- Customizable feature set
- Easy to use
- Good customer support
- Limited support materials
- Outdated user interface
Though it has remained a relatively small company, Bookeo maintains a vigorous pace. Within a few months of its release, Bookeo began expanding rapidly, adding languages and features to its basic appointment scheduling platform. In 2011, Bookeo released two additional, entirely distinct products—Bookeo Tours & Activities and Bookeo Classes & Courses—to its offerings. Originally better suited for consultants and small service businesses, Bookeo now offers solutions to the kinds of businesses that run helicopter tours or cooking classes. While the three products are distinct, Bookeo as a whole offers a huge variety of scheduling options for unique business needs.
Today, Bookeo has offices on three continents and supports five languages in the backend. It offers a surprising variety of marketing solutions, integrates with many payment platforms, boasts excellent security features, and integrates with a decent number of third-party software applications for added functionality. The company continues to upgrade and update its products, releasing significant feature additions every few months.
Table of Contents
Bookeo’s pricing differs by product, but each version offers a 30-day free trial and a 30-day money back guarantee on the first paid month of subscription. Bookeo accounts require no set-up or processing fees and no contracts. (Subscriptions must be paid via Visa or Mastercard.) If your business needs more than the biggest plan in any category allows for, you can contact Bookeo for custom pricing. Subscriptions are priced as follows:
The only variable factor among the paid versions of Bookeo Appointments is the number of staff supported. The free version differs from the paid versions in that it lacks “revenue boosters” like 100 percent web site integration, group events, Outlook & iPhone sync, integration with Facebook, and all features related to online payments. Each plan is capped at 1,000 bookings per month.
Free: 1 Staff
Solo: 1 Staff, $14.95 per Month
Small: 3 Staff, $29.95 per Month
Standard: 20 Staff, $39.95 per Month
- Large: 40 Staff, $79.95 per month
The only difference among the plans for classes & courses is the size of the organization, measured in the number of teachers/resources and bookings per month. The feature set for each pricing tier is the same.
Standard: $39.95 per Month
1000 Booking per month
Large: $79.95 per Month
2000 Booking per month
X-Large: $119.95 per Month
3000 Booking per month
Plans for tours and activities vary according to the size of the business, measured in the number of staff/vehicles and of bookings per month. The feature set for each pricing tier is the same.
Standard: $39.95 per Month
1000 Booking per month
Large: $79.95 per Month
2000 Booking per month
X-Large: $119.95 per Month
3000 Booking per month
Ease of Use:
I found Bookeo very user-friendly and straightforward. Action items and information are clearly distinguishable and items within the software are grouped in intuitive and manageable ways. While there isn’t much setup support, I found the tutorials in the Help Portal precise and sufficient. The interface is starting to look a little dated graphically, but beneath the aging paint job is an application that is carefully, and frequently, maintained and updated.
Setup: There are two initial steps to creating your account. After entering your business information & choosing a URL, Bookeo guides you through setting up your first service/activity/class. The booking event setup process includes a description (with sections for different tabs), type selection, specific schedule, standard price, payment/deposit requirement, and associated image (later you can add more images and even YouTube videos). You can also designate a specific color for a service, which can make parsing your schedule easier. After this initial setup, Bookeo leads you to your account homepage, leaving you to explore for yourself.
User Interface: Bookeo relies heavily on buttons and icons in its graphic user interface. White and shades of blue form the backdrop for occasionally vivid highlights (including detailed icons and a color-coded calendar key). Bookeo avoids crowding too much information into any one screen or pane by separating related pages into tabs and making full use of interactive drop-down menus, buttons, text areas, and checkboxes. The only downside to this is that it can sometimes be challenging to find exactly what you’re looking for, but for the most part, you can follow your intuition. Your account site is organized in five simple tabs: Home, Calendar, Customers, Marketing, and Settings.
Settings: You have quite a lot of control over appearance, customer interaction, payment settings, resources, and booking preferences in Bookeo. The “Settings” tab has 17 pages, from which you can customize things like what staff members and resources should be called and/or what messages customers should see during the booking process. You can manage detailed settings for each appointment type. One example of Bookeo’s easy settings configuration: you can choose to get notifications by SMS, fax, or RSS in addition to email by clicking a simple “Enable” checkbox in the “Notifications” tab.
Calendar: Managing your calendar from within your account is a breeze. It appears with a sidebar for navigating between months and years as well as by resource. You can view the main calendar 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, or 14 days at a time. Unavailable time is shown as gray; open and reserved spots appear as color-coded slots. You can create a booking of any length by clicking and dragging a block of time on the calendar, which opens a pop-out with all the information you could ever want about that booking (characteristically grouped in tabs). The booking summary includes payment information, notes, and customer details. Hovering over a booking opens a little speech bubble with the most basic information for a quick view.
Client Experience: For customers to make an appointment, they must register with Bookeo by providing their name, email address (with whatever other contact details you mandate), and password. This allows clients to sign into their own customer area, from which they can keep track of their profile, credits, and other information in addition to their bookings. The customer booking site is definitely above average, offering the client lots of options besides just picking the date and appointment type. (As with nearly all automatic customer-facing sites, however, I wish the business details were more prominently displayed.) The confirmation email is clear and professional, giving the client the chance to view and print the booking details. A recent improvement to the client booking system allows users to book multiple appointments without having to re-enter all of their information for each booking. On the user end, you can now set custom fields to collect information on clients that is pertinent to your business.
Customer Service and Support:
Bookeo’s customer service centers on its Help Portal, which consists of 300 tutorials and an email support form. I also received some support via a live chat on Bookeo’s promotional website and an email from a customer service rep sent when I signed up for a trial account.
A full list of customer support options follows:
Live Chat: My first interaction with customer support was a delightful surprise. While I was researching Bookeo’s promotional website, a live chat was automatically initiated by “Marcia,” which turned into a pretty extensive, very helpful conversation. Marcia’s answers to my questions were very honest, including those about Bookeo’s limitations.
Help Portal: You can email Bookeo or search its hundreds of visual-laden tutorials through the help portal.
Blogs: Bookeo publishes a blog with mostly updates and announcements. It has been running since October 2010 and has little less than a post per month average. The company also kept an Industry News Blog from January – November 2012, when it seems to have been abandoned.
Phone Support: In addition to an address and email address, Bookeo publishes separate emails for sales and billing as well as separate phone numbers for the US, Australia, the UK, and Italy.
Demos: On Bookeo’s promotional site, you can test any of the three versions of the software as both a manager and a customer.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
Complaints about Bookeo tend to relate to customer service. The following negative feedback also appeared:
Insufficient Customer Support: Several users complained that Bookeo only offers self-service and email support. One reviewer wanted tutorial videos, and another became disappointed with a drop in support quality once his website went live and required more data (and therefore more issues).
Interface Issues: One reviewer suggested there are too many steps for customers to make a booking, while another had difficulty navigating the setup process.
Waiting for Promised Features: Whether users irrationally expected certain features at certain times or Bookeo inadvertently led them on, several users complained that Bookeo was slow to release some of its new features.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
Ironically, praise about Bookeo revolves around the same customer service, which is also a hot topic for many complaints. Among its three products, Bookeo earns a four star average on Google Apps Marketplace and similar ratings from other reviewers for the following traits:
“Unsurpassed” Customer Service: Many loyal customers cite Bookeo’s speedy, courteous, and clear replies to emails.
User-Friendly: One reviewer writes, “The management side of the software is straightforward with all the functionality you could want from a service like this”. Bookeo Tours is apparently particularly easy to use relative to other industry software.
Customizable: One reviewer chose Bookeo for its ability to manage unique situations. Others praised outright how customizable the software is or described it as “innovative” and oft-upgraded.
Bookeo offers quite a substantial feature set. Its most striking capabilities are found in the wide variety of marketing solutions, though it’s also notably flexible in both payment and scheduling options, creates great reports, and supports international users.
Marketing: Bookeo seems very committed to helping its users promote their businesses effectively. They make marketing simple with booking buttons and links, integration with LivingSocial and Groupon, self-created deals, percent-based or fixed discounts, gift vouchers, prepaid packages, social network integration, marketing campaign emails, memberships, conversion tracking and analytics, and the option of adding pics and video to your product descriptions. My favorite marketing strategy, however, is Bookeo’s automatic customer review feature, available even in a free account. You can choose whether to publish reviews and which section should be displayed as the summary. Reviews can automatically display on the booking page and your website. You can customize their appearance and export them to a spreadsheet.
Flexible Payment Options: In addition to choosing whether to ask for full payment or deposits upfront, Bookeo allow you to set cancellation fees and differing pricing for various times and seasons. It allows you to require customers to pay within a certain amount of time either before or after a booking and gives you the power to assign prepaid packages to certain customers or only those signed up for recurring payments (making them a “member”). Finally, Bookeo is flexible enough to handle many widely differing tax systems across the world (like percentage, fixed, and compound taxes) and breaks the charges down for the customer in their booking summary.
Flexible Scheduling: Of course, what good would great marketing and great payment options do if your booking system can’t manage your schedule very well? Bookeo allows users a lot of control over scheduling. For one thing, you can manage resources (one per booking—each one comes with a wealth of settings of its own) even in the free version of Bookeo. You can book group events in any except the free version of the software. Additionally, you have the power to create bookings in the past, open time outside regular schedule, book multiple bookings in a single transaction (with “Booking Cart”), offer extras, and (my personal favorite) automatically accept a booking for a class/tour only when minimum number of participants request the class/tour at that time. A number of improvements have been made to this feature to help ensure that bookings are completed and that you’ll avoid degenerate customer behavior that you hadn’t planned for (like double discounts).
Reports: Bookeo has expanded what kinds of reports users can create in recent years. You can choose detailed summaries of any promotions (with stats), prepaid credits, bookings, customers, and payments. When you download a report as an XLS file, you can see even more fields. Of course, you can customize reports to show only the dates and types of information you’re interested in. You can use reports to determine customer preferences or keep track of revenue and the hours your staff have worked.
International Support: Finally, Bookeo can be used internationally, particularly easily in Europe. As a manager, you can choose to view Bookeo in Spanish, French, German, and Italian in addition to English. The customer interface is available in over 25 languages, a list which you as a manager can narrow down for the ease of your customer. You can set one currency for your business and have the option to show your timezone to customers on your page and confirmation email, but Bookeo doesn’t detect or convert your customers’ time zones.
- Private Booking: The April 2016 update added the ability to designate events as private. This feature is fairly robust and allows you to set up events as completely private, or to block out a certain number of seats for just your friends/coworkers/family. A related feature allows you to set events as “Hidden,” so that only customers who are sent a secret link can see the event.
- API: One of the biggest new features being offered by Bookeo is their API, which has an enormous effect on the types and number of programs that Bookeo can interact with. The API allows outside programs to access Bookeo’s information: for example, querying a user’s booking history. While you’ll probably need some development experience to make direct use of the API yourself, all users will likely benefit, as programs and scripts are written to take advantage of it.
Bookeo describes itself as “paranoid about data security.” This translates to SSL encryption (128 or 256 bits) throughout the software, hosting across nine data centers across the globe with triple redundancy, and real-time backups with four daily backup snapshots on redundant cloud servers.
If you’d be more impressed with third-party witnesses, Bookeo is also certified by two web security companies:
Trust Guard: Bookeo maintains the Trust Guard Certified Seal for being PCI-DSS compliant daily, as well as security scanned, business verified, privacy verified, and address verified.
TRUSTe: Additionally, TRUSTe vouchers for Bookeo’s compliance with privacy certification.
Integrations and Add-Ons:
Bookeo supports multiple integrations for a variety of extra functions.
MailChimp: Thanks to this integration, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month for free.
WordPress: Bookeo’s plugin makes it easy to integrate into a WordPress site.
QuickBooks: This integration makes accounting easier.
iCal & Google Calendar: Two-way sync keeps your external calendars, including on smartphones, up to date.
Google Analytics: Bookeo offers this integration for tracking marketing campaigns more easily.
Facebook: Bookeo offers direct integration with Facebook via a Bookeo app.
Google Apps: Bookeo integrates directly into the Google Apps space, useful for companies already using Google’s other business tools.
Bookeo also offers SMS and fax confirmations and reminders as add-ons.
Bookeo integrates with a huge number of payment gateways, including PayPal and Stripe. You may only set up one payment gateway for your account. Bookeo does not charge fees or commissions for processing payments.
Uniquely, Bookeo offers you the chance to set a payment due date for a certain amount of time before or after an appointment. Customers can pay through a link in their confirmation email. You can also choose to require a deposit or full pre-payment at the time of booking.
Additionally, you can now set-up your payments to take sales tax into account, even in scenarios where a coupon might reduce the cost to of the item to $0.
Bookeo accepts the following credit cards from clients, with availability contingent upon location:
- American Express
- Visa Debit
- Visa Electron
Bookeo also integrates with a number of payment gateways free of additional charge. Though the availability of each payment platform differs from country to country, Bookeo does integrate with the following platforms:
Bookeo has proven itself a trustworthy company in its regular software upgrades, exhaustive customization options, extreme security measures, and integrations with other software. The application is a near-perfect mix of simplicity and robust functionality hindered only by its limited and sometimes inconsistent customer support. While there are too many versions and use cases for me to personally try out the full range of Bookeo’s offerings, I believe I can safely say it flexible enough to accommodate almost any type of small-to-medium business with scheduling needs.
Bookeo’s most recent iteration doesn’t add any revolutionary features, but it does give users even more control over how they set up their events. A strong record of responsiveness to customer input over time and Bookeo’s dedication to the user’s whole business (not just the scheduling aspect of it) have resulted in overall consumer trust. Add that to user satisfaction with the software’s flexibility, ease of use, and low pricing, and you’ve got a great product. 4.5 stars.