Booker vs. GlossGenius: A Guide for Savvy Salon Owners

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. GlossGenius – a battle of two popular salon and spa software platforms that are VERY different from one another. Don’t choose the wrong one for your business!

Booker and GlossGenius are salon and spa management platforms aimed at helping business owners run their businesses more efficiently. Both offer features like online booking, point-of-sale processing and hardware, and marketing tools to help attract and retain customers.

Booker, now owned by Mindbody, has been around since 2007 and is a mature, full-featured solution catering to single and multi-location salons and spas (although we’ve found it a better fit for single locations than franchises and multi-location businesses in our testing).

GlossGenius is a relative newcomer in comparison. Founded in 2015, GlossGenius places a focus on delivering a seamless, streamlined experience tailored for solo entrepreneurs or very small teams.

Booker operates under the Mindbody umbrella, incorporating many of its features in a more simplified software experience, primarily oriented toward the traditional desktop app experience with a companion mobile app that has limited functionality.

GlossGenius, on the other hand, is a mobile-first software suite that handles the majority of business tasks on a phone or tablet rather than a desktop computer, with only some functions available on desktop.

In this comparison, we’ll take a close look at the features, functionality, pricing models, and user reviews of both Booker and GlossGenius.

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

Booker vs GlossGenius

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

Booker

GlossGenius

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
4.4

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
$48 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.
For independent professionals who want to start accepting payments and get appointment scheduling, a website and marketing up fast without compromising on the experience of their brand

Ease of use

4
5

Customer Service

3.5
3

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
  • Premium beauty-inspired interface design
  • Professional-looking website in just a few clicks
  • Integrated payment and card reader with customizable design
  • Affordable, transparent, flat fee pricing

A Double-Click on Each System

Let’s cover what these systems do and the pros and cons of each.

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)

GlossGenius At a Glance

GlossGenius is an all-in-one appointment, payment, and marketing app for salon and spa professionals in the USA.

It offers rich support for independent professionals. Teams can also use the app but it’s primarily designed for solopreneurs.

Here you manage your total business out of an easy-to-use, beautifully designed, mobile app.

In my opinion, it’s the design and premium beauty experience that GlossGenius delivers that makes this tool truly unique. You can even adapt the design of their credit card reader to fit your brand.

Pros and Cons

  • Interface design that signals beauty (and not tech)
  • Intuitive features that are easy-to-use
  • Professional looking website in just a few clicks
  • Integrated payments with beautiful hardware
  • Affordable and transparent flat fee pricing
  • Limited flexibility (you need to follow pre-defined standards)
  • Can only be managed via app (only calendar can be accessed in web browser)
  • There is little team support in case you start to hire so you will likely have to switch later
  • No booking widget to integrate on existing website (need to link to your GlossGenius website)

How Do They Compare? Strengths and Weaknesses

Booker’s interface is user-friendly, and the process for scheduling and point-of-sale transactions is something that has been streamlined in comparison to its older sister, Mindbody (although adding new clients from the calendar is still a bit of a pain).

Yet, the Booker interface hasn’t kept pace with the visual and functional updates that define contemporary software solutions. Its dated look and feel may not resonate with those who desire a modern software experience.

GlossGenius, on the other hand, has a notably beautiful, professional-looking interface specifically designed to appeal to the aesthetics of the beauty industry. The fully-featured app-only mobile experience provides easy access anywhere for busy salon owners and solo entrepreneurs on the go.

The same cannot be said for the Booker mobile app, which was buggy at best in our testing and lacks the ability to run many business tasks available in the desktop app.

GlossGenius makes features easy to find and utilize without much training time needed. The tradeoff here is features – with a focus on independent professionals and smaller teams, GlossGenius does not have the same breadth of functionality as more expansive platforms like Booker.

Booker vs GlossGenius

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

Booker

GlossGenius

Ease of use

4
5

Design

3
5

Customer service

3
3

Pricing

3
5

Calendar and appointment management

4
3

Online booking

4
4

Point of sale and check out

4
3

Client data

4
3

Client communication

4
3

Inventory management

4
3

Team Management

4
1

Payroll

4
0

Marketing support

5
3

3rd party integrations

4
0

Mobile and tablet apps

2
5

Let’s Talk Features

When it comes to features, Booker and GlossGenius take very different approaches.

As Booker is focused on salons and spas with a staff, it offers far more baked-in features. GlossGenius pares down the feature set to provide an easy, elegant experience for solo entrepreneurs and very small teams without some of the extra features that are better suited to larger businesses.

It should be noted that GlossGenius has recently expanded its capabilities to support larger teams, and more features have been incorporated to accommodate those businesses.

Booker provides complete salon and spa management with not only basic features like appointment scheduling, client profiles, reporting, and inventory management but also add-ons like their AI chatbot and access to their vast Mindbody Marketplace.

However, this comes at the price of complexity – it can be challenging for non-technical owners to set up and learn, and since the app interface and menu system hasn’t changed much in the last ten years, it’s a little clunky to navigate.

GlossGenius takes a different path.

Rather than packing in a kitchen sink full of features, GlossGenius focuses on perfecting core functionality like scheduling, online booking, and payments. They have also recently added some great reporting, analytics, and marketing features of their own so that solo business owners and even teams can take advantage when they are ready.

The benefit is that virtually anyone can start using GlossGenius without headaches, and grow into the more advanced features relatively seamlessly. Larger teams with a front desk may find the limitations of GlossGenius a bit stifling and be better suited to a more traditional software like Booker.

Booker vs GlossGenius

Booker or GlossGenius? Let's go through their features and where they differ.

Booker GlossGenius
Online Booking Booker GlossGenius
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?

Note

You can enable/disable parts of the notification and add an additional message.

Customize notification timings

Note

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

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?

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

Integration with third-party apps and software systems becomes important as your salon grows and requires more customization. Booker and GlossGenius take very different approaches here as well.

Booker offers open API access, allowing for connections to other platforms like accounting software, retail POS systems, and marketing tools. Using Booker’s API requires developer resources and custom web integration work, putting it out of reach for many salon owners without technical skills or those on a more limited budget.

In contrast, GlossGenius does not offer any third-party integrations. However, they do include the ability to sync calendars and contacts from your mobile device to help solo business owners who blend personal and business activities for small business owners with shifting schedules.

To wrap up: If third-party integrations are a must-have feature that you cannot live without, Booker is the better choice in this comparison. For more platforms with incredible integration support, check out our list of the best salon and spa software for 2024.

Booker vs GlossGenius

Booker GlossGenius
Custom integrations

Note

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

Native integrations

Note

Built-in integrations that you can activate as needed

  • iCal
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Calendar
  • Phone contacts

Pricing

Hands down, GlossGenius beats out Booker in terms of value for money.

Booker’s entry-level monthly plans seem reasonably affordable at first glance. However, to access their most attractive features, the costs scale up rapidly into premium pricing territory.

In comparison, GlossGenius keeps it very simple – there are only two pricing packages to choose from. This transparency makes it very clear what features you gain with each plan.

For solo entrepreneurs and very small salons, GlossGenius delivers significantly more value per dollar and wins this category.

Booker vs GlossGenius Pricing

GlossGenius offers incredible value and comes in at a far lower cost than any of Booker's plans.

Booker GlossGenius
Average Price
$450 per month
$48 per month
Trial Options
No free trial
Free 14 Day Trial
Minimum contract length
12 months
Cancel any time
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
  • Standard: $24/month (core features, one user)
  • Gold: $48/ month (includes more sophisticated features such as intake forms, waitlist, commission reporting, premium website designs, and multiple users).
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
  • Standard: $24/month (core features, one user)
  • Gold: $48/ month (includes more sophisticated features such as intake forms, waitlist, commission reporting, premium website designs, and multiple users).
Add-ons

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

  • No add-ons. All features are included in the Gold plan.
Add-ons

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

  • No add-ons. All features are included in the Gold plan.
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
  • 2.6% on all transactions
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
  • 2.6% on all transactions

What Do Users Think of These Platforms?

To read more about our experience testing these software suites, we invite you to explore our comprehensive reviews of Booker and GlossGenius.

However, if you’re interested in hearing firsthand accounts from everyday business customers, take a look at the user review scores below.

Booker vs GlossGenius

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

Booker GlossGenius
4.1
4.6
5.0
3.7
4.7
1.7
4.3

What Alternatives Should You Consider?

Booker and GlossGenius are two great options for many businesses. If you’re still unsure if either is the right choice for you, take a look at these other highly-ranked alternatives:

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

Square Appointments is a popular alternative to Booker and GlossGenius, serving independent professionals on a budget.

Mangomint vs Square Appointments

A quick comparison of the two Booker and GlossGenius 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

I hope this comparison was helpful in your search for the right salon and spa software for your business!

For more great software alternatives, please read my list of the best salon and spa software of 2024.

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