

    Even though is designed for the beauty and wellness industry, it caters to a lot of different industries too, which means it might still lack some features that you’ll need.  

    Booking features 

    • ‘Make me look busy’ feature that will help you choose how many available slots you show per day, which is useful for those who are new in the business.  
    • ‘Waiting list’ feature that allows clients to register for a spot if someone cancels an appointment on fully booked days.
    • 2-way Google Calendar sync which means that all events from your staff’s personal calendar will be blocked out and unable to be booked.

    Integration capabilities integrates with many third-party apps to help businesses with all kinds of operations — website bookings, video meetings, email marketing, analytics and conversions, CRM, payment processors, and others.

    5. Calendly

    With Calendly, you can connect your calendar and create scheduling links and booking pages. And, by sharing the link, clients can book time with you in one click.

    Calendly, though, doesn’t focus on one industry and is commonly used for meetings with prospects, clients, and as part of the recruitment process. For example, it can be used by finance firms to schedule client meetings, or sales teams to get schedule demos, etc. 

    While the flex is great, it may mean that it lacks some of the specific features that the beauty and healthcare industry thrives upon, like enabling practitioners to make specific types of equipment bookable or gathering intake forms as part of the booking process.

    However, if you’re just starting, Calendly can be a decent option for you as it offers a free tier. Upgrading to an all-in-one solution further down the line is an option – Pabau clients have said that, in time, they’ve outgrown the free software solution they have been using.  

    Want to know why? Well, there are many features that set an all-in-one booking software designed for the healthcare and beauty industry, like Pabau, apart from Calendly

    Booking features 

    • Sends automated reminders and follow-ups.
    • Team-based scheduling.
    • The booking links can be created based on different event types and rules.

    Integration capabilities

    Calendly integrates with native integrations with more than 70 different apps, and mobile apps for easier access and management. It also integrates with many popular third-party apps, such as Zoom, HubSpot, PayPal, Stripe, Calendly APIs, and more.

    Find out why Pabau is the leading software for booking management today!

    All booking software solutions are great in their own way. Some may stand out more from others because of their pricing, particularly those that are subscription free. 

    However, we can’t overlook the exceptional features that Pabau brings to the table as an all-in-one software, especially for beauty and healthcare businesses. Even if we’re a bit biased! 

    In addition to being an excellent booking management solution, Pabau excels in bringing specific features to the table that are designed for practitioners who are managing patient data as part of the booking process. It enables you to issue intake forms and consents with customizable templates, send pre-care and aftercare instructions, handle prescriptions, manage healthcare insurance, robust point-of-sale system (POS), and much more. 

    If you’re curious about how Pabau can enhance the operations of your clinic, med spa, or general practice, schedule a demo with our team.

    What you should do now

    1. Schedule a Demo to see how Pabau can help your team.
    2. Read more clinic management articles in our blog.
    3. If you know someone who’d enjoy this article, share it with them via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or email.

    See Pabau in action

    Schedule a free demo with one of our team today.

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