Checkfront – Cloud Based Online Booking System

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Checkfront - Startup featured on StartUpLift

An online booking, reservation and e-commerce system for schedule based businesses.

Target Audience: B2B, Enterprise cloud, travel and toursim
Website URL:

Feedback sought:

  • Visit our website and let us know if you are able to determine with the information provided what we do.
  • Create a free trail and let us know your first-impression.
  • If you have the cycles, try setting up the service, and let us know any stumbling points.
  • Offer any other feedback you’d like.
  • Bring world peace.
  • Pat yourself on the back!

About Checkfront:

Checkfront helps schedule based businesses better manage their operations, centralize administration, sell and market their services online. The turn-key online booking system provides a hosted, centralized business management tool, while offering self-service bookings from a merchants own website. Checkfront provides a secure back-office application for managing bookings and integrates into popular web 2.0 tools such as WordPress, Joomla, Facebook and Google Apps.

10 thoughts on “Checkfront – Cloud Based Online Booking System

  1. Feedback sought:

    Visit our website and let us know if you are able to determine with the information provided what we do.
    I see the word “booking” a lot.  Looks like you accept paymonts.  It kind of feels like you are hotel software (managing rates and specials). 
    Create a free trail and let us know your first-impression.
    Created.  I am in the Checkfront.  It says the amount is $99.00 – Not sure what this is.  It says 1 night is $99.00
    If you have the cycles, try setting up the service, and let us know any stumbling points.
    Offer any other feedback you’d like.
    Bring world peace.
    Pat yourself on the back!

    Actionable Comments and suggestions:
    1) The presentation of information on your homepage is like I am reading a lengthy book to find out what you do, and it is not 100% obvious or clear who your target audience is.
    You should state that.  EXample:  Smart Booking management is perfect for:  hotels, warehouses, etc.
    I would get lost in your information overload on your homepage and never make it to the free trial if I don’t know how your cloud software can help me.
    2) Otherwise, your homepage is OK.  It is not full of errors or glitchy, but it seems like it needs something.  Right now it is just mediocre.  The colors used aren’t bad but your picture “Your Company” on homepage is blurry, a little small and does not sell your brand.  You need a crisp picture if you are going to put one up, but honestly showing the cloud software screenshot is boring!  You need smiling people helping or something that represents your software.  Have a smiling person sitting behind a computer (at an angle) so you can see your website on the screen or something that adds value to your brand.  As is, it is not personable and I am not seeing any people. (I see your profile pics in about us, but that is too little too late.  Most people will not make it this far.) So add a high-quality picture on your homepage that represents your company.  Remove the blurry screenshot.
    3) On your Resources page, the logo beside Google Checkout is not showing up for me.  Will you check to see why it is loading as a red x?
    4) On your Tour page, the pictures you have displayed, receipt for example is blurry (too small to read well).  If you are going to put a picture up, please put one I can read.  It doesn’t add quality points to your site.
    5) Your testimonial (found hidden on the bottom right corner of pricing page) should be well displayed on your homepage, where you are trying to sell your product, not on the pricing page.  By this point, your customer will know if they are going to buy or not.
    6) Have concise selling points on homepage, without all the detailed descriptions here.
    7) Why do you have prices slashed through with red line on your pricing page?  Is this to show that your previous prices were too high and you could not sell your product at that price, so you had to lower prices?  Does not add value to your brand.  It also doesn’t make sense why there would originally be a $29 under “free trial”  Shouldn’t it have always been free?  This is confusing.
    8. Zero software to install is a selling point and located on your Pricing page.  It should be on your homepage where you are actually selling your product.  Again, the client will already know if they are interested in buying by the time they get to your pricing page.  This means no last minute selling points needed.  Put it all up front or not at all.  Books should not have hidden chapters, and websites should not have new selling points pop up on the pricing page.

  2. Visit our website and let us know if you are able to determine with the information provided what we do.

    I checked out your website.  I understand, on a surface level, what you offer.  I believe that it allows for business owners to integrate a reservation and invoice/payment system into their website, or facebook, or blog – wherever they deem necessary.  Additionally, it gives you the ability to track and analyze data – customers, retention, payments, etc. on your own time in your own system. 

    Create a free trail and let us know your first-impression.

    Done.  It looks professional once I’ve logged in, but, I felt a little confused.  Where do I start?  How will I access this again?  Do I go through your site, or do I use the personal web address given to me at sign up?  I need something that will help me get started!
    If you have the cycles, try setting up the service, and let us know any stumbling points.

    I’m not quite sure what this means.
    Offer any other feedback you’d like.

    I get the general idea of what you do from your website.  Now, however, I don’t know if I could determine what type of industry, or business, this is most applicable for.  You may say, “all industries can find use for this!”, which is fantastic – but, I, as your potential consumer, am having a hard time making that connection from your idea to applying that to my business.  I think some examples of successes, or industries that benefit most from this type of system would be very helpful.  I need to see myself using your product before I’ll even sign up for a free trial.

    Secondly, it seems like your software has a lot of pieces.  Not literally, but, it has a lot to offer, it seems slightly complex (not so simple that one can just understand everything in a single power statement).  I highly suggest adding a one or two minute video tour of your system in use!  Walk me through a hypothetical company using all of the components in a very condensed tour. 

    Also, I’d add some messaging to your site.  I don’t mean more copy/text – you do a nice job with this already.  I mean a slogan/tagline/messaging points.  Your company name/logo, Checkpoint, seem good, but, I thought it had something to do with managing personal finances, checks, etc.  The thought that it was a personal task manager also crossed my mind.  A tagline would help users understand the main idea without having to even explore your website – this may be very helpful.  Note that a tagline should become a part of your logo. 

    When someone signs up for your trial and logs in for the first time you should have an automatic pop up that introduces them to the system – a walkthrough of sorts.  I logged in and felt lost.
    Finally, I can’t see the real value in upgrading to the plus plan.  Is the only difference a toll free number, vs priority support?  Priority support sounds better than a toll free number to me, and it’s $30/month cheaper!  Also – what is an agent?  Why would I need 5 agents? You should clarify the true benefits of upgrading more on your pricing page.  

    Bring world peace.

    Trying to!
    Pat yourself on the back!


  3. Visit our website and let us know if you are able to determine with the information provided what we do.

    From what I can gather on the home page, CheckFront is an all-in-one payment, booking and management system for those who provide accomodation (hotels, bed and breakfasts), rent out venues or provide a professional service – basically, anything that needs a time slot.  It also sports the ability to be integrated into existing websites using WordPress and other content management systems (or even Facebook – cool).

    I didn’t fully understand this, however, until I read the information under “Try it for free”.  My first critique is that the bullets at the top of the page should do a better job of explaining this to someone who isn’t all that familiar with booking management.  Perhaps you could just add a little explanatory info to the main heading that reads “for hotels, tours, rentals and professional services.”

    Basically, your home page just needs less clutter.  You want potential customers to see and be able to easily digest the smallest amount of information possible to make the most impact because they’re only going to spend a few seconds assessing your site.  For an example, I’d like to compare CheckFront with HighWire ( ecommerce.  It’s a different product, but the basic principles appy to both.  Take a look at their home page and I’ll break it down into segments.

    [from top to bottom]
    1. Logo & Relevant Links
    2. Promotional Bar
    3. Tagline, Brief Summary, Call to View Pricing
    4. Examples
    5. Footer

    Now let’s have a look at CheckFront:

    [from top to bottom, left to right]
    1. Logo & Relevant Links
    2. Tagline, Bulleted list that does not completely describe service, Call to Try it Free
    3. Too many points to read in one sitting – most will not have the patience
    4. Search Bar, Login Link (shouldn’t this be at the top of the site?), News and a Feature <— I won’t care about these things until I know more about your brand/product
    5. Footer

    You can see, just from looking at the comparison that there is a lot more clutter in the CheckFront home page.  HighWire, meanwhile, is made up mostly of three very simple elements: Promotion bar, tagline/description and examples.  I would like to see something similar implemented in CheckFront to make the most of the home page.

    Create a free trail and let us know your first-impression.

    The sign-up process was quite easy, but I feel a little as if I’m just thrown right in without testing the waters when I get to the dashboard.  I would like to see a big, bold button stating something along the lines of “Getting Started Guide” or “Setup Tutorial” right at the top.  I notice there is a 5 minute setup section in the left sidebar, but believe this should be more immediately visible.

    I do like the fact that sample records are created to give users a feel for how the system will work before they actually start using it. I clicked on the sample pending booking and immediately noticed I could update the status to Paid, Cancelled or otherwise quite easily.

    If you have the cycles, try setting up the service, and let us know any stumbling points.

    After reviewing that informatin, I went through the 5 minute setup.  The first step is to clear sample data and I not only had to enter my password, I also had to confirm the deletion not once, but twice.  This is a good measure to take to ensure users won’t accidentally delete important data and I like the feature.  When I was done I got a nice confirmation that the data was purged, but nothing to indicate what to do next except for the left sidebar.  A “next step” button would be nice in this scenario.

    The next step was “Review setup”, but I was a little confused about what this step would entail.  After looking over the forms, I think this step might be more appropriately named Admin Setup or Company Setup.  I was also a little confused by the fact that on the first tab under this step, an “upgrade account” button is listed on the left sidebar.  But when I click on “Locale”, it changes to the time and date.  Is there a reason for this change?  Under configuration, it changes to a help button and then different information is displayed when the last tab is clicked.  First, I would like to see the help button appear for each of the tabs.  Second, I think some of this information would be less confusing if it were located under the tab and above the form, rather than in a seperate portion of the site.  This will let the user know that information is specific to the current tab.

    After that, I set up a few items under one category.  The interface here was fairly simple and straightforward, with the exception of relevant information showing up in the left sidebar again.  This continued to be distracting, since I’m focusing on the tabbed portion of the screen.  I would really suggest putting those warnings and help tips right in front of the user at the head of the form they are filling out.

    I then took the step to integrate CheckFront into Facebook and got this error: “This app is temporarily unabable while we adjust to the new Facebook API requirements. Please check back soon.”  Whoops, check the spelling there.  But I do understand the reason for that part of the integration being down.  Still, an estimated date when it will be available again will instill confidence in your customers.

    I also tried to install the WordPress plugin on my blog and received this error: “Downloading install package from…

    Download failed. Service Unavailable”

    I’m not sure if this is on your end or WordPress’, but it’s worth looking into. The plugin installed successfully by uploading the zip, and integrated pretty easily with my site (picked up most of my CSS, even).  I could actually see myself using this for booking graphic design services!

    Everything else in the setup process was pretty simple and straightforward. I would, however, separate the last two links in the 5 minute setup with a dashed line or other indicator that they aren’t necessarily part of the initial setup process.

    Offer any other feedback you’d like.

    Overall, I found CheckFront very easy to get into and learn. I’m thinking now that your tagline should be “Simple, Smart Booking Management”.  I still think, most importantly, that the information that pops up in the left sidebar should be moved to ease the user into CheckFront with less confusion.  I like the clean design, the easy integration into WordPress and the easy setup.  I would definitely consider this for my design business, but would like to have full use of Facebook integration first.

    Bring world peace.

    I do like a company with a sense of humor. 🙂
    Pat yourself on the back!


  4. Visit our website and let us know if you are able to determine with the information provided what we do.
    Yes, I see that Checkfront is software for scheduling, booking, payment information, and inventory to purchase for other businesses to use. I am assumming the 99.00 is the fee for the software that has been incorporated into the demo, but that is just a guess. The web home page is far too cluttered with information.  It has strong selling points, but the web structure needs to have borders and graphics that separate its key points.  I think it is trying to start off too strong and needs to be more eye appealing and casual. If it needed another page for some of the information that would be good too.

    Create a free trail and let us know your first-impression.
    I did create a free trial and started easy enough.  I was able to change booking days and charge 99.00 for each night.  I did not see a tool to change the rate of 99.00 to another rate if I needed to, but that should be there if it isn’t. I had to go back and click update after i changed the number of nights booked. That wasn’t a big deal.  An important tab is the report tab where it lists transactions and activities.  This is where your client list will be along with payments and amounts and dates. There should also be a tab for customer information and details so you can have this information with the activities mentioned.
    Im not sure what is meant by “cycles”. The transition from my information to the software was clear.  Since this will be done through the internet, there should be a path where I can upload and download my information if I need my own copy of the information to be mobile with. 
    Offer any other feedback you’d like.
    I work in a hotel and I could tell right away there needs to be a place where I can see to change the rates that will stand out. If it is hidden this could be very frustrating to find. Idealy it should be where the booking days/nights are so you can see the calculation of days  multiplied by the rates. 
    Pretty smooth as it is.  There is just a few design details that could really improve the vision of the web design.
    Thank you!

  5. Visit our website and let us know if you are able to determine with the information provided what we do.
    I would say that you provide a website for people to manage their bookings. At first glance, I thought that it was a website that provides stat analysis of a website, such as google analytics, but then I saw the “Smart Booking Management” and read the dot points and it went “Ding!”, booking management !
    Anyway, you should make “Smart Booking Management” for noticeable. You notice the picture first, as pictures take more priority to the eye than texts. Either make the wordings bigger or change its colour, or make the picture smaller or more “transparent”. You could provide a lot of different screenshots but one packed on top the other, doing a sort of collage. It would be interesting. Maybe a slideshow? or a video?
    But, to answer this question. Yes I do know what your website provide, it’s just not as immediate as you want it to be for a website.
    Create a free trail and let us know your first-impression.
    Assuming you meant “trial”:
    The “term of service looks nice, but I’d rather see it open in a pdf file when I click on it, it seems more professional.
    I like the way, it immediately autoselect my country, one less click !
    You could implement a “tick” or “cross” icon showing beside each value, so that we know when something is not available. For example, my company ID was not available and I had to click on the “Create my Account” button, just for it to tell me the ID was unavailable.
    Apart from this minor issue, it is relatively easy and quick to sign up. A validation sent to my email addres would be best, as it makes sure I did write the wrong email address. The immediate screen to create my password is perfect ! I feel more secure.
    If you have the cycles, try setting up the service, and let us know any stumbling points.
    You should provide a tutorial or set-up link as I am really confused and do not know where to start !
    I managed to create a booking, with the booking tab on top. Although I don’t know what it really means (I’m no business person).
    AH! Now I see the “5 minutes set up”, it was not evident enough ! Change that please. Put it somewhere more noticeable or bigger or anything. Try putting it on top of “CheckFront”.
    Requiring password to delete is nice and makes sure it is confirmed.
    The “Update” button works really well and nice, with a green notification to let you know it has been saved.
    Integration to website has a lot of options and possibilities, which is good. It is also easy to set-up the link.
    Payment Gateway is simple and straightforward. And provide the most common ways to pay.
    The E-commerce link is a bit confusing for me, but if I understood the terms used, I think it would be easy to fill in the blanks.
    System Information is simple and informative, you might want to include some graphs for it to have a nice little summary of everything.
    Feedback button, easy, straightforward and simple.
    Offer any other feedback you’d like.
    On the home page, the “take a tour” link would be better off being a button just underneath the sign up button. Do not be afraid of putting it the same size as well. It will tell your client “Look! Come and inside and see our features !” instead of the “Try not to click on it, I want to hide it so that you can sign up at once”.
    Make the “5 minutes setup” more noticeable ! And change the wordings as well, I believe it can take more than 5 minutes. Change it to something like “Steps to get started”. You also made a grammatical error, it should be “minutes” not “minute” (add an “s”).
    The links and tabs are good, easy to find and easy to access. I don’t see any useless or missing tabs. Well done !
    But, if I want to cancel my membership, how do I do it?
    Bring world peace.
    Pat yourself on the back!
    tried to !

  6. Visit our website and let us know if you are able to determine with the information provided what we do.

    First impression: You offer booking, reservation, availability/inventory and billing service to hotels, tourist attraction (tours, etc), and rental properties. They set up an account with Checkfront, which provides all of the online booking. They can then integrate this service with their existing website, turning any resort/hotel website into a full-fledged e-commerce service, using their Checkfront private site as the administrative backend. From the tour and features, I can’t determine if this also allows for offline (phone, mail) booking (resolved later).
    I do want to point out that, as I used this site more and more, I realized my first impression wasn’t entirely accurate. It would be very helpful to have a list, feature tour, etc to show all of the markets that this can benefit. I could use this to schedule spa appointments, or set my calander for PC repair jobs. I could use this for managing my viola/violin studio, or as a booking agent for a hotel or tour company. The extreme amount of flexibility and scalability you’ve worked in is HUGE, but your target customers may not realize that you are, in fact, a good fit for them. In your About Us, you use the phrase “schedule-based businesses”, but that’s the only place I see it.

    Create a free trail and let us know your first-impression.

    The signup process is very easy, and I like that you don’t require any form of payment or promise of payment up-front. I also like that you have created a Google App for this service, allowing someone to just add this as an app/widget to their existing Google Apps account. I’m not sure, though, what the advantages are to doing so? In the Google Apps description, maybe give a comparison of the App Vs. a hosted account (or is it the same thing?)
    From my dashboard, my first impression is “very slick”. There are elements of a traditional CRM (calander, pipeline, graphs, etc) as well as the traditional e-commerce tools. The layout and icons are very familiar – I can’t tell if it’s from Joomla, WordPress, or PrestaCart, but it feels instantly familiar, which is a big plus. The only thing I feel is missing (on a marketing standpoint) is a lack of Checkfront branding on my dashboard. The favicon helps, but there should be something more, maybe “powered by Checkfront” under my company name, or something like that. The color scheme works well, and you’ve used CSS well to highlight elements, get clean flyout menus, etc. One suggestion to layout: under the leftside nav element, I’m not crazy about the plain-text links. Can these be in the footer?

    If you have the cycles, try setting up the service, and let us know any stumbling points.

    I don’t have an existing WordPress or Joomla account that I could integrate with, but I did use the backend to set up inventory and test the booking service. I’m very glad that offline booking is, in fact, available. Since being able to use the service for phone/in person/etc is going to be a big feature for some companies, I’d make sure to advertise it. Even if I don’t have an existing website, I can still use your SoHo service to manage my business (make sure to mention this!)
    When I’m in the booking summary (pulling up the details), it would be helpful to have the options “PDF, Pay, Print” in the actual body of the summary, not just on the left. Previously, all of the content on the left has been help/support/quicktip type things, so most people aren’t looking there any more.
    After booking the one service I created, I went back to my dashboard. Instantly, my calander has been updated with the “full” dates in red. This gives a good at-a-glance representation to users, and can be helpful when determining availability for customers.

    Offer any other feedback you’d like.

    Since you’re already offering extension via Google’s App service, why not also create either a mobile-friendly version of the dashboard or create Android/iPhone apps for people to manage their pipeline via mobile? I think this could be a great service.
    Also, I’m concerned about the lack of some payment gateways. There are (many) people still using Linkpoint/First Data, and their API isn’t that hard to use for integration (I think one exists already for VirtueMart, which could be ported over, but I can’t tell you for sure). Additionally, xCoin has gotten more popular, so I’d recommend adding it as an alternative to PayPal or Google Checkout.
    You offer another awesome service that I don’t see advertised. You allow users to create a quick, hosted website that can be used for email promotions, landing page, etc. Again, this is HUGE, as companies will want something like this as they get started in ecommerce (if it’s a new thing). However, it would be nice if elements of this quick page could be edited via WYSIWYG. I would love to add some additional company information, contact info, etc, etc right to the page. That may just be me.
    Final suggestion I’d like to make has to do with the way “inventory” is managed. There should be an option for additonal value-added services to be added to an inventory item. For example, what if I do a guided river tour, but for an additonal fee when prebooked, customers can get waterproof disposible cameras? I would want to add this as a checkbox. Or if I need to add special accomodation requests to a room (pet charge, upcharge for extra inhabitants, late checkin/checkout), etc. Though I can make comments about it on each booking, creating product options allows me to quickly assign options to inventory and view the options right on the invoice as an itemized, monetized list. This would also be helpful for non-travel related bookings (for example, I have an item set up for PC repair, but then also have a $-added option for computer upgrade products or to travel to a customer’s home, instead of having to create additional products for each value-added service)

    Bring world peace.

    Done… ! Wait… wait for it….

    nope, sorry.

    Pat yourself on the back!

    I love this bit of “quirkyness” that you’re representing to us. Is there any way to also represent it to customers? Look at Bonanzle. They show their personality very clearly in company communications (just check out their Syndicated Selling option to see what I mean). This sort of thing makes it clear that, in addition to being a rock-solid service, you’ll also be fun to work with.

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