Creating booking types and resources

Booking Types and Resources form the backbone of the Bookings module. You can customise the Bookings module to suit the different Types of bookings that your church receives and also define the various Resources that are allocated to a booking. Resources are often tangible items like a room, or a piece of equipment or a vehicle; but they can also be intangible resources like a named key holder or a even a person (e.g. if you take bookings for weddings, you might create a resource for each of your church's ministers or clergy whom you can assign them to each of your wedding bookings).

In this article

Adding booking Types
Adding Resources

Adding booking types

Booking Types allow you to distinguish different categories of bookings; everything from "weddings" to "internal bookings", "conferences" to "funerals". When adding a booking you'll select the booking's Type, which will display the type-specific booking questions appropriate to that booking type. In this way, a "Wedding" booking will show all your wedding-related questions, and a "Funeral" booking will display all the funeral-related questions. You can add one or more Overseers to each booking Type who can receive booking notifications when a booking for that Type is added, changed or deleted.

Setting up booking Types is simple and intuitive. In the Bookings module navigate to the Types section and select Add type (or View or Edit an existing booking Type by simply selecting it from the list).

Give your new booking Type a Name, set an optional Colour (helpful for distinguishing your various booking types when viewing the bookings Planner), and a short Description to help your users know when this booking Type would be used.

You can assign a Brand to your booking Type. The 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 bookings have different branding to your church branding (perhaps for an "external bookings" Type). See our separate support article for creating Brands (Administrator > Brands).

Next, add any relevant Payment Instructions for the booking Type - for example, details or your booking terms and conditions, refund policy and bank account details. Tick the Payment Enabled checkbox if you would like to enable online payment for bookings of this Type by default.

Continuing down the page, set up the booking type's Overseer(s). Overseers can be notified when bookings of this type are added, edited or deleted. A Weekly Email can also be enabled, providing the Overseer with a weekly summary digest of the next 7 days bookings of this Type.

Overseer notifications

Add/Edit/Delete notifications take the form of two daily emails, one sent at 7am (GMT) that summarises all the changes made in the previous 19 hours and one sent at 12pm (GMT) that summarises all of the changes made in the previous 5 hours. Adding a Note to a booking is not classed as a change, but editing a booking, making a change and saving the booking again is classed as a change.

An optional Weekly Email can also be set, which is sent every Monday morning at 7am (local time) and includes an overview of the next seven days bookings for that Booking Type. If a contact oversees multiple booking Types or Resources, they will receive just one email digest email and one weekly overview email (rather than separate emails for each booking Type or Resources they oversee).

Continuing down the page, ChurchSuite will always send a Payment Confirmation email whenever an online payment is made for a booking of this Type. By default the confirmation will include full details of the Stripe payment, including the date of the payment, the amount and the Stripe transaction reference (with obfuscated personal data) and send it to the booking contact's email address (where one is provided). It's also possible to customise the Payment Confirmation - ChurchSuite will append the Stripe payment information to the end of your customised confirmation.

Click Save Changes to save the new booking Type. You can return to this page at any time you need to Edit the booking Type. This page is also where you can add custom questions to each of your booking Types. By adding booking type questions you can replicate your paper booking forms within ChurchSuite. Read on for more information.

Typically these questions will replicate the questions you would ask of people when they are making a booking of this type. For example, for "Wedding" bookings you might have questions about the bride and groom, their resident parishes, hymns and music, readings etc.

To add custom questions, click Add question.

Type your question Name and select the response Type from the drop-down list...

Depending on the response Type selected, you can also define the response Options.

  • Single sentence (free text, including hyperlinks) e.g. "How many delegates will be attending?"
  • Paragraph (free text, including hyperlinks) - ideal where longer responses are needed e.g. "Tell us a little about the event you are booking."
  • Drop-Down List - Define a list of response options from which a single response will be selected by the User. The first response option is the default response when adding a booking for this type.
  • Radio List - Define list of response options from which a single response must be selected; 'null' or 'nothing selected is not a valid selection for the user.
  • Checkbox List - Defined list of response options from which multiple responses will be selected. No checkboxes are checked by default
  • Date - In region-specific format. By default no date is pre-selected. Clicking in to the date field will activate the date picker, preset to today's date.

For each Question you add you can also specify whether a response is Required. Be careful not to trap users with required questions that they might not be able to respond to at the time of adding a booking for that Type - provide sufficient response options to cater for every eventuality!

You can also set the Visibility of each question - whether the question (and customer responses provided) should be visible or not visible on the custom-facing booking page. Some questions and responses may simply be for internal-use only and do not need to be shown to the customer. Similarly, some questions and responses may be sensitive in nature (e.g. questions around funerals) and so it may be appropriate to set those questions Not visible so that they don't show on the customer-facing booking page. Click Save to add the question.

Each new question is added to the end of the list. You can easily re-order questions by either dragging the Order number within the list, or click any Order value to open a Reorder Questions modal.

There's no limit to the number of Questions you can add. Note the batch Actions option to bulk delete one or more questions. Deleting a question or any or the question response options will remove that question and the responses from all bookings, past and future - delete with caution! A better option may be to Archive the booking Type (in order to preserve historic data) and create a new booking Type with revised questions and responses.

To see your new booking Type in action - and to perhaps test that your Type questions follow your preferred workflow - simply click to add a new booking and select your newly-created booking Type from the drop-down Type list and your Type-related questions are displayed underneath on the right-hand side of the page.

Adding resources

Adding Resources works in much the same way as adding booking Types - you'll set up the resource details, optionally assign resource overseers and add custom booking questions and response options.

To add a new resource, navigate to the Resources section in the Bookings module. Click Add resource.

Note also the option to Duplicate an existing resource, which will save time by duplicating all the resource details, overseers and questions.

Give your new resource a suitable Name. An optional Description will help you Users ensure they're working with the right resource. By default, resources are Visible to All Users, but you can optionally restrict the visibility of certain resources if you wish - see next Top Tip for more information. For multi-site churches, set the resource's Site - a resource is either site-specific or it can be set as "All Sites". This is important because, when assigning resources to a site-specific booking, your bookings users will only be able to assign 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".

All resources belong to a Category e.g. Rooms, Equipment, Vehicles. Existing categories are auto-suggested as you type, or a new category can be added. The Suggested categories list is derived from the categories your other bookings - to remove a suggested category, remove that category from use in any past or future bookings (use Advanced Search to identify matching bookings). Finally, optionally add a resource Code (perhaps and internal reference linked to your organisation's asset register, cost/budget centre or room numbering system).

Top Tip!

You can optionally restrict a resource's visibility, setting if Visible to just certain users in a user group. This may be particularly useful where a resource is especially valuable or requires an expertise that only a few users have. Rather than restricting access to the Bookings module, simply restrict the resource's visibility to just those in a User Group who you want to permit to add that resource to a booking. To set up User Groups, go to "Administrator" > "User Groups". Remember that you too have to be a user in a user group in order to restrict a resource's visibility to that user group!!!

Continue down the Add resource page to the Overseer(s) section. As with booking Type overseers, resource Overseers can receive notifications when the resource(s) they overseer are added, updated or removed from a booking. Add/Edit/Delete notifications take the form of a pair of daily digest emails - one sent at 7am that summarises all the changes made in the previous 19 hours and one sent at 12pm that summarises all of the changes made in the past 5 hours. An optional Weekly Email of "Upcoming Bookings" email can also be set - this email is sent to the resource overseer(s) every Monday morning at 7am local time and includes an overview of bookings for that resource for the next seven days. If someone is an Overseer for multiple Resources, they will receive just one daily digest email and one weekly overview email (rather than separate emails for each resource they oversee).

Once you have completed the Add resource page, click Save Changes before navigating away from the page. You can return to the resource page at any time in the future, to Edit and make changes, or Duplicate to quickly create a similar resource in your Bookings module. Notice also the options to Delete and Archive the resource. Deleting a resource will remove that resource from all past and future bookings. Archiving a resource will not remove that resource from existing past or future bookings, but simply prevent the resource being assigned to any further new bookings. We recommend archiving resources in the first instance, rather than deleting them - deletion is irreversible, but archived resources can be Set active again.

As with booking Types, the Resource page includes the option to add custom questions that relate to the resource. This may be particularly useful when you're allocating resources that require expertise to use, or where you need additional information from the person making the booking who wants to use that resource. Begin by clicking Add question.

Give your question a Name and set the question response Type from the drop-down list. Depending on the response type, you can then set the response Options - see Booking Types (above) for an explanation of the different response types and options.

For each Question you add you can also specify whether a response is Required. Be careful not to trap users with required questions that they might not be able to respond to at the time of adding a booking for that Resource - provide sufficient response options to cater for every eventuality!

You can also set the Visibility of each question - whether the question (and customer responses provided) should be visible or not visible on the custom-facing booking page. Some questions and responses may simply be for internal-use only and do not need to be shown to the customer. Similarly, some questions and responses may be sensitive in nature (e.g. questions around funerals) and so it may be appropriate to set those questions Not visible so that they don't show on the customer-facing booking page. Click Save to add the question.

Each new question is added to the end of the list. You can easily re-order questions by either dragging the Order number within the list, or click any Order value to open a Reorder Questions modal.

There's no limit to the number of Questions you can add to a resource. Note the batch Actions option to bulk delete one or more questions. Deleting a question or any or the question response options will remove that question and the responses from all bookings, past and future - delete with caution! A better option may be to Archive the resource (in order to preserve historic data) and create a new resource with revised questions and responses.

To see your new Resource in action - and to perhaps test that it follows the desired booking workflow with questions and responses in the preferred format and order - simply click to add a new booking and select to add your newly-created resource from the drop-down Resources list.

You can return to the list of Resources at any time in the future, perhaps to add further resources, or to manage, duplicate, archive or delete existing resources.

In the screenshot above, note how the list View can be switched between viewing Active and Archived resources. You can also re-order resources so that they display in a preferred order on the drop-down resource selector when adding resources to a booking. In this way you can easily reorder your list of resources, perhaps grouping them by categories, or putting your frequently-used resources at the top of the list.

To change the list order, either click and drag the Order number of a resource within the list, or click any of the Order numbers in the list to open the Reorder page...

Top Tip!

To keep track of how your resources are being used, check out the Usage report in Bookings module's reports section. This report gives a breakdown of how regularly certain resources are being used within a range of dates - past or future.

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 actually 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 quickly how often it's being used for external booking "types" compared to your internal booking types.

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