Adding 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 each booking. Resources are often tangible items like a room, 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 or funerals, you might create a resource for each of your church's ministers – in this way you can then assign a minister to bookings).
Note: You will not be able to add bookings until at least one booking Type and one Resource have been added to your Bookings module.
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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. For example, selecting a "Wedding" booking Type will list all your wedding-related questions whilst selecting a "Funeral" booking Type will display all the funeral-related questions. You can assign Overseers to booking Types who can receive booking email notifications when a booking for that Type is added, changed or deleted.
Adding booking Types is simple and intuitive. In the Bookings module navigate to the Types section and select Add type; or select to Duplicate an existing Type (from the Actions menu on the right-hand side).
Notice also the View option to switch between viewing Active and Archived booking Types:
On the Add type pop up, give the new booking Type a Name, set an optional Colour (helpful for distinguishing your various booking Types when viewing the bookings Planner) and add an optional short Description to help your users know when this booking Type would be used.
You can optionally assign a Brand to your booking Type – for further information on adding brands, see the related article on personalising your ChurchSuite account. 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 booking Type. This may be helpful if your commercial bookings have different branding to your 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 to add the new booking Type and be redirected to the Type's "View" page. From here you can further customise the booking Type by adding custom type-related questions (just like you might have on your paper-equivalent booking forms), assign overseers, add payment instructions and personalise the payment confirmation email that your customers receive when they make an online payment for booking charges. Here's how...
Notice the three sections for Overseers, Payment and Questions...
Click Add overseer to optionally assign one or more overseers who can receive daily update digest notification emails when bookings of this Type are added, edited or deleted.
Search and select an Overseer by typing a name - the list of matching results auto-completes as you type.
...and set the Digest Actions and Weekly Email options for that person as required. Click Save to add the overseer. Repeat this for each overseer you wish to add for this booking Type.
Whenever bookings of this Type are added, edited or deleted, ChurchSuite will automatically send a daily update digest, where enabled, 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, where enabled, is sent at 7am on Monday morning and lists all the upcoming bookings for the next 7 days – ideal for starting the week with a reminder of what's coming up. To avoid "inbox overload", if a contact oversees multiple booking Types or Resources, they will receive just one daily email digest email at 7am and 12 noon, and one weekly Monday morning overview email, rather than separate emails for each booking Type or Resources they oversee.
The newly-added Overseer is now shown on the Type "View" page in the Overseers section, along with a visual indicator of which notifications are configured for that overseer. Notice the options to Add, Edit and Delete an overseer. There's no limit to the number of overseers you can add – simply return to the booking Type "View" page at any time in the future to further manage Type overseers.
Still 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 as follows, perhaps letting the customer know how they can pay booking charges for bookings of this Type. Use the HTML tools (accessed via the action button) to style and format the text. Click to Save the changes. Remember, these payment instructions display on the customer-facing Booking Page.
You can also customise the online payment confirmation Email that customers receive when they pay booking charges by online card payment using your Stripe integration. Notice the action menu options to View or Edit.
By default the Payment confirmation Email 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); sending it to the booking contact/customer's email address (where one is provided). However, it's also possible to customise the Payment Confirmation, perhaps to add you own payment confirmation message – ChurchSuite will append the Stripe payment information to the end of your customised online payment confirmation email. Notice the options to set the default From Name, From Email and Subject. Remember to Save the custom Payment Email content.
The Type "View" page is also the place to add custom questions. By adding booking Type questions you can replicate your paper booking forms within ChurchSuite; then, when adding a booking and selecting this booking Type, the type's questions are added to the booking so that you can record customer responses to the questions. For example, for "Wedding" Type bookings you might have questions about the bride and groom, their resident parishes, hymns and music for their ceremony, 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 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 that 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; and be sure to 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 Hidden on the customer-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 certain questions Hidden so that they don't show on the customer-facing booking page. Remember to 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 on any Order value...
...to open a Reorder Questions pop up - click the up/down arrows to reorder. It's helpful to both users and customers if questions follow a logical sequence.
There's no limit to the number of Questions you can add to a booking Type. Note also the batch Actions option to bulk delete one or more questions. Deleting a question, or any question response options, will remove that question and response from all bookings, past and future – so delete with caution!
A better option may be to Archive the booking Type (in order to preserve historic data). You can return to this Types list at any time in the future to View, Duplicate, Edit, Archive or Delete a booking Type.
....and create a new booking Type with revised questions and responses. You can return to the Type's "View" page to make changes to type-related Questions at any time in the future.
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, 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.
You can also preview the customer-facing Booking Page by selecting the Go to booking page option from the top of the booking "View" page..
...here's what the customer will see when they receive your Send booking email and click the embedded link to view their Booking Page...
Adding Resources works in much the same way as adding booking Types – first you'll set up the resource details then optionally assign resource overseers and configure their booking notifications; you can also add custom booking questions that will be shown on the booking when the resource is added to a booking.
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.
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 must be assigned to a resource Category e.g. Rooms, Equipment, Vehicles. Later you'll be able to filter your bookings Planner by resource category – ideal if you just want to see Room bookings or Equipment bookings. Select an existing category from the list...
...or type to add a new category.
The Suggested categories list is derived from the categories your other resources use – to remove a suggested category, remove that category from use in any and all resources. Finally, optionally add a resource Code (perhaps an internal reference linked to your organisation's asset register, cost/budget centre or room numbering system).
By default, resources are Visible to All Users who have permissions for the Bookings module and the resource's site. You can optionally restrict the visibility of certain resources if you wish – see the 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 setting is important – when adding resources to a site-specific 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 create the new resource.
You can optionally restrict a resource's visibility, setting whether Visible to certain users in a user group, just yourself (Just me) or All Users. This may be particularly useful where a resource is especially valuable or requires an expertise that only a few users have. Rather than restricting user access to the Bookings module, simply restrict the resource's visibility to just those in a User Group (or a specific set of User Groups) 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 will have to be a user in a user group if you want to be able to add the resource to bookings!
On saving the resource, you are taken to the Resource "View" page where you can assign resource overseers, who will be notified when that resource is added, edited or deleted from a booking. To assign a resource overseer, click Add overseer.
As with booking Type overseers, use the "contact search" to find the Overseer. Resource overseers can receive notifications when the resource(s) they oversee is added, edited or deleted from a booking.
Add/Edit/Delete Digest Actions take the form of a pair of daily digest notification 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 for the next 7 days 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 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). Once you have completed the Add resource page, click Save before navigating away from it.
You can add as many resource overseers as you wish. For each resource overseer, their digest and weekly email settings are shown under their name in the list.
You can return to the Resource "View" page at any time in the future to Edit the resource and make changes or Duplicate the resource to quickly create a similar resource in your Bookings module.
You can also Edit or Remove overseers by selecting from the action menu:
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 will 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. In this way you can customise each resource to replicate your paper booking form questions. For example, for certain room resources, you may need to know whether a key holder is required to unlock and/or lock up. By creating this question against a resource, any time the resource is added to a booking, that question will be displayed so that you can add the appropriate customer response to that question as part of taking the booking.
Begin by clicking Add question.
On the Add question pop up, 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.
You can also set the Visibility of each resource question – whether the question (and customer responses provided) should be visible or hidden on the customer-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 related to a funeral) and so it may be appropriate to set those questions Hidden so that they don't show on the customer-facing Booking Page.
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 taking a booking for that Resource; also, be sure to provide sufficient response Options to cater for every eventuality – for example, if your question is a Yes/No question, make sure you include Options for Yes and No.
Click Save to add the question.
As described previously, 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 pop up. The list of questions clearly distinguishes each Response Type and the Response Options. Required questions are distinguished with a red asterisk next to the Question.
Note the action menu options to Edit or Delete a question. There's no limit to the number of Questions you can add to a resource.
Note also the batch Actions option to bulk delete one or more questions. Deleting a resource question or any of 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. (See below as to how to access this menu)
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.
Selecting Add resource again will add the resource to the booking and the relevant questions will appear on the righthand side of the screen.
You can return to the list of Resources at any time in the future, perhaps to Add further resources or to View, Edit, Duplicate, Archive or Delete existing resources.
In the same way as for Booking Types, the list View for can be switched between viewing Active and Archived resources and you can 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 (see instructions above for Booking Types).
Finally, it may be helpful to preview the customer-facing Booking Page by selecting the Go to booking page option from the top of the booking "View" page:
Here's what the customer will see when they receive your Send booking email and click the embedded link to view their Booking Page, including those booking Type and Resource questions that are set as visible...
To keep track of how your 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 – 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.