Adding booking types and resources

Booking Types and Resources form the backbone of the Bookings module. You can customise the Bookings module to cater for the different Types of bookings that your church or organisation handles, and also set up all your Resources that will be assigned to those bookings. Resources are often 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 even a person, such as a minister - in this way you can assign a minister to bookings.

In this article

Adding booking types
Adding resources
Deleting booking types

Booking Types - Overview

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 be later 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 overseers to booking Types 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 booking type doesn't affect existing bookings (past for future) of that type - however you can only add new bookings for active booking types.

Click Add type or select Duplicate from the Actions menu on the right-hand side to duplicate an existing type.

On the Add type pop-up, give the new booking Type a suitable Name, set an optional Colour (helpful for distinguishing your various booking Types when viewing the booking Planner) and add an optional Description to help your module users know when this booking Type would be used.

You can optionally assign a Brand to a 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 church branding (perhaps for an "external bookings" Type).

Finally set the Payment Enabled to Yes if you wish to offer your booking customers an online card payment option to pay any booking charges for this Type through your Stripe integration. When [online] payment is enabled, customers will see a Pay by card option on the customer-facing Booking Page when there are unpaid charges on a booking. While online payment of booking charges is a user-friendly "shopping" experience that many of your customers may appreciate, you can of course still communicate other payment options on the Booking Page and process manual payments for booking charges by other methods – ChurchSuite gives you full flexibility! The Payment Enabled setting is essentially the default setting for bookings of this Type – you can always override this default setting by enabling or disabling online payment on a booking-by-booking basis if you wish.

Click Save. You are now taken to the Type's "View" page. From here you can make further customisations to add type-related Questions (just like you have on your paper-equivalent booking forms), assign Overseers, add custom payment Instructions and personalise the payment Confirmation email that your customers will receive when they make an online payment for booking 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.

Overseer notifications

Whenever bookings of this Type are added, edited or deleted, ChurchSuite will automatically send a daily overseer digest at 7am and 12 noon (approx.). The 7am digest lists bookings updated since 12 noon the previous day, and the 12 noon digest lists bookings updated since 7am that same day.

The Weekly Email is sent at 7am on Monday morning, 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 7am and 12 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, edited or removed as necessary, as shown.

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 your own 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 the Type "View" page you can add all your type-related booking questions - perhaps replicating a previous paper-based booking form. Once added, and when adding new bookings for this type, you'll be able to add your customer's question responses for their booking. For example, for "Wedding" Type bookings you'll likely have very specific questions related to the bridge and groom and their ceremony; however, the questions you might ask of a customer making a room booking for a birthday party will 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 customer question responses will be stored against your bookings...

Depending on the question response Type selected, you can also define response Options. See the related support article for a detailed explanation of each of the question response type. Be sure to provide sufficient response Options to cater for every eventuality! Note also the option to see responses as Required, but be careful not to trap your users with "required" questions that they might not be add responses for when first adding bookings.

Questions, and your customer responses, are Visible on the customer-facing booking page. However, you can optionally change question/response Visibility, setting them Hidden. For example, some booking questions and responses may be for internal-use only, and therefore do not need to be shown to the customer, or might cause them confusion. Finally, click Save to add the question.

Continue added 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 a question response option), will remove that question and related responses from all past and future bookings, and is irreversible, so delete with caution!

Booking types in action...

Now, when you add a new booking and select your newly-added Type, the type-related questions are surfaced on the Add booking pop-up form, ready to collect your customer responses.

Booking Type questions and responses are shown on the Details tab when viewing the booking.

Finally, selecting the Go to booking page option from the top of the booking "View" page...

...you can preview the customer-facing Booking Page, to see the booking Type question responses the customer will see on their booking page.

Adding resources

The process of adding Resources is very similar to the process of adding booking Types – first you'll add the resource details, then optionally assign resource overseers, and then add any resource-specific questions that will be used to collect customer question responses when the resource is added to a booking. Here's how...

Navigate to the Resources section in 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.

On the Add resource pop-up, give your new resource a suitable Name. An optional Description will help your Users ensure they're working with the right resource. All resources are assigned to a Category e.g. Rooms, Equipment, Vehicles. Later you'll be able to filter the bookings Planner by resource category – ideal if you just want to see all your room category bookings. Either select an existing Category from the list...

...or type to add a new category - when you save the resource, the new category will also be added. The suggested categories list is derived from the categories of your existing resources. To remove an unwanted suggested category, simply edit all active and archived resources currently assigned to the unwanted category and assign a new category.

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".

Click Save to add the new resource. You're now taken to the resource's "View" page where 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 Type overseers, they 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 7am that summarises all the changes made in the previous 19 hours, and one at 12pm that summarises all of the changes made in the past 5 hours since the 7am email. The Weekly Email is sent every Monday morning at 7am 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 and overseer.

Before moving on, note the options 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 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 optionally add Questions to resources, which can be used to collect customer responses when the resource is added to a booking. This may be particularly useful for resources that require expertise to use, or where you need additional information from the customer pertaining to the use of the 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 a 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 your 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 our related support article for further explanation of each response type. Your can also select whether a response is Required.

You can change the Visibility of resource questions. Ordinarily, the question and customer response is Visible to the customer on their customer-facing Booking Page, but these can be optionally set 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 in nature (e.g. questions related to a funeral), and 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 '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 duplicates 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 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 how often it's being used for external booking "type" compared to your internal booking "type".

Deleting booking types

The booking Type is a fundamental part of your booking data, and is a required field when adding and editing bookings. When deleting a booking Type, you will first be required to reassign existing bookings (past and future) to an alternative booking type - bookings cannot have a blank/empty booking "type". Note that deleting a booking type and reassigning bookings to a different type will delete all customer question responses for the deleted type, 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 questions responses will be lost. Here's how the deletion workflow looks...

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 bookings of this type in your data. Confirm the change and click Done to process the deletion.

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