Is your clientele truly yours? A closer look at online booking platforms

Jul 6, 2024

As of 2024, numerous enterprises have gained considerable experience using diverse online booking and business automation tools. However, business proprietors have noticed that these platforms steer clients towards their own apps or websites, where they may encounter promotions for competing services. We scrutinized the world’s top five platforms: Mindbody, Vagaro, Booksy, Altegio, and Treatwell, evaluating which ones potentially erode their users' customer bases.

These platforms typically offer essential functionalities for small business management:

  1. Scheduling and appointment management: Efficiently manage appointment schedules with enhanced client profiles, allowing segmentation, visit notes, and history storage.
  2. Customer base management: Tools to locate lost clients and retain regular ones.
  3. Notifications: Automated reminders via WhatsApp, SMS, or email, and mechanisms for collecting client feedback.
  4. Chain management: Solutions for businesses with multiple locations, offering centralized management.
  5. Reports and analytics: Generate reports on metrics like customer returns and occupancy rates.
  6. Loyalty programs: Features to create and administer loyalty programs.
  7. Integrations include seamless links with websites, Google Maps, and social networks such as Facebook and Instagram, enabling direct bookings from these platforms.


Online booking platforms | Altegio

Altegio stands out in the market as the only booking and scheduling app that preserves your customer base without diverting them to competitors. While promoting its own mobile app, Altegio ensures that clients only interact with your business, shielding them from competing offers that other platforms endorse freely.

Key features:

  • Highly customizable booking widget designed to seamlessly integrate with your brand.
  • Optimized booking interfaces for fast, user-friendly navigation.
  • Integrated payment solutions for streamlined transactions.
  • Multilingual support for international clientele.
  • Aunio app for enhanced customer engagement, including repeat bookings and loyalty incentives.
  • Centralized management capabilities for businesses with multiple locations.

Founded in 2022
Headquarters: Budapest, Hungary
Starting Price: USD 11 per month
Client Base: Over 10,000 clients in 84+ countries
Business Model: Subscription-based, transparent pricing


Online booking platforms | Treatwell

Treatwell operates as an online marketplace connecting users with beauty and wellness services, although businesses report high commission rates and the need for discounts to attract and retain customers.

Key features

  • Treatwell boasts a comprehensive spectrum of offerings including hairdressing, manicure, pedicure, massage, and spa treatments, catering to diverse customer preferences.
  • Businesses can enhance visibility through paid promotions on the platform, ensuring priority placement in search results and targeted advertising.
  • The platform facilitates seamless online transactions, ensuring secure processing of payments with transparent commission structures.
  • Customers can leave detailed reviews and ratings, aiding prospective clients in making informed decisions based on authentic user experiences.

Founded in 2008
Headquarters: London, UK
Starting Price: EUR 30 per month
Client Base: Over 25,000 businesses across Europe
Business Model: Subscription plus booking commission


Online booking platforms | Booksy

Booksy emphasizes customer base sharing among its clients, promoting its app within those bases and featuring competing offers.

Key features:

  • Clients can easily locate nearby salons via an interactive map interface, streamlining the booking process based on proximity and convenience.
  • Booksy offers a user-friendly platform where customers can swiftly book appointments online through its mobile app or website, ensuring convenience and ease of use.
  • Users can provide feedback and ratings, enabling businesses to build credibility and attract new clientele through positive customer reviews.
  • Booksy operates on a subscription basis with additional commissions for bookings and payments, tailored to suit regional market demands.

Founded in 2014
Headquarters: Warsaw, Poland
Starting Price: EUR 34.99 per month
Business Model: Subscription with booking and payment commissions


Online booking platforms | Vagaro

Vagaro offers scheduling and payment solutions across various sectors, aiming to enhance user convenience without overly promoting its app.

Key features:

  • Vagaro empowers businesses to effectively market their services across the platform, facilitating visibility and attracting new customers through targeted promotional tools.
  • The platform seamlessly integrates with diverse payment systems, enabling businesses to accept online payments securely while Vagaro manages transactional processes and commissions.
  • Vagaro offers robust tools for managing customer interactions, including appointment history tracking, preferences management, and soliciting client feedback for continuous service improvement.
  • Business owners benefit from detailed analytics and reporting functionalities, providing insights into performance metrics and trends to inform strategic decision-making.

Founded in 2009
Headquarters: California, USA
Starting Price: USD 30 per month
Client Base: Over 50,000 businesses
Business Model: Subscription plus booking and payment commissions


Mindbody focuses on fitness and wellness industries, leveraging a marketplace model to connect consumers with a wide array of services.

Key features:

  • Mindbody’s platform hosts a diverse portfolio of services spanning fitness centers, yoga studios, beauty salons, and more, offering customers a wide selection of wellness options under one roof.
  • Businesses pay a subscription fee alongside commissions on bookings and payments, providing a flexible revenue model aligned with business growth and market demands.
  • Mindbody facilitates direct engagement with clients through promotional campaigns, loyalty programs, and personalized marketing initiatives to enhance customer retention and satisfaction.
  • Advanced analytics and reporting tools empower business owners to gain actionable insights into performance metrics, customer behavior, and market trends, enabling informed decision-making and strategic planning.

Founded in 2000
Headquarters: California, USA
Starting Price: USD 120 per month
Client Base: Over 60,000 businesses
Business Model: Subscription plus booking and payment commissions

Key takeaways on customer ownership

While most platforms facilitate bookings and aim to broaden audience reach, they risk redirecting your clientele to competitors through promotions and ads. Altegio uniquely safeguards your customer relationships, ensuring they engage exclusively with your services. With Altegio, businesses can foster loyalty and growth without compromising their customer base. Interested in optimizing your customer interactions further? Check out the best Cloud PBX software with call tracking and best IPaaS solutions to enhance your engagement strategies.

Frequently asked questions

How do online booking platforms impact my business’s customer base?

Online booking platforms can drive traffic to their own websites or apps, where they often promote competing services. This can result in your customers being exposed to alternative options, potentially leading to a loss of clientele to competitors.

What makes Altegio different from other booking platforms?

Altegio is distinct because it focuses on protecting your customer base. Unlike other platforms, Altegio does not expose your clients to competitors. Its customizable booking widget seamlessly integrates with your brand, ensuring customers remain engaged with your services without distractions from competing businesses.

What are the benefits of using Treatwell for my beauty or wellness business?

Treatwell offers a wide range of beauty and wellness services, enhancing your business's visibility through paid listings and priority placements. It also provides a secure payment processing system and a robust review and rating system to help attract and retain customers.

How does Booksy’s approach to customer base sharing work?

Booksy promotes its app within the customer bases of its users, facilitating an environment where customers can discover and book services from various businesses. This approach can potentially increase exposure but may also introduce your clients to competitors’ offers.

Can Vagaro help manage multiple business locations effectively?

Yes, Vagaro provides tools for centralized management of multiple business locations. This includes unified scheduling, integrated payment processing, and comprehensive customer relationship management, making it easier to handle operations across different branches efficiently.

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