FAQ Q232: What are packages?

A package is a special type of resource for which you can define its contents in form of other resources from your planyo site. Planyo will always control the availability of both the package resource and the resources which make up its contents. Please note that the duration of the package resource and the included resources will be always the same. Use bundles if you need more flexibility (see Q262 for the differences between bundles and packages).

The most simple and common usage of packages is creation of a "different version" of the base resource. Because a package is also in itself a new resource, you can set separate pricing, duration, form fields etc. while reserving the same physical resource. An example would be a hostel which normally only offers accommodation but once in a while special events are organized where the beds are used for event participants but also could be available for rental for standard hostel guests (non-participants). In such case the package would be created (as an event-based resource, starting on a specific date). Now planyo will make sure no overbooking will occur even though the same resource (beds) can be used in 2 ways.

There are two kinds of packages: In a simple package, availability of all resources included in the package is reduced. An example of such package is a holiday house with separate apartments (see example 1 below) where the house can be reserved as a whole but so can be the single apartments. You can of course set an attractive price for customers wishing to reserve the whole house.

A second type of package is a flexible package. Here the contents of the package are not always the same. The package is made up of different categories where each category groups similar resources. A flexible package is a package which, when booked, reserves one resource from each resource category. The choice of the resource in each category is done automatically or manually (in both cases the administrator can always change the assignment at a later time). There is a maximum of 5 categories so that resources from different categories can be reserved together in a single package.

An example is a tour company which offers multiple private tours, each tour being serviced by a number of tour guides. In such case you don't want the customer to know which tour guide is assigned to their tour but you want the availability of the tour guides to be updated. Here a single category is used (guides), see example 4 below. A more complex example with 2 categories is example 5 where you have tennis courts and coaches and then you want to also offer a training package (coach + court make up the package). Here the first category are the coaches and the second one are the tennis courts.

In order to create a package, go to the resource list, and click a button to add a new package. This process is identical as for any other resource, except that in package settings you'll find a link where you can define package contents. Alternatively you can convert an existing resource into a package.

Simple packages only allow you to select the resources included in the package while flexible packages additionally let you specify which category a given resource belongs to. Alternatives should be grouped together in the same category (e.g. different coaches or tennis courts in example 4). The category number has no special meaning.

Note that sometimes you will want the package contents to be regular resources also available for rental but sometimes you will want to offer to the customer only the whole packages. In such case you should make sure the non-package resources are not listed amongst the available resources, either in the resource listing or in the search. You can do this by adding a custom resource property called e.g. "Bookable" and set this to "Yes" only for the packages or other bookable resources. See Q172 or Q194 for instructions on how to filter out resources in the calendar preview and in the resource list. See also Q239 if you offer packages which must block a higher number of units for exclusive use by given package.

Below are a few typical use cases for packages:

Example 1: Holiday house with separate apartments/rooms (simple package)

Let's say you have a holiday house with two apartments: 'Sunny' and 'Cloudy'. In your Planyo site you have three resources: one for the apartment 'Sunny', one for 'Cloudy' and the additional one 'House' that represents the entire holiday house. This way customers can reserve one of the apartments or the whole house.

A problem seems to appear at this point. If one customer reserves the apartment 'Sunny', another customer should still be able to reserve 'Cloudy' in the same period of time but shouldn't be able to reserve the whole house. And the other way around, if a customer reserves the whole holiday house, another one shouldn't be able to reserve any of the apartments at the same time.

This is the point where packages can be helpful. If we make 'House' into a simple package which includes resources 'Sunny' and 'Cloudy', the problem will be solved. This way, reserving 'Sunny' will block reserving 'House' in the same time but will not block reserving 'Cloudy'. And similarly, reserving 'House' will make both 'Sunny' and 'Cloudy' unavailable in a given period of time.

Example 2: Boats for rental and whale-watching tours (flexible package)

In this example we have 3 different boats: Escape, Orion and Brisa. All can be rented out to individual customers. Because it's rare that all 3 will be rented out at the same time, the club also offers private whale-watching tours and uses any of the available boats. If all boats are rented out, the tour cannot take place. Similarly, each time the whale-watching tour is booked, one of the boats must become unavailable for other rentals. To solve this problem, you should enter 4 resources into planyo, the 3 boats (they are separate resources because the boats are not identical) and the whale-watching tour (flexible package), with the quantity of e.g. 3 (if you allow for 3 different tours to take place at the same time). You'll need to set up the tour package as follows:


The above setup will guarantee that no double-booking will occur for any given boat. You may select the box Resource chosen by customer if you want the customer to be able to assign a specific boat to their tour. Otherwise the assignment will happen automatically. Of course the administrator will be always able to change the automatic assignment.

If you're not sure you can always have 3 captains ready to go on the whale-watching tours, you may wish to enter all the captains as resources and give the captains a planyo login (as resource admins) so that they can go into the system and update their availability. In such case, you'd add a second category to the tour package and include all your captains. The tour package would then look like this:

2Capt John
2Capt Mike
2Capt Ron
2Capt Mary

Example 3: Reservation of therapists with limited number of rooms (flexible package)

In this example we have a number of therapists working irregular hours and a limited number of therapy rooms. It's the rooms that limit the number of bookings for any single time. To set this up, we'll need a resource for each therapist and for each therapy room. Because the customer doesn't care about the room choice, they will only be able to choose the therapist. The therapy session flexible package to set up will have the quantity of 2 and will look like this:

CategoryResourceChosen by customer
1Therapist AnnYes
1Therapist MaryYes
1Therapist MikeYes
2Room A
2Room B

Example 4: Private tours (flexible package)

Here we offer a number of private tours to customers who wish to visit our beautiful area. We hire a number of guides, not all specialize in the same tour types. The guides want to be able to enter into the system and update their availability. We'll need to set up the guides as resources (with the guides being resource admins) as well as the tour types. Then we enter the tours as resources, e.g.:

Package City tour (quantity 2):

Package Wine tour (quantity 3):

Package Beer tour (quantity 2):

Example 5 (flexible package):

In this example we have tennis courts which can be reserved also separately as well as tennis coaches who can be only reserved as a part of the tennis lessons package. The setup here is similar to the second version presented in example 2, except that all courts are identical so they are entered into the system as a single resource with quantity of 12 (we have a total of 12 courts):

2Coach John
2Coach Mike
2Coach Ron
2Coach Mary

In this setup the quantity of the tennis lesson package should be no more than 4 because we wouldn't find enough coaches if more than 4 customers book for the same time.

Vacations in packages

Adding vacation to a package does NOT influence the base resources in any way. This means that if you want to reserve one place in a package but don't know any details of the customer you should not add vacation to the package resource but rather you should add the vacation to the base resource used by the package. One reason for this is that you could have another package using the same base resource and it's always the base resource which is the real-world resource used and so that should be vacationed. Another thing you can do in such case is add an actual reservation without filling out the customer details (make a mock reservation). When you find out the customer's details, you can easily assign the reservation to that user or modify the mock user's personal data. Unlike vacations, reservations always reserve the required base resource(s).
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