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How to create an appointment schedule for a language school

In this tutorial we set up an appointment schedule for language lessons. A lesson requires the availability of a teacher, and the teacher’s availability is determined by another schedule. This is an example of a “service schedule” connected to a “resource schedule”.

If you require group events like classes, the capacity schedule tutorial would be a better option. If you are planning to schedule only one person’s time, you can still use the service schedule as a standalone or you could have a look at the resource schedule tutorial.

Note that there are a few differences between a resource schedule and a service schedule. While the resource schedule allows repeating appointments and arbitrary appointment durations, the service schedule enables services to take into account the availability of multiple calendars. Some of our customers prefer the appearance of one over the other.

It should be straightforward to use this tutorial for another service, for example, a repair service that requires the availability of a mechanic and a work bench. Or to book a treatment with a therapist that requires both a treatment room and a therapist to be available.

Booking a service

If you offer a number of services, you can create a list for your customers to choose from. Use the steps that follow to learn how to create an appointment schedule for several types of language lessons requiring the availability of different teachers (as resources).

This tutorial demonstrates the following customizations:

  • Using the schedule to offer a number of services
  • Connecting the service schedule to a resource schedule
  • Collecting payments with each service booked

You can view the result on the language school demo page. It’s possible to modify that page to make it appear as part of your site, but you can also integrate a SuperSaaS schedule as a so called “widget”. A widget can appear as a small frame on your site, or as a small button, like this:

Setting up the schedule in 5 easy steps

The easiest way to set up an appointment schedule is by using a build-and-test cycle: After the initial configuration you try it out, make changes, and repeat, until it works the way you want.

Setting up a basic schedule using the New Schedule WizardStep

Before you begin

In order to follow the steps in this tutorial, you need create an account. It’s free and all you need is a valid email address. After you’ve created an account log in to reach your Dashboard.

Select the type of schedule

Click New Schedule in the menu on the right side of your Dashboard. You will see the New Schedule Wizard, where you will first need to choose the schedule type: a Resource, Capacity or Service schedule.

We start with creating a separate resource schedule that will contain the availability of the teachers. Using a resource schedule (which allows people to book one-on-one time with a person, item or specific space) for scheduling teachers’ time ensures that they cannot have two appointments that overlap.

After selecting Resource schedule, select Internal use, because this schedule will not be used shown to your users directly. Then opt for More than one to add multiple resources. For this tutorial, add “Any teacher”, “Maurice” and “Michelle”.

Next, name the schedule “Teachers”.

Setting up a resource schedule

You can now set some basic constraints and click Finish. Later on you will be able to set different “opening hours” for different teachers.

As an aside, you could also put each teacher into his own schedule. This has the added benefit that you can give each teacher access to only their own schedule, possibly connected to their Google Calendar. We’ll put all teachers into one schedule here to make this tutorial a bit simpler.

You are now ready to return to your Dashboard to set up your appointment schedule. Click the New Schedule on the right side of your screen once more. We will now create a “service schedule” that draws on the availability of teachers from the resource schedule we created in the previous step. So, select Service schedule from the list of options.

Decide if users need to log in

You can require users to create a username and password on your schedule, or you can simply allow anyone who visits the schedule to create an appointment. For this tutorial we’ll select “No log in necessary”.

Name your schedule

The title you give to your appointment schedule in combination with your account name forms the URL that your clients will see in their browser when they use your schedule. Provide a short but descriptive name for the schedule.

Name your schedule

You can always change it (as well as your account name) later. Note that if you do so, the schedule’s web address will change accordingly and you will need to inform your users. For this example, enter “Conversation lessons” and click Next.

List your services and connect resources

You now have the option to list your services and apply default duration values if needed.

Assuming you already created the resource schedule, you can use the selector next to each service to define which resources are required for the service to become available. Enter “English conversation Beginner” as the first service and connect it to the resource schedule “Teachers”. If all the teachers can teach that class, you can enable the resources to link to “Any teacher”. If only some of the teachers can teach that class select them and ensure the switch is set to “or”. You can also set opening hours and time constraints on this screen that will apply to all teachers.

Enter a second service, for example, “French conversation Beginner” and because only Maurice teaches French, you can select resource “Maurice” from the “Teachers” schedule.

Note that if you define only a single service the user interface will adapt to hide the service selector widget.

Clicking Finish creates the schedule and makes it available online. Step 2 will show you have to test your schedule to ensure that it works as expected.

Trying out the schedule to see if it works as expectedStep

To use your appointment schedule as an administrator, click the Use button. Note that this button is only visible when you are logged in as an administrator.

Schedule for conversation lessons start

Regular users will see the same appointment schedule but with fewer options. You can also find the Use button on your Dashboard page. You can access your Dashboard via the menu in the top right corner of your screen. Furthermore, you can also bookmark the page in your browser for daily use.

Booking a lesson

If you have created more than one type of lesson, you will see them in a column on the left side of your schedule. To book a lesson, click one of the available times and edit the details.

When you click Create reservation, the schedule updates to show your booking and adjusts the remaining availability accordingly. Appointments that are linked to resources will show up on the resource schedules. This ensure those resources will no longer show up as available to subsequent users, but note that they cannot be edited there. Clicking on a resource will provide a popup with a link to the schedule where it can be edited. If the same appointment shows up in multiple schedules that are linked, it still only counts as a single appointment in your subscription usage.

If you would like to edit an appointment, click on it again to make changes. Be sure to click Update reservation before closing it, otherwise you will lose the changes.

Adjusting the configurationStep

You now have a basic appointment schedule for your conversation lessons and can begin configuring it to suit your requirements.

Administrator services tab

Click Configure to go to Overview for a summary of the different options you can adjust. Here, you can temporarily block the appointment schedule or delete it entirely.

Configuring Services

The Services tab lists the services available and how they relate to resources. The top half of the screen lets you create and update your services. You can click and drag the rows to change the order in which the services are listed.

Create a new service

When you click New Service, or click the edit icon of an existing service, a window appears where you can change the details. You can also change the color of a service by clicking the colored box in the top right corner of the window.

The radio button Hidden (next to Normal) lets you create a service that is only available to the administrator and superusers. Hidden services do not appear in the service list that your clients see.

Configuration for Conversation lessons

In the field at the bottom of the editing window, you can enter a description of the service that will appear when the service is selected. It can contain formatting and pictures but note that you can only link to pictures that are available online.

If, as the administrator or superuser, you would like the option to set a different length for a service you can check the box Allow superusers and the administrator to ignore all time constraints on the Access tab. This setting lets you enter an arbitrary finish time on the appointment schedule instead of creating a separate service for it.

Specify resources

If your account contains any resource schedules, the service editing window will also contain a section marked Resources where you can indicate which resources from these schedules need to be available when making an appointment. For example, you could specify that a lesson needs both a specific teacher and a specific classroom. Or, if more than one teacher can give a lesson then you can click the “or” button and list each one.

To add new resources, go to your Dashboard, click New Schedule, and select the Resource type schedule. You can also add additional resources to an existing resource schedule via the Resources tab.

Configure general settings

Under Term used to describe an entry, you can specify how you want to refer to an appointment, for example you could call it a “meeting”. You can select a term from the list or use your own custom term that will describe your service appropriately. In this example, “lesson” is the most suitable term. This term will be used in all dialog windows, help text and email confirmations.

You can also change the term used for “user”, for example changing it to “student”, under the Layout settings.

Limits per user

Next, determine the number of appointments a client can make on your schedule. After the maximum is reached, appointments can only be changed or deleted.

When a service depends on one or more resource schedules, any limits set there apply here as well. So you can tell a user to make a maximum of four appointments, but only two of those can be with a particularly popular teacher. If the checkbox Multiple reservations can take place at the same time is not selected, the schedule will behave as if there is a single shared resource needed for each appointment. You would uncheck this box if only a single service can be booked at a time (e.g. you have only a single classroom that needs to be available).

Constrain start times

Creating a grid consisting of predetermined available times usually provides a better user experience than leaving the time unconstrained. You can enter suitable start times in the Constrain start times to field. Students can then pick a time by simply clicking on a time slot.

If you offer a service that depends on an interchangeable resource, the system can show the client a drop-down menu of available resources from which to choose. In this example, students can select a preferred teacher.

If you offer more than one service, you can select the order in which services will be presented by dragging the services with your mouse.

Add a price

The “Price” field allows you to charge a fee for a booking. By clicking Setup pricing you can create advanced pricing rules that change the price based on specific conditions, such as the day of the week. This is discussed in detail in the section Adding payment to your schedule.

Conversation lessons pricing
Testing the schedule from a visitor’s point of viewStep

Test the scheduling process from a client’s perspective to make sure you catch any errors before engaging with your clients and to ensure the appointment schedule behaves as expected. You will need to switch between administrator and user access.

Every appointment schedule has its own URL, which can be viewed via Configure under Overview. Importantly, the schedule looks a bit differently to you than it does to your users.

Your users will not see the Supervise and Configure buttons, and will typically not be able to see and change the appointments of other users. To view the schedule from your user’s point of view log out as administrator with the link in the top right menu, and then go back to the schedule page. You can speed up this process by using a second browser, or by using an anonymous browsing tab, the section “Testing the schedule you created” discusses this in detail.

Schedule for conversation lessons users
Integrating the appointment system into your websiteStep

Once you are happy with the way your online booking system looks and have tested it to ensure that it behaves as expected for someone visiting your schedule, you are ready to direct people to it.

There are a few ways you can share your schedule:

  1. Put a link or button on your site that redirects people to your schedule
  2. Put a widget on your site that allows people to stay on your site while they book
  3. Add a ‘Book Now’ button to your email and social media channels

Learn more about each of these options in the section “Integrate a schedule in your website”.

Integration examples

Appearance

If you’d like to change the schedule’s appearance, there are several formatting options including changing colors and adding pictures. You can use the space above the schedule to give a more elaborate description or to add instructions.

Now that you have a fully functional appointment schedule, you can find useful tips to help you on “work with your schedule day-to-day”.