Tag Archive: public booking requests


Inundated by lots of booking requests? Following customer feedback, MIDAS v4.14 includes new “Reject All” and “Approve All” buttons on the Pending Booking Request screen, providing you with the easy ability to “bulk reject” or “bulk approve” all outstanding requests on your current Pending Booking Requests screen.

Bulk Approve or Reject Booking RequestsClicking the “Reject All” button will then allow you to enter an optional brief reason why you’re rejecting the requests (unless the “Approve/Reject requests silently” option is selected), which will be included in the rejection email notifications to the affected clients.

If the “Approve/Reject requests silently” option is selected, clicking “Reject All” will first show a confirmation of the number of booking requests to be rejected which if confirmed will then reject all those requests.

The “Approve All” button when clicked will also a confirmation of the number of booking requests to be approved, which if confirmed will then attempt to approve all those requests.

The order that these requests are approved in is important – as it may not be possible to automatically approve all booking requests. For example, if two requests have been made by two different clients for the same venue and times, they both can’t be approved).

In such instances, a “Bulk Approval Order” setting (found via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Web Requests) will determine the order (priority) in which booking requests will be bulk processed for approval. The four possible options are as follows:

  1. Earliest Requested First (Requests that were made earlier will be approved before requests that were made more recently)
  2. Latest Requested First (Requests that were made more recently will be approved before requests that were made earlier)
  3. Earliest Commencing First (Requests for bookings starting sooner will be approved before requests that start further in the future)
  4. Latest Commencing First (Requests for bookings starting further in the future will be approved before requests that are due to start sooner)

You can read more about some of the other exciting improvements coming in v4.14 here!

MIDAS v4.14 is now available – Find out more

One of our customers recently contacted us to report a strange issue whereby booking requests made through their MIDAS scheduling system were seemingly vanishing from their system.

The “Booking Request” features of MIDAS, allow people to submit booking “requests” which then require approval by an administrator before becoming a “confirmed” booking.

There are a number of reasons why a booking request may legitimately appear to “vanish” from the system; first of all, another administrative user may have already rejected the original booking request, or the original requestor may have changed their mind and canceled their own request.

When a person makes a booking request, MIDAS automatically send them an email notification containing details of the request they’ve submitted. These email notifications also contain a “booking request cancellation link” allowing them to cancel their request if for whatever reason they’ve changed their mind before their request is approved.

Inspecting the provided “Recent Activity Log” for the customer’s MIDAS system, there was no evidence to suggest that another user had simply rejected the missing booking requests.

There was however evidence that the booking request cancellation links, contained within the notification emails sent to original requestors had been clicked.

The customer was confident that no-one had clicked these cancellation links in their emails.

Now, the “Recent Activity Log” within MIDAS is very useful – not only does it record actions performed within a MIDAS system, it also records the user who performed the action (where applicable), the time/date the action occurred, and the IP address of the device which performed the action.

This allowed us to correlate booking request cancellation link clicks with the IP addresses from which each originated.

Interestingly, the IP addresses could all be traced back to Barracuda Networks, Inc, a company offering security products, including email security and spam filters.

So what was going on?

Once upon a time spam filters could easily detect spam email messages, as spammers tended to the same domains in their spam. As a result, spam filtering software could simply scan the content of an email message, and cross-reference any links contained within against a list of known spamming domains (known as a “blacklist”).

Many spam filters still behave in this way, however, in an attempt to stay one step ahead of the spammers, some spam filtering software/services – such as those provide by Barracuda Networks, Inc, go one step further and actively “click” EVERY link in every email they scan. The purpose behind this is to analyze the content and domain every link points to.

Whilst this will most likely help reduce spam further for the recipient, it can have a number of undesired consequences for users!

For example, if the recipient subscribes to any newsletters/mailing lists which contain a one-click unsubscribe link at the bottom, they will be automatically unsubscribed simply by receiving the email itself, before they even open it – let alone click the unsubscribe link!

The same thing was happening for our customer’s booking request notification emails – the booking request cancellation links were being automatically “clicked” by the spam filtering software/services which were scanning the recipient’s email.

Balancing user convenience vs aggressive mail scanners

We’ve always believed in making things as easy as possible for users – which is why we originally made canceling booking requests as simple as a “one-click” link – click once, and your request is canceled.

However, in light of these recent issues, we’re making a small change for MIDAS v4.12. Canceling a booking request will now unfortunately be a two-step process. Clicking a booking request cancellation link in a notification email will take the requestor to a web page where they will need to then click a confirm button in order to cancel their request.

The introduction of this second confirmation step, whilst less convenient for the end-user, will at least prevent aggressive mail filtering software/services which automatically “click” every link in every email, from automatically canceling booking requests without any human interaction.

The same “two-step” behavior will also be applied for links in booking/invoice reminder emails to suppress future reminders from a MIDAS system.

In the meantime, if you’re running an earlier version of MIDAS, and notice your booking requests being automatically canceled without any intervention, please check and adjust the settings in your mail scanning/filtering software to “whitelist” email from your MIDAS system or prevent the automatic following of links within email.

The next substantial update to our popular web based room booking and resource scheduling software is just around the corner, and so we’re taking the opportunity to outline some of the new features and improvements you can expect to see in the upcoming v4.07 release….

This post covers some of the improvements coming to the Public Booking Request capabilities within MIDAS.


Pre-Populate Selected Dates/Times

Public Booking Request Header
The standard public “Booking Request” process has the following five stages/screens:

  1. Select Venue(s)
  2. Select Date(s)
  3. Select Times
  4. Your Details
  5. Finished

When a member of the public makes a booking request for your facilities, they follow these stages in order. In v4.07, we’re giving you much more flexibility, by allowing you to “hard code” venues and/or dates into your public booking request links to allow requestors to “bypass” the first couple of stages using data supplied via your link.

For example, if the Public Booking Request for your MIDAS is http://your_midas_url/request, appending a “?venue=Hall” to the URL/link will jump straight to Stage 2 (Select Date(s)), with the “Hall” venue selected.

Alternatively, appending “?date=YYYYMMDD” to the end of your Public Booking Request URL will preselect the date you pass – Example: appending “?date=20141015” to your public booking request URL will pre-select the 15th October 2014.

You can also pass a combination of both a “venue” AND a “date” parameter at the same time to bypass stages 1 and 2 of the booking request process and jump straight to Stage 3 (Select Times) – Example: “http://your_midas_url/request?venue=Hall&date=20141015

Furthermore, you can optionally pass multiple venues and/or dates by simply separating them with commas. In the following example, “Hall” and “Gymnasium” venues are preselected on 15th and 16th October 2014:

http://your_midas_url/request?venue=Hall,Gymnasium&date=20141015,20141016


“Remember Me” Option

Remember Details For Next Visit On the “Your Details” stage of the public booking request process, there’s now also a “Remember Me” tick box, allowing the requestor’s browser to optionally remember their details (name, organization, email address) for the next time they make a booking request from the same browser – so they won’t have to manually enter the same information each time.


Custom .css Styling

External Custom CSS We’re also giving you even more control over the “look and feel” of your entire Public Booking Request process, by allowing you to override the default visual “theme” for your MIDAS, and use your own external .CSS style sheet instead! You can specify an external .css style sheet via MIDAS Admin Options → Manage MIDAS → Templates → Web Request

In MIDAS v4 we’re making the process of moving/rescheduling bookings incredibly simple!!

Until now, if you needed to move a booking to a different venue, or perhaps postpone it until the following week, you’d have to click on the booking in the grid, select “Modify Booking”, then manually change the venue/dates/times on the “Modify Booking Form”. After that you’re have to proceed through the “Booking Availability” check before the booking is finally rescheduled – all in all requiring half a dozen or more mouse clicks and at least a couple of minutes as you went through the various steps.

In MIDAS v4 you can reschedule bookings in seconds…
…simply “drag and drop” the existing booking to a new venue/time slot!

Drag and Drop Bookings to Reschedule

Display pending/provisional and deleted bookings in the grid!
Moving bookings is not all you can do from the improved booking grid in v4! You can now also show pending booking requests as well as recently deleted bookings in the booking grid too!

Pending booking requests can then be approved/queried/modified/rejected/locked direct from the booking grid with just a click:
Approve Provisional Booking Requests from the Grid

..and deleted bookings can be restored in the same way too:
Recover Deleted Bookings

Generate Invoices directly from the grid!
Generate Invoice
Don’t want to generate a invoice when making a booking? No problem! In MIDAS v4 you can click a booking in the grid and instantly generate an invoice for that booking!

These exciting new improvements to the booking grid in MIDAS v4 will undoubtedly improve your productivity by streamlining the process of rescheduling bookings, approving requests, and recovering erroneously deleted bookings!

We’ve been busy developing a major new update to our scheduling software, packed full of new and improved features many of which have originated from ideas and suggestions from our existing users.

A feature we often get asked for is to have the ability to “filter” booking requests to different users depending upon which venue is being requested.

Currently all booking requests received by your MIDAS go into a central “pool” from which any user with the “Can Process Web Requests” permission can view, approve, query, modify, reject, or lock these requests.

In MIDAS v4 Booking Requests can be filtered to different users based upon the venue requested!

You’ll be able to configure requests for your venues to go to different users for approval depending upon which venue has been requested – In a school/university scenario, this would, for example, allow your sports staff to manage requests for your sporting facilities, and office staff to manage requests for your meeting rooms!

How it works:
In MIDAS v4, you’ll find a new “Managers” tab on the “Manage Venues” screen. From this tab, you can assign one or more existing users to “manage” booking requests for that venue:

venue booking managers

Then, when a member of the public then makes a booking request for that venue, “managers” of that venue will be sent an automatic email notification (these can be turned on/off at any time through the manager’s “Pending Booking Requests” screen) informing them that a new pending booking request requires attention. The manager can login to MIDAS and go to their Pending Booking Requests screen where they’ll see outstanding requests for all the venues they manage. From this screen, booking requests can be approved with a click of the mouse. Alternatively, requests can be modified (moved to a different time, date, venue, etc), rejected, queried with the original requester, or locked from this screen!