Many businesses today use Google Calendar to manage customer appointments. Although Google does provide a way for you to accept online bookings the use of an online booking system is a much more professional and powerful way to give your customers the convenience of website bookings.
There are a number of existing web-based booking systems that claim Google Calendar integration. The simplest and most common way these reservation systems integrate with Google is by publishing calendar feeds which Google picks up and displays.
The problem with calendar feeds is that firstly they only go one way (you cannot update the booking system by adding events to Google), and secondly there is a delay of up to 24 hours before they’re shown in Google. This often results in double bookings and unhappy customers.
A better way for an online booking system to integrate with Google Calendar is to use Google’s “API”. Basically this is a way for the booking system to talk directly with your calendar, inserting and modifying events instantly in both directions. The result is no double bookings and an always up-to-date calendar.
An online booking system that integrates with Google Calendar using the API must first get your permission to write to your calendar. This can be done without asking for your Google username and password.
The reservation system points you directly to Google, where Google will ask if you give permission for calendar integration. Once you have given permission the reservation system can then insert, update, and delete bookings on your calendar as required. Be wary of online reservation systems that ask for your Google username and password.
This is not necessary for connecting with Google calendar. Once you have chosen the online booking system you wish you use it’s then just a matter of plugging it into your website and watching the customers roll in.
It’s important that you keep your online reservation system and Google Calendar sync’d to prevent double bookings and prevent customers booking times that are no longer available. You can do this by entering a manual booking into the reservation system itself, or by creating an event in Google Calendar.