Getting started with the Bookings module

Purpose of the module

Welcome to the ChurchSuite Bookings module! This module enables you to handle all your resource bookings, from creating bookings, managing customers, to sending booking confirmations, to raising booking charges and collecting 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 custom questions for collecting related customer booking responses
  • Add unlimited resources and categorise them: e.g. rooms, equipment, key people, vehicles; each with their own custom questions for collecting related customer booking responses
  • Optionally assign overseers to booking types and resources - overseers can be notified when bookings are added, edited or deleted, and receive a weekly digest email of all their upcoming bookings
  • Add single date and multi-date sequence bookings
  • View resource bookings in a Day/7-day/28-day-to-view Planner, with granular type/resource filters to see just the bookings you want to see
  • manage internal-use resource bookings by linking to Calendar module events, and manage external-use unlinked resource bookings
  • Factor in set up and set down time to the resource booking times to maximise resource usage without unexpected clashes
  • Built-in clash detection with clash approval option for permitted users
  • Manage the status of each of your resource booking - from 'pending' to 'confirmed' or 'cancelled'
  • Raise booking charges, assign due date, and collect payments - your customers can even pay online
  • Send bookings to customers by email, enclosing a link to their customer-facing booking page confirming all the booking details and charges
  • Manage common repetitive admin processes using Flows, and receive timely reminders when tasks become due and overdue
  • Subscribe to a range of booking iCals to see resource bookings in your preferred personal calendar app

Overview of the Bookings module

At the heart of the module is the resource Planner. Visualise all your resource bookings in one simple Day/7-Day/28-Day view, or use the Filter to see bookings for selected booking Types and/or Resources (resource categories). In Day view, when view 'today' you'll see a time line move across the day in real time, showing you precisely what's on now, and what's happening next for each resource.

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 or Advanced Search to quickly find bookings in a long list - the matching list of results is filtered as you type...

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.

Having set up your various booking Types and Resources (see later in this article) you can easily add single date and multi-date sequence bookings.

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 access but who still need to know which events and resources are being used each day.

You can add charges to bookings, optionally assigning invoice numbers to cross-reference with your accounting/invoicing software. A charge due date makes it easy to identify lists of unpaid 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, booking question responses and charges. As changes are made to a booking in ChurchSuite, the customer's booking page remains up to date with the latest information. You can preview the booking page by selecting Go to booking page.

For bookings with online payment enabled, your customers can pay unpaid charges online through their Booking Page, or you can provide customers with payment instructions to pay by other methods.

Setting up booking types and resources

Setting up the Bookings module begins with adding 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.

Adding bookings

Having added your 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.

Once added, you are able to assign Resources to the booking, including any Set up and Set Down time that needs to be taken into account beyond the actual times of the booking itself. 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 the bottom of a booking's "View" page 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 with 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.

Flows

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.

Communication

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.

Reports

The Bookings module includes a wide range of standard reports for common admin tasks and 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.

Module settings

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.

Next steps...

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!

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