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Booking Software Review and Comparison 2021

March 05, 20217 min read

What booking software should I use for massage?” ... we first wrote this blog in 2015 and then updated it in 2016 as an answer for the MANY times people asked this question!

And now, here it is again, up-to-date with the most recent booking apps and packages for massage and wellness professionals.

It’s still a great question because bookings are integral to any massage business, and software needs to be streamlined and straightforward. There is often a significant investment of time and money made in the choice and it becomes one of the fundamental systems in a growing business, so it’s important to get it right from the beginning.

We did a survey of massage therapists in three of our massage Facebook communities to see what software or apps are currently being used for massage bookings – and we had over 150 comments and recommendations with over 20 different options of software – with a whole lot of conviction showing what you like, what you don’t, and what you would love to see.

We were blown away with the response from you all in our community – THANK YOU to everyone who shared.

And yes, things have changed in the last few years. Lots of booking software options are now far more capable and sophisticated, and could truly be known as "practice management software" because they handle so much more than mere bookings.

There were many recommendations and options, with some of the usual suspects and other new kids on the block.

So what I will do here is talk about the top FOUR choices that stood out from the pack: Cliniko, Powerdiary, Square and Splose.

Cliniko and Powerdiary were in our original review and are still strong as mature, popular, industry-standard options (here in Australia at least).

There were also a few popular free options and new kids to choose from with two that really stood out to us as a team, so we've included those as well – Square and Splose (yep, we think it sounds like a sneeze too!).

So here's some info on the TOP 4 booking options for massage and a comparison table below that compares ALL the different options so you can check for your booking requirements even more easily!

Cliniko

square 1

Pros

Cliniko is BIG. It’s used worldwide by over 10,000 people. This means it is generally a mature, robust system with good support.

It can be good for anyone from larger clinics to a solo operator, does online bookings, SMS reminders, and hooks in to MailChimp and Xero. You can attach a PDF of scanned client history. About the only thing it doesn’t do that Power Diary does, is sync effectively with Google Calendars. They have just introduced group bookings also.

I haven’t used Cliniko at work but I did trial it for this review. It’s quite easy to use, with an intuitive dashboard and lots of big buttons that tell you what to do next. I didn’t need a video tutorial to understand it.

From most of the feedback I have read, people who use it like it.

Cons

Cliniko is mature enough to have the major features sorted out, so there isn’t much to say that’s negative. I mentioned not syncing with Google Calendars (if that matters to you) and some of the people I’ve talked to said they couldn’t import some of their data from previous systems, this is a pain the neck but is a problem not restricted to Cliniko.

Price

1 Practitioner $45 per month. Up to 5 is $95 and 8 is $145.

Website

www.cliniko.com

Power Diary

power diary

Pros

Power Diary is clear, easy to use and makes sense. It has online bookings, SMS reminders, emails through MailChimp and hooks in with Xero to make accounting easier.

Your team can use and access diaries and you can control the amount of information you allow the team to see. You can also set up unlimited logins for receptionists to place bookings.

In Power Diary there seems to be at least two ways to do anything, which makes finding your way to certain tasks easier. They recently upgraded the diary viewing opting to include the week – so now you can see all appointments, across all diaries from Monday to Friday which makes booking appointments even easier.

User support is also great. I have used Power Diary for several years in my clinic and have found the support staff very helpful when we’ve needed advice.

Cons

This is a robust and organised system so there’s not much to say that’s negative. One downfall we find with Power Diary is the rostering system... they have recently updated this so that you have more flexible diary rostering options but it’s still not straightforward.

Price

One diary is $46 per month. Up to 3 is $66 and up to 9 is $102. Power Diary offers 50% off for the first 12 months.

Website

www.powerdiary.com

Square

square booking

Pros

Square has become well known as a Point-Of-Sale payment alternative to EFTPOS, and now they have disrupted the marketplace even more by introducing bookings and doing a good job of it!

The biggest advantage to "Square Appointments" is that your booking calendar and payment platform is all in one place, so there's no need to have multiple systems running if you use Square itself for your payments. Square can be used to take payment for pretty much anything, so you're covered for any retail items you might sell right through to classes or memberships etc.

If you have a Square account you can make a Square page that your clients can book on directly, or you can make custom website with square online, OR you can embed the booking widget right into your existing website.

Cons

There are still a few small things that this calendar doesn't do that the more mature calendars take in stride, for example keeping client history notes organised. I also believe clients with private health insurance would need to manually claim. And as of writing this article the form builder for the digital client form is not yet available in the Australian platform.

Price

Free for 1 therapist (SMS and email included in this) $39 for up to 5 practitioners.

Website

squareup.com/en/appointments

Splose

splose

Pros

According their very loyal and excited fans – there is A LOT going on for this company. I’ve never seen therapists get so excited by a new contender.

By the looks of it, Splose's popularity appears to be because it's an Australian-based company (looking at you Adelaide!), it's created specifically FOR MASSAGE and MYOTHERAPISTS (rather than other professionals and migrated across), and the development team is incredibly nimble so they can (and do!) make changes as therapists ask. Want a plug in? They add it. Want a report of something? They make it happen. Their "How we got started" blog post is funny and engaging.

Cons

It's new. It's got a funny name. Honestly – that’s all I can find from those that are using it because all they do is rave!

Price

$25 a month per therapist

Website

splose.com

Side-by-side Comparison

I know when we were looking at booking software, we considered customising it ourselves. This is a HUGE undertaking and possibly out of reach for most therapists. Make a list of what it is you want, what you is a much and what’s a nice to have and see what one lands with you.

No software is going to be perfect, there are always going to be updates that we want to see and sometimes, they might just be working on them, so its worth passing your feedback on. We used 5 different diaries in the 16 years I had my clinic and I was happy with the last one we chose and used it for the longest.

These are just the handful that we have looked at, there are many more available. If you have used one or more of these and you think there is something I’ve missed, we would love to hear from you, leave your comments below.

 

 

Elicia Crook

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