Cloud application suite helps small companies book more business

Booker (formerly known as GramercyOne) helps its customers manage more than 1 million appointments on a monthly basis.

The bane of my existing is keeping my calendar, mainly because I never leave enough time for actually writing the blog entries that develop out of most of my interviews. Naturally, I am always intrigued by resources that could make managing this process much simpler--not just for me personally but for anyone who is kind enough to read what I write.

That's what intrigued me about Booker, a cloud-hosted application that started life in 2007 as an appointment-booking tool for the spa industry, part of SpaFinder. Backed with $14 million in venture financing, the company has since blossomed beyond that first vertical--and purpose--to become a much broader business-development platform for small-services businesses.

As of last count, Booker is now processing about 1 million appointment requests for its customers on a monthly basis. It has grown beyond that into marketing and sales development functions. Last year, it facilitated about $1 billion in transactions and helped manage 15 million customer records, according to a recent company press release.

"In addition to booking appointments, business owners also want to book revenue and book new customers with promotions and special offers," said Josh McCarter, CEO of the New York-based company (formerly called GramercyOne). "Our new brand, combined with the launch of Deal Maker, streamlines and better reflects the strategic direction of the company as we expand our customer verticals and solutions portfolio."

DealMaker is an automated feature that helps automate online promotions. The idea is to fill more appointments during off-peak hours by offering promotions and prices to get new customers to walk in the door.

Noted one Booker customer, who owns a hair salon. "Deal Maker has made a significant increase in new bookings and product sales. Since it's completely automatic, it creates new deals and bookings, and we don't have to lift a finger."

The pricing for the application depends on the number of features that a small business is using, as well as the type of industry it serves.

For example, the entry-level packages for SalonBooker or SpaBooker each are priced at $65 per month, after a $150 set-up fee. The company doesn't publish pricing for its generic Booker offering on the Web site; you have to request a demonstration.

If your business is simply looking for an appointment-scheduling application, you might also want to check out Full Slate.