Encore Blog

Introducing: The New Booking Experience

After months of designing, coding, and testing with musicians, we’re incredibly excited to launch a new Encore booking experience worthy of the 21st century musician. The update takes separate areas of the platform you’re familiar with – the Messages inbox, the Jobs board, and the Bookings page – and brings them together into one seamless flow.

This gives you as an Encore member three key benefits: applying for gigs online is now faster, easier to navigate, and smarter than ever before. Our Community Manager, Jonny, explains how in the video below.

Super speed

One of the main problems with the previous booking experience was the loading time of the Bookings page. Every time you applied for a job, the application was logged at the bottom of the page, increasing the loading time by about half a second. Apply for 100 jobs over a few months and that begins to add up…

In this update, we’ve divided the old Bookings page into two new pages, your Applications and Bookings pages, upgraded the code, and optimised the site for mobile usage – the result is a page which loads 20x times faster:

Then and now – a fast, less cluttered Bookings page

Simple navigation – The New Jobs board

The previous Encore bookings flow worked, but from the responses we had from some of our musicians it appeared you needed at least a GCSE in geography to get around the platform. With this update, we’ve made site navigation so easy you could apply for jobs in your sleep (though we don’t endorse this practice).

New Jobs card

The first thing you’ll notice about the update is the fresh new Jobs card design. Here’s how it’s been upgraded:

  • Unique job identity. With over 1000 enquiries being added to the Encore site every month, keeping track of which one is which can be difficult, particularly if they have similar titles (e.g. “Singer needed for Private Event in London”). We’ve now made it easier than ever to single out a particular job by including the client’s first name in the title and giving each job card a distinctive image and colour combination.
The new, more compact Job card design
  • Consistent design. Each job has a consistent card design across the Jobs, Applications and Bookings pages, making it easy to track its progress.
  • Instant travel directions. Unsure how to get to a gig in Guildford, or what travel will cost to a wedding in Nether Wallop?* We’ve added a handy link to Google Maps from every job, so you can easily estimate your travel costs.
    *Actually a real town in Hampshire (for those interested).
Expand the job card to apply for check for travel directions to the gig
  • Clearer jobs board. We’ve tidied things up so you only see the essentials when scrolling through your jobs. See one that catches your eye? Just click “More details” to view more information or apply. If you’re just interested in that job, click “View job page”.
  • Messages integration. Communicating with a client through your Encore Messages inbox can be difficult if you’ve got a number of conversations on the go. We’ve made this much simpler by adding your client message threads to the relevant Job page.
The new Job page view displays your messages to clients alongside the relevant job details

Powerful filters

We’ve also added powerful filters to the Jobs board, the Applications page, and the Bookings page, so you can quickly view the jobs you need to see. Let’s look at the Jobs board filters first – here you can now filter the results by preferences, profile, date, job status, or by text. Here’s an example of how you might use them to speed up your workflow:

Looking at your diary you realise you’ve got a weekend next February with nothing on and you’d like to fill it with a gig. So you head to the “Show me jobs matching” section at the top of the Jobs board and set up a filter:

  • Preferences. You’re interested in piano gigs within a 50 mile radius of London (you’ve set this in your Job settings), so you leave “Saved location” and “Piano” checked.
  • Profile. You only want to see jobs for soloists, so you leave your group unchecked, and check your profile (“Jonny”).
  • Date. Using the datepicker you select the weekend of 17th-18th February.
  • Text search. You want to get really fine-grained and decide you’re only interested in playing background music in hotels. Using the text filter you type in “hotel”.
Using the new Jobs board filters to find the gigs most relevant to you

You’re in luck – there’s a hotel gig on this date! No more trawling through pages of job opportunities online, with the new filters you can pinpoint exactly the jobs suited to you in seconds.

You don’t have time to apply for it right now, so you decide instead to bookmark the gig to come back to later. But wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves – what is bookmarking?

Bookmarking, Dismissing and Sharing

Sometimes you’ll be browsing the Jobs board and see a job you’d be perfect for, but you’re a busy musician and you don’t have time to apply for it right that moment. With the new booking experience you can now save these jobs to come back to later using the “Bookmark” feature.

The new Bookmark and Dismiss features

Likewise you might spot a job which you’re entirely unsuitable for and want to remove it from your Jobs board. To do this, simply click the small “Dismiss” button in the top right corner of the job card.

To view your bookmarked or dismissed jobs, simply click the filter.

See a job which you think your friend would be perfect for? You can help them out with the Share feature. This opens a dialog box from which you can forward the job on to your friend via Encore, email, or social media channels.

Sharing is caring – the new Share feature

Smarter: The Applications and Bookings pages

Not only does the new booking experience make it much easier to apply for jobs, but we’ve thought long and hard about the next step of the process – managing your applications and bookings.

The most obvious change we made here was to break out the existing Bookings page into two separate pages, one for open applications, another for confirmed bookings. We’ve also upgraded these pages with a number of smart new features.

Auto-hiding expired jobs

On your Applications page we’ve made it much easier to view the applications which are most important to you. Now, if an application expires or is declined by a client it will be hidden by default, freeing up space for you to focus on the applications which remain active.

If you’re interested, you can still view these applications by heading to the filter at the top of your Applications page.

Intelligent post-application feedback

One question we often get from our members is: how can I improve my chances of being booked for gigs? The truth is, there are many different factors that lead to a client eventually clicking that magic “Request to book” button on your application (and every client is different), but one thing we know for sure makes a difference is your quote.

Unsuccessful applications now show you how your quote compared to the other applicants for that job

Now if your application is unsuccessful, we’ll display feedback showing you how your quote compared to the average quote for that gig. You can then use this data to test out different price points and begin to understand how to quote competitively on Encore.

Updating quotes and withdrawing applications

Sometimes things change after you’ve submitted your application. You applied for a job but have since renegotiated your quote with the client, or maybe you’ve been offered a gig for that date by another client.

With the new Update quote feature, you can now quickly edit your quote after sending an application. At this point you’ll need to provide a short explanation to the client, to ensure you’re all on the same page.

The new Update quote feature

We’ve also made it simpler to withdraw your application if you’ve become unavailable for a gig.

Note: withdrawing is not possible once you have been booked for a gig – this is then considered a cancellation and you will need to contact the Encore team.

New notification display

Last but not least, we’ve made important notifications on your Bookings page even clearer. If you need to accept a booking request or review a client after a gig, this will appear at the top of the page with an information icon clearly showing what the next steps are for you to take your booking forward.

The new bold Booking request notification design

Thank you!

In everything we do at Encore, we’re guided by the advice of our members, and if you’re an Encore regular I’m sure you’ll have noticed many of the niggles and gripes you’ve raised with members of our team being addressed here.

We’re very grateful for each and every piece of feedback we’ve received from musicians, be it a quick email, or an in-person testing session.

We’d like to especially thank:

  • Alexander, Gordon, Julian, Filipe for testing the final draft.
  • Our Techhub colleagues Mattia, Lydia, and Jamie, and Encore members David and Laci for their help in the initial stages.
  • Everyone who came to the September and November Encore Drinks events and participated in Cláudia’s design workshops.
  • Lilac, Fiona, Sam and many others from the Encore Member Community for their regular and insightful feedback on how we can improve the booking experience for all our musicians.

We hope you enjoy using the new booking experience on Encore, but we know there are areas of the site we can still improve.

If you have any thoughts on how things could be better, please fill in this short survey or drop us an email at [email protected]

Jonny Venvell

Encore Community Manager, singer, oboist, jazz gig goer.

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