Create an online appointment system for a fitness studio
This tutorial will show you how to set up an online appointment system for group events, such as fitness classes. You can adapt these guidelines to suit your particular needs.
If you need to schedule group excursions or corporate training session, for example, this tutorial will apply just as well. This online appointment system is known as a capacity schedule, which is used for bookings that can be made by multiple people at the same time.
If however you need an online appointment system for a single event, the event tutorial may be better suited to your requirements.
If you are planning to split the event into time slots where each slot can be booked by one person, and the slots are planned at regular intervals, such as for a parent/teacher evening, resource schedule tutorial is probably more helpful.
Signing up for a group event
A distinguishing feature of this type of schedule is that the administrator can define and add available slots with a predetermined capacity. Individuals can only make bookings for predefined time slots and they cannot make random bookings outside of the slots.
This online appointment system is suitable if:
- you have more than one event
- you need people to select an event date from a calendar
- your event has several components that can be selected separately
This tutorial demonstrates the following customizations:
- using the schedule to plan group events
- adding a location field
- collecting payment with each participation
You can view the end result on the fitness studio schedule demo.
Setting up an online appointment system in 5 easy steps
The most efficient way of setting up your schedule is with a build-and-test cycle:
Setting up a basic schedule using the “New Schedule Wizard”
Before you begin
In order to set up an online appointment system you need to have an account. It’s free and all you need is a valid email address. Log in to your account to reach the Dashboard.
Select the appropriate schedule type
Click the New Schedule in the menu on the right side of your Dashboard. You will be directed to the New Schedule Wizard to select the settings required for your online appointment system.
Your first choice will be whether you want to set up a Resource, Capacity or Service schedule. Select the Capacity schedule for this tutorial, since more than one person can attend the fitness classes.
Name your online appointment system
The title you give to your schedule in combination with your account name forms the URL that your clients will see in their browser when they use your online appointment system.
Provide a short but descriptive name for your online appointment system. You can always change it (as well as your account name) later but note that if you do so, the schedule’s web address will change accordingly and you will need to let your customers know.
Type in the schedule’s title, for example “Fitness Club”, and then click Next.
Determine capacity and session length
Decide how many participants can attend your fitness classes by selecting Multiple times: enter a value for how many users can take a slot at the same time and entering a low number in order to test the waiting list function. You can always modify this later. You can check Unlimited if you do not want to cap the number of people who can join a class.
You can then set the default class length, which for this tutorial, is 60 minutes. Select the Waiting list to offer participants the option of putting their name on a waiting list when your schedule is fully booked.
Under Calendar select Show a calendar with slots from which the user can choose, because your online appointment system will offer more than one class. Clicking Finish creates the schedule and makes it accessible online.
You now have a functional online appointment system. The next step shows you how to determine when your classes will take place and to test your schedule.
Trying out the schedule to see if it works as expected
To use your online appointment system as an administrator, click Use in the menu. This is only visible when you are logged in as administrator.
Regular users will see the same schedule but with fewer options. You can also find Use on your Dashboard.
When you enter your online appointment system for the first time it will be empty. Much of what you see here can be configured by adjusting the views and their proportions. For example, you can choose to show a day, a week or a month at a time.
Create a slot for a class
In the schedule, click on the time you would like to create a class. A New Slot popup window will appear. If this window is in an inconvenient place you can simply drag it to a more suitable place on your screen.
Enter the date and a title for the class, such as “Pilates beginner”. In the Description field you can add images and explain what the class is about. Images must be available online to be linked here (i.e. the image must start with “http”).
Alternatively, you can use the space above the schedule to give a more elaborate description. There are several formatting options under Layout for this, including changing colors and adding images.
Clicking the slot that you have created will show you an empty class without any signups. The New reservation link is useful if you intend to add participants to your class yourself, for instance if you accept appointments by phone. Note that people using your schedule will not be able to see the same functionality that you see as an administrator.
Make a booking
Click New Reservation to create a client booking. By default, the system only asks for a name, but you can configure additional details under Process. Save the booking by clicking Create Reservation.
The class now shows 1/3, which means one place is occupied out of three available places.
A green check mark indicates that this slot now has a booking. This is convenient for your customers as it lets them quickly see which classes they have signed up to attend.
Edit the class
You can make changes to a class by clicking on Edit Slot. If you change details of a class, such as the starting time, all bookings for that class will be moved to the new time.
Adjusting the configuration
You now have a basic online appointment system offering a fitness class. You can adjust the default settings to suit your requirements.
Click Configure to go to Overview for a summary of the options that you can adjust. You can also block your online appointment system or delete it entirely on this page.
Determine resource parameters
Resources contains the settings that define the general parameters of your online appointment system. The first option deals with naming the resource appropriately, which in this case is “Fitness Club”.
The terms you select to be used instead of the default names, “slot” and “booking”, will be used throughout the system – including error messages, email confirmations and help pages.
Set the capacity
You can determine how many people can join a class and if you want to create several classes with different capacities, you can enter the appropriate for each one. Entering zero will switch off limit checking entirely.
The second field determines how many places an individual can book at once for a class. Setting this value to anything other than 1 will change the user interface to include a quantity field when making an appointment.
For a fitness class, it may be suitable to leave this as 1, but if you were selling tickets to a play, for example, you would allow people to buy multiple tickets at once.
Next, you can specify how many bookings someone can make in total for all classes. You can also specify whether this total should include past bookings. When the maximum is reached your client can only change or delete existing bookings. You can specify a separate limit for the number of appointments that can take place on the same day or in the same week.
There are two check boxes that determine whether participants are allowed to make more appointments for the same class and whether the capacity information is visible to other people than yourself. Note that the system can only determine if someone is “the same person” by his or her login name.
So if you allow people to create their own login name (or if you allow anonymous bookings), then the system cannot prevent people from making a second appointment by creating a second login name.
Configure the waiting list
Overbooking refers to the waiting list. You can determine whether you want to be able to override the capacity limit immediately, or rather place participants on the list until a booking is cancelled.
A separate list is created for each class and, if the box for automatic placement is checked, the order in which people enter their names determines who will be offered a place if there is a cancellation.
If you allow multiple bookings per person and someone requests more spots than are available, they will be moved to the waiting list. Upon booking, a quantity field will appear that allows participants to enter the number of places they want to book.
Add a location field
You can specify where your classes take place by adding the address to the location field. If you have multiple classes, the interface will make room for the additional information. If you publish your calendar this information is also transferred to the appropriate location field in Outlook, iCal or Google calendars.
Set price and time
You can set the price of your event or capture credit card details (but not the 3 digit Credit Verification Value codes). The value you enter here is merely a default that you can adjust for each individual class if needed. By clicking Setup pricing, you can create advanced pricing rules.
Note that setting a price does not mean you actually have to charge people through the site. You can choose to display a price but arrange payment in another way. You can find more information about using pricing rules and payment methods under Payment.
Under Time, you can set a default length for slots and modify the user interface for time display. Rounding all times to whole days can be a good idea if you are using your online appointment system for events that take place over multiple days.
Define access control
The system also provides default settings for who can sign up for your workshop. You can, for instance, ask participants to create a login or allow anyone who can see the schedule to sign up for your fitness class. Find out more about the access options under Controlling access to your schedule.
Testing the schedule from a visitor’s point of view
Keep in mind that your online appointment system looks different to you as an administrator than it does to visitors. To see the schedule as a regular visitor, log out and return to the schedule as a regular user. A good alternative for having to switch back and forth between administrator and user modes is using a second browser. You can then use one of the browsers to log in as administrator and the other to log in as a user.
If you want to direct someone straight to a specific schedule, you can find the link to that schedule on its configuration page via Overview. Once on the schedule they can click the login link in the top right hand side of the screen.
Integrating the registration system into your website
Once you have configured your online appointment system and tested it to ensure that it behaves as expected, you can share it with your customers.
There are essentially two options to get people to your schedule:
- Create a link to your SuperSaaS appointment schedule on your own site.
- Embed the SuperSaaS page inside a frame on your own site.
You can learn more about this in the support documentation outlining how to Integrate a schedule in your website.
Your online appointment system can be displayed to users in several ways. It can be integrated into your website using an iframe, used on a mobile device or simply linked to SuperSaaS.
If you’d like to change the appearance and color scheme of your schedule, you can learn more about how to do this and other formatting options under Changing a schedule’s appearance.