An online booking system is a type of program that allows a business owner or her employees to manage appointments, meetings, reservations or other important dates online. Some programs also allow the business owner to install a scheduling tool on a website, allowing customers or clients to manage the booking process themselves.
Many business use online booking systems to track client appointments, such as a beauty parlor scheduling sessions with a particular stylist, a doctor's office tracking future office visits for patients, or a real estate agent establishing viewings for her clients. The system functions by establishing its own calendar, on which employees or customers can reserve specific appointments for the appropriate business activities. Though most systems include a variety of additional features, each program supports the basic process of adding the appointment to the master calendar, which is then viewable by employees or customers, according to individual permissions settings.
Some online booking systems feature a customer appointment tool that allows the client to reserve a time on the calendar as long as no other appointments are taking place at that time, using the same location or involving the same members of the business. Additional features of such systems may include email or text message alerts to remind customers of upcoming appointments or the ability to add notes or other files to the schedule for reference by the business.