If you enable the Waiting List, a fully booked event will give prospective attendees an option to enter their name, email and phone number (optional) to be notified if a space becomes available. 

This article covers:

✨ Please note: the Waiting List feature is available on the Standard plan and above.


Setting up your waiting list

In your Booking options, you have control over whether or not your waiting list is turned on and at what intervals your customers on the waiting list are alerted of a space becoming available.

In the example settings above, if a space becomes available, the first person on the list will be notified and has 30 minutes to go through and make a booking before the next customer on the list is notified.

✨ We recommend keeping the intervals short, as otherwise, it can take a long time to process a list of customers, and in the meantime, the event is blocked to the public.



Signing up

With your waiting list enabled and when an event is fully booked, your customer will see a green Join waiting list button:

A form opens where they must leave their name and email address to receive the email notification of a space becoming available. If they leave a phone number, this is just for your use. Bookwhen does not send text notifications.

This is an example confirmation email a customer receives when joining the list:

And this is an example notification email they receive when a space becomes available:


Locating and managing an event waiting list

You can find people on your waiting list on the Schedule page. They appear in the attendee count summary as a +N (see screenshot below). For example, '10 +2 / 10' means 10 attendees have booked on to an event with a maximum of 10 spaces, plus 2 people are waiting. The waiting list is shown at the bottom right after clicking on the relevant event.

You can remove people from the list by clicking on the bin icon next to their names. You can also export these details by selecting the Export list to CSV link at the bottom right:


The Waiting list process in detail

If a place becomes available for any reason (cancellation or more spaces being created), then the list notification process will begin:

  • The system will send the first person on the waiting list an email containing a special link, enabling them to book the event.

  • If they don't book within the allotted time (as set on the settings page), then the system will send the next person on the list an email with a link for them to book. At this point, both people can book using their link, but the event will still be shown as fully booked to the public.

  • This continues until someone on the list takes the place or, if nobody on the list takes the place - the event is opened back out to the public.

Please also review the 'To note' section below, covering specific scenarios.


Waiting lists on courses

There isn't currently a functionality where a waiting list is carried across all course dates. The waiting list attaches to singular/individual dates, meaning the list will always treat the dates individually. Customers will need to sign up for the next date when one date has finished, as the waiting list can’t pull through more than one date.

When customers join the waiting list on a ‘course ticket’, they only join for the next date and not the ones after that. Once that date passes, a new waiting list starts for the next upcoming date.

How the system calculates a customer's place on the waiting list

Two people may have joined on the first date of the course, making them first and second on the list. Once that date has passed, that waiting list expires, and a new waiting list is generated once someone signs up for the next date. The person signing up on the new date would then be first on the list, as it is entirely separate from the other date.

💡 To note: If multiple waiting lists are generated across the dates on a course (i.e. a waiting list per date), the waiting lists are grouped in the bottom right-hand corner and can't be deciphered between.

Writing an alert message

If you'd like to make this process clearer to your customers, you may wish to write an alert message on your page to inform them that they will need to sign up for the waiting list on each date on the course. So when they sign up, they only sign up for the next date.

You can read more about this here.


Waiting list-only entries

There may be occasions when you would like to gauge the popularity of an event/class or gather a list of email addresses of customers interested in your offerings. You can do this by creating a 'waiting list only' entry. To do this, you'll need to ensure you have the waiting list setting switched on (see above), create your entry, and amend your capacity levels to zero.

You can add the name of the entry under the Information tab:

You can then choose a specific date from the Dates & Times tab. Alternatively, if you'd like the entry to sit at the top of your schedule and it isn't specific to a specific date, you can create a '365' day event. To do this, select All day event and type '365' under the Duration (in days) box:

You'll then need to ensure that the event appears as 'fully booked' to activate the waiting list.

To do this, add a '0' in the Maximum event size box, under the Tickets & Costs tab:

Your customers can then use the Join waiting list button on your public page to register:


Adding bookers to events without triggering the list

There may be occasions where you'd like to add customers to an event via a new booking or transfer but don't want to trigger the list. To do this, you'll need to temporarily disable the waiting list from here by selecting Edit:

Then untick the Enable waiting list box before selecting Save:

You can proceed with your booking or transfer. Once completed, be sure to enable the list again by repeating the above process, instead selecting the tickbox.

✨ To note: Temporarily disabling the list won't delete your existing list. It will temporarily stop new people from joining.


Also, if you increase the maximum event capacity, you may consider temporarily password-protecting the entry before doing so to avoid any unintended bookings in the meantime. Please remember to remove the password again once you have completed the booking.


💡 To note

  • Once an available spot on the event has been booked, the list will stop processing, and the green ticks next to your bookers' names will disappear.

  • Increasing the event capacity while the waiting list is already processing won't make the additional tickets available on your public page. These will only become available to everyone after completing the waiting list.
    The waiting list process is completed once everyone on the list is notified and their allocated time slot as set in your booking preferences has passed.

  • While disabling the waiting list feature will prevent future sign-ups, waiting lists currently in place would still be processed once (additional) spaces become available. If this is not intended, you can remove people from the list as described here.

  • As an administrator, you can override the waiting list functionality and book an attendee onto an event that's currently running through* a waiting list, irrespective of whether that person is already on the waiting list. Just book the attendee onto the event from your public page (whilst logged in) as described here.

*a waiting list that's in the process of emailing people on the list after a space has become available


✨ Some Bookwhen customers use the Waiting List to reach out to prospective new bookers and gauge demand for future events. You can read more about that here.


✨ If you have any questions, please get in touch with the support team via live chat or email at support@bookwhen.com

Return to the top


Tags: waitlist, waiting list, waitinglist

Did this answer your question?