After playing around with 10-and-a-half online scheduling systems, I have found one to use in my studio. The winner is....Appointy!
Here's how it fared out against my wish list:
Aesthetically pleasing and intuitive design: It's not the prettiest that I've seen (Book Fresh wins that hands down), but it does look clean and is intuitively designed.
Easy to use – both on the client end and the administrative end: Extremely easy. I booked test appointments as an administrator, staff and client.
The ability to prevent short notice rescheduling: YES! This is customizable!
Various options for reminder notifications that can be customized by each user: To a degree. As an administrator, I have more control over this feature. It looks like SMS reminders cost credits.
The ability to synchronize appointments with several calendar platforms (e.g., iCal, Google Calendar, Outlook, etc.): YES! Just make sure that you synchronize your calendars BEFORE inputting appointments in Appointy or else they won't get synchronized. I learned that the hard way.
The ability to collect and process payments: YES! You need a Paypal account to link it to.
The ability to customize the appearance for branding purposes: You can add your own background photo and your logo.
Various privacy options so that the general public cannot see who I am teaching/consulting with: The default is that you are shown that unavailable times are struck out.
Easy to reschedule appointments (client or me): Extremely easy. Now would you like an email sent to the other party to notify them of the change?
The ability to handle recurring appointments for a set period of time: No problem.
The ability to allow group bookings with a cap: YES!
The ability to set different availability for each day: YES!
Solid tech support resources: I'll say! Amy at Live Chat was very helpful. Email requests take less than 24 hours for a response. You even get a follow up email asking if you are satisfied or still need help.
The ability to specify a time zone for appointments: YES!
Viewable and usable on a desktop and mobile devices: YES!
Advance scheduling: YES!
As a bonus: there's a Wordpress plugin! I also like how clients can log in using their Facebook or Google accounts. Of course, they can just log into their account using their Appointy account as well.
Cost: You get quite a bit with the free version: community support, mobile version, customizable availability, unlimited staff, service & bookings, customer relationship management tools, website integration, client verification, SMS alerts, multiple service booking at the same time, service dependency, reschedule appointments. I leveled up to the Pro Plan at $19.99 USD/month to get recurring bookings and the ability to accept payments.
We're just testing the online booking system right now with lesson re-scheduling and special class scheduling. I need some time to get my brain around the rest.
Other articles in this series: Exploring Online Scheduling Systems and Calendars for my Music Studio | Beginning My Hunt for the Perfect Online Scheduling System | The Quest for the Perfect Online Scheduling System – Part 2