San Francisco based Genbook has got an interesting hybrid model going. On the one hand, it offers local businesses the ability to get bookings online and on the other, it allows the businesses to advertise across its network. Basically, the local business can use the tool for free on their own business site or pay $69.95 per month to get media placement across the Genbook network. The Genbook network is not so much a partnership situation as it is a media advertising portfolio. Advertisers will be placed on the usual suspects like YellowPages.com, AOL, Yahoo Local and oh yeah, Google. So Genbook is acting as a media buying agency for the local business owner. Currently the flat fee of $69.95 per month covers the pay per click media campaigns that are increasingly being demanded by advertisers.
- The appointment booking interface is easy to use and allows businesses to communicate available appointments online.
- The fact that it is free.
- $69.95 per month for an online media campaign is a steal considering the cost per appointment booking is certainly exponentially higher than a cost for a click.
I spoke to Genbook's User Interface Director, Anson Parker this afternoon and it's clear that Genbook has a solid understanding of what local advertisers want. Using the booking interface as a hook to attract users is working and will be the focus for the next little while. As a relatively new entrant to the local media scene, Genbook is providing advertisers with excellent value. Let's assume that a local MedSpa achieves even one booking this month. For $69.95 per month, the ROI is unimaginable. Getting the businesses to embrace cost per booking models and to appreciate lifetime customer values will be tough but make no mistake, it'll happen.
The bigger challenge will be to get users to adopt to this method of booking. Although the interface is easy to use, consumers have a lot of questions. At the onset, it may be better suited to existing customers rather than an acquisition tool.
I would recommend this to any local business that has a high price point per booking. Not only does the investment bring brand exposure and a sleek consumer interaction tool, but it brings a glimpse of how business will be done in the not so distant future.