How does Smart Booking work?

Overview

The Smart Booking feature for the Customer Booking Module works by looking at available times in the calendar, and comparing these with the duration of available services.  It then ensures that only appropriate appointment times are offered to the customer.

Do I need to use it?

If you are using the Customer Module, and have a very simple set up such as 30 minute appointments, and a 30 minute block size, then there is no need to turn on Smart Booking, and doing so will create a very small increase in the time taken for BizDiary to determine appointment times.

If you have a more complex set of service lengths, and the Customer Module is offering appointment times that create unusable gaps in your Calendar, then turning it on will help eliminate these gaps.

Should I use it on Personnel or Location or both?

When choosing appointment times, Smart Booking looks at the duration of Services. It can either look at the Services that belong to a Personnel or to those that belong to the Location, or a combination of both.

For most purposes you only want to use the Services specific to the Personnel. If you have a very complex schedule where multiple Personnel share the same room, on the same day it may be necessary to also use Location Services, but doing so can limit Smart Booking's ability to determine sensible appointment times.

You set which you want to use in the Customer Module settings.

How does it work?

The easiest way to understand Smart Booking is to look at a common example...

Danielle provides 1 hour appointments.  Her typical day starts at 8:30am, she has a half-hour lunch break from 12:30-1pm, and finishes at 4pm.  Because she needs to start appointments on both the hour and half-hour her Calendar block size is set to 30 minutes.

Without Smart Booking turned on, the Customer Module would offer appointments at 8:30, 9:00, 9:30, 10:00, and so on.

With Smart Booking enables, the Customer Module recognises that Danielle's appointments are 1 hour long and so only allows 8:30, 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30, and then 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm in the afternoon.

Are there limitations?

As with any system, Smart Booking can only work with the information it has available.  Let's look at another simple example to clarify this...

David also provides 1 hour appointments, and uses a 30 minute block size.  On Monday he already has some appointments and events, but still has appointment times available between 9am and 11:30am.

You've probably already spotted the problem here.

When a customer goes to book, they will be offered the following times... 9:00, 9:30, 10:00, 10:30!

That looks like it could create a gap - in fact it definitely will, because there is 2.5 hours available, but you can only ever use 2 hours.

Smart Booking is working correctly here.  

If someone books the slot at 9-10am, then the next customer can either have 10am or 10:30.

If instead they book the slot at 9:30-10:30am, then the next customer can only have 10:30.

No matter which way you do it, there has to be a 30 minute gap somewhere, and Smart Booking is allowing for that.


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