Successful Czech startup Reservio.com secured funding from Webnode. Online booking system already used in 40 countries

Reservio.com entered the global market supported by seed investment from Webnode AG. Reservio has developed online booking system that is easy to use and enables small and medium businesses accept appointments online. Young startup won the StarCube Accelerator Competition in 2012.

Reservio.com, young startup from Brno, Czech Republic, received funding from Webnode AG, operator of Webnode.com services. Cloud service Reservio.com enables companies and individuals to accept bookings from their customers online through their website or Facebook.

“Partnering with the globally successful Webnode will allow our reservation system to grow faster and expand to countries around the world where Webnode already holds a strong position,” said Boris Bošiak, co-founder and CEO of Reservio.com. In April 2013, two months after the launch of their public beta, Reservio.com has already found active users in 40 countries. In addition to Europe and North America, users from Vietnam or India have signed up for the free booking system.

“The project Reservio.com is an excellent extension of our online portfolio,“ commented Vit Vrba, CEO of Webnode, on the synergy. „Just like Webnode, Reservio is targeting small and medium-sized businesses and offers them an important service for reaching their clients online. From the beginning, the project has global ambitions and a young, creative team.”

Creating appointment online saves time, but was out of reach for most businesses

Making an appointment with a dentist or a hairdresser can be quite stressful. Negotiating the details and comparing calendars over the phone is highly ineffective and often cumbersome. Large companies discovered more than ten years ago that online appointment system is an easy solution to this problem. “However, a small company cannot afford to hire a team of developers to implement their own booking system,“ says Boris Bošiak. “Our system is different. It is in the cloud, fast to implement and easy to use. And it is completely free for moderate use.“

Many businesses have to rely on phone calls to make appointments with their clients, keeping them from providing their services. Online booking system offers a simple solution. “The business owner, e.g. a hairdresser, adds a ‘Book now’ button to their website. After clicking it, the customer selects the service they want and chooses from available times,“ explains Pavel Kasík, co-founder of Reservio.com. “Finally, the customer leaves their e-mail or phone number and the booking is completed. The hairdresser sees this appointment immediately in her calendar.“ Reservio.com appointment software also ensures that no two customers can overbook the same timeslot.

Booking system for small businesses around the world

The young Czech startup has already caught the attention of the media. In May 2012, co-founders Boris Bošiak and Fanda Mazuch have won the first place in StarCube Show organized by the South Moravian Innovation Centre in Brno, Czech Republic. “I really like the design, it is simple, intuitive and user-oriented,“ one of the jurors praised their project.

Reservation system Reservio went through series of rigid testing and opened in 2013 for public beta. The need for usable booking system evident from the great interest in this service: “Ever since our victory in StarCube Show, people have been asking about our online solution to their booking needs,“ says Boris Bošiak. “This trust is a great encouragement for us. It’s also a reminder of how important the booking service is to our users every day.“


Opening hours–Can your booking system do this?

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(source: 9gag.com, Boss opening hours, Opening hours in Argentina, Opening hours – casual)


GetTimely–good start, still not perfect, looks not much used

I recently stumbled upon this new on-line booking system – GetTimely.com. According to their blog, they started just few months ago but the founders claim to have over 10 years of experience with booking systems. Let’s see if that shows in the final product.

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The homepage looks nice and clean (maybe a bit too much text and too many columns, but way above average), prices are a bit steeper than expected. What they offer for $19/month is not hard to find for free. Still, so far so good.

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During sign-up I felt I need to fill in too much – it is a minor complaint, granted, but who wants to be stopped and returned to the form (and fill the password again) just to add their time-zone, especially since the country has only one time-zone? Ridiculous. But again, that is only a minor, fixable detail.

 

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Sadly, this trend continues throughout the system. You are always asked to fill in more than you want. You are constantly stopped because you didn’t fill-in enough information. It is my reservation, for Pete’s sake! I want to fill in what I want to fill in, right?

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Calendar

The calendar looks nice, useful and clean. Too bad it suffers from the same mistake (or unfortunate feature) as other booking systems do: it asks you every single time weather the time you are booking is a booking indeed or an “busy time”.

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Personally, to me this is almost a deal-breaker. I understand why they did it, but it never stops annoying me. The other complaints are minor: settings too complex and non-intuitively structured (again, it is hard), wizard so-so, opening hours not as flexible as one might like.

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Lastly, it seems that after few months, GetTimely has les than a hundred users, which to me would be a warning flag. But again, everybody has to start somewhere. Maybe in few months GetTimely might be decent option. Right now it is just another booking system, nice design but annoying bugs/features.

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Groupon Scheduler–how Groupon plans to survive

I guess it would be futile to introduce Groupon, the daily-deal site that changed the service market all around the world only two years ago. Well, since the business is not going so smooth after all, and many who tried Groupon have some complaints, it makes sense that Groupon tries to take advantage of their tremendous sales-presence in so many US cities by introducing new services for their target group – the businesses that offer services.

So here comes Groupon Scheduler – branded OpenCal with Groupon behind the wheel. We tried it as soon as we could.

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You cannot choose any county outside the US for now, and Groupon Scheduler is only available for some cities. In order to test it, we had to make stuff up…

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The system is basically a nicer version of OpenCal – clean, mac-like graphics, simplified user interface, lots of white space and sort of smallish buttons.

 

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In order to solve different style of businesses in one package, Groupon Scheduler distinctly distinguishes between classes (group appointments where capacity is at stake) and individual appointments. It does so in an OK way, might be very confusing to somebody who never thought about it, though.

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There is not much settings (which is probably a good thing) and the calendar looks fairly bland and washed-up. Usability is fairly basic: no drag&drop to start a booking, for example (which is sort of annoying since that is, in my opinion, the easiest and most common way to enter new events into the calendar). Also, the views of the Calendar are really basic and might not suit everybody. For example: there is no way of viewing the weekly calendar while seeing appointments of more than just one staff (you need to filter them in the left panel).

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Overall, Groupon Scheduler is a nice start with clean interface, but might annoy you with the things that it just doesn’t do, doesn’t allow. Groupon is a big company with prime business elsewhere, and this is still a sort of BETA, so trying it won’t hurt, but think carefully before switching your business to this completely…


Using Google Calendar as Booking System through Appointment Slots

Google has recently introduced a new feature in their favorite Google Calendar app. Originally, you could only use Google Calendar as your personal journal of what is coming. Google than added features allowing you to share calendars, so you could, for example, let your family or colleagues know what are your plans.

Now Google introduced new (so far experimental feature) I stumbled upon just the other day. It is called Appointment slots and at the first look it seems like a simple booking system.

How to create an appointment slot

In Google Calendar, you have now two options when creating new appointment: event and appointment slots.

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By selecting appointment slots, you are directed to further options. Here you can set how long the appointment will be, whether it is one session or session consisting of many parts, bookable separately.

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You can also set Repeat for repeating bookings, like consultation hours or office hours, perhaps.

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How can people book your appointment?

You are given an (incredibly long) link that leads to your booking page. Unfortunately, only people who are using Google Calendar can book your appointment slots. Others will be shown a log-in/sign-up screen.

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Appointment slots are really just a basic feature, and while useful for infrequent users, it is far, far from ready for business use. The largest limitation being the dependency on users being signed in Google Calendar.


Faking it? Think again

Some booking systems (like BookFresh, see our review) offer you a feature that lets you automatically fake appointments. It fills your calendar with busy spots, “so that the client doesn’t feel they are the only ones visiting your venture.

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When some people walk past an empty restaurant they assume the food must be no good. The same can be true with your business. Our “Fake-it” Calendars allow you to make your business appear more or less busy depending on your preference.

It actually is a pretty inventive features, but you should be very careful when using it. Firstly, you might loose some clients since the exact spot they are looking for might be “fake booked”, so they walk away. Secondly, you can fake the website, but you can’t fake a restaurant full of people when your customer arrives. And such exposé does not reflect well on you…


Funny booking conversation

This is the reason why on-line booking system for hotels is a good idea – phone conversations are sometimes unbearable 🙂

CLIENT: “Hello, I’m looking to make a reservation arriving on the 13th and departing on the 12th.”
ME: “Okay, so you are arriving on the 12th for one night?”
CLIENT: “No, in on the 13th, out on the 12th.”
ME: “So, in on July 13th and out on August 12th?”
CLIENT: “Are you having a bad day?”
ME: “What? No.”
CLIENT: “I think you might be…”
ME: “No, you’re asking me if you can check-out of your room the day before you check-in…”
CLIENT: “I can’t deal with this sort of negativity!”
ME: “Neither can I. Literally!”

by cliensfromhell.net, source