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Is Your Customer Base Truly Yours? A Study of Online Booking Platforms

In 2024, many businesses have gained extensive experience with online booking and business automation solutions. However, business owners have observed that some platforms redirect clients to their own websites or apps, where they advertise competitors' services. A review of five widely used solutions—Mindbody, Vagaro, Booksy, Altegio, and Treatwell—aims to identify which platforms potentially cannibalize customer bases.

Most of these services provide essential functionalities for managing small businesses:

  1. Schedule and Appointment Management: Easily manage appointment schedules and access client profiles with extensive segmentation options, including leaving comments on visits and storing visit histories.
  2. Customer Base Management: Tools to find and retain regular clients, as well as reconnect with lost clients.
  3. Notifications: Automatically send appointment confirmations and reminders via WhatsApp, SMS, or email, and collect feedback and comments.
  4. Network Management: Altegio, MindBody, and Vagaro offer capabilities to centralize management and accounting across multiple business locations.
  5. Reports and Analytics: Generate reports on client return rates, staff performance evaluations, occupancy rates, and other key metrics.
  6. Loyalty Programs: Create and manage customer loyalty programs or memberships to enhance customer retention.
  7. Integrations:
  • Maps and Social Networks: Seamless integration with business websites, Google Maps, Instagram, and Facebook for direct booking capabilities.
  • POS Equipment: Integration with fiscal equipment and POS terminals for flexible payment accounting and regulatory compliance.
  • Communication Services: Support for communication via email, WhatsApp, SMS, and other messaging platforms.

  • Website: https://alteg.io/
  • Founded: 2022
  • Headquarters: Budapest, Hungary
  • Starting Price: USD 11 per month
  • Number of Clients: Over 10,000 clients from more than 84 countries
  • Business Model: Subscription-based software with no hidden fees

Altegio distinguishes itself in the market by not redirecting clients to competitor services through its own app. Unlike other platforms that promote numerous offers, including those from competing businesses, Altegio focuses on promoting its own app among your clients without exposing them to competitors they haven't booked with yet. This approach helps businesses maintain customer loyalty and avoid potential loss of clientele to competitors promoted on the platform.

Key Features of Altegio's online booking widget include:

  • Fast and Customizable: One of the fastest and highly customizable online booking widgets available.
  • Branding Integration: Easily customizable to match your brand style, ensuring a seamless client experience without overtly appearing as a third-party solution.
  • Optimized Interface: A streamlined booking interface designed for maximum speed, catering even to less tech-savvy clients to minimize potential booking losses.
  • Integration with Online Presence: Automatically integrates with your primary online platforms like Google Maps, Instagram, or Facebook.
  • Direct Payment: Clients can pay for services directly through the widget, simplifying the payment process and enhancing convenience.
  • Promotional Capabilities: Supports promotion of special offers, discounts, and promotions directly through the widget, aiding in attracting new clients and retaining existing ones.
  • Multilingual Support: Supports multiple languages, accommodating international clients effectively.

Aunio is a free mobile app developed by Altegio to enhance client interactions with businesses. Here are its key features:

  • Easy Rebooking: Clients can rebook places they've previously visited in just two clicks.
  • Unlimited Notifications: Businesses can send unlimited free notifications to clients.
  • Membership and Gift Card Management: Clients can purchase and renew memberships or gift cards directly through the app.
  • Customizable Cashback Balances: Businesses can customize and display cashback balances, promoting loyalty through flexible bonus programs.
  • Promotional Materials: Supports placing promotional materials on company cards, including images and booking buttons.

Network Management features offered by Altegio include:

  • Centralized Management: Altegio enables centralized management of all branches or service points through a single platform. This includes scheduling, staff management, and inventory tracking across locations.
  • Unified Online Booking: Businesses with multiple branches in different cities can utilize a single online booking link. Clients can easily select their preferred location for appointments, streamlining the booking process.
  • Centralized Client Database: All client data is stored in a unified database, facilitating easy access to visit histories, preferences, and enabling efficient management of loyalty programs across the network.
  • Consolidated Analytics and Reporting: Altegio provides robust data analysis and reporting tools for individual stores and the entire network. This empowers business owners to make informed decisions based on comprehensive, real-time data insights.

Customer Service offerings from Altegio include:

  • Proactive Support: Comprehensive support throughout the entire connection and implementation process, from platform registration to full launch of services.
  • Free Staff Training: Initial staff training provided at the start of implementation, with ongoing training available for new employees as needed.
  • Multichannel Support: Access to support via WhatsApp, phone, social networks, and email, ensuring flexibility in communication channels.
  • Fast Response Times: Commitment to fast response times, with an average response time of 3 minutes, ensuring prompt resolution of queries and issues.

  • Website: https://www.treatwell.co.uk/
  • Founded: 2008
  • Headquarters: London, UK
  • Starting Price: 30 euros per month
  • Number of Clients: Over 25,000 businesses in Europe
  • Business Model: Up to 20% commission per booking + subscription for advanced accounting features

Treatwell operates as an online marketplace specializing in booking beauty and spa services, facilitating users to discover and book appointments at various salons, spas, and wellness centers. However, in our research, we noted that business users express concerns about high booking commissions, including for returning clients, and the necessity to provide substantial discounts to attract new clients.

Key Features of Treatwell:

  • Wide Range of Services: Offers a diverse array of services including haircuts, manicures, pedicures, massages, spa treatments, and more from various establishments.
  • Paid Advertisements: Businesses can pay for promotional services to enhance visibility on the platform, such as priority placement in search results and direct advertising.
  • Payment Processing: Handles online payments where funds are initially received by Treatwell, and then transferred to businesses after deducting commissions.
  • Reviews and Ratings: Clients can leave reviews and ratings, aiding new users in selecting salons and services based on others' feedback.
  • Promotions and Discounts: Regularly provides various promotions and discounts, allowing clients to save money on services

  • Website: https://booksy.com
  • Founded: 2014
  • Headquarters: Warsaw, Poland
  • Starting Price: EUR 34.99 per month
  • Number of Clients: Not provided
  • Business Model: Subscription-based software + commission per booking from the marketplace + payment processing fees
The Polish company Booksy emphasizes client base sharing between its customers as a pivotal aspect of its business model in investor presentations. Unlike charging commissions for repeat client bookings, Booksy focuses on distributing its app freely through client bases and promoting competing offers within its platform.

Key Features of Booksy:

  • Map Search: Users can browse and locate salons on a map, enabling them to find convenient locations and book services nearby.
  • Convenient Booking: Clients can swiftly find available time slots and book services online via the mobile app or website.
  • Reviews and Ratings: Users can leave reviews and ratings, facilitating informed decisions for other clients seeking services from specialists.
  • Commission: Booksy charges a commission that can vary based on regional factors and terms of cooperation with businesses.

  • Website: https://www.vagaro.com
  • Founded: 2009
  • Headquarters: California, USA
  • Starting Price: USD 30 per month
  • Number of Clients: Over 50,000 businesses
  • Business Model: Subscription-based software + commission per booking from the marketplace + payment processing fees
Vagaro offers a scheduling and booking platform tailored for a variety of businesses such as beauty salons, fitness studios, and wellness centers. The company focuses on promoting its mobile app to end-users to facilitate a streamlined booking experience. Compared to some competitors, Vagaro's self-promotion strategy is perceived as less intrusive in the market.

Key Features of Vagaro:

  • Service Promotion: Businesses can promote their services on the platform to attract new clients. Vagaro offers tools for service promotion and enhancing visibility within the platform.
  • Payment Processing: Integration with payment systems enables businesses to accept payments online. Vagaro charges a commission for transactions processed through its platform.
  • Client Management: Tools are available for managing client bases, including maintaining visit histories, tracking preferences, and collecting client reviews.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Vagaro provides detailed reports and analytics on various aspects of business performance, aiding owners in making informed decisions.

  • Website: https://www.mindbodyonline.com
  • Founded: 2000
  • Headquarters: California, USA
  • Starting Price: USD 120 per month
  • Number of Clients: Over 60,000 businesses
  • Business Model: Subscription-based software + commission per booking from the marketplace + payment processing fees
Mindbody is a widely recognized business management platform that specializes in serving fitness and wellness companies. It prominently features its marketplace for the beauty industry and integrates with ClassPass for fitness offerings.

Key Features of Mindbody:

  • Mindbody Marketplace: Offers a comprehensive marketplace featuring services from gyms, yoga studios, beauty salons, and various other businesses. Clients can select from a wide array of options available.
  • Commission: Mindbody charges a commission for bookings and scheduling appointments through its marketplace. The commission rate can vary based on factors such as region, type of business, and terms of cooperation. Typically, commissions range from 2% to 10% of the service cost. For instance, in the USA, the commission rate can be approximately 6-7% of the service cost.


Altegio stands out by prioritizing the protection of your customer base. Unlike many other services that act as marketplaces and risk redirecting clients to competitors through ads or reviews, Altegio ensures that your clients can use its features without encountering promotions from other salons. This approach safeguards customer loyalty, allowing you to concentrate on expanding your business without concerns about losing clients to rival services.

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