To shoot from the hip, this is a hack, but it's a good one! There are two ways users can book spaces through Habu. That's through:
The User Area
They both have their benefits. With bookings in the User Area, there's great design and the ability to take up front payments. However, if you don't want all users to be able to book directly that's where Custom Forms come in. This is because Custom Forms provide the ability to customize what data you collect, to inquire, and to pay by invoice.
This hack is all about merging the two, so that you get the benefits of directing a user to the User Area, but they actually only make a booking inquiry through integrating a link in the relevant space. Another key ingredient is using markdown text formatting.
If this is all sounding a little abstract, read on and all will become clear!
Step One: Create your Custom Form
Navigate to Settings > Custom Forms and get your form set up how you like. What the form lacks in elegant design, it makes up for with flexibility of fields and customization of the field labels.
Here's my Custom Form in edit mode:
When you're happy with the form and the order of everything, hit "save" and then "view". You'll then see the form as seen by external users. What you need to do now is copy the URL as you will paste this into the Space description:
Step Two: Edit your Space
The next task is to navigate to the space you want to enable user (all or some) to be able to inquire about.
The key elements to pay attention to are:
Permissions: who can view what, and how they can access or pay for them
The space description: adding the URL and using markdown formatting
With the permission settings for the space I've set up here, only members can book the space directly. Non-members and the public can only view the space, and that because in this use case I want them to use the booking inquiry form instead.
I've also highlighted the space description field. As you can see there's some special formatting around the URL at the bottom of the description. This is markdown formatting in action, which will make this both larger as well a hyper link as you can see here when in "save" mode:
Here's a cheatsheet for various ways to do this. On that link, you'll also find some of the other simple techniques I've used in the rest of the space description.
Part of this hack necessitates making sure the space description is long enough to enable the "show more" button, as well as drawing the users attention to this.
Now this is the hack set up, so let's see how it works for non-members.
I've navigated to the Event space in our User Area here and highlighted the "show more" button:
When this is clicked, the rest of the description field will show, and additionally reveal the markdown formatting (which won't show in the description snippet):
When they click this, they be taken through to the Custom Form, and once completed, you'll have a booking inquiry in your calendar (as well as a notification in app and/or in your inbox!). You can see this is an inquiry, through it's color being grey:
Now that you have the inquiry in place there are a few ways you might want to manage things. This is what my process is:
Contact the user to finalize the details and whether any further booking resources are necessary
Once all the details are in place, go to "actions" on the booking itself and confirm the booking. This will mean no double booking are now possible from the user side.
Send the user the invoice
I would also use the "invite user" function under "actions" on the contact page too, to invite them to the user area, if they are new to your workspace. This will give them access to the User Area, but only show elements based on your permission settings.
All that's left to do now is welcome the user when they come to your workspace.