Making Local Appointments on line

Last week I reported on the new service, Leavefeedback.org that elegantly closes the circle of consumers and small businesses. The New York Times reports on a new class of small business products that further brings local and smb’s together: Making Appointments for Doctor or Dinner that further embeds the internet in the lives of clients and businesses. The web based appointment generating services work on two different pricing models, a monthly subscription ($20 to $30)and a per appointment transaction fee ($3.50).

Greg Sterling is quoted in the article as saying: “This is something that’s been needed for a while, but no one has been able to do it successfully,” said Greg Sterling, of Sterling Marketplace Intelligence, an online consultancy. “With these new services, there are a lot of circumstances where it can work quite well for both the business and the consumer.”

The monthly subscription model of Hourtown would lend itself to higher volume appointment scheduling that would be more likely in larger, more tech savvy cities. If a business could schedule one appointment per day via this method it would put the scheduling cost at $1 per, a very appealing price point. At this price, if the volume were there, barbers and hairdressers with a lower average transaction amount could participate.

The per transaction model offered by BookingAngel would appeal to lower volume but higher average transaction amount clients like Doctors. This would work even in rural settings, assuming that the volume was high enough to offset the learning curve.

Given the current pricing models most rural businesses would be unlikely to benefit either due to high per transaction costs or very low scheduling volume. Going foward on-line appointments services could be used by a large number of local businesses in many markets and industry segments. Assuming that these services are easy enough to learn and provide significant value to the business in the form of more business or happier clients it will be interesting to see if and when these become widespread.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
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6 thoughts on “Making Local Appointments on line”

  1. Genbook is one of the three online scheduling companies Bob Tedeschi reviews in his New York Times E-commerce report column today, along with Hourtown and Booking Angel.

    We really do offer a free service: no time limits, nag screens, etc. For businesses that want a solid but basic scheduling function on their website, you can’t beat the value proposition.

    Obviously, I have a (partially) vested interest.

  2. You wouldn’t believe how timely this is. Man, I’ve been really digging your blog lately. I deal a lot in local recently (more so than ever), so this is a really good resource. I really appreciate it.

    This one in point. I consult to a hotel marketing company now, and am about to pick up another local-oriented client. Hotels have a ton of booking engines to choose from, but not my up-coming client’s industry. I think I’ll be giving this a try.

    Thanks a bunch, Mike.

  3. Hi Frank

    Since I wrote the article at home, on a 26k baud modem I got lazy and ran out of time and energy. Things are just hard on that speed. I apologize for not mentioning your site. Here’s the link: GenBook

    Mike

  4. Hi Josh

    Welcome and glad you are enjoying yourself while here. I sure am. Would love to hear how you make out and which one your choose and why.

    Mike

  5. I’m a relatively new massage therapist in the process of building a practice in my hometown. About a month ago, I began using Hourtown and already it has generated more new clients (and more importantly, more repeat business!) for my practice than any other marketing tool I’ve used to date.
    The first client that booked with me through this company has used my service 3 times already, essentially paying for the year!

    Mona Hollums, LMT

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