Updated · Jul 26, 2022
Best for: App-based booking businesses
What Is SimplyBook.me?
SimplyBook.me is a web-based booking software designed for businesses and other providers to easily arrange online and offline appointments. It lets clients or customers choose their slots via the web, app, or even social media. Meanwhile, staff can take down bookings in an onsite or phone setting, with everything syncing to a modern cloud database.
- accept payments for bookings,
- sync appointments with multiple calendars,
- manage customer profiles,
- create marketing campaigns
And much more!
The software was launched in 2009 and has grown to hundreds of thousands of users across the public and private sectors.
In this SimplyBook.me review you’ll learn all about its powerful capabilities, pricing, and how it compares to similar platforms.
I carried out SimplyBook.me reviews of each core feature, as the platform is packed with functionality. Here’s what I found:
Automated Online Bookings
The key SimplyBook.me features all revolve around booking automation as much as possible. That means when an appointment is made, be that online or onsite, the information is scheduled in without any further input.
The system already knows the available times and stores customer contact details and their appointments accordingly. Admins and customers can amend bookings, with everyone informed by SimplyBook.me notifications. These can be via email, SMS, push notifications, or in the case of staff, dashboard notifications.
The SimplyBook.me group booking feature is the perfect solution for letting customers make reservations or bookings for multiple people at the same time. When this option is on, it simply adds an extra field for users to enter the number of people in the group. Only one customer needs to register their details, and this will typically be the person paying for the group.
The SimplyBook.me calendar sync provides comprehensive two-way booking time synchronization with you and your client’s calendar. It natively supports Outlook and Google calendars.
Moreover, you can use your personal calendar to populate the available times on the system’s option. So, if you already have something scheduled, you will not be available for booking by clients.
SimplyBook.me time zone management ensures staff and clients have the precise appointment time regardless of their personal time zone.
By default, the time on the booking page is the one for the company. This can be changed under the main configuration settings.
If your clients are in different time zones, there are two settings to clear any confusion: ‘Show booking page in client time zone’ and ‘send notifications in client time zone’.
This is ideal for international clients or those that live, for example, at opposite ends of the United States.
Subscriptions and Events
The software can accommodate virtually any type of business that requires bookings. This includes subscription services, classes and seminars, and special events. The SimplyBook.me tickets feature allows for the booking of tickets and even a waiting list, so loyal customers can be first in line for the online on-sale date.
Video conferencing is on the rise, especially since the pandemic. SimplyBook.me online booking lets you offer seamless video appointments with native integrations with Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts. There are also third-party integrations for software like Zoom.
Bookings are made like normal, but this time an automated link is generated and emailed to the customer. They can access those at the time of the meeting.
SimplyBook.me Google meetings can also be arranged with an extra step. If a recipient is using Gmail, they can opt to add a Google Meet invitation to their calendar. Meet has extra features of Hangouts so is worth considering if you need real-time captions, support for up to 250 participants, and 100,000 live stream viewers.
Email and SMS Reminders
SimplyBook.me text messages are a powerful way to remind both clients and staff of new bookings, cancellations, and rescheduled appointments. Moreover, those that use the app, can get push notifications, which show an even higher rate of engagement.
Of course, you can also choose from the available SimplyBook.me reminder templates.
Staff also get notifications when logged into the web dashboard.
Custom Templates and Website Integration
SimplyBook.me has customization features that go beyond just letting you create forms or landing pages. You can create an entire booking website on its hosted platform. You can choose from 20 base layouts, all which look clean and professional.
While many have a specific industry or type of business in mind, it lets you swap out stock images and text. So, you can apply most templates to most businesses.
The user-friendly designer allows you to change colors, move blocks of content around, and even apply custom CSS if you or your staff know how to code.
Turn on the SimplyBook.me custom domain option, and you can make the site truly your own.
Alternatively, if you have an existing site, the SimplyBook.me widget produces a simple embed code for adding to any page on any site. This is also customizable, so it can fit your existing style.
The SimplyBook.me WordPress plugin offers the same functionality for WordPress-based sites via plugin, though the regular embed code can still be pasted into pages and WordPress content.
Marketing and Retention Tools
The SimplyBook.me system doesn’t just process bookings. Several powerful marketing tools help attract customers and retain them. You can take bookings from multiple channels, including social media, your own website, and Google Business page.
Facebook and Instagram are the best option because they support a ‘Book Now’ button and call to action and you can hype this up via postings, image sharing, and paid ad campaigns.
If you use the in-built booking site builder, SEO practises like meta tags can also help you rank higher in organic search results for your service.
Furthermore, SimplyBook.me custom email templates allow you to reach out to customers in a targeted manner. Set up automated confirmations and reminders, but also upsell products or prompt them to come back if they’ve been inactive for a while.
Then there’s the SimplyBook.me customer service options that allow customers to contact your own support staff to ask questions.
The special offers, coupons, and gift cards are particularly useful. You can offer discounts for bulk bookings, special add-ons and packages, and more. These offers are added to booking pages, and you can send out promotional material via email and SMS. Gift cards are purchased by existing clients to give to others as a way to attract new clients.
There is even a full-blown SimplyBook.me loyalty system. Whenever a registered client books a service, they earn points. Depending on the tiers you define, once they reach a certain number of points, they can redeem discounts and other perks.
If you’re wondering about how the SimplyBook.me payment processor works, the platform integrates several popular third-party gateways without needing any extra coding knowledge.
These vary from country to country but include the likes of:
- Asia Pay
Choose a combination of these to give clients the privilege of choice. You could receive payments via card, bank transfer, mobile, and even point of sale in-store.
The SimplyBook.me POS system lets staff key in bookings manually onsite and accept cash and gift cards as payment. It works with all web-enabled card readers, cash drawers, and receipt printers from the accepted payment processors above.
We’ve discussed several SimplyBook.me integrations already, but that’s honestly just scratching the surface.
Firstly, many native integrations work out of the box. Some of these include a SimplyBook.me plugin for the Joomla CMS, much like the WordPress solution. Then there’s the Line messenger app in Asia, Google Adwords for running ad campaigns from within the dashboard. Also, the Facebook client authentication so they can log in via Facebook rather than email.
Secondly, you can connect with Zapier to open hundreds of other useful integrations. You’ll need an existing account, however.
For example, SimplyBook.me Zoom meetings can be scheduled via Zapier. Other popular plugins include:
- MailChimp and Constant Contact for email campaigns and list building
- Salesforce for advanced CRM
- Message Desk for superior SMS management
SimplyBook.me API access lets your developers code your own integrations and apps containing the software’s features, for a truly unique experience. In essence, you can build your own booking service with the precise capabilities your customers need.
Full documentation is available on the site for those that wish to utilize the API.
Reports and Analytics
No business can succeed without being able to analyze its customer’s data and refine its strategy. SimplyBook.me analytics include transaction history, sales and tax reports, and a daily overview to see if you’re headed in the right direction. It’s one of the best analytics we’ve seen.
Search and sort the data you require and the SimplyBook.me reporting page will display insights about your most profitable services, leading campaigns, and other metrics.
Integration with Google Analytics and Facebook pixel gives you even more knowledge about your business performance.
The SimplyBook.me admin app gives you native mobile access to the admin dashboard on iOS and Android devices. It has all the features of the browser-based version and is great for keeping on top of things when on the go.
Then there’s the SimplyBook.me client app. This allows you to deploy a client mobile app with your branding on the Premium plan, based on the settings and features you’ve chosen. In short, this allows customers to make bookings and otherwise access your business without going to your website or social media pages.
- manage their appointments
- see their booking history
- redeem offers
- update their profiles
- opt-in to push notifications
The latter notifies them of upcoming appointments, but this feature is exclusive to the Android version of the client scheduling app.
The SimplyBook.me iOS app has every other option and is perfect for clients on iPhone.
Anyone can access SimplyBook.me demo account, without registering at simplydemo.secure.simplybook.me. This gives you a realistic view of the web admin dashboard, setup wizard, and all its features. You can even create fake bookings and play around to get a good feel for the software before deciding to commit.
SimplyBook.me security adheres to industry-standard encryption protocols and local laws and regulations. It is certified by the NQA, against the provisions of the ISO/IEC 27001:2013. Moreover, it can facilitate GDPR and HIPAA compliance from the Standard plan onwards.
You can achieve HIPAA via PHI restriction, idle time logouts, and compliant email and SMS notifications. You also have full CRM-style control over user data, giving you easy access to delete personal data when required.
The downside of HIPAA compliance is it interferes with your ability to use the API.
Since SimplyBook.me software is cloud-based, it utilizes network security and reputable data centers in Canada, France and Singapore, with R82 and R81 APSAD standards.
It backs up your data regularly and automatically, so you don’t have to worry about losing data in the rare occurrence of a crash or breach. Moreover, the company’s staff does not have access to your data, which is encrypted. Technical staff sign NDAs preventing them from disclosing anything about your business.
Ease of Use and Interface
It’s easy to set up a SimplyBook.me account and get started. Simply sign up for a free or paid plan and you’ll immediately gain access to the web dashboard and admin app. It takes new users straight to a setup guide with video tutorials walking you through the process.
All you are account and plan info is listed to the right, and there is a quick link to upgrade to a higher- plan.
Once set up, the regular dashboard homepage provides useful visual cards showing the percentage rise in bookings, page visits, revenue, and other metrics. You get filters for daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. You can also view upcoming bookings and recently added bookings, while an alert bell at the top draws your attention to immediate matters.
Overall, the SimplyBook.me software is very intuitive to navigate, with prominent buttons to create new bookings from any page and all the features listed down the left-hand side. These include a calendar view, marketing suite, and a management page for everything from CRM to your services. Moreover, you’ll find your payment processors, reports, and a detailed settings page.
Everything is labelled and has an icon, so you won’t be confused about which link to click. There is also a direct link to support options, so you don't need to leave the dashboard and go to the site.
SimplyBook.me support can be reached via several methods. The easiest is the 24/7 live help chat, which can be found at the bottom of any page on the website. Alternatively, you can send an email via web form on the contact page or directly to [email protected].
It has a very detailed help centre with a responsive search function that will pull up all help pages related to your query. You can browse help pages via category and there is also an FAQ. Its series of video tutorials are particularly helpful for teaching you how to get around the dashboard to complete common tasks.
SimplyBook.me help can also be requested on Facebook or Twitter.
You can spread the SimplyBook.me cost over an annual commitment or pay 17% extra each month for a pay-as-you-go plan. Either way, you can start off with a free plan that permits up to five staff users and 50 bookings per month.
There is also a 14-day free trial with most premium features and a total of 50 bookings. While there is a demo page, this is the best way to test things fully.
Here’s how all the plans shape up:
50 bookings/mo, five staff-side users, admin app access, free booking website, embeddable booking widgets.
$8.25/mo (billed annually) or $9.90
100 bookings, 15 users, client app for self-scheduling, coupons and gift cards, POS solution.
You can also get a SimplyBook.me Enterprise solution tailored to your needs but must schedule a meeting directly with sales staff to get a quote.
SimplyBook.me vs Calendly
Calendly is one of the more popular SimplyBook.me alternatives.
Where it stands out is its unlimited bookings, which start at the very first paid plan. Simply doesn’t even offer unlimited bookings on its most expensive plan. However, it permits far more staff accounts at every level.
Pricewise, Calendly has the advantage for those on a budget. Its cheapest option is $8 with an annual commitment. Its most expensive plan is just $16 compared to Simply’s $49.90. However, before writing off Simply, it has more features that may warrant a bigger price tag.
Both offer free plans, though Simply stands out with five staff users compared to only one permitted by Calendly. You also do not need a SimpleBook.me membership to demo the software.
Both platforms are neck and neck for integrations thanks to Zapier support.
Customization when it comes to forms, pages, and templates is much more advanced with SimplyBook. In fact, you can build an entire site and use a custom domain, whereas Calendly focuses more on embedding booking forms on your existing site.
Furthermore, SImplyBook.me has a comprehensive selection of analytics and associated reports. Calendly is quite restrictive when it comes to such insights, which could stifle your campaigns and business growth.
Both have iOS and Android apps for staff users. However, only Simply provides client apps.
Overall, Calendly is a solid choice for those on a budget that need a good scheduling solution without booking limitations. Yet, SimplyBook.me makes up for it with a lot more features, customization, staff accounts, and the client app feature.
To conclude this SimplyBook.me review, the booking solution is one of the most versatile of its kind.
It integrates flawlessly with your other business software, has all the tools for existing or hosted booking sites, and goes above and beyond with marketing features.
It’s let down slightly by not supporting multi-location businesses. It’s not always clear what features you need and, therefore, which plan is best. However, the free trial and demo are there to help you decide.
It’s our pick for booking-based businesses that wish to provide their service to clients over mobile apps.
What is SimplyBook.me?
SimplyBook.me software is a cloud-based online booking system for businesses to easily accept online and in-person appointments. It’s suitable for all conceivable industries that require date/time-based bookings when providing their services.
How much does SimplyBook.me cost?
SimplyBook.me pricing ranges from entirely free to $49.99/mo (billed annually) or $59.99 as a monthly pay-as-you-go plan.
SimplyBook.me free limits you to 50 appointments per month and lacks the features of the other plans explored above.
Does SimplyBook.me have an app?
Yes, there is a SimplyBook.me app for administration and customers. These are available on iOS and Android.
SimplyBook.me user reviews rate the admin app highly. It’s rated 3.7 out of 5 on the Apple Store and 3.6 out of 5 on Google Play.
A qualified journalist and longtime web content writer, Keelan has a passion for exploring information and learning new things. If he's not writing or pushing his own brands, you'll find him watching pro wrestling or trying not to rant about politics online.
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