You know that door handle that jams, and you need a specific knack to get it to unstick? It works, more or less. You can open and shut the door, at least most of the time. But every time someone comes over, you need to be on hand to explain the knack, so they don’t get stuck.
This is what it was like with our old calendar.
Over the last several months, FishingBooker’s engineers have been focusing on making our calendar work better, to oil it up so it doesn’t stick anymore. Now, the new version is available across the website.
We gathered feedback from hundreds of captains, fixed bugs, and got the calendar ready to release across the whole website. Here’s what you can expect, along with some answers to our most frequently asked questions.
Why did we change it?
On the face of it, the thing that kick-started our calendar rework looked like a bug. Customers were able to book trips that overlapped. When someone booked a six-hour trip in the morning, that listing’s afternoon trips would show up as “available.” Even if the six-hour trip finished at 2:00 p.m. and the afternoon trip started at 12:00 p.m.
This was because the logic behind our old calendar was quite simple. It viewed four separate possibilities for any given day: fully available, fully unavailable, available in the morning only, or available in the afternoon only.
We set it up like this about four years ago, to allow people to book more than one trip in a single day (so captains could run both a morning and an afternoon half day trip in the same day, for example). It would only block the full day when someone booked a trip lasting eight or more hours. Otherwise, it would block a half day. Hence the overlap.
As we started working with more captains and booking more trips, these overlapping trips became more of a problem. But we knew it would take a lot of time and expertise to fix. It would mean revising the whole logic behind how the calendar works. And whatever we changed, it would directly affect how captains’ booking management works.
With an ever-changing workload and bookings coming from various channels, we knew how important it is for captains to be able to schedule trips effectively. So, it was vital that calendar was still reliable and easy to use, no matter what we did to it.
We wanted to make sure the new calendar’s logic would suit all the captains we work with worldwide, longer term. So, we spent a long time learning how captains were using our old calendar and what they’d like to see in our new one. The last thing we wanted to do was to change everything, then rework it all again next year.
So, rather than just trying to patch up the overlapping trip problem, we did a wide scale rework of the calendar.
This means, now you can:
On the app, mobile, and desktop:
- Set availability based on the trip, rather than the full day/half day block (so no trips will ever overlap again!)
- Access booking details and customer contact information directly from the calendar
On mobile and desktop:
- Automatically block short and ultra long notice bookings
- Choose when you’d like the week to start (Monday, Sunday, or Saturday)
On desktop only:
- Manage several listings’ calendars in one place through the multicalendar (new)
We also changed the way the calendar looks, so you get a better idea of your commitments.
Read on to find out more about why we implemented these features, and how they work.
How it’s laid out
On our old calendar, details of your FishingBooker bookings appeared as a bubble with the booking number. Now, you can immediately see their status, length, and start time.
This is all shown by dots on the dates: a green dot stands for an upcoming booking, a yellow dot is a request you haven’t responded to yet, and a red dot marks any bookings that you weren’t able to accept.
You’ll also notice that we don’t display half days in the same way we used to. This is because of the way the new works. We used to simply look at dates as being made up of a morning (before 12pm) and an afternoon (after that).
Now, the calendar looks at the duration of individual trips, rather than half day or full day blocks. So now, any dates that are blocked for just part of the day are displayed in yellow, as “custom availability.”
What if you want to see details about non-FishingBooker bookings? Simply add them as a “private note.” Hover over this with your mouse on the computer, or tap to see “details” on your app, and you’ll get all the information you need.
On the app:
How does custom availability work?
It’s now possible to block off a single trip at a time, rather than blocking a whole half day block.
Now, whenever someone books a trip with you, your calendar will be unavailable for the duration of that trip only. So, any trips you offer on FishingBooker that start after this trip is set to finish will still be available.
This happens automatically when you get a FishingBooker booking. But you can update the calendar yourself to block specific trips in the same way.
The result? Now, you have more flexibility on a wider scale. For instance, now you can choose to only allow people to book inshore trips when the weather is set to be bad offshore. Simply choose which trips are safe to run, and close the others. And by blocking off evening trips, at last you can reliably go out for dinner occasionally without sacrificing your chances of getting booked earlier in the day!
NOTE: You can only update custom availability when you’re editing a single date. You can just select dates as “available” or “unavailable” when updating a block of dates. If one of your trips is only available for some parts of the year or on certain days of the week, we suggest you set it up as a seasonal trip in “manage listing.”
- How to edit availability on the new calendar
- How do I block a half day on the new calendar?
- How to set my trips up (scroll to “to set the seasonality”)
An easier way to access your customer’s details from the calendar
When we asked captains what they were missing in the old calendar, one answer was overwhelmingly common. This was the fact that most people organized themselves through the calendar, not from “Manage Bookings.” And in the calendar, you couldn’t easily find a customer’s contact information or any other information related to the booking.
Fixing this made a lot of sense, but it was challenging for our designers. There’s already a lot of information in the calendar, with limited space to show it. How could we make it easier to find the booking details while keeping the amount of information on each page looking clean, simple, and usable?
After trying several options, they came up with a simple solution. Now, you just need to click on the trip date to find the customer’s name, group size, and a link to all their booking details, including their contact details.
How are availability settings different to blocking out a date, and how do you access them?
Our new availability settings mean you can control how and when people book your trips. They are the general rules you plan your business by: how far in advance you like to get booking requests, whether you want to get Instant Bookings, and what day of the week you’d like your calendar to start on.
You can find all this under “Availability” in Manage Listing, close to where you update your boat details, trips, and terms. Get there by clicking the link in the top right of the page when you’re viewing your calendar on the web version of fishingbooker.com:
How to manage availability for several listings at once: the Multicalendar
Have more than one boat, or launch from several locations? Good news – you can now update your availability for all these listings at once with our new multicalendar tool. You can access this when using FishingBooker on your desktop, as long as you’ve switched to the new calendar on all your listings.
This tool works just like the calendar for a single listing, except you can see and edit all your listings at once. Access it by going to https://fishingbooker.com/multicalendar.
You can only access the multicalendar when you’re logged into FishingBooker on your computer.
Update availability for multiple listings by clicking the start and end of the date range. You can still also update a date for a single listing by double-clicking that date.
Keep an eye on our Product Updates to stay in the loop. And, as always, keep in touch if you have any problems or need any help.
What do you think about the calendar? How could it be better? Let us know in the comments below!