I started with Xola back when the booking software genre was almost nonexistent. Back then there was Bookeo and that was about it. Now I get a sales call every week from competitors. Peek Pro seems to be the only software that is more feature rich but they are pushy and spam your customers if they get ahold of your data base so beware about them. Xola has an easy and beautiful interface. Non-pushy sales people. Help when you need it. Great ability to manage customers IF you never have to reschedule. The cost is lower than other companies if your doing volume greater than 5K a month. A good choice but you need a dedicated reservationist if you are offering an experience were rescheduling is common.
When pricing out a booking software company for your business consider the cost of an employee to manually have to reschedule your customers if your experience is prone to cancellation i.e. rain, wind, snow etc. and add it to the monthly cost of Xola to get an accurate idea of the true cost. The point of having a booking software is so you can concentrate on running your business and making it grow. Playing secretary is part of owning a small business but when it takes from R&D, marketing, quality of life it can kill you. Xola only allows your customer to book and reschedule themselves prior to their scheduled date. If you cancel the day of the adventure the customer has NO ability to reschedule if your experience is cancelled due to weather. If you are in a tourist area where you don't have an option to reschedule people because they are on vacation or the experience that you provide is indoor and cancellations rarely occur Xola is a great choice. If your experience is subject to weather and you take the entirety of the experience cost in advance, Xola has fallen behind severely compared to the the other big name in booking software. I provide Hot Air Balloon rides in an area that is prone to strong winds and rain during the season. My demographic is local and I sell my experience to customers that can and know that rescheduling is normal. I leave a recorded message the day of the flight and if the flight is cancelled there is no way in Xola to email the passengers a link to reschedule! Xola allows the customer to select another date prior to the experience and you can set those perimeters but after the customers first date choice, if it is cancelled, that is where you are left back in the 80's. In order to get your customers rescheduled on another date you need to do it over the phone and manually move them in Xola and online for it to move in real time. Xola has completely missed the boat for the experience provider that has to cancel for environmental reasons. I have submitted this feature request for two years now and it has shown no movement. They said it is not a common feature request and told us we could give the customer a "store credit". A credit sounded good until we realized that the customer would have to put al their personal detail starting with their name again to go that route. That is just not an appropriate thing to have your customers who are paying good money have to do and it looks unprofessional. I know for a fact two other operations left Xola for a booking company that offers a solution to the common problem of rescheduling for us outdoor providers. I think that they perhaps specialize in the hiking tours, or biking tour company that goes wind, rain, or shine and just refunds their customer if they cancel. Perhaps most of Xola's merchants operate in tourist areas where the customer does not reschedule because they are going home from vacation. The irony is that they offer our customers a great option to reschedule themselves prior to their first date. Why not extend that availability to after the date in case the experience is cancelled and the customer doesn't want a refund or via policy has to reschedule.
For customers booking online, selecting a date and paying is seamless. The merchant can customize a checklist for the customer i.e. what to bring, what's included, a map the meeting point. We receive just the odd phone call asking for clarification and payment is quick. On the other hand we need to hire staff to answer the phones just to rebook our customers on days it is raining or too windy to fly. On average another 40 hours of phone calls and talk time is added to our expense because of the lack of a customizable reschedule link we could send our customers so they could reschedule themselves. Customers like not having to leave voicemails if we are on the other line and %95 of customers would rather NOT wait to speak to a reservationist to go over dates that may or may not be filled. It's really frustrating and I do not believe we are the only one or one of the few merchants that need or would find a simple reschedule feature useful as they have implied to us.
The only other con is that they now leave the price on the gift certificates when a customer buys one. This was not always the case. Xola has a mailable and printable gift certificate option which we utilize heavily and you can now offer experiences at a discount but they for some reason notify the recipient of the price. We have been told and agree with several of our customers that leaving the price on the gift certificate is tacky. It has not always been that way, just with the recent update. I understand if you are giving a cash card to someone, you would need and want the recipient to know the price to avoid an embarrassing moment at a store or restaurant but who leaves the price tag on a gift? Xola gives the recipient a code so the recipient can book only and that process is easy but it's clear how much nanny spent and loves them the moment they get the printed gift certificate or email.
We went from chasing a couple hundred bucks a week to help pay for a hobby we love and turned it in to a serious 2 person small business with gross income in the six digits, well 3 person and income in the 5 digits because we need someone to handle all the manual reschedules. Feature requests do get noticed but at about 1.5 year turn around. It's been two years since we have been asking for this. We have grown and enjoyed Xola, we just for their sake since the booking software market is so competitive now want to see them be #1 and have the client base Peek Pro does as they are a lot more ethical but we fear they won't if this feature isn't added and if the feature turnaround isn't quicker.
Our review may appear negative even though we enjoy most of Xola. We understand all businesses have their little intricacies but we have been an experience provider for over ten years now and have offered many activities, rescheduling is a part of booking management no matter what adventure you provide, we and we are certain most other experience providers agree, just understand you will NOT have that option with Xola. Xola could be the best by far with just a couple more features.