When guests make a reservation, you want to confirm their booking, remind them when it's almost due and make sure they know when it gets canceled.

In addition to sending your guests emails, you can also choose to send them a text message when you integrate Formitable with MessageBird. Texting a guest is possible for reservation confirmations, reservation reminders, and reservation cancellations.

Before you start

💡 When you want to send SMS confirmations and/or reminders, also think about your email settings. You want to create the smoothest online reservation experience for your guests, so of course, everything you send them has to align. You can adjust your email settings via Settings > Email.

💡 Furthermore, it's important to indicate that you are going to text guests somewhere on your website or in the description of your Formitable tickets. This allows you to manage the expectations of guests and to comply with privacy legislation.

How to set up the integration

To set up the integration with MessageBird, you first have to create a MessageBird account. Subsequently, you install the MessageBird App in Formitable, decide when you want to send guests a text message, and set up your own custom text messages.

Create a MessageBird account

To use the MessageBird integration you first have to create a MessageBird account.

  • Create a MessageBird account via this link

  • Click Sign Up with Email

  • Fill in the email address you want to use for your MessageBird account and create a password

  • Agree to the terms and conditions, and click Create an Account

  • Complete the steps to create your account

You need MessageBird's API Key in order to complete your setup in Formitable. To find the API Key:

  • Go to your MessageBird Dashboard (once you've created an account you can access your Dashboard via this link)

  • In the left sidebar, click on SMS

  • Now click on API Getting Started

  • At the right, under Your API Keys > Live, click Show

  • You can now copy-paste your API key to use it for the rest of your setup in Formitable.

  • Add balance to your account so you can pay for the text messages your will be sending (read more about the price of sending a text message here). You can add balance to your account here.

  • ❗Make sure to turn auto-order on in MessageBird, meaning your balance will be topped up automatically so you will always have sufficient funds in your account to send a text message. Otherwise, no text messages will be sent any more as soon as you have reached your limit. You can read more about auto-order in MessageBird's Help Center article on this topic.

Install MessageBird in Formitable

To install the app in Formitable, go to Apps.

  • Scroll down to MessageBird and click on Install

  • Click on App Settings ⚙️

  • Fill in the API access token supplied by MessageBird, as described above

  • Use the sliders to decide for which items you want to send a text message: reservation confirmations, reservation reminders, and/or reservation cancellations

You can now add your own custom text to each type of text message.

Set up your own custom text message

Ideally, your text message contains no more than 160 characters. Otherwise, MessageBird counts your text message as more than 1 message, which will add up in costs (check Pricing to find out more).

You can of course use more than 160 characters, that's entirely up to you. So if your text message would contain, for example, 200 characters, MessageBird will charge you for two text messages. To help you out with creating a concise but personal message, we've created some text message Template Suggestions for you to use.

To set up a custom text message, go to the MessageBird App in Formitable you just installed.

  • Click on App Settings ⚙️

  • Per text message type, you can now add a custom text

  • Don't forget to fill out all languages if you also offer a multilingual widget

In order to personalise your text message, you can use so-called placeholders. Placeholders are specific guest and reservation characteristics that will be filled in automatically when sending your text message. For example, {{firstName}} will turn into the guest's first name automatically without you having to fill it in manually.

You can use the following placeholders to make your messages more personal:

{{firstName}}

A guest's first name

{{lastName}}

A guest's last name

{{bookingDate}}

Date of the reservation

{{bookingStartTime}}

Start time of the reservation

{{bookingEndTime}}

End time of the reservation

{{restaurantName}}

Name of your restaurant

{{restaurantWebsite}}

Your restaurant's website

{{changeUrl}}

Link to change the reservation

{{cancelUrl}}

Link to cancel the reservation

❗Make sure to always use the double brackets to open and close your placeholder. Otherwise the guest will see the placeholder text (e.g. "Hi firstName") instead of the information that your placeholder refers to (e.g. "Hi Peter")

Pricing

MessageBird charges a fee for each SMS that you send out. As stated earlier, MessageBird counts 160 characters as one SMS. Do you use between 160 and 320 characters, it will count as two text messages, and so on. Apart from this, Formitable doesn't charge any additional costs. Check out the pricing of MessageBird for your country here.

Calculation example

To help you anticipate expenses we created a calculation example for a Dutch restaurant. This calculation is based on text messages that contain max. 160 characters.

Let's say you have an average of 350 reservations per month. If you send out an SMS confirmation (of €0,076 cents per SMS) to all those reservations, it would cost you €26,60. Do you want to send an additional text reminder, it would cost you another €26,60 (€0,076 x 350 = €26,60). In total you would then pay €53,20 on average per month, to send out both a text confirmation and reminder. Do you have a lower or higher number of reservations per month? Adjust the calculation accordingly.

💡 Want to limit your expenses? Only send out a text reminder, instead of both the confirmation and reminder. Most probably, you send out confirmation emails so guests will receive a reservation confirmation anyway. To avoid no-shows, you want to remind guests in an urgent manner, for which texting can be a great tool in addition to, for example asking for a prepayment.

❗Make sure to turn auto-order on in MessageBird, meaning your balance will be topped up automatically so you will always have sufficient funds in your account to send a text message. Otherwise, no text messages will be sent any more as soon as you have reached your limit. You can read more about auto-order in MessageBird's Help Center article on this topic.

SMS Template suggestions

To help you out with creating concise, but personal messages we have created some SMS templates for you to use. You can simply copy the template and paste it into your SMS settings in Formitable. Of course, you can never entirely anticipate the number of characters, as this also depends on the length of a guest's first name, for example.

Confirmation Template

Reminder Template

Cancellation Template

The cheapest option, less than 160 characters for each text.

Make sure to keep email confirmations activated.

Your booking at {{restaurantName}} is confirmed. Check your email to change or cancel your reservation.

This is a reminder for your booking at {{restaurantName}} on {{bookingDate}} at {{bookingStartTime}}. Change of plans? Please call us.

Hi, your reservation on {{bookingDate}} at {{restaurantName}} is cancelled. We look forward to seeing you another time.

Concise and simple

Hi {{firstName}}, thanks for your reservation at {{restaurantName}} on {{bookingDate}} at {bookingStartTime}}. Change: {{changeUrl}} Cancel: {{cancelUrl}}

Hi {{firstName}}, a friendly reminder for your reservation at {{restaurantName}} on {{bookingDate}} at {{bookingStartTime}}. Change: {{changeUrl}} Cancel: {{cancelUrl}}

Hi {{firstName}}, we hereby confirm the cancellation of your reservation at {{restaurantName}} at {{bookingDate}} on {{bookingStartTime}}. See you next time!

Elaborate and more detailed

Hi {{firstName}}, thank you for making a reservation at {{restaurantName}}. We look forward to seeing you on {{bookingDate}} at {{bookingStartTime}}! If for any reason you would like to change your reservation, you can do so via {{changeUrl}} or cancel via {{cancelUrl}}. See you soon!

Hi {{firstName}}, this is a friendly reminder for your reservation at {{restaurantName}} on {{bookingDate}} at {{bookingStartTime}}. We are very much looking forward to seeing you! Did something come up? Change your reservation via {{changeUrl}} or cancel via {{cancelUrl)). See you soon!

Hi {{firstName}}, we hereby confirm the cancellation of your reservation at {{restaurantName}} at {{bookingDate}} on {{bookingStartTime}}. We hope to welcome you again soon! Feel free to make a new reservation for another time via {{restaurantWebsite}}.


💡 For any specific questions regarding your MessageBird account, refer to MessageBird's Help Center. However, if you set up auto-order you barely need to login into your MessageBird account, since everything is set up in Formitable.


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