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Posts Tagged: public booking requests

The next update (v4.17) to our room booking and resource scheduling system, MIDAS, is just around the corner. So we’re giving you a first look at here on our blog of some of the new features and improvements you can expect in this upcoming release.

Today, we’ll look at the improvements coming to “booking types”. Booking Types allow you to color-code bookings based on their “type” making them easier to spot in the booking grid. Furthermore, you can assign discounts to each booking type. This allows charging different rates depending upon the type of booking.

You can also set booking types to be “tentative“. Bookings assigned as “tentative” will automatically be removed if not confirmed in a timely manner.

This time last year, for v4.14, we introduced the ability to set a default booking type on a per-client basis. For v4.17, we’re also giving you the ability to specify a global default booking type. If set, then any bookings added without a booking type being specified, will automatically be assigned the default type. This is especially useful if you’ve “hidden” the booking type selector from view, as you can still assign bookings a default booking type.

Additionally, following customer feedback, we’re making it possible for you to limit which booking types are available for selection on the public web request/booking screens. Many organizations have “internal” booking types/classifications that they don’t wish to make available to external clients, so this new feature will allow this to be achieved!

You’ll find the new “Public?” and “Set as Default?” options on the Manage Booking Types screen (MIDAS Admin Options → Manage Booking Types). These can be set independently for each of your booking types. If a booking type is set as being the default, this will be indicated by an “*” after its name in the “All Booking Types” list.

Set Booking Types as Public and/or Default in MIDAS
Set Booking Types as Public and/or as the Default type

With MIDAS v4.15 just around the corner, we’re offering a “first look” on our blog at some of the highlights coming in the next update to our web based room booking and resource scheduling software…

From the very outset MIDAS has included an ability to allow non-users (i.e. visitors to your website, members of the public, etc) to check availability of your facilities and submit booking “requests” online.

These booking “requests” then go into a pending booking requests queue, where administrative users can quickly approve or reject each request. Approved booking requests then become “confirmed” bookings.

You can find out more about how this works in our “Accept Booking Requests Online” video tutorial.

We know that our customers love this long-standing feature of MIDAS – not least of all because it makes their lives significantly easier. That’s because it allows people to check room availability themselves, without having to phone/email/speak to an administrator.

We also know that some of our customers would like the Public Booking Request features to go one step further and allow people to check availability, book and pay for their booking instantly there and then (rather than having to be invoiced for their booking at a later date)

That’s why in addition to the “Web Request” features of MIDAS, for v4.15 we’re also introducing a “Web Booking” feature.

The “Web Booking” process is very similar to the traditional “Web Request” process. The difference being the addition of a payment step, allowing the individual to pay to confirm their booking.

Here’s How It Works:

  1. A person selects the date(s)/time(s) they wish to book, and MIDAS checks their availability.
  2. If available, the person can enter more details about their booking and continue to the payment page.
  3. At this point, the booking is temporarily added as a “tentative” booking until the person completes payment. At this point the tentative booking automatically becomes a “confirmed” booking.

If the person fails to complete their payment in a timely manner, the temporary tentative booking will automatically expire, and the person would need to re-start the booking process. By default, this time frame is set to 15 minutes, but can be changed by an administrator.

As per the native invoice payment methods offered within MIDAS, both PayPal (with IPN correctly configured) and Stripe are available for Web Booking payments. Stripe however is recommended over PayPal.

As the “Web Request” and “Web Booking” features share a set of common settings, the previous “Web Request” tab on the Manage MIDAS screen has been redesigned to become a “Public Settings” tab:

New Public Settings
New Public Settings

As you can probably gauge from the above screenshot, the new auto-venue selection option we unveiled earlier this month, will also be available for “Web Booking”.

The combination of new auto-venue selection and Web Bookings helps make MIDAS even more suited for hotels, B&B’s, hostels, and other overnight accommodation businesses, whose customers will now be able to truly “book online”!

You may like to check out some of the other features of MIDAS v4.15 too!

The popular “Public Booking Request” features of MIDAS allow non-users (i.e. visitors to your website) to check the availability of your venues and submit booking “requests” online. These requests can be quickly approved by an administrative user with just a couple of clicks and converted to “confirmed” bookings, or they can be rejected just as easily.

To make a public booking request, a requestor would go to https://your_midas_url/request. If requests have been enabled they can then select a venue (or venues), date (or dates), times, and resources, and check availability accordingly. They can then enter their details, and any additional details relating to their request and submit their request online.

For v4.15, we’re giving administrators more flexibility when it comes to the initial venue selection step of the Public Booking Request process.

Previously, a requestor would need to manually select the venue (or venues) they wish to request. However, in v4.15 an administrator can instead replace the traditional individual/manual venue selection for Public Booking Requests with automatic venue selection instead.

If the automatic venue selection option is enabled, a requestor simply selects a venue group. MIDAS will in turn automatically select a venue from within the selected group accordingly.

Automatic Venue Selection when making a Booking Request

This is ideal if you allow public requesting of similar rooms. For example, if you have 10 identically sized/equipped meeting rooms, a requestor doesn’t necessarily care which one of these rooms their meeting takes place in. These new options would allow them to simply select that they wish to request a “Meeting Room”, and MIDAS will allocate a meeting room accordingly.

How MIDAS allocates venues when the automatic venue selection option is enabled may be configured by an administrative user….

Automatic Venue Selection when making a Booking Request

Auto Venue Selection options include:

  • Random – MIDAS will attempt to select an available venue at random from the all publicly requestable venues within the selected venue group.
  • Venue Order – MIDAS will attempt to select the next available venue from the all publicly requestable venues within the selected venue group, based on the order your venues are configured to appear within MIDAS.
  • Least Used (Number of Bookings) – MIDAS will attempt to select an available publicly requestable venue from the selected venue group with the least number of existing bookings in it.
  • Least Used (Venue Utilization) – MIDAS will attempt to select an available publicly requestable venue from the selected venue group with the most free time in it (i.e. the least utilized venue)

These exciting new option for Public Booking Requests allow far grater flexibility, make it easier for people to make booking requests, and ensure more balanced usage of your venues!

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. These new buttons provide an easy way 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). This reason will then be included in the rejection email notifications sent to the affected client.

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 will also provide an indication of the number of booking requests to be approved. If confirmed MIDAS will then attempt to automatically approve all these requests.

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

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