While the massage industry was among the most affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, it has shown signs of bouncing back to become stronger than ever.
However, it’s no secret that the global pandemic has caused the massage industry to evolve dramatically: not only massage therapists and massage clinics must pay more attention to health and safety, but they also have to cater to the evolved client’s habits and expectations, one of them being online bookings.
According to the latest research, 40% of service-businesses consumers now book their appointments outside business hours, and a huge majority do this solely on their mobile devices.
In short, offering 24/7 online bookings is now a necessity, and you can do it by integrating the right massage scheduling software solution.
However, with all the different options available on the market, choosing the right massage booking platform according to your business’s needs can be quite a daunting task. So, what can you do about it?
In this post, we will learn all you need to know about getting the right massage booking software. You’ll get actionable tips in identifying your business’s needs, what kinds of features you should look for from a massage software platform, and more.
Let us begin right away.
Massage Scheduling Software: The Concept
What actually is massage scheduling software?
In a nutshell, it’s a software program or application that is designed to help you manage your massage business, especially in handling online appointments and scheduling.
The actual features can vary between different software solutions, but most of them will offer an interactive calendar at its core.
Clients can browse this interactive calendar to check for available time slots, then once they’ve found a suitable time, they can make the booking right away with just a few clicks/taps.
This feature alone effectively enables an online appointment function for your massage business, so you no longer have to rely on the time-consuming and error-prone phone-based booking process. Online booking also enables 24/7 reservation-taking, since you don’t have to rely on human receptionists or staff working in shifts.
Keep in mind, however, that your online booking should not necessarily replace your phone booking process, and you can allow both to work complementary to each other.
Choosing The Right Massage Scheduling Software
While it’s definitely possible to switch to another massage scheduling software if you are not happy with what you currently have, switching to another solution midway may be complicated and time-consuming. Not to mention, it will mean your clients will need to adapt to another interface.
So, it is important to treat your massage scheduling software as a long-term commitment, and here are some tips to help you decide on the best possible solution for your business:
Identify Your Needs and Purpose
Before you start evaluating different software solutions, you should first identify your massage business’s objectives and needs in using the massage scheduling software.
Your massage business is unique, and so it’s obvious you’ll also have unique needs and purposes.
As a general rule of thumb, you should get the most affordable software solution that offers all the must-have features you need. So, the first thing you should do is to create a checklist of these must-have features. You might also want to list other features that are nice to have, and others that are not very important, which can be useful when comparing different solutions.
What kinds of features should you consider?
Most of the massage appointment and scheduling software platforms available will offer pretty similar core features, especially when it comes to online appointment features. However, different platforms or solutions may offer their own unique features not available anywhere else.
Bookeo massage scheduling software, for example, offers an advanced online scheduling functionality where you can display different massage services with different durations and prices easily, including the ability to customize and display combined services.
Some other unique features you might want to consider include:
- 24/7 online booking with a customizable widget
- Data security
- Secure online payments integration covering popular payment options (credit card, PayPal, etc.)
- Integration of online booking on your website and social profiles (Instagram, Facebook, and other relevant social platforms)
- SMS and email automated notifications
- Calendar sync, all bookings are added in real-time so your schedule always stays up to date
- Reliable and qualified customer support. Accidents do happen, and you’d want to have available help
- Customizable widget
Ease of use
Even if a solution offers all the features you’re looking for, you won’t get too much value from it if it’s too difficult to use. If the solution offers a free trial period, make the most of it to test whether the solution has an intuitive interface and is easy to use. Make sure you can easily train your receptionists and staff on how to use the solution, and also check the customer-facing interface.
In providing online booking, the software will essentially involve the transmission of potentially sensitive information (including your client’s personal information), which is a valuable target for cybercriminals.
Make sure to choose a vendor that has implemented appropriate security best practices: end-to-end data encryption, payment fraud verification, and proper best practices on how information is sent and stored online.
Accidents can happen, therefore make sure the massage scheduling software comes with reliable customer/tech support so you can get help when you need one. Ideally, you’d want a vendor that offers comprehensive customer support, 24/7, 365 days of the year, but makes sure the cost can still fit your budget.
While you should treat the massage scheduling software as an investment, you shouldn’t solely choose the most affordable solution you can get, unless you are really on a shoestring budget. Instead, you should consider the overall balance between the value you’ll get and the price you are going to pay.
In general, you should choose the most cost-effective solution that offers all the must-have features you’ll need, but also consider the fact that different vendors may structure their prices in different ways. So, pay attention to the details like different plan tiers, potential hidden costs, and so on to make sure your investment is cost-effective.