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BookingBug Review

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BookingBug Review

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Date Established
2009
Location
United Kingdom

Pros

  • Customizable feature set
  • Excellent public reputation
  • Suitable for small businesses

Cons

  • Poor mobile apps
  • Not suitable for medium or large businesses

Overview

BookingBug tries to set itself apart from other appointment booking software in two ways. First, it’s designed for serious adaptability and scalability, making its claim to be “the only real-time distributed booking and reservation system that works for all business types” potentially valid. Second, it’s integrated into a huge number of online and marketing platforms internationally. The company prides itself on innovation and flexibility.

Pricing

BookingBug offers four plans, three of which are available with a 14-day free trial (no credit card required or cancellation fees).

1. Solo

  • $19.95 per month
  • 1 resource, 1 staff, and 200 bookings per month
  • Unlimited services

2. Small

  • $34.95 per month
  • 10 resources, 5 staff, and 500 bookings per month
  • Advanced ticketing
  • Bundled services
  • Daily Deals
  • Unlimited services

3. Medium

  • $69.95 per month
  • 20 resources, 10 staff, and 2000 attendees per month
  • Advanced ticketing
  • Bundled services
  • Daily Deals
  • Unlimited services
  • Free gift certificates
  • Telephone customer support

Ease Of Use

BookingBug

  • User Interface: I found BookingBug’s UI very intuitive and easy to use. It has a more professional and traditional aesthetic than some software, with small buttons and fonts and somber colors. The widgets are well designed and arranged, making in-site navigation through the densely populated software pretty simple. My one complaint is that the calendar view isn’t visually intuitive, and relies instead on a simple column and a strange, row-based view of the entire year for determining availability. It’s usable, but not particularly intuitive or attractive. A January 2016 update added some improvements to the interface to help simplify navigation. Dashboard icons and tabs now make it easier to get to where you want to be without convoluted backtracking. The site has also been modernized to improve the display on a broad variety of devices.
  • Setup: The initial setup is also remarkably easy, but extremely thorough. The setup wizard leads you through a detailed process of choosing a business type (I created a resource-based company), type of services, class configuration, staff settings, price settings, etc. You can choose whether to make your appointments open to the public or members only.
  • Configuration: Initial configuration is easy but thorough. For events, you can choose between setting up courses, single events, regular events, event groups, or templates (for faster future setup). Within “promotions” you can set up deals, coupons, and gift certificates in a straightforward fashion. The software’s dashboard makes sense and is well spaced, so I was able to see my options and recent activity in one place, without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Detailed Options: BookingBug’s diversity of detailed configuration options makes good on the company’s promise to be functional for any business type. For my imaginary “salon-school” I created a bizarre combination of courses and services that would have been impossible on some other platforms. Classes can be organized into groups (and even group categories) for easy searching, and come with specifically customizable date, time and duration settings. Pricing and ticketing options account for a huge number of specific needs. Each course can even have its own booking widget!
  • Performance & Customer Booking: Despite minor glitches, my user experience overall was excellent. As a customer making appointments on the automatically created public business webpage, my only complaints were about the amount of BookingBug advertising and the site’s minimalistic, barely customizable layout, which contains an unnecessary amount of blank space. Despite these aesthetic issues, the platform performs excellently. The business site led me through the appointment setting clearly and helpfully, and without requiring an address or phone number to book.

Customer Service & Support

BookingBug’s customer service comes free with an account. Like most companies, it relies heavily on email, but phone support is available beginning at the Medium plan tier. I received a helpful email response to a question within hours. Because BookingBug is headquartered in London, expect answers to come according to UK time.

In addition to email, BookingBug offers:

Negative Reviews & Complaints

BookingBug’s customers have lobbed their complaints almost exclusively at the mobile apps.

  • The Android app, which on occasion simply doesn’t open or allow logins for many users, received a 2.4-star rating on Google Play.
  • The iPhone app received a 1.5-star rating for similar reasons. The app was most recently updated in May 2015 and there aren’t currently any reviews of the latest version.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials

BookingBug has received some positive media in the last several years:

It has also garnered some high ratings:

  • An Appstorm reviewer gave BookingBug an 8/10 rating, describing it as “a highly dynamic, robust and customizable scheduler.”

Finally, BookingBug’s testimonials page cites recommendations from a tennis organization, recording studio, salon, pony club, and B&B, for the service’s flexibility and time-saving efficiency.

Features

While BookingBug offers all the standard features of modern internet-based booking software, the company’s commitment to flexibility and affiliations with other online platforms has led to the development of some interesting functions.

  • Resource Management: Unlike many other software scheduling solutions, BookingBug is capable of managing resources other than time, making it useful to space and equipment rental services as well as individual service professionals. Spa managers can offer packages to clients and manage rooms and shared resources as well as staff.
  • Data Analysis: With BookingBug Insights, you can easily and automatically analyze customer and service data that could beneficially inform your business practices. These tools far surpass their equivalents in some other platforms, which offer only the ability to export a CSV list of customers (which, if you’re lucky, might be alphabetized!).
  • Updates Based On Feedback: The company clearly welcomes and responds to feedback with constant improvements. Two weeks after releasing new iPhone and Android apps (Feb 2013), BookingBug announced updates on them. Each time BookingBug upgrade or adds a feature — simplifying the business configuration site, making site terminology configurable, or developing new ways to print calendars — they announce and explain the upgrade clearly on their blog, making it accessible to new and old users.
  • Outlook Synchronization: As of June 2015, BookingBug features real-time MS Outlook integration.

With the advanced (not Solo) plans or for extra costs, you can also:

  • Offer coupons and daily deals
  • Book packages
  • Split resources
  • Get a phone number specifically for your BookingBug account through which you can not only send promotions and reminders to clients (in bulk, if necessary) but also receive replies that automatically land in your email.

Payments

BookingBug offers online customer payments (full or partial, including pre-payment and bulk payments) as well as full and partial refunds directly through the site via one of its numerous payment integrations:

Security

BookingBug adheres to PCI-DSS (Payment Card Information Data Security Standard) Compliance standards. Their privacy policy can be found on their website. The company plans necessary service downtime in advance to keep it minimal.

On Webutation, BookingBug passes the Google Safebrowsing, Website Antivirus, Norton Safe Web, WOT (Web of Trust), and Child-Safety tests.

Integrations & Add-Ons

BookingBug integrates with:

  • The payment providers listed above.
  • MailChimp for marketing emails
  • Facebook for booking without leaving business page
  • KashFlow, Xero, SageOne for accounting
  • iOS and Android for mobile apps
  • Dropbox for attaching documents to customer profiles
  • WordPress

BookingBug also offers the following pay-as-you-go add-ons:

  • Basic SMS reminders and marketing and two-way SMS
  • Gift certificate sales
  • Spa and salon packages
  • Advanced ticket options
  • Split resources
  • Advanced booking interface customization

Final Verdict

BookingBug rightly prides itself on offering flexibility and extraordinary capabilities. A reputable company with a physical office space and phone number (which amounts to radical transparency in the computer age), BookingBug feels like one of the most “complete” scheduling tools on the market. Its Achilles’ heel seems to be the mysterious problems many users have with their mobile apps, but BookingBug’s receptivity and responsiveness to these issues speak to the company’s commitment to customer service.

The software is truly designed with a wide variety of businesses in mind, making it one of the only options for managers of places like B&Bs or bike rental shops, and a better option than many for medium-sized spas and salons hoping to offer combination services or having to manage limited resources in addition to limited staff. Though smaller companies with limited budgets may find the $19.95/mo price tag on the bottom tier package to be a bit expensive for their needs, BookingBug’s excellent customer service, promotional tools, customer and data analytics, and subtle but easy-to-use business configuration options make it a worthy investment for most small businesses.

With a cap of 20 resources, 10 staff, and 2000 attendees for its most expensive default package, medium-sized and larger businesses will probably have to try to negotiate an Enterprise-level contract that meets their needs.

Chris Motola

Chris Motola

Finance Writer at Merchant Maverick
Chris Motola is a writer, programmer, game designer, and product of NY. These days he's mostly writing about financial products, but in a past life he wrote about health care and business. He's a graduate of the University of Central Florida.
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6 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Delano

    Its 2018 and Bookingbug don’t seem to be interested updating the software – the basis product is good, but maybe they are just supporting the bigger corporates. I’ve been using it since 2012 when support was responsive, they published regular updates and fixed bugs.Support has deteriorated over the last three years – I still have a patent bugs outstanding, more than 2 years after it was reported (a simple addition problem, pricing info disappearing). Recently I got an email requesting to close the ticket (since I had a workaround) – astounding that they weren’t even prepared to look at fixing a patent error in the software.The company is no longer making updates (don’t know if the app has been updated last 2 years) and it appears that they have lost interest in continuing development.

    2
      Tom

      Booking bug after 4 years of paying over $30UDS per month leave little to be desired. I have had problems with its system not allowing advanced bookings for ages. At one stage my computer system became corrupted when an Australian staff member helped me supposedly externally. Now it does not work, I have paid $7200 USD over 4 years for an incompetent system that does not return calls despite the expense and now chooses to ignore emails. Great offshore servicing for the UK originator . One can understand customers getting cranked and requested questions to a vacuum. I would warn new customers being interested in signing on for this serviced laced supposed business

      1

        This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

        Helen

        It’s 2017, either Booking Bug is entirely focused on its corporate business or it’s just got bored and walked away. It is comprehensive but rigid and contrary to initial impressions it is not intuitive.Apps are an utter and wholly unreliable waste of time. Using it through your phone via the web is a no go, so updates and modifications require you to be in front of a full Windows (or presumably a Mac) browser to get anything done. I also have 12.2″ Samsung tablet which can render some of the dashboard stuff but not all of it. Navigation on it is a right pain, no scrolling, forward and back arrows to move dates are invisible, etc, etc. Don’t get me started on the support or lack thereof. I had a problem with the so called integration with MailChimp, it stopped working for no apparent reason and was told that it was a problem, they didn’t know when and if it would be sorted out, did something in the background as a stop gap and that was it. I found out later that it did work but no notification. That’s just one instance. Life’s too short for this number of shortcomings in a piece of modern software.

        2

          This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

          Nathan

          Terrible support, incompetent staff, basic enquiries can take weeks due to lack of phone support. Avoid the trap of using them, they will create far more trouble than it’s worth due to over complexity married with an inadequate support system.

          1

            This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

            Ben Minutoli

            Thanks heaps for the detailed review, I have been tossing up if I should go with them or not, but now after reading this I have decided that I will commit to them.

            5

              This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

              Paul Frew

              Thanks Bianca, appreciate the detailed review. Very helpful. Cheers

                This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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