Memberships vs Packages: Choosing the Right Custom Feature for Your Business

From provides two indispensable features, Membership and Packages, to elevate your booking system and enhance the overall customer experience.

Memberships are ideal for subscription-based services fostering customer loyalty and providing exclusive access to the services which are available only to those who purchased Membership. On the other hand, Packages are perfect for bundling services, combining services with products, add-ons, and classes, and promoting upselling opportunities.

Choosing the right feature depends on your business's goals and offerings. Evaluate your business model, target audience, and desired customer experience to determine whether a Membership or Package approach aligns best with your objectives. We will help you explore the key differences between Memberships and Packages to help you determine which custom feature is best suited for your business.

Below you can find the table showing the functionality of each Custom Feature and also the detailed explanation of the difference between them.

Memberships Packages
Bundle offerings

Ability to purchase service without membership/package if it is included into it

Recurring payments

Forced recurring payments

Limit general number of services included into membership/package

Limit number of sessions of each service included into membership/package

Automatic return of session to the membership/package balance when it is canceled

Possibility to apply Coupons/Gift cards

Adding booking from admin interface applying membership/package

Adding booking from POS applying membership/package

1. Memberships are designed to encompass services and classes exclusively. This means that customers will need to purchase a Membership to have access to specific services or classes. In comparison, Packages offer a more extensive range of options. They allow businesses to sell additional items, combine services with products, offer add-ons, and include classes as part of a bundled offering.

2. With the Packages Custom Feature, clients have the flexibility to book services outside of the Package by either utilizing their Package credits or paying separately, whereas Membership Custom Feature restricts access to certain services unless the Membership is purchased. If a service is included into the Membership, clients cannot book it without purchasing the Membership. In case you want to allow clients to book the service separately from the Membership, you will need to create a duplicate service not included in the Membership.

With the Packages Custom Feature, clients can book the service independently of the Package. They have the option to use their Package credits or pay for the service using one of the available payment methods.

3. It's important to note that if you set a price for a service included in the Membership, your clients will need to pay for both: the Membership and afterwards for the service when making a booking. In most cases, this is not the desired outcome. Therefore, ensure that the price for the service included in the Membership is set to zero if you only want to charge for the Membership, with the services being provided for free once the Membership is purchased. Since Packages are designed differently, you should set a price for the services included in the Packages. This allows you to charge clients for the service when booked outside of the Package while still enabling them to use their Package credits to book the service.

4. Only Memberships can be set up with recurring payments. When setting up a Membership, you have the option to make it recurring. Once customers purchase a recurring Membership, they will be prompted to save their card details for automatic recurring payments. Depending on the chosen billing cycle of the Membership (such as monthly or annually), the system automatically charges the membership fee to the member's selected payment method at the specified intervals. You can also choose the membership to be “forced recurring”. If this option is enabled, clients will be charged a recurring payment until they specifically choose to cancel it, while the Package will function only during the Package validity period which can be set in the Package duration section.

5. One key distinction between Package credits and Membership limits is that Package credits do not revert automatically when a client cancels the booking included in the Package. To get the service reverted to the Package limit of a particular client, there is one workaround. You will need to go to Reports / Payment Transactions and delete/refund the Transaction in question. Please note that the Refund option is available only if you have SBPay Pro which gets activated on Premium plan. Only once the associated transaction is deleted/refunded, the credit will be reverted back to the Package balance. In contrast, with Membership custom feature, when a client cancels the booking associated with the Membership, this booking gets automatically reverted to the Membership balance.

6. One more difference worth mentioning is the approach towards the Package and Membership limits of bookings. When a Membership is created, you can set the general limit of the number of sessions included in the Membership and choose the services/classes associated with it. But there is no option to set the limit of the number of bookings per each service/class included in the Membership. Whereas Package has such an option, and you will set the limit of sessions per the Package in general and per each service/class included in the Package.

Membership also has additional limiting functionality compared to Packages which is called “Maximum number of active future bookings per client”. It defines how many active outstanding (future) bookings a client can have within a Membership.

7. Coupons and Gift Cards custom feature is exclusively compatible with Memberships rather than Packages. This intentional design choice allows businesses to associate coupon codes or gift cards specifically with their Membership plans. This strategy aims to incentivize customers to opt for access to services/classes through memberships by offering special discounts. On the other hand, Packages are primarily tailored to provide clients with bundled options that include services, classes, add-ons, and products for sale at a discounted price compared to booking them separately. Therefore, the integration of coupon codes and gift cards is not relevant to the Package structure.

8. Finally, it is important to mention that making bookings from the admin side using Membership and Packages is performed in a different way. When you create a booking associated with the Membership from the admin panel, you will have the option to apply the Membership. But you won't see the Apply Package option when you create the booking associated with the Package from the admin end. To add the booking with the Package from the admin side, you will need to activate our Point of Sale (POS) Custom Feature and when adding booking through POS at the check-out stage you will have a possibility to apply Package. Adding bookings applying Membership is available through POS too.