Online booking time slots are now reserved *while* being booked!

UPDATE: This feature was changed to allow for more customisation after its initial release; details on that can be seen here. The original post about this feature can be read below.

There’s a shiny new addition to online bookings! :star2:

Time slots will now be marked as in progress while a patient is making a booking—meaning a few different things:

  1. It’s less likely that another patient will book over the time that the patient is requesting during their booking process, and
  2. If a patient briefly steps away from their device while in the middle of making a booking, and then comes back a couple minutes later to finish, their chosen spot will still be available! (For a little bit longer, at least!)

The short version of how this works

The short explanation of how this works is basically that Cliniko will know when a specific date, time, and practitioner has been chosen—for both individual and group appointments—and “hold” that spot for 7 minutes and 30 seconds. During this time, no other patients will be able to book over that slot.

The long version of how this works (sit down with a cuppa) :coffee:

A patient, Sally Smithson, is super keen to book an appointment at noon on Wednesday, April 17—which also happens to be one of the busiest days at your clinic. It’s the only day and time that she can book that appointment. She rushes to her computer, excitedly clicking the bookmark she’s saved just for this purpose, and selects the 12:00 slot on 17 April. She’s about to press that “Book appointment” button, but then! When she clicks that “Book appointment” button, she’s met with this tear-inducing message:

:sob: Poor Sally. There’s no other time that’ll work for her. Someone else snagged that spot on that super-popular day, and Sally can’t get that coveted appointment with you.

However! :point_up: With our New and Improved Online Booking (in progress) :tm: feature, Sally would have gotten that appointment, and all would have been well, and all the land would be happy.

Let’s rewind :video_camera: back to that scene where Sally was about to press that “Book appointment” button. She’s selected her day and time (17 April at 12:00), and her screen is sitting on that final page of the bookings process, where she’s filling out her contact information. When Sally finally clicks that button, she cheers with joy, because the booking was successful! :raised_hands:

The secret to success? The time slot was being held for Sally. For 7 minutes and 30 seconds, to be exact! (Why 7 minutes and 30 seconds? Because 7 minutes and 31 seconds was too long.)

When Sally started making the booking, Cliniko knew exactly which time, date, and practitioner she had chosen, so it put a temporary hold on that spot in the calendar, which would look like this to anyone viewing the Cliniko appointments page:

Expanded, that box would look like this:

We can see a few things there:

  • Which practitioner this in-progress booking is for,
  • What day and time the booking is for, and
  • How much longer that spot will be reserved for (it’ll count down):


So, while Sally (or any patient) is in the process of making a booking, that spot will be held, and that hold will be visible to anyone who is viewing the calendar—it’ll even show up in a group appointment:

The reserved slot will not show for other patients during this time, either. For example, below we have someone trying to book a 9:00 a.m. appointment on 11 April. On the right we can see the Cliniko calendar with that spot being held; on the left we can see what a different patient would see—there simply is no 9:00 a.m. spot:

This change should be helpful when it comes to ensuring that patients get the spot they’re hoping for—and as always, if you have any questions, our support team is here to help! :hugs: