What’s up, ltd. Addicts. Let’s talk about online booking. It’s a pain. There are dozens of platforms out there, and I’ve used just about all of them from MINDBODY to Acuity.
Each has its own pros and cons. Now, I’ve long dreamed of the perfect self hosted solution so that I can escape the monthly fleeq and have a more customization for the businesses that I create websites for, talking about things like hair salons, gins or music schools. Well, enter Amelia, a new ray of hope. Amelia is a WordPress plugin that allows visitors to schedule on your website, and you can select between different staff members that you add. You can even charge for appointments and accept payments online via Stripe or PayPal.
There is currently a lifetime offer at AppSumo for Amelia, and in this video, I’ll show you how the software works and give you my feedback on what I do and don’t like about the platform so you can decide if it’s a good fit for your business. Stay tuned.
Hi, I’m Dave from that LTV Life, where I review software tools with lifetime offers. If you’re new around here and you’re into that sort of thing, I recommend clicking that subscribe button down below. And don’t forget to hit that notification bell so you get notified when new reviews are posted. All right, let’s get right to it. Here is the deal page on AppSumo for Amelia.
So, as you can see here, plans start at $49. Let’s scroll down to see what we’re going to get for our money. Here are the plans and features. Now, for $49, you’re not really going to be limited by much. You’re going to be able to schedule unlimited appointments and have unlimited staff members added.
Of course, we’re getting lifetime access to this plug in. I didn’t mention that, but you’ll have lifetime access and you’ll get all future updates, so that’s good to know. Now, with each additional code that you purchase, really what you’re going to get is the ability to install it on three more websites until you hit five codes, which unlocks the Holy Grail unlimited domains. So if you’re an agency, you might want to consider this. If you’re building websites for clients, for just about everybody else, we’re going to be fine with a single $49 code.
All right, so let’s go ahead and switch over to Amelia’s back edd and see what it looks like to set up. All right, I’m in the back end of a demo WordPress installation where I already have Amelia installed and ready to go. I’m looking at the dashboard. This is where I can get a bird’s eye view of what’s going on with my business. I can see things like how many appointments are booked, the percentage load.
This is going to be how many appointments are booked based on your capacity. So let’s say you have the availability to schedule 40 appointments a week, and you’ve only got 20 appointments scheduled this would say 50% load. It just gives you an idea of how much more sales you can generate. And you can also see what revenue you have generated right here. By default, you’re going to see the current week that’s upcoming, so it would say something like September 1 through the 7th.
Up here, however, you can just click on this little calendar and choose any time frame that you like. It’d be nice if there were actually some presets, so I could just see previous month, previous year, things like that. However, that’s not available. So if you want to see longer periods of time, it’s definitely going to be so, like, if I wanted to look at all of one year, I’d have to go back to January and click and then scroll all the way over. So that is a little bit tedious.
It’d be nice if those presets were built in. I do like that there is some shortcuts here so that I can get some more information. If oh percentage load is pretty high, I can see which employees are the most busy and maybe try to get them to open up some more availability or see which ones are underperforming and talk to them about how they could maybe improve their metrics. Down here, I can see either based on employee or service, what appointments are most popular, so who is booking the most appointments and what type of appointments are being booked. I can also see how much income they’re generating, the number of hours that they are booking, and as well as the percentage load.
That’s the same metric we talked about up here. Now, if we can also see the upcoming appointments right here. And I like this feature at the bottom, although it does take up a lot of the UI. This is interest divided by conversionai. So this is essentially how many people go to book an appointment versus actually complete the checkout.
So that’s a cool metric that they built in. And you can sort by employee or service here as well. Then over on this side, we can see what percentage of customers are new versus returning customers. Definitely important for any business to know that. Now, I will say this is all of the reporting that is available inside of Amelia.
I really wish there was some deeper reporting. I used this service over here, MINDBODY, for about ten years. I ran a music school. We taught music lessons, and we paid $129 a month for Mind Body. However, it had really, really good reporting that helped with our financials as well as just keeping an eye on what was working with the business.
So it would be nice to see that sort of reporting built into Amelia. However, a $49.01 time fee versus $129 monthly fee is a pretty big difference. So let’s head back to Amelia and go ahead and figure out how to set this thing up. The first thing you’re going to want to do is add some employees because you can’t schedule appointments if you don’t have any employees to run the appointments. So go over here to the upper right hand corner and choose Add Employee and you’ll just go ahead and give them a name.
I’ll go ahead and add myself here and I’ll add my email address. Now you’re going to have to tie this to a WordPress user, so you can either select an existing user or create a new one right from this screen. So I’m going to go ahead and type in my name. Now this is interesting to me because it’s not pulling up my user account. If I go over here to users, you can see that I actually have a user account and my name is not in here.
So let’s see if I need to update that. That might be what the problem is. I haven’t entered my name. So I’ll add that and let’s save that and see if it catches inside of Amelia now. All right, so I’m going to go back to Amelia after that has been updated, go over to Employees, hit Add New and let’s see if it actually pulled it in there.
So we’ll go. Dave Swift I did have the same email address, so you think it would be smart enough to do that. Let’s see. It’s not letting me do it there. So I don’t know if it’s not allowed to grab an administrator or what it is, but I’ll just hit Create New and I’ll add a phone number here and I can add some notes here if I want to mention maybe days off that the person I’ve hired as requested or things like that.
First I’m going to go ahead and hit Save here. So you can see I’ve got my employee added right here. Now I’m going to go ahead and click back on that. You’re you’ll be able to customize the settings for the employee. You can see the assigned services.
These are the appointment types that I will be available for. Now we don’t have any appointment types yet, so we’ll be adding that in a little bit. I can set my work hours here by default. It’s set to work nine to five, although it does use this 24 hours calendar, which I don’t really prefer. I think there is a way to change that.
We’ll see in the settings in a little bit here. Worth noting. You can easily add two work periods on the same day. All I have to do is click on this little plus button. I can either add a new work period or add a break.
So let’s say I just wanted to say add a break from maybe noon to one for something like lunch. I’d easily be able to do that. I’ll hit Save here and you can see that it’s got a break where I’m unavailable. And let’s say I wanted to come back and work a night shift on that same day. I could easily add that as well.
I’ll leave this checked as work hours, and maybe I’ll come back and work from 18 to 24. Now, I’m going to be awful tired doing that, but you can see that it’s very easy to customize the work hours to be specific to whatever you need. Now, I could also apply this all day. So I hit this and all of a sudden now I’m working these hours seven days a week. Let’s say I’m not available to work on Wednesdays.
Well, then I could easily just hit the minus button and that goes away. So really nice user interface here. Very customizable. I like that a lot. Days off, this would be if I wanted to get, let’s say, a holiday or my birthday, I want to take that off.
I tell my boss, hey, I can’t work on this day every single year. I could actually go ahead and set that up either to be a once off day like I’m going on vacation, or a repeatable holiday that I’m just not available to work. So that’s very easy to do. You just hit that button, you can give it a title, choose the date, and then hit the checkbox whether you want it to repeat yearly. Now we have this thing called special days.
Now, Special days are if you need to modify your working availability. So let’s say you need to have a half day. You could easily add that in as a special day where on a particular date you’re only available to work for a certain period of time. So I think this is actually kind of a confusing name, but a really nice way to handle this problem in terms of you don’t have to modify the work hours, the assigned hours over here for that particular day and then remember to change it back or something like that. It’s a really nice feature and a pretty thoughtful, easy way to handle that situation.
All right, so now that I’ve got myself added as an employee, let’s go ahead and start to schedule out some appointments. So the next thing I’m going to want to do is add some services here. And I ran a music school for over ten years, so I think I’m going to set this up as though I am still running a music school. So the first thing I’m going to do is add a category, and in this case, I’m going to call this Guitar lessons. Now, I’d probably want to add a category for each type of service that I offer.
So if I’m running a hair salon, maybe it would be for haircuts or coloring, things like that. If I’m running a music school, it’s going to be things like guitar lessons, drum lessons, voice lessons. Looks like I hit the wrong button here. Let me go ahead and type that again. Guitar lessons and hit return.
I actually added a second category. So let’s go ahead and edd this one as drum lessons. You get the idea. Now inside of those categories, I need to actually add services. So to do that, I need to close out that little notification.
Hit this blue button up here that says Add Service. Now this might be something like 60 Minutes Guitar Lesson and I’ll add this to the guitar lesson category. It’s got a duration of, of course, 1 hour and I’ll charge $75 for this. Now this buffer time before and buffer time after. This is just like it sounds.
If you require a little bit of time, let’s say you’re a hairstylist and you need a few minutes to clean up your station before you take your next appointment, well, you’d want to set up a buffer time. Now ideally this would work down to the minute. In my opinion, you should be able to set a five minute buffer or a ten minute buffer. However, unfortunately, Amelia is only allowing us to schedule it in half hour increments, which is just not finite. Eight enough for me.
I’m going to look into settings a little bit and see if there’s a way to update that. But out of the box it looks like 30 minutes increments, which would be far too much buffer time for just about any service based business that I can think of. So I’m going to leave that off for now. Now down here it says minimum capacity as well as maximum capacity. So this would be if you want to have more than one person at your appointment.
Let’s say you allow for group guitar lessons, you could have two people schedule at the exact same time with the same instructor. And it says bring anyone with you option, which would allow people to add an additional person to your appointment when that is added. So that only shows up when I have more than one as the maximum capacity. You can see also here that the price will multiply by the number of people. So this is a nice feature.
If I’m charging for $75 for an hour of guitar lesson, I don’t really care if the person wants to come in with like I’ve had fathers and sons take guitar lessons before, that’s just fine. I’m not going to charge them more. They’re utilizing the instructors time in the same way. So I probably leave that off personally, although that’s up to your individual business. Show service on site.
Now, if I bring this back down to one, you can see this option shows up regardless and show service on site means this appointment is going to be available to be booked publicly. So you might have some appointments which you only do on the back end that are only available for people who book maybe in person or over the phone. So if that is the case, you toggle this off, and if it is not, you can leave it on and it will show up on your booking website. Now, your employees are down here. This is who you choose, can actually perform the appointment.
So I’m going to go ahead and choose myself. You can see that it would just add additional employees if you had more than one, in this case, guitar instructor, they would show up down here. And I can give this a description. This will show up on the front end. All right, so I’ve added a description.
I’ll go ahead and hit save. All right, as you can see, I’ve got my first service added to the guitar lesson category. Now I’d like to add some additional services to that category. Of course, I can go through the process again and just hit add service and continue until I’ve got all of my services added. However, there is a nice duplication functionality here, so I can actually click on the appointment that I already have and then add this little button right here in the corner.
It asks me to confirm that I’d like to duplicate. And there we go. Now I’ve got a new service type. Now, I can see this working for multiple industries. Let’s say I’m a massage therapist, and I offer 60 minutes massages or 45 minutes massages.
It’d be very easy to duplicate the appointment types and just adjust the essentials. So I’ll do that here. Let’s say this is called a 45 minutes guitar lesson and the duration. Now, I don’t have that finite increment, so that is a little bit of a problem for me. So I’ll have to go into the settings next and see if there’s a way to change that increment.
The price over here, let’s give them a little bit of a break, charge them $65. The capacity can stay the same. And I’ll just update my description here a little bit. I’ll hit save, and you can see I’ve got a second appointment type added here. Now, maybe I want to change these to be bass guitar lessons.
Well, I could actually duplicate the entire category over here just by hitting that duplicate button. And I would just go through each individual appointment and add the word bass instead of guitar. So very easy to add multiple service types and even to duplicate categories. Now let’s find out about those booking increments, because that’s definitely bothering me about this. So I’m going to go down to the settings here and see if there’s a way to change that.
So here are the settings. I’m going to go over here where it says general. And you can see the very first option is the default timeslot step. This is what I wanted. All right, great.
So here I can actually add in everything from one to 30, actually over an hour increment. So let’s say I wanted to make the default time slot step be 15 minutes. Then I can hit save. Now, if I go into my appointments over here, actually not my appointments, but my services over here. I should now be able to change both the duration.
So this will now be a 45 minutes lesson as well as my buffer time. I could have a 15 minutes buffer before or after. Now, I guess the only downside I see to this is you might want to have a five minute buffer time, but still keep those 15 minutes increments for your appointments. There’s no way to do that. So if I were to change this to be five minute increments, I’m going to see a bajillion different options here because it’ll be every five minutes, not a bajillion, but it would be 20 different increments for each lesson.
So a little bit of a UI sticking point. There just not enough customization. So really you’d have to have this just be something you could type in a number that’d be the ideal way for them to fix this. All right, so let’s go ahead and save that. Now, I’ve got the proper duration added here.
I’ve got a price added for each one. You can see they get a little bit better value if they do the full hour. All right, so let’s go ahead and move to the next section. So here we are inside of the customers section. Now, obviously, when people register on your website, they can be added as customers inside of Amelia.
However, if they’re not already on your website, let’s say you’re taking a phone call or maybe booking an appointment in person, you’re going to want to add the customer right here inside of this dashboard. In the back end, you’ll hit Add Customer. Up here, you’ll enter their first, last name and their email address. Everything else is optional. And then hit the save button.
Let me go ahead and fill this out. Now, I will add that this is something I’ve seen people complain about in the apps, email comments that you have to tie this to a WordPress user on your website. To me, that makes total sense. Of course it’s going to be a WordPress user on your website. This is a WordPress.
Plugin. If I wanted to integrate with my email autoresponder, I’d be doing that through something like WP Fusion. And then having them be WordPress users is what I want anyway. But I understand the security concerns. People don’t necessarily want a lot of WordPress users on their website, especially if they’re not very comfortable with WordPress.
So in that case, this plugin just might not be for you. However, for me, it’s just fine. I don’t mind having WordPress users on my site. I’ll hit Create new here and then go ahead and hit Save. And I should see my customer show up over here in just a second.
All right, you can see I’ve got my first customer added here. This is Rebel Swift. He is my five year old son, and I want to get him set up with a guitar lesson. Now, I want to point out that there’s this little blue plus button in the right hand corner, which I can click to create a new appointment. However, a little bit of a UI bug, in my opinion.
Maybe it’s intentional, but it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. This button shows up anywhere inside of Amelia, so if I’m on any of these pages, I will see that same button. So if I go to the dashboard and I click it, it allows me to add a new appointment or to create a new customer. And it functions very similar to this, depending on what screen I’m on here. It just adds a new appointment and it doesn’t let me add a new customer.
Although I can add a new customer by clicking a customer here and hit Create New. But it’s just weird to me that this button, which is universal, has a different functionality. So when I’m in the customer section and I hit the plus button, it only lets me add a new customer, not schedule an appointment. I like the idea of having this button here that lets me, no matter where I am, book an appointment. I get a phone call, I can click that button to book an appointment.
It doesn’t work that way. And that’s, in my opinion, definitely how it should work because we already have the buttons up here to add a new customer. So a little bit of a gripe there. However, definitely not the end of the world and probably something they could fix if enough people complain about it. So let’s go ahead and book Rebel his first guitar lesson.
I’m going to go over to the appointments section and just click the new appointment button, and let’s go ahead and choose the customer. Now, I’ve only got one. I’ll add Rebel Swift here. If I wanted to add a new customer, it will just pop open that new customer field, and then once I save it, it would just drop me right back into the new appointment tab here. So that’s really nice.
Now you can see that I’ve got Rebel added. I’m going to choose the guitar lesson category. Then it will show me the different appointments that are available and the teachers available, as well as choosing a date and time. So I will choose 1015 here, notify the customers. This will send them an email to let them know that the appointment isn’t booked.
So before we confirm, let’s go up here to where it says Extras. This is where you could edd in additional services that might be upsells to the primary service. So for something like a guitar lesson, maybe I could record the lesson for you and you could leave with a recording of everything that you just learned for an additional $15. So that is definitely a cool section to be able to add a little bit of more revenue to your business. I know a lot of services have those types of upsells that they already include.
So it is an option inside of Amelia. All right, so let’s go ahead and save this appointment. And it should show up on my calendar. So it says success appointment has been saved. However, if I look at the appointment this year, it says there’s no results.
Well, that’s because I scheduled it for later in the month, and we’re looking at only September 1 through September 7. So let’s go ahead and broaden that category here for the entire month. And here you go. You can see Rebel’s appointment is scheduled and approved. Now, if I did need to make changes to the appointment, let’s say Rebel called in and said I can’t make it that day, I could click the edit button right here and go ahead and either reschedule the appointment or just cancel it altogether.
All right, I know you’re excited to see what this looks like on the front end so that your customers can book appointments on their own. However, we’re not quite ready to go there yet. I’m in the settings option over here at the very bottom of the sidebar, and we’re going to set up a few more things so that our booking form is just right. I’m going to go under General Settings and we’ll walk through this together. We’ve already seen this a little bit when we set up that default slot step right here, which was 15 minutes is what I changed it to.
The default status for appointments is set to approved. So that means that if you have the availability open in your schedule, someone schedules an appointment, it’s assumed that you’ll be there. However, if you want to approve things on a case by case basis, you can change that to pending. That might be good. If you have low volume and you just want to keep things grouped together a little bit tighter in your schedule, you could set that to pending.
I’m going to leave it to approved for now. Some other interesting options here. You can set the minimum time required before booking. So let’s say I want to make sure that I’ve got, I don’t know, a full day notice before someone books an appointment. Then the minimum time required before canceling.
Maybe I want a similar amount of time on a full day. If you’re going to cancel on me, let me know at least a day in advance. I think that’s just coming courtesy. Then the period available for booking in advance. Maybe you don’t want to schedule appointments out more than, I don’t know, let’s say 60 days so that you can adjust your schedule as need be.
And the rest of these fields are primarily about onboarding your client. It’s going to be things like setting a mandatory phone number requiring an email address, which is the default option, whether you want to show the booking slots in the client’s time zone. So this really only comes into play if you’re doing things that are virtual and not in store, like we’ve primarily been focusing on for this video. And then whether you want to add a add to calendar button when people opt in so that they can easily add the appointment time to their calendar. How many items you show per page is here.
Kind of some basic options. Important down here at the bottom if you have a URL you want to redirect to after they book an appointment, you can set that up as well. Probably a thank you page would be the ideal thing here. All right, that’s it for the general settings in the working hours and days off. This is a very similar user interface to what we saw when we set up hours for an employee.
However, this is what is available to your employees. So if you say we’re closed on Christmas, then your employees will not be able to schedule appointments on that day. As well as if you would just let’s say your business closes at 05:00, they will not be able to book out past that time. So that is important to note appointments down here. Use these settings to manage the front end booking appointments.
So this is very simple. Allow booking above maximum capacity and up allow booking below minimum capacity. This would be for your front desk staff that they would be able to override those default settings labels. This is a really important feature. If you’re say a music school or a salon, you’re probably not going to want to call your employees employees.
You’ll call them something like teachers or stylists or masseuse. You get the idea here. So I’m going to go ahead and change this to be a little bit more practical. Let’s say lesson and lessons as these services. And now when we view our appointments, it’ll make a lot more sense in the context of a music school then for company.
This is where you’ll go ahead and add your company’s information, your business name, your address, your website and your phone number. I would definitely recommend filling that out before enabling online booking payments. Who doesn’t love to get paid? Let’s go ahead and see what payment settings are available to us now. Right out of the box you can see that it is configured to accept a lot of different currencies.
I’m going to leave it on the US dollar as I am in the US. You can also highly configure the way the currency is displayed. Whether you use the symbol before before with a space, after after with a space. You can choose that right here and the price separator. Whether you use the comma dot system like we do in the US or perhaps something else, there are other options available to you.
You can also change how many decimal place points there are. By default it is set to two. And here is the good stuff. This. Is where we choose how people are actually paying us.
There is onsite as an option. So that would be people coming to you and giving you money, or I suppose you could come to them and receive money in that way. However, I think most people are probably going to be interested in the online payments side of things, and for that we can choose between WooCommerce, PayPal, or Stripe. Now, traditionally, people that use WooCommerce often accept payments through PayPal or Stripe. So that is definitely an option to set up.
If you already have, let’s say, WooCommerce enabled on your site, you might want to just turn this on and go from there. However, if you don’t want to use WooCommerce, you can easily add in PayPal and then you’d enter in your credentials right here. Or you’d add in Stripe and enter your credentials right here. In fact, you can let people choose between the two. I will notice that once I turn on WooCommerce here, I am not able to use PayPal and Stripe at the same time.
That just makes sense because you’d probably do that through WooCommerce. But just as a note, if you run into that issue, let’s say you turn this on and you’re like, well, I also want to add PayPal through this, it’s not going to work. That is why all right. The other option I kind of jumped over here is this option for coupons. You can add coupons so that maybe you offer a first time visit at a discount and we’ll look at that in a little bit here, but that’s pretty much it for your payment settings.
I’m going to go ahead and leave it as on site for now. I’m not going to go through the process of setting up an online payment. But if you’ve ever done this before, it’s very simple. You just paste in some information over here from PayPal and you’ll be good to go. Moving on, let’s talk about notifications.
Now before we get into the settings for notifications, that’s actually an option over here on the sidebar, if I click on notifications, I can see all of the messages that will go out to my customers or to my employees when an appointment is booked. So up here, I currently have it selected as two customers and I can see that they’ll get an email when an appointment is approved, pending, rejected, canceled, rescheduled, a reminder email that it’s coming up, a follow up email to say, hey, how did it go? And then you can also send a birthday email to wish them happy birthday. The same options go for events. We’ve not talked about events yet, but that is there.
And you can easily customize this and using their dynamic fields, customize it to be appropriate to your customer so that it’s nice and personalized. Now, we can also send test emails here. Now, in addition to sending email notifications, we can also send SMS notifications but it does require signing up for an Amelia SMS package. This is going to be an additional fee, of course, to sign up, we’re just going to click the little button here at the bottom which says sign up. Now be careful because this kind of tricked me at first.
You notice this changes to a sign up form, but they’re still just asking for the same fields. So you can see that toggle sign in versus sign up, you might think I’m hitting it, nothing’s happening, but really it’s changing to the sign up form. I’m going to go ahead and sign up for this service right now. All right, so now I’ve got my own Amelia SMS package. You can see the pricing inside of the US is going to update here in a second.
So using at and T, a very common wireless provider, it looks like a message is going to cost me just over a penny per message. So I’m not really sure how that compares to the rest of the marketplace, but one penny for an SMS message doesn’t sound too expensive to me. Now of course they cannot be charging you in one penny increments. So you do need to buy in bulk here. So what you do is you click on recharge your balance up here and you can choose to buy in 1020 or $50 increments.
If none of those prices suit you, you can choose a custom option right here where you can go buy the dollar. Now they are going to charge you the PayPal processing fee of 2.9 cents plus 30. So if I were to buy a $20 Recharge, it would actually end up costing me twenty point eighty eight cents. All right, so not terribly expensive in my opinion, because that’s going to get me a heck of a lot of text messages. Although I like I said before, I’m not really sure how that compares to the rest of the industry.
Inside of this I can see my payment history, my user profile, so I could change my password, I could see the SMS history right here. And of course, finally I could customize the actual messages that are going out over here. You can see they’re very similar to the email options in terms of approved, pending, rejected, you get the birthday greeting and all of that jazz. All right, so those are your notifications. Now if we go back over to the settings, there are some actual notification settings that we can go ahead and tweak a little bit further.
This is going to be related to how the emails get sent out. So whether you’re using PHP mail or a different SMTP provider or even something like Mill Gun is all built in right here where you just add in your API keys to be able to send out those transactional emails. I would like to see Amazon Ses, although you could just set that up as an SMTP client as well, all right, let’s talk about Google Calendar here. We only have a few settings left to go through. Now, this is where you’re going to set up Amelia to be able to talk to your employees Google Calendar.
So this could be really helpful. If your employees are using Google Calendar, you would go through and set up a client ID in a secret right here. If you’ve ever done something like set up Google Maps with a website, this is probably a pretty familiar process. They do have a really nice and extensive help doc here with annotated screenshots to show you exactly what to do. Now, don’t get overwhelmed.
This looks like it’s really long, but it’s actually not very hard to do. This is just a really thorough explanation for how to get through each one of the screens. All in all, this will probably take you five minutes or so to get set up. And once you are done, what will happen is your employees can add their own Google Calendar links into their profile, and anytime an appointment is booked on Amelia, it will block off that time inside of their appointments. Now, I have heard some griping about this on the Internet that it is not working in the fashion that people see fit.
I believe that is because of this option down here where it says Google Calendar busy slots. That means that if the appointment is booked during a time where there’s a conflicting appointment, it will actually be available inside of Amelia because the Google event has to be marked as busy for it to override the current booking availability in Amelia. If that’s confusing for you, just know that the limitations are certainly needing to be a bit improved inside of Google Calendar to make it a smooth and seamless experience for people who are not extremely techy that just expect, oh, I marked something unavailable in my Google Calendar, it won’t be available in Amelia. It doesn’t quite work that way yet. I will say that it would be nice if there were the option to use another service outside of Google.
It’s a little limiting to only have Google as the options. I think a lot of people have iPhones, and they’re using the built in calendar on that. So you can’t expect every one of your staff members to use Google Calendar. I think that is maybe a little bit overreaching, especially if you’re dealing with contractors. So let’s say a lot of times hair salons, they don’t have them as employees.
They’re literally renting the chair from the hair salon. Well, they’re going to use whatever tech they want. They’re not necessarily issued a company email and given a Google Calendar, so some more flexibility would be a welcome addition here inside of Amelia. And I think that’s definitely one of the downfalls. That and reporting are the two things that I’d like to see beefed up inside of Amelia.
All right, then, finally, let’s look at the role settings here, and this just takes a look at the different permissions that are available for your employees or customers when a new role is created. So employees, can they edit their own stuff? Can they take days off on their own? Or do they need to talk to an administrator to have that done for them? Can they manage their own appointments, can they manage their own events, that kind of stuff.
Then over here where it says customer, this allows you to decide whether they’re automatically created as a new customer inside of Amelia. They can check to make sure there’s no duplicate emails when booking, which is important because sometimes you’ll have a parent booking for this could happen. I’m talking about a music school, but it could certainly happen at a hair salon or a massage parlor where you’re booking multiple appointments under different people’s names, but it’s all coming back to one email address. I think it’s probably wise to leave that off because a lot of people will book multiple people under the same for family members, be booking under the same name, and then allow customers to reschedule their own appointments. That is up to you whether you’d like to do that.
That can get both helpful and dangerous, all in the same case. You can probably imagine the situations that might arise from that. All right, we’ve gone through all of the settings. We’ve just got a few options before we actually begin to book appointments. I’m going to go over here to where it says Finance.
This is where we can see incoming payments. But more importantly for right now, I want to go ahead and edd a coupon. So I’m going to go over here where it says coupons, add a new coupon. And I’ll say something like half off is the code and it’ll be a 50% discount. Or I could do a dollar amount discount, one or the other usage limit.
Let’s say I only want this to be used one time. I have that option. The maximum usage per customer I can set to be unlimited or one. So this is interesting because the usage limit will define how many coupons there are for use. But the maximum usage per customer is also only available if I add the option.
So if I set two here, I could say that each customer could use it two times. So what I’d like to have here is actually unlimited usage, which would be zero. But then to set the ability to have each customer use only one time, I think that would be a little bit more common use place. But what I probably do is just add a ridiculous number here and then just set this to be one. So if you’re getting more than 100,000 bookings, I think life will be okay.
Then I could define only what services this is available to you. I do have the option to add all services or I could choose on a case by case basis if I wanted to turn some off. All right, so I’ve got everything set up here for a half off coupon. I’m getting 50% discount. Each customer can only use this th once.
There are some notifications options up here. We’re just going to leave that as is for now, and I’m going to go ahead and hit save. And you can see I’ve now got my half off coupon added. It would be nice if there was some way to set an expiration date for these. That’s the only real added feature I’d like to see.
Maybe you want to run a Labor Day sale or back to school sale or something like that. It would be nice to have that automatically expire, but the other option is just to go in there and delete it after a certain period of time. Let’s move ahead and talk about events here. Just like appointments, but events are meant for multiple people by default. I could give the event a name, then you set the date and time where you’d like the event to take place.
Right now I’ve got this set for September 9 from two to 04:00 p.m.. Although it’s worth noting that you could set this to be a multiple day event if you like. We could also set this to be reoccurring if we wanted to repeat every month or every week. Let’s say you always have an open house once per month. You could set that up very easily here, and the booking can either open immediately, or if you have a set enrollment date that you want to make available, you can do that.
And similarly with the closing, you can have it just be available until the event starts, or you can have it close on a certain day. So there’s some scarcity built in for people to enroll. Then we can set the price for the event, the maximum number of attendees that you allow, and the location for where the event will take place. You can also assign staff or tag the event right here so that it’s easy for people to search and find. Customization options for events are just to add an event gallery, maybe have a color that shows up on the calendar, and whether or not you want this event to show up on your booking website or not, amelia does have the option to edd multiple locations.
So if you are a business owner that has multiple locations, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to set up a different installation of Amelia for each individual location. You can simply add locations here on a case by case basis, add the separate phone number in the description, and then people as their scheduling will be able to choose which location they want to schedule their appointments at. All right, it’s finally time. Let’s go ahead and build our front end booking adpage here. I’m in WordPress.
I’m going to go up to Pages and hit Add New. And from here, what I’m going to do is go ahead and give this a title of schedule an appointment, and then I’ll maybe give this a headline on the page. Let’s say something like, choose your appointment time. And now down here, I’m going to add a new block. And to do that, I’ll hit Return and then hit this little plus button.
You’re going to see if I scroll down a little bit. I’ve got this Amelia option right here, and I can choose to add a booking view, a search view, a catalog view, or an events view. Now I’m going to just add a booking view right here. And now if I go ahead and publish this, I can view the page and we can see the Amelia booker loaded up right here where I can choose the type of lesson that I want. I’ll hit continue.
It shows me the calendar so that I can pick a date and time. Let’s choose that 19th, and I’ll choose this period right here, and I’ll hit Continue. And then I would just go through enter my information to add my new customer. I can add a coupon right here and hit Confirm. So you go ahead and book my time.
It says, thank you, your booking is complete. I can choose to add it to my calendar. Now, remember, this is for your end user. So I was talking about only having a few calendar integrations. Well, for the end user, you can have them get the little reminder in anything you’d like.
Hit Add to Calendar, and it’s just going to download. It’s going to pop it open inside of my Google Calendar right over here. You might be wondering what the other widgets that were available to s looked like. Let’s go ahead and edit the page here and take a look. So I’m actually just going to trash this one, and we’ll add in a new block.
You know what? We really don’t even need this text here. I think it does a good enough job of explaining what’s going on. I’m going to hit Amelia right here. Actually, that just brought me back to what it was, probably because it’s a recently used option.
I’ll hit the plus button, and I will choose Amelia. We saw the booking view. Let’s see the search view, and I’ll hit Update, and let’s go ahead and view this page. Now, so here is the search widget. This allows you to search for a particular type of appointment.
Now, the first thing you do need to do is choose a date, which is over here. Now, this isn’t my favorite part of the user interface, to be totally honest. This does not look like it’s a calendar, right? So I think this icon should look more like a calendar to make it clear to people they need to click there to schedule or to choose a date first, and then once I’m there, I could sort by the different options that are available. So in this case, maybe I’d search for like 60 Minutes appointments and then I’d see only the 60 Minutes appointments that are available and I could go ahead and book from there.
Now, the process from here on will be very similar to what we’ve already seen. I’ll choose a time. It does pop up this nice little modal. I actually prefer this over the previous screen, what we saw, where I could register and go ahead and confirm my appointment. Let’s go ahead and add the last short code that is available here.
And I’m going to go into catalog view by going to Amelia, and we’ll choose catalog view. Now there is a way to display events. So far, we’ve only been looking at appointments and this video has been primarily focused on appointments. So I’m going to wrap up the front end here with the Catalog View. I’ll hit updates and let’s go ahead and view this page and see what the catalog interface looks like.
And here we’re just going to see the different categories. So you can imagine if I had drum lessons and bass lessons over here, they would be available as well. And you can kind of drill down to get the type of appointment that you want. I really like this interface. I think this one is really usable and would work for a lot of businesses that people aren’t necessarily looking for a specific day and time, but they more just want to find, oh, I need to get a massage.
I’m looking for a Swedish massage and they can kind of drizzle down from there. I’d like a 60 Minutes Swedish massage and they can understand what that looks like from here. They’re given this booking page. With this calendar, I can choose the date and time. I’m not a big fan of these default colors, and we’ll look at how to change these in a little bit.
It would be nice, actually, if there was the same process from page to page or from short code to short code. In terms of how things are booked. We didn’t look at it, but you can very easily add in your own icon for this. So by default, it kind of uses the first letter of each one. So it says six mg for 60 Minutes guitar.
Definitely not where I would leave it if I was setting it up for a real business. You might be wondering what this looks like on a mobile phone and short of screen capturing my phone. To display it for you, I will just use the Chrome emulator where you can see that it’s very usable and looks quite good on a mobile phone. So this is the category selection where I can choose whether I want to have a 45 Minutes guitar lesson or a 60 Minutes guitar lesson. I’ll see the description of that item and I can go ahead, choose my date and time and check out.
So very, very usable. That was a little bit of a weird scroll that it just did for me there. Very usable. It would be nicer maybe if this was more of a full frame to not have me scroll quite as much. So there’s probably a little bit more past the fold than I would like.
It would be nice if this could be all done kind of without requiring the user to go up and down. However, all of these platforms are pretty terrible for online booking. So on mobile, this is definitely not bad. It’s definitely usable and something that will, I think, convert decently. So you might be wondering, how do I get rid of that blue gradient?
Or I want to choose my own brand’s colors. Blue doesn’t work with my website and I totally get that. Well, I’m over here in Amelia and just under customize, the second to last option. And this is where you can go ahead and set your own brand colors. So maybe you have a custom color that is, let’s say, oh, I don’t know, how about this red color?
I’ll choose that. Hit OK. You can see that changed my button color, the primary gradient, maybe. I don’t want to have that. Quite so colorful.
I’ll choose gray and maybe black right here and see what that looks like. All right, cool. I’m already liking that a little bit more. I’d probably choose two colors that are a bit closer, just so it’s not so dramatic. Of course, if you don’t want to have a gradient at all, you could just choose the same color twice and that would work.
We can change the text color, which will be this color right here, and then you can change the text color on background, which is right here. So maybe I want to have a white background with black text for everything. I would just go ahead and change that right here and it’s a little bit more of a plain vanilla booking screen. I can also change the font either between latto and roboto. A little bit limiting here in terms of not being able to match, say, your brand’s font colors.
But these are very easy to read fonts, so I do understand the thinking there. And you can also customize the fields that are displayed. So, as an example, I have a client that does ultrasound, so they have online booking and they want to know the due date for whoever they schedule an appointment with. So I would do something like this for them. I’d hit add custom field and we can choose between these six different types of fields for them.
Probably a text box would be just fine, and I’d say due date and then they’d be able to enter in the due date. And we could say only display this on certain services as well. And the person would be able to enter their due date, and that information would show up on the back end inside of the customer’s information when they schedule an appointment. So pretty easy to set up your custom fields there. So now that you’ve seen how every feature inside of Amelia works, you should have a pretty good idea of whether or not it’s right for your business.
Personally, I’m very impressed with Amelia. I love the clean and fast UI. I think it’s going to be great to train employees on managing the back end. Should be no problem there at all. And most importantly, it’s going to be very easy for customers to book appointments on the front end, and really, that’s what it’s all about, right?
So that’s not to say that Amelia is the platform of my dreams. There are definitely some things that I’d like to see improved. Number one, reporting. There isn’t any. The dashboard is great, the statistics there are fine, and you can export those to CSVs, but give me some PDF reports, ways to just lock in those reports month to month.
That seems like a really key feature that is missing. Second of all, I’d love to see some extra calendar integration so that employees who are using Google Cloud or Microsoft Office have the ability to sync up their calendars as well. And finally, I’d love to see the ability to add resources so that we could do things like instrument rentals or bike rentals, if you’re doing that sort of thing. That would make Amelia even more flexible. All that said, it’s still a great platform, and truthfully, I’m going to be stacking five of this one, so I’m going to give this one an 8.9 out of ten.
It’s a solid offer, and if you do any sort of online booking, you’ll probably be fairly happy with Amelia, and it’ll definitely cut down on those monthly expenses. If you’ve enjoyed this video and it’s been helpful to you, and you do decide to go on to make a purchase, I really appreciate it if you use the link in the description that is, the referral link for this channel, which kicks us back a little bit of dollars, helps us to invest the time and energy into making these thorough reviews. If you have any questions, make sure you leave them down in the comments. I try to get back to each and every one of you, and if you like the video, be sure to click that button. It certainly helps out with our engagement here on YouTube, helps the channel grow.
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