There can be no debate that, if your business takes bookings and has an online presence, you need an online booking system. These platforms enable your business to take advantage of the sea change in online buying habits and reach customers that simply wouldn’t discover your business otherwise.

Quite simply, they’re an invaluable part of any modern business strategy but deciding you need one is the easy part. The harder part? Well, that would be deciding which one is right for you.

As with any product though, you’ll find that there are a good number of options available to you, each competing for your attention. Ultimately though, your choices could boil down to two options – open source reservation systems or BookingLive.

Each system boasts their own advantages, but which is the one your business should opt for? Join us as we take a look at what each platform has to offer.

Open Source Booking System Advantages & Disadvantages

At their most basic, all booking systems will allow businesses with an online presence to take and manage bookings through their website, helping to relieve pressure on phone lines, customer support staff and boost sales.

Open source booking systems, however, have the added benefit of absolute flexibility. Open source booking systems are free of charge and can be extremely flexible as they are delivered as code which you can then re-write or add to as you need. Obviously, though this assumes a fairly high level of programming knowledge in potentially multiple languages such as PHP, Javascript, HTML.

That means you can download an open source booking system and begin to work on it, so that it suits your specific requirements. The nature of open source software means that it’s often been developed by more than one person, and may be liable to problems in ways you can’t immediately predict.

Indeed, because the software isn’t owned by anybody and licensed to you, it requires you to host it on your own dedicated server. That means that unlike other online booking and reservation platforms, you’ll be tasked with maintaining the uptime on your booking platform, as well as troubleshooting any issues that arise.

Whilst this is the kind of work that a business with a dedicated IT department can look after, for businesses which don’t operate their own servers or have IT staff to hand, this can be a costly and time-consuming practice – one which undermines the free nature of open source booking systems.

Clearly then, open source booking platforms do have their advantages, but they’re hamstrung by the fact that any and all management falls on you, a fact that’s far from ideal for most businesses. If you're not very tech-savvy outsource someone to set up your open source booking system and problems occur you may not know how to fix it.

BookingLive Advantages & Disadvantages

BookingLive, much like an open source reservation system, lets your business take bookings through your website, offering all of the advantages that any other online booking platform would offer.

Specifically, in regards to an open source booking system, BookingLive boasts incredible support. BookingLive customers receive online support regarding issues they may have with their booking system. Whether that’s a question about functionality or an issue with compatibility, you’ll receive prompt and professional help. This is the key feature which was a missing from the open source booking system.

That begins with your very first steps with BookingLive. A member of our team works with you to set up and implement BookingLive on your website and even show you around the system. Once it's all set up you should be ready to get back to doing what you do best – running your business.

BookingLive also greatly benefits from the years of working alongside a huge variety of businesses we’ve enjoyed. That experience has meant that over the years, we’ve been able to craft an online reservation system that suits every business, with added benefits like reporting systems, a customer MyAccount, vouchers/promotions and more.

Oh, and if it doesn’t suit your business out of the box? Our range of integrations allows you to expand the capabilities of your BookingLive system, all even without you touching a line of code. It truly is the most comprehensive booking platform around!

If you are interested in finding out more about BookingLive then sign up for our free demo where we will walk you through our software.