Getting started with the Bookings module
Purpose of the module
Welcome to ChurchSuite's Bookings module! This module enables you to handle all your resource bookings, from creating bookings and customers, to sending booking confirmations, to raising booking charges, to processing online and manual payments.
We encourage you to read this article in full in order to familiarise yourself with the module's key features and customisation options available, and to acquaint yourself with some of the basic concepts and terminology you'll see within the module and our other Bookings module support articles.
Bookings module features at a glance
- Easily add or import customers
- Create your own bookings types: e.g. Weddings, External bookings, Funerals, Internal bookings; each with their own set of custom booking questions
- Create unlimited resources and categorise them: e.g. rooms, equipment, key people, vehicles; each with their own set of custom booking questions
- Optionally assign booking 'type' and 'resource' overseers who will be notified when bookings are added, edited or deleted
- Add standalone and sequence bookings, assigning resources and adding customer booking question responses
- See all your bookings in a day/week/month-to-view planner or filter by booking type or resource category to see just the related bookings
- Easily link internal bookings to Calendar module events or create unlinked (external) bookings
- Factor in set up and set down time to the booking times to maximise the use of your organisation's resources without false clashes
- Built-in clash detection with override option
- Manage the status of each booking - from 'pending' to 'confirmed' or 'cancelled'
- Add booking charges and receive online payments through the 'Stripe' online card payment integration or process manual charges
- Easily send customers their customer-facing booking page (confirmation)
- Use Flows to process customers through your common admin workflows and receive reminders when tasks become due (or overdue!)
- Get your ChurchSuite bookings planner linked to your personal calendar application by subscribing to an iCal or Google Calendar feed
Overview of the Bookings module
At the heart of the module is the booking Planner. Here you'll visualise all your bookings in one simple Day/Week/Month view or Filter to just see certain booking types or categories of resources.
Easily add bookings or duplicate an existing one. You can add bookings directly from the Planner or from the Bookings section of the module.
Use the Search bar to quickly find bookings - the matching list of results is filtered as you type...
...or use the Advanced Search to locate bookings based on matching criteria.
Working within the Customers section of the module you can easily add or import customer details to the module. Later, when adding bookings, you can either assign a customer or an Address Book contact to a booking if you wish.
Customers can be grouped by Company, meaning that from a customer's "View" page you'll see all the customers for a company in a single view. From here you can easily navigate to other customers for the same company, or drill down into past or future bookings.
Having set up your various booking types and resources (see later in this article) you can then easily add single date and multi-date sequence bookings. Where a booking repeats, use the single date and multi-date options to create even the most complex of sequences.
Bookings can be linked to existing events in the Calendar module (e.g. internal bookings) or left 'unlinked' (e.g. external bookings). Notice also the unlinked booking option to show on calendar, giving you the flexibility to show some or all of your external bookings on the calendar in the Calendar module - ideal for those users who may not have Bookings module permissions, but who still need to know which events and resources are being used each day.
For external bookings you can easily add charges, optionally assign an invoice number to cross-reference with your accounting/invoicing software, and set a charge payment due date. The Charges report can then be used to project future revenue based on bookings, or identify a list of charges that are due or overdue.
You can send a booking page to the customer, providing them with a 'read only' view of all their booking details, questions responses and charges (paid and unpaid). As changes are made to a booking (and as charges are added or paid), the customer booking page remains up to date. You can preview the booking page by selecting Go to booking page.
And from the booking page - if online payment is enabled and the Stripe integration completed - customers can even select to pay some or all of their unpaid booking charges by card as they become due. And of course, you can also process manual payments received by other methods from within the Bookings module.
Setting up booking types and resources
When first setting up the Bookings module, begin by creating your various booking Types and Resources. Head into the respective module sections of the module to complete this task. In the Types section, click Add type...
For each booking Type that you add you can optionally assign a brand - all communications and booking pages for the 'type' will sport the brand's logo, emblem and colour styling (see related support article on adding brands). Optionally assign overseers who can receive email notifications when bookings of this type are added, edited or deleted. Optionally enable payment and customise the payment instructions and payment confirmation email that customers receive. You can also add custom questions, to which customers can provide you with responses when you are adding a booking. For each question, set the response type, response options and whether a response is required.
Similarly, in the Resources section click Add resource...
You'll assign each booking Resource added to a category. Optionally assign overseers who can receive email notifications when bookings for this resource are added, edited or deleted. You can also add custom questions, to which customers can provide you with responses when you are adding a booking. For each question, set the response type, response options and whether a response is required.
Now, when adding a booking, the 'type' and 'resource' questions are surfaced ready for you to enter your customer responses into.
After creating booking types and resources you're now ready to begin adding bookings!
It's possible to link a booking to an event which already exists in the Calendar module, or to create an unlinked booking - perhaps for an external booking. Bookings can be added as stand-alone, single date bookings - such as a wedding - or as a multi-date booking sequence - such as for a weekly class or course.
Assign Resources to the booking, optionally specifying any Set up and Set Down time that needs to be taken into account beyond the actual booking times. You'll be notified of any Booking Clashes and, subject to your module settings, you can either select alternative resources, change the booking times, or override the clash if that's appropriate - perhaps to save the booking and deal with the clash separately.
You can add Notes to bookings to help you keep track of important booking-related details or to maintain a 'to do' list.
If you're using the Planning module, you can easily create linked plans for bookings. For example, you might have a wedding or funeral 'order of service' saved as a 'template' in your Planning module. That template can easily be turned into a draft or published plan, providing you a detailed running order for the booking. Plans are a great way to keep everyone in the loop so that those involved know precisely who's doing what and when.
Every organisation uses spreadsheets to manage certain admin tasks, with spreadsheet columns representing the different stages that things need to happen for each person in the list. Flows enable you to easily translate what you might ordinarily do in a spreadsheet into an "online" equivalent. You'll set up the various stages through which people will be processed, you'll define actions that are to be optionally processed at each stage; and importantly, reminders are automatically sent to let your users know when tasks become due or overdue. Flows are a great way for teams for work collaboratively on recurring admin processes and to stay on top of all the people in the Flow at their different stages. Could this be the end to one or two of your unwieldy spreadsheets?!
Actions that can be processed include everything from sending Preset emails and SMSs, to archiving and deleting customers. Flows will help you and your team stay on top of each person's progress through the various stages of the Flow, with reminder notifications highlighting when tasks become due or overdue.
Communicating with your booking contacts and customers is a vital part of event management, especially when it comes to room and resource bookings. In addition to the module's Communication section - designed for bulk-communicating with multiple customers...
...you can also communicate direct from a customer page...
...and from a booking...
The Bookings module includes a wide range of standard reports for common admin tasks, or to help you drill down into the content of your Bookings module data for strategic purposes or historic reporting. Filter reports to see just what you're looking for and then download, print or send the report, or communicate directly with those in the report's results.
Before adding or importing data to the Bookings module, we recommend that you first review the module's settings to make sure the module is customised to suit your church or organisation's needs. Some features will not be accessible until they are configured or enabled.
Accessing the module's settings is done via the cogwheels icon in the top-right corner of the module. This option is only available to those Users with at least Manage-level user permissions or Administrators.
The Bookings module's settings are divided into 2 sections, each controlling different areas of the module's functionality across other parts of the ChurchSuite ecosystem.
Use the Module Options tab to:
- customise the Planner default display options
- select the default settings for new bookings e.g. booking status
- set who can approve booking clashes
- enable (or disable) the booking charges functionality
Use the Embed Options tab to:
- customise a custom message displayed on all customer booking pages e.g. your Terms & Conditions, your Cancellation or Refunds policy.
In order to explore many of the Bookings module's features and functionality you'll need to add or import some data. It's easy to do. See the related support articles at the end of this article for further details.
Got a question?
You’ll find the answers to most questions in our support articles - they're all available through the Support beacon located in the bottom-right corner of each page in the Bookings module - just search by topic, phrase or keyword. You can also access the Support Article library on our website. And if you still can't find something you're looking for, click to get in touch with one of the ChurchSuite team - we’re happy to help!