Booker vs. Boulevard: Battle of the Salon & Spa Marketing Tools

Editorial note: We're committed to providing correct and up-to-date software reviews that help guide you to the solutions that best fits your needs. The Salon Business is a subsidiary of Mangomint (a salon and spa software we love). However, any opinions shared are solely based on our editors' first-hand experience using the tools we review. Learn more...

Booker vs. Boulevard – two popular salon management software options worth comparing if you’re in the market for a new system.

Booker, now owned by industry giant Mindbody, has been around since 2007 and is known for its simplicity and ease of use. It’s a straightforward platform focused on appointment scheduling, client management, and marketing tools to drive new appointments.

Boulevard, founded in 2016, is a fast-growing newcomer that bills itself as the “first and only client experience platform.” It puts client and user experience at the forefront with polished design and robust features tailored to businesses focused on exceptional service.

In this guide, I’ll examine key factors like features, pricing, support, and ideal user to help you understand which software suite is a better bet for your business: Booker or Boulevard.

Read on to find out which platform is the best choice for your salon’s needs.

Booker vs Boulevard

Let's kick off with an overview of the two platforms we're diving into today.

Booker

Boulevard

Overall score

Note

The overall score considers ease of use, customer service, features, user ratings, and cost. Scores are determined solely by our editorial team.

3.4
4.3

Average price

Note

Assumes you run a business with a mid-size team and have activated the more common add-ons. What you will pay will be lower or higher than this. See the separate section about pricing for full details.

$450 per month
$425 per month

Who is it for

For the new and growing business with funds to spare that needs integrated marketing tools and must have a first-party online marketplace to drive new client acquisition.
Established beauty and wellness businesses with several service providers who want flexible reporting options and need an all-in-one marketing suite baked right into the software

Ease of use

4
4.5

Customer Service

3.5
5.0

Countries

Available almost worldwide

U.S.

Key features

  • Two-way messaging available (only on Ultimate and Ultimate Plus)
  • AI chatbot feature to help with scheduling (only on Ultimate Plus)
  • Integrated payments through MindBody Payments (US & Canada only)
  • Mindbody Explore Marketplace listing included with all subscriptions
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Excellent online booking
  • Integrated email marketing suite
  • Highly detailed custom reports [on Premiere and above]

A Double-Click on Each System

Let’s cover what these systems are and look closer at the pros and cons of Booker vs. Boulevard.

Booker At a Glance

Booker by Mindbody, is a subscription-based salon and spa software that has existed in some form since 2007. Booker is headquartered in San Luis Obispo CA, and is available nearly worldwide.

Booker’s strengths lie in its new client acquisition opportunities and integrated marketing capabilities.

While Booker’s lowest-tier plans are relatively affordable compared to the competition, they lack many of the noteworthy features that make Booker an attractive option, putting them somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to price-to-feature comparisons.

Pros and Cons

  • Straightforward pricing
  • Enhanced new client acquisition opportunities through MindBody Explore marketplace
  • Integrated email marketing suite (on higher-tier plans)
  • No free trial
  • Must commit to a minimum 12-month contract before ever using the software
  • US-based customer support only available to Ultimate and Ultimate Plus plans (outsourced on Starter and Accelerate plans)

Boulevard At a Glance

Boulevard is an up-and-coming cloud-based beauty and wellness software that offers a strong toolset of core features like appointment booking and POS, as well as advanced marketing features and two-way messaging.

It natively integrates with over a dozen apps, including Quickbooks, Instagram, Shopify, and more.

It is quite a pricey option, however, coming in at a starting price of $175 for the lowest-tier plan, which we (and Boulevard themselves) don’t recommend as it lacks some of Boulevard’s best reporting, marketing, and inventory features.

Boulevard offers a free trial, but they require a 12-month minimum contract to sign up, so make sure you are 100% sure about your choice before signing up.

Pros and Cons

  • Client data that you can actually use to boost client retention and sales
  • Can integrate with a large number of third party applications
  • Precision Scheduling tech to fill the best gaps on the calendar first
  • Well designed & easily-searchable help center
  • High price-point across all plans
  • Essentials plan lacks many of the best features Boulevard offers
  • Boulevard Professional mobile app is buggy & has low ratings on iOS & Android
  • Marketing suite can’t differentiate between bookings from emails vs other factors (you may end up paying more)

How Do They Compare? Strengths and Weaknesses of Booker vs. Boulevard

When we put Booker against Boulevard, it’s clear they cater to different preferences in salon management.

Booker is recognized for its user-friendly interface that makes training staff straightforward. It’s known for being a reliable option that doesn’t overwhelm users with too many complex features (although it does offer quite a few).

Boulevard, on the other hand, is appreciated for its modern design and smart scheduling features that aim to maximize efficiency. Its interface is clean and contemporary, which is a big plus for salons that prioritize a polished image and user experience.

However, both systems have their downsides. Especially in comparison to newer software options like Boulevard, Booker seems outdated in its design.

Both options have a moderate entry price point, but you will need to shell out a few hundred dollars on top of that to get their most attractive features.

Boulevard has faced some criticism for its mobile app performance, with many reports of buggy experiences. Likewise, some users report that they find certain tasks in the desktop app, such as managing staff schedules, less than intuitive.

Booker’s mobile app is no better, though. As a longtime user of Booker in my salon in the 2010s and having recently tested and reviewed it here at The Salon Business, I can attest that the experience is still glitchy at best, with frequent logouts and improperly synced calendars being longtime issues that still plague the app.

Ultimately, the choice between Booker vs. Boulevard will hinge on what a salon values more: the ease and familiarity of Booker or the sleek, modern approach of Boulevard.

Booker vs Boulevard

Let's kick off with an overview of the two platforms we're diving into today.

Booker

Boulevard

Ease of use

4
4

Design

3
4

Customer service

3
5

Pricing

3
3

Calendar and appointment management

4
4

Online booking

4
5

Point of sale and check out

4
4

Client data

4
5

Client communication

4
5

Inventory management

4
4

Team Management

4
3

Payroll

4
3

Marketing support

5
5

3rd party integrations

4
4

Mobile and tablet apps

2
3

Booker vs. Boulevard: Features

Breaking down the features of Booker and Boulevard shows that both platforms are tailored more toward teams rather than individuals, mainly due to their pricing structures. Booker, part of the Mindbody ecosystem, aligns closely with Mindbody’s feature set and pricing tiers.

Booker’s marketing features are broadly competitive with Boulevard’s, with tools like an email campaign builder and access to a client marketplace via Mindbody Marketplace, highly valuable features for client outreach and retention.

While Boulevard does not offer a client marketplace, it comes equipped with a more feature-rich marketing suite and more highly-detailed reporting capabilities than Booker.

Boulevard’s Precision Scheduling™ technology is a standout online booking feature that Booker currently has no answer for, designed to help salons optimize their calendars and fill appointment slots more efficiently.

Booker vs Boulevard

Booker or Boulevard? Let's go through what these features are and where they differ.

Booker Boulevard
Online Booking Booker Boulevard
Website booking widget

Note

Can you integrate the entire online booking experience directly into your website?

Note

Not included by default. Requires custom web development and API access fees.

Branding control

Note

Can you customize the look and feel of the booking experience to fit your brand?

Note

Not included by default. Requires custom web development and API access fees.

No-show protection

Note

Can you store credit card details and charge deposits to reinforce your cancellation policy?

Service customization

Note

Can clients adapt their service when they book, and can this change the price and duration of the booked appointment?

Free from account creation

Note

Can clients book without having first to create an account with the software?

Integrated gift cards

Note

Can you sell digital gift cards as part of the booking process?

Calendar and Appointment Management
Customize notification messages

Note

Can you change the text sent to your clients as part of appointment reminders and other messages?

Customize notification timings

Note

Can you change when reminders and other messages go out to your clients?

Note

Full customization not available. Options are limited to: 2 Days Before, 1 Day Before, and Same Day.

Client waitlist management
Rooms and resource scheduling

Note

Can you manage equipment, rooms, and other resources required to complete a service?

Repeat appointments

Note

Can you schedule clients for recurring appointments?

Time block

Note

Can you block out time on your calendar?

Processing time

Note

Can you allow for double booking of service providers by accepting appointments during service processing time?

Duration and price by staff

Note

Can you adapt the price and time needed for a service based on who is performing the service?

Automated check-in

Note

Can clients check in to their appointments themselves?

Point of Sale/ Check out
Tablet compatible

Note

Can you run the POS on any tablet or do you need special hardware?

Dedicated POS hardware

Note

Does the system provider offer hardware to improve the check out expereince?

Self check out

Note

Can clients check out from their appointment themselves?

Route payments to renters

Note

If you have booth renters in your business, can you route payments directly to them?

Cards on file

Note

Can you store credit card details and charge the customer later?

Integrated payments

Note

Does the software offer a first-party payment processing solution?

Client Data & Communication
SMS Notification
Email Notificition
Dedicated business SMS number

Note

Do you get a business phone number that your messages and notifications are send from?

Note

Available on Ultimate & Ultimate Plus plans only

Two way SMS communication

Note

Available on Ultimate & Ultimate Plus plans only

Forms

Note

Can you create intake forms, store SOAP notes, and have clients sign your forms?

Client notes

Note

Can you store notes about clients on their profile?

Client files and images

Note

Can you store files and image on in the client’s profile?

Inventory and Product Types
Inventory tracking

Note

Will the system keep track of stock levels, notify you when it’s time to re-order?

Purchase orders

Note

Can the system create automatic purchase orders for you?

Note

Not available on Essentials plan.

Retail
Memberships
Packages
Gift cards
Team Support & Payroll
Fully integrated payroll

Note

Can you run payroll and cut paychecks directly through the software?

3rd party payroll integration

Note

Does the software allow you integrate and share data with a 3rd party payroll solution (e.g. Gusto, ADP, Paychex, etc)?

Payroll reports
Commission support

Note

Can you track and report on commission for service, retail, and other product types?

Multi-location support

Note

Does the system have specific support for businesses with multiple locations

Booth renter support

Note

Can the system help with rent collection, payments, and other booth renter management tasks.

Marketing Support
Email marketing
SMS marketing
Website builder
Client marketplace

Note

Does it offer a platform where potential clients can browse businesses using the software?

Add-on offers

Note

Can you promote service add-ons/upsells as part of the online booking flow?

Cloud & Mobile App Access
Full-featured mobile app

Note

Can you access all software features in the mobile app?

Web browser
iPad
iPhone
Android

Integrating with Other Platforms for Additional Features

One area where Booker and Boulevard differ significantly is in platform integrations. Boulevard offers more out-of-the-box integrations.

Boulevard enables integration with popular tools like Shopify, Facebook Book Now, Instagram, and more. This allows Boulevard users to easily expand capabilities without additional development costs.

Meanwhile, Booker can integrate with many apps via its open API, but this requires web development expertise and licensing fees in order to accommodate.

Booker vs Boulevard

Booker Boulevard
Custom integrations

Note

Does the platform allow you to create new integrations to support your business-specific needs?

Note

On Enterprise plan only.

Native integrations

Note

Built-in integrations that you can activate as needed

  • iCal
  • Google Calendar
  • Green Circle
  • Okta SSO
  • Shopify
  • Facebook & Instagram Book Now
  • Zapier
  • Quickbooks Online
  • Reserve with Google

Pricing

When it comes to pricing, both Booker and Boulevard offer a tier-based structure where the more you pay, the more features you unlock. Booker’s entry-level plans are reasonably priced when compared to the broader market, but they do lack some of the platform’s standout features, which are reserved for higher-tier plans.

Boulevard also starts with an accessible entry price, but as with Booker, the most compelling features require investment in more expensive plans.

Comparing the two directly, neither Booker nor Boulevard pulls ahead significantly in terms of value for money.

If low cost is important to you, then you will be better off with another alternative on my top salon and spa software list.

Booker vs Boulevard Pricing

Both apps are similarly priced.

Booker Boulevard
Average Price
$450 per month
$425 per month
Trial Options
No free trial
Must request trial via a demo call
Minimum contract length
12 months
12 months
Plans
  • Starter: entry-level plan – $129 per month
  • Accelerate: mid-tier plan – $269 per month
  • Ultimate: most popular plan – $429 per month
  • Ultimate Plus: premium plan – $549 per month
  • Essentials: entry-level plan – $175 per month
  • Premier: most popular plan – $325 per month
  • Prestige: upper-tier plan – $455 per month
  • Enterprise: custom plan for chains and franchises – pricing is custom
Plans
  • Starter: entry-level plan – $129 per month
  • Accelerate: mid-tier plan – $269 per month
  • Ultimate: most popular plan – $429 per month
  • Ultimate Plus: premium plan – $549 per month
  • Essentials: entry-level plan – $175 per month
  • Premier: most popular plan – $325 per month
  • Prestige: upper-tier plan – $455 per month
  • Enterprise: custom plan for chains and franchises – pricing is custom
Add-ons

Messenger[ai] feature can be added on to Accelerate and Ultimate packages

  • Forms and Charts – $55 per month per location
  • Contact Center – Starting at $25 per month per location
  • QuickBooks Integration – $45 per month per location
  • Automated Email Campaigns – $2 per completed appointment
  • One-Time Blast Emails – specific # included with each plan, $0.01 per email thereafter
Add-ons

Messenger[ai] feature can be added on to Accelerate and Ultimate packages

  • Forms and Charts – $55 per month per location
  • Contact Center – Starting at $25 per month per location
  • QuickBooks Integration – $45 per month per location
  • Automated Email Campaigns – $2 per completed appointment
  • One-Time Blast Emails – specific # included with each plan, $0.01 per email thereafter
Credit card fees

Credit card processing rates through Mindbody Payments:

  • US:
    • In-person – Card-present (CP): 2.75% per transaction
    • Online or on-file: Card-not-present (CNP): 3.5% + .15 USD per transaction
  • Canada:
    • In-person – Card-present (CP): 2.39% + .10 CAD per transaction
    • Online or on-file: Card-not-present (CNP): 2.89% + .25 CAD per transaction

With “Offset” Feature

  • 3% charged to client, business charged 1%.

Without “Offset” Feature

  • In-person transactions: 2.6% + 10¢
  • Virtual transactions: 3.5% + 10¢
Credit card fees

Credit card processing rates through Mindbody Payments:

  • US:
    • In-person – Card-present (CP): 2.75% per transaction
    • Online or on-file: Card-not-present (CNP): 3.5% + .15 USD per transaction
  • Canada:
    • In-person – Card-present (CP): 2.39% + .10 CAD per transaction
    • Online or on-file: Card-not-present (CNP): 2.89% + .25 CAD per transaction

With “Offset” Feature

  • 3% charged to client, business charged 1%.

Without “Offset” Feature

  • In-person transactions: 2.6% + 10¢
  • Virtual transactions: 3.5% + 10¢

What Do Users Think of These Platforms?

To get a better understanding of each platform’s user experience, check out what real users have to say about Booker and Boulevard across review sites and app stores.

Booker vs Boulevard

Let's compare scores for these systems on the major user review sites.

Booker Boulevard
4.1
4.6
4.1
3.7
3.5
1.7
2.1

What Booker and Boulevard Alternatives Should You Consider?

Booker and Boulevard are two great options for many businesses. If you’re still unsure if either is right for you, check out these alternatives:

Mangomint is the highest-rated software for salons and spas. If you have a team and want the best customer service in the industry, I highly recommend you give this alternative a try.

Square Appointments is a popular alternative to Booker, and offers a bit better value as well, making it a great choice for independent professionals on a budget.

Mangomint vs Square Appointments

A quick comparison of the two Booker and Boulevard alternatives.

Mangomint

Square Appointments

Overall score

Note

The overall score considers ease of use, customer service, features, user ratings, and cost. Scores are determined solely by our editorial team.

4.9
4.0

Average price

Note

Assumes you run a business with a mid-size team and have activated the more common add-ons. What you will pay will be lower or higher than this. See the separate section about pricing for full details.

$245 per month
$45 per month

Who is it for

The highest-rated software for salons & spas. Designed for businesses with a team who want the best design experience, smart automations, and the flexibility to integrate with other systems.
For solopreneurs or small teams in any type of local service business (salon, spa, fitness, repair, cleaning, and professional services) who want access to Square's broad range of products.

Ease of use

5
4

Customer Service

5
3

Countries

U.S. and Canada

U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, the UK, Ireland, France and Spain.

Key features

  • Modern, intuitive, and easy to use
  • Smart automations that help cut down on time spent managing business operations
  • Open data ownership and no contracts (you’re not locked into anything)
  • Can integrate with any other platform who allows for integrations
  • Highest-rated customer service on the market
  • Large amount of native integrations with other apps
  • Comprehensive, easy-to-use, marketing tools
  • Best looking POS hardware on the market
  • Free, sophisticated, website builder and online store

Conclusion: Booker, Boulevard, or neither?

I hope this comparison of Booker and Boulevard has helped you in your quest for the right salon and spa software.

For more alternatives, don’t miss my list of the best salon and spa software for 2024.

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