Booking Bug Leverages Twilio SMS To Empower Small Businesses

Gregory Bockenstette

The inspiration for BookingBug arose when CEO Glenn Shoosmith was having trouble booking a squash game at his sports center. Realizing that many service businesses lacked an efficient means of online scheduling, he set out to create one. Together with Gregory Bockenstette, he co-founded BookingBug in 2009 to provide service businesses with a user-friendly means of adding an online scheduling system to their website, Facebook page or anywhere else their business has a presence on the web.


Glenn Shoosmith

BookingBug’s scheduling system allows customers to configure SMS reminders, confirmations and follow-ups. Until recently, however, only one-way communication was offered. Clients were not able to cancel or reschedule appointments by text message, resulting in lost time and revenue for companies. BookingBug needed to upgrade to an SMS platform that offered reliable, two-way functionality.

Based in the lively startup community of East London, BookingBug was already familiar with Twilio’s excellent track record. “We needed a reliable provider for two-way SMS functionality, and we felt that Twilio could deliver,” said Kate Hyslop, head of marketing at BookingBug.

Within five days, developers added the SMS system to its current Ruby on Rails infrastructure. The team cited a very positive experience working with Twilio’s APIs and technical support.

BookingBug clients, which include salons, spas, B&Bs, gyms, personal trainers, or any business that sells its service in terms of time, can now engage in two-way conversations with its clients by text message. Not only does this help eliminate no-shows, it functions as a time-saving tool by reducing administrative work that was previously done by hand. It also allows businesses to gather feedback, thus improving customer service and increasing loyalty.

As a result of switching to Twilio from their previous SMS provider, BookingBug has realized a savings of 80 percent. “Twilio is a good value for us, and therefore it’s a good value for our customers,” said Hyslop.

In addition to confirmations, reminders and follow-ups, BookingBug makes bulk SMS available to clients for marketing campaigns. This gives small businesses the power to target a wider audience, allowing for more competition with large companies.

“BookingBug is more than just an online appointment scheduler,” said Hyslop. “It’s a complete marketing tool for small businesses, and Twilio is a large part of that.”
BookingBug’s user base is growing rapidly. The company is currently in the process of expanding internationally and is confident that Twilio can support global growth.

“Twilio is a good fit for us in terms of reliability and scalability, and its personality matches what we are trying to convey,” Hyslop said. “We definitely see Twilio as a partner that will grow along with us.”