Adding booking types and resources
Booking Types and Resources form the backbone of your Bookings module. You can customise the Bookings module to cater for different Types of bookings that your church or organisation handles, and set up each of your Resources that will be assigned to those bookings. Resources are typically tangible items like a room, a piece of equipment, or a vehicle; but you can also add intangible resources like a named key holder, or a key person, such as a minister. In this way, you can assign a minister or key holder to a booking.
In this article
Booking Types enable you to distinguish different categories of bookings; everything from 'weddings' to 'internal bookings', 'conferences' to 'funerals'. There's no limit to the number of booking Types you can add. For each type that you add, you'll be able to add type-specific questions, which will later be used to collect type-specific booking details when bookings are added. For example, selecting a "Wedding" booking Type would list all your wedding-type-related questions, while selecting a "Funeral" booking Type will display all the funeral-type-related questions. Helpfully, you can assign type overseers who can optionally receive email notifications when bookings for that Type are added, edited or deleted.
Adding booking types
Working within the Bookings module, navigate to the Types section of the module. Notice the option to switch between viewing Active and Archived booking types. Booking types that no longer serve a useful purpose can be archived, and later set active again if needed. Archiving a type doesn't affect existing bookings of that type (past for future) - however, you can only add new bookings for active booking types.
Click Add type or select Duplicate an existing type.
On the Add/Duplicate type pop-up, provide a suitable Name and choose a Colour, which is used to distinguish bookings of this type when viewing the resource Planner. Optionally assign a custom Brand to the booking Type – see our related support article for further information on Adding Brands. The selected brand's logo, emblem and style colour will be used for the customer-facing Booking Pages and branded email communications for all bookings of this Type. This may be helpful if your commercial/external bookings have different branding to your regular/default church branding (perhaps for an "external bookings" Type).
Finally, tick the Enable payment option if you wish to accept card payments from your customers for this booking type. When [online] payments are enabled, customers will have a Pay by card option on their customer-facing Booking Page when there are unpaid booking charges. While online payments provide a convenient payment experience that your customers may appreciate, you can of course still communicate other payment options on the Booking Page and process manual payments for booking charges paid by other methods. The Enable payment setting is the default setting for bookings of this Type; however, you can always override the default, enabling or disabling online payment on a booking-by-booking basis if you wish.
Click Save to add the new booking type and be redirected to the Type's "View" page to see all the details you've just added. From here you further customise by adding type-specific Questions (just like you might have on your paper-equivalent booking forms), assigning Overseers, adding custom Payment Instructions, and personalising the Payment Confirmation email that customers receive when they make an online payment for charges relating to bookings of this type. Let's look at each section in turn.
From the Type 'View' page, click Add overseer to optionally assign one or more overseers who can receive daily digest notification emails when bookings of this Type are Added, Edited, or Deleted. Search and select an Overseer by typing their name - the list of matching Address Book contacts is auto-suggested as you type. Lastly, select whether the overseer should receive the Weekly Email options for that person as required. Click Save to add the overseer.
Whenever bookings of this Type are added, edited or deleted, ChurchSuite will automatically send a daily overseer notification at 7 am and noon (approx.). The 7 am notification lists bookings updated since noon the previous day, and the noon notification lists bookings updated since 7 am that same day.
The Weekly Email is sent at 7 am on Monday and lists all the upcoming bookings for this Type for the next 7 days – ideal for starting the week with a reminder of what's happening. To avoid "inbox overload", if a contact oversees multiple booking Types or Resources, they will receive just one daily digest email at 7 am and noon, and one Monday morning weekly overview email, rather than lots of separate emails.
The newly-added Overseer is shown, along with a visual indicator of their notifications. Further overseers can be added, and later edited or removed as necessary.
Still working on the Type "View" page, you can optionally add Payment Instructions, which display on the customer-facing Booking Page for bookings of this Type.
For example, you might add Payment Instructions to let customers know your accepted payment methods and payment process for bookings of this Type. Use the HTML tools to further style and format your message text, and then click to Save the changes. These payment instructions are displayed at the bottom of the customer-facing Booking Page.
You can also customise the online payment Confirmation email that customers receive when they pay their booking charges online via their customer-facing Booking page. Click Edit to add/edit a custom confirmation message.
By default the Payment confirmation Email will include full details of the charges raised, the payments made, and the name/date of the booking, sending it to the booking contact/customer's email address. However, you can further customise the payment confirmation by adding a custom message – ChurchSuite appends the payment information to the end of your custom message. Notice also the options to add your own From Name, From Email and Subject. Click to Save any changes made.
Adding type-related booking questions
From a Type "View" page you can add all your type-specific booking questions - perhaps replicating the questions you currently ask on a paper-based booking form. Once added, and when adding new bookings for this type, you'll be able to add your customer's responses to the booking type questions for each of their bookings. For example, for "Wedding" Type bookings you'll likely have specific questions related to the bride and groom and their ceremony; however, the questions you might ask of a customer making a room booking for a birthday party will likely require very different questions to record the responses for that booking type.
To add Questions, click Add question.
On the Add question pop-up, add the question Name and select the response Type from the drop-down list - this is the format in which question responses will be stored against your bookings...
Depending on the question response Type selected, you can also define response Options. See our related support article for further explanation of response types. Notice also the option to set responses as Required, but note that you won't be able to add a booking unless a required question response is made. Finally, Type questions and customer responses are Visible on the customer-facing booking page. However, you can optionally set the question Visibility to Hidden. For example, some questions (and the responses) may be for internal use only, and therefore do not need to be shown to the customer. Click Save to add the question.
Continue adding further questions as appropriate. Each newly-added question is first added to the end of the list, but you can easily re-order the Questions list by clicking on any Order icon and changing the order in the pop-up...
Note also the batch Actions option to bulk delete one or more selected questions. Deleting a question (or deleting a question response option), will remove that question and all related responses from all past and future bookings, and is irreversible, so delete with caution!
Booking types in action...
When adding a new booking you'll be required to select a booking Type, which will surface the type-specific questions, ready to collect your customer responses. Care should be taken when editing a booking and changing the booking type - previous customer question responses will be removed and new type-specific question responses will need to be added.
Booking Type questions and responses are surfaced on the Details tab when viewing a booking.
And when selecting Go to booking page from booking's "View" page...
...you can preview the customer-facing Booking Page and see all the non-hidden, visible booking Type question responses the customer will see on their booking page that you might send them. Booking pages are 'read only' - your customers are unable to make changes - only a module User can add/edit booking-type question responses.
The process of adding Resources is the same as for adding booking Types as explained above – first, you'll add the resource details, then optionally assign resource overseers, and finally, add any resource-specific questions that will be used to collect customer responses when the resource is added to a booking. Here's how...
Navigate to the Resources section of the Bookings module. Notice the option to switch between viewing Active and Archived resources. Resources that are no longer in use can be archived, and later Set as active again if needed. Archiving resources doesn't affect existing bookings (past for future) - however, you can only add Active resources to new bookings.
To add a new resource click Add resource, or select to Duplicate an existing similar resource.
On the Add/Duplicate resource pop-up, give the new resource a suitable Name. An optional Description will help your Users ensure they're working with the right resource. Resources are assigned to a Category e.g. Rooms, Equipment, and Vehicles. Later you'll be able to filter the resource Planner by category – ideal for viewing only your room resource category bookings. Either select an existing Category from the list...
...or type a new category name - when you save the resource, the new category will also be added. The suggested Category list is derived from the categories of your existing resources. To remove an unwanted category, you'll need to edit each active and archived resource currently assigned to the unwanted category, assigning a new category - once the final instance of the unwanted category no longer exists it will no longer be shown when adding new resources.
By default, resources are Visible to all Bookings module users. However, you can optionally restrict the visibility of certain resources to one or more user groups - perhaps for high-value resources, or those that require special expertise to use. Only user group members will be able to assign restricted resources to bookings. Finally, multi-site customers should select the resource's Site - a resource is either site-specific or "All Sites". This setting is important – when adding resources to a booking, users will only be able to add resources that belong to the booking's site, including any "All Sites" resources. Where resources are shared between multiple sites – for example, a parish minibus – set the resource's Site to "All Sites". Care should be taken before changing a resource's Site - the resource will be removed from all past/future bookings of the original site.
Click Save to add the new resource and be redirected to the resource's "View" page to view all the details you just added. From here you can assign resource Overseers who can be optionally notified when the resource is added, edited or deleted from a booking. To assign a resource overseer, click Add overseer.
On the Add overseer pop-up, search and select from your Address Book contacts. As with booking Types, overseers can optionally receive daily Digest notifications and a Weekly Email when the resource is added to or deleted from a booking, or when the resource times are edited on a booking. A pair of Digest notification emails are sent daily - one at 7 am that summarises all the changes made in the previous 19 hours, and one at noon that summarises all of the changes made in the past 5 hours since the 7 am email. The Weekly Email is sent every Monday at 7 am and lists all the upcoming bookings for the resource for the next 7 days. If someone is an overseer for multiple Resources or Types, they will receive just one set of daily digest emails and one weekly overview email (rather than separate emails for each resource or type they oversee). Finally, click Save to add the new overseer.
Continue adding further overseers if you wish. For each overseer, you'll see their digest and weekly email settings. Note the Actions to Edit or Remove an overseer, or to View changes subsequently made to an existing overseer.
Before moving on, note the resource actions available to Archive or Delete a resource. Deleting a resource will remove that resource from all past and future bookings, and is irreversible. Archiving preserves the resource against past and future bookings, but prevents the resource from being assigned to new bookings. We recommend archiving resources that are no longer in use, rather than deleting them - archived resources can be Set as active again.
As with booking Types, you can add Questions to resources, which can be used to collect customer responses when the resource is added to a booking. This may be useful for resources that require expertise to use, or where you need additional information from the customer about the use of a resource. For example, for certain room resources you may need to know whether a key holder is required to unlock/lock before and after the booking. By adding this as a question against the room resource you'll be able to record the question response against each booking the resource is assigned to. Let's continue our above resource example to see how questions work. Begin by clicking Add question.
On the Add question pop-up, give the question a suitable Name and select the preferred question response Type from the drop-down list. Depending on the response type selected you can set response Options – see the related support article for further explanation of response types. You can also select whether a response is Required and change the Visibility of resource questions. Ordinarily, questions and customer responses are Visible to the customer on their customer-facing Booking Page, but these can be optionally set to Hidden. For example, some questions and responses may be for internal use only and therefore may not need to be shown to the customer. Similarly, some questions and responses may be sensitive (e.g. questions related to a funeral), so it may be desirable to set those resource questions Hidden so that they don't show on the customer-facing Booking Page.
Click Save to add the question. New questions are added to the end of the list, but you can easily re-order questions by clicking the Order icon of any question in the list. There's no limit to the number of Questions you can add to a resource. Note also the Action menu to Edit or Delete a question. Deleting a question will also delete all question responses from all past and future bookings where the resource is assigned - delete with caution!
Resources in action...
You'll see your newly-added Resources in action when adding resources to a booking...
...which also surfaces all the resource-related questions, so that customer or user responses are maintained against the booking. Resource questions, and responses that are set as Visible, are also surfaced on the customer-facing Booking Page.
Finally in this section, returning to the Resources section, note the Actions to View, Duplicate, Edit, Archive or Delete existing resources, and the ability to Order your resources; perhaps so that commonly-used resources are at the top of the list. When adding resources to bookings, the resource Order is respected on the Planner, and also in the resource selector that's seen when adding a resource to a booking. Duplicating an existing resource will duplicate all the resource details, overseers and questions.
Top Tip! Resource Usage
To keep track of how resources are being used, check out the Usage report in the Bookings module's Reports section. This report gives a breakdown of how regularly certain resources are being used within a range of dates and usage times for past and/or future bookings.
For example, if you're considering buying an additional laptop for a new resource, consult the Usage report to help decide whether the current one is being used enough! With the Usage report, you'll be able to filter based on the booking Type the resource is being used for. Worried that you're giving undue preference to external bookings for use of one of your rooms? The Usage report will be able to show you how often it's being used for external booking "type" compared to your internal booking "type".
Deleting booking types
Booking Type is a fundamental part of your booking data and is a required field when adding and editing bookings. Therefore, when deleting a booking Type you will be required to reassign existing bookings (past and future) to an alternative booking type - bookings cannot exist without a type. Additionally, deleting a booking type (and reassigning bookings to a different type) will delete all questions and customer responses, and is irreversible - so, delete with caution! Always archive an unwanted booking Type first - archived Types can later be set active again if needed. Similarly, be careful when changing a booking's Type, as the old type's question responses will be lost. Here's what the deletion workflow looks like...
From the Types section of the bookings module, select Delete from the action menu
On the Delete confirmation pop-up, select the New Type to which all existing past and future bookings of this type are to be re-assigned. This option will only be present if there are existing bookings of this type in your data. Tick to confirm the change and click Delete to process the deletion.