Creating booking types and resources
Booking Types and Resources form the backbone of the Bookings module. You can customise your Bookings module to suit the types of bookings that your church receives and also define the various resources that can be 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 your church's celebrants, from which you can assign them to each of your wedding bookings).
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Adding booking types
Booking Types allow you to define different categories for your bookings; everything from weddings to internal bookings, music concerts to funerals, and even your external bookings. Once you've set up a booking "Type", any booking assigned with that type will display your type-specific booking questions, ensuring that nothing is overlooked when collecting booking details from a customer. You can also set up Type overseer notifications that get sent when a booking for that type is added, changed or deleted, and schedule a weekly Type digest email that lists all the upcoming bookings for that type.
Setting up booking Types is simple and intuitive. In the Bookings module navigate to the 'Types' section. To add a new booking Type simply click 'Add type', or to edit an existing Type simply select it from the list.
When adding a new booking Type you'll set the type 'name', an optional colour (to distinguish bookings for the Type on the Planner more clearly), and short description of what the booking Type is for (to help your Users).
You can assign a Brand to your booking Type. See our separate support article for creating Brands (Administrator > Brands). Ordinarily customer-facing booking pages and communications are branded with your church's standard logo and colour styling; however you can easily assign a different brand for certain booking types. This may be helpful if your commercial bookings have different branding to the church (perhaps for an "external bookings" Type).
Next, add any relevant payment instructions for the booking type, which could include a link to your terms and conditions, refunds policy and bank account details. If you would like to receive online payment for bookings of this Type, tick the checkbox to 'enable' online payments as a default payment option.
Continuing down the page, set up your booking type overseers. By adding Overseers to your Booking Types, they will receive email notifications whenever a booking for this Type is added, update or removed.
Notifications take the form of two 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 previous 5 hours. Assign the add/edit/delete notification permissions for each contact you add as an overseer. An optional Weekly Email can also be set, which is sent to the overseer 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, they will receive just one daily email digest email and one weekly overview email (rather than separate emails for each booking Type they oversee).
ChurchSuite will always send a confirmation email when an online booking is made. 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 customer's email address (where one is provided). It's also possible to create a customised payment confirmation email that is sent to the booking contact/customer for this booking type. ChurchSuite automatically adds the Stripe/payment confirmation information to the end of your customised confirmation.
Continuing down to the final section, you can now add your custom questions for the booking Type. Typically these questions will replicate the questions you would ask of people when they are making a booking of that type. For example, for "Wedding" bookings you might have questions about the bride and groom, their resident parish(s), hymns and music, readings etc.
Simply click 'Add question', type your question 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) e.g. "How many delegates will be attending your event?"
- Paragraph (free text) - 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. 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 will be selected. One response option will always be selected. The first option response is the default response when adding a booking for this type. Toggle between the option response.
- 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 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 specify whether the questions (and customer responses provided) should be hidden on the custom-facing booking page you might later send them. 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 it may be more appropriate to hide them on the customer-facing booking page.
Save your changes before navigating away from the page.
To view your new booking Type and test that it follows your desired booking workflow with question responses in the format you want - click to add a new booking and select your newly created booking Type from the drop-down list. All your custom questions are shown so that you can review the order and response options, making corrections and changes as necessary.
To add new Resources, navigate to the Resources section in the Bookings module. Click 'Add resource'.
Define the resource name, add an optional description, set the resource visibility and site the resource belongs to (multi-site churches only). All resources must belong to a Category e.g. Rooms, Equipment, Vehicles. Existing categories are auto-suggested as you type, or a new category is added. Add an option internal code (perhaps linked to an asset register, cost/budget centre or a room number), and set your resource active.
You can optionally restrict a resource's visibility to certain users in certain user groups. This may be particularly useful where a resource is especially precious or valuable, or requires an expertise that only a few users have. Rather than restricting access to the Bookings module, simply restrict the visibility of the resource to those just those who you want to allow to add to a booking. To set up User Groups, go to "Administrator" > "User Groups".
Continue down to the Overseers section. By adding Overseers to your Resources, they can receive email notifications whenever the Resource is added, update or removed from a booking. Email 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 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).
Like Booking Types, you can also 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.
Click 'Add question', type your question in the box and select the 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 Response Types and Options.
You can also set whether a question 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 whether any resource-related questions (and responses) are hidden from the customer-facing booking page you might later send them. For example, you may have internal-use questions that are not relevant to the customer and therefore don't need to be shown on the customer-facing booking page - these questions can be set hidden.
Save your Resource changes before navigating away from the page.
In the screenshot above, note how you can switch between viewing active and archived resources. You can also re-order resources so that they display in a preferred order on drop-down resource selectors when adding resources to a booking. Simply click any of the up/down arrow icons to open the "Reorder" page...
...Now you can reorder your list of resources, perhaps grouping them by categories, or putting your frequently used resources at the top of the list. Save your changes when you are finished.
Having added your resources, when adding a new booking or editing an existing one, you can select your Resources from the drop-down "--Select resource(s)--" list.
As you add each resource to a booking, the resource-related questions are added to the booking form ready for you to complete the question responses as part of your normal booking processes.
To keep track of how your resources are being used, check out the Usage report in "Bookings" > "Reports" > "Usage". This report gives a breakdown of how regularly certain resources are being used.
Considering buying an additional laptop for a new resource? Consult the Usage report to 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.
Save time by duplicating resources!
We've made it really easy to duplicate resources - ideal when many of the resource details are identical. This will save you lots of typing! From the Resources list, simply select "Duplicate resource" from the resource "action cog" on the right hand side...
...or from an existing Resource page.
Note also how you can archive resources no longer in use. Existing bookings (past and future) will not be affected by a resource being archived, but you can't add an archived resource to a new booking. Archived resources can be reinstated and set active again. Deleting a resource will delete it from all past and future bookings - use with caution!