Many businesses require customers or clients to book an appointment prior to their visit. This includes the likes of dentists, restaurants, spas, and so on.
If you are still taking these reservations via phone, then it is time to update your business and take things online.
All you need is a WordPress website and a WordPress booking plugin.
Having an online booking system isn’t only convenient for your customers but it can prove to be a great change for you too. As the business owner, the entire appointment booking procedure gets completely automated.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to find the best WordPress appointment booking plugins in the market.
What Should You Look for in a WordPress Appointment and Booking Plugin?
What do you need to look for in an appointment and booking plugin? Can’t you just display a Google Calendar and call it a day? Well, not really.
Depending on your type of business, there are select key functions that you’d want to have available. The option to cancel, modify, add a little extra note and such, make sure sensitive information is hidden, etc. Google Calendar certainly can’t have all of these functions.
Here, we have highlighted some of the key features and functionalities that you should look for when searching for the best WordPress booking plugin.
Backed by data, we know that a lot of users nowadays prefer using their mobile devices when going online. Not excluding searching and booking appointments.
That’s why one key feature to look out for is mobile friendliness. Make sure that your mobile visitors don’t get confused when booking their appointments.
You don’t want the appointment booking interface to shrink down on a smaller screen. Not only will it become harder to see, but also selecting dates will be a headache with touch-based controls.
WooCommerce/Payment Provider Integration
With online bookings or even phone call reservations, there is a problem that the customer might not show up. However, you can integrate an online payment option to relieve yourself of the uncertainty.
Now, in order to enable online payments, you will need a WordPress booking plugin that is at least WooCommerce compatible or offers integration with a payment provider.
This enables the option of accepting online payments as well as giving your users multiple options as to how they wish to complete the payment.
Multiple Bookings at Once
Multiple Booking refers to the option of being able to make reservations for more than one service at the same time. The feature works similarly to that of a shopping cart. The user can first select every single service they want, and then make a reservation for all of them via a single transaction.
For example, a person coming to your hair saloon might want to get a haircut, as well as a facial, beard trimming, and so on. As such, having to book each of these services separately can be a bother. Instead, it makes more sense to provide them with the option to make multiple bookings at once.
Booking Overlap Management
Let’s say a customer makes a booking from 4 pm to 6 pm. Booking overlap prevents any more bookings during this time.
It is a simple feature but is extremely important if you want your business to run smoothly. You don’t want two people coming in at the same time but only one of you to cater to them.
Depending on the type of service you provide, having a group booking functionality can provide a lot more convenience to your clientele.
For example, let’s say you run a family BNB. Allowing your users to book for two or more people at once can save them so much headache in the process.
This is especially useful for restaurants, hotels, inns, and other such businesses. Imagine booking your AirBNB for your whole family, one…at…a…time. Que horror!
If your business involves multiple agents or service providers, then you would want the WordPress booking plugin to support multiple providers along with the option for the customer to choose which service provider they like.
To enable this, the booking plugin will need to support dedicated profiles for each of your agents along with their own calendar to showcase their booked and free time slots.
Just think of those travel websites, they give you a choice of hotels or adventures, but each of them have their own calendars and schedules.
Imagine having a chic, pink, almost its own Instagram website, but have the calendar look like it came from Windows 95. (Yes, kids, there was a Windows 95).
To avoid that you’d want to make sure that it can be properly customized to fit the design and aesthetics of your snappy website.
This goes especially for the booking calendar. Look for a plugin that offers control over the calendar color scheme, font style, layout, and so on.
Also, besides the look and feel of the calendar, make sure you have options to preconfigure fixed off-days, holidays, and any other time your business is closed.
You don’t want customers booking an appointment when you are at home watching Netflix on a Sunday.
By now, you should have a clear understanding of the different features that we are looking for in a booking plugin. So, we have put together a list of the best appointment booking plugins to help you find the right one for your business
If you are looking for an in-depth look at any of these plugins, here is a detailed list going over all their notable features and functionalities.
So without further ado, let’s get started:
Top 10 WordPress Appointment and Booking Plugins
Here is a quick comparison table with an overall look at the different plugins to give you a basic idea:
|Plugins||Flexible Booking||Payment Gateway Support||Multiple Providers / Agents||Customization|
|WooCommerce Bookings||One-on-one booking.
Easy Digital Downloads.
|Bookly||Group Booking and Multiple Booking available via add-on.||PayPal.
|MotoPress Hotel Booking||Group Booking.
|Salon Booking System||Group Booking for the same slot for classroom bookings.||PayPal.
|Booking & Appointment plugin for WooCommerce||Multiple Booking.
|Start Booking||Group Booking||Stripe.||Yes.||No.|
WooCommerce Bookings, as the name suggests, is a WordPress booking plugin that works as an add-on for WooCommerce powered websites.
The plugin is perfect for WooCommerce enabled businesses looking to integrate an appointment booking functionality on their website.
You will get access to tons of settings and options to help you build a comprehensive online appointment booking system.
This includes the option to define time slots for appointments or letting the customer fix a time range for the appointment. One-on-one, as well as multi-person booking, is also available. You get the option to define the minimum and the maximum number of persons in each booking.
Needless to say, the plugin comes with payment integration. However, it does give you the option to specify discounts for bulk bookings or for making appointments on specific days.
And all this is just the tip of the iceberg. The plugin is loaded with advanced features and functionalities to give the most comprehensive appointment booking solution.
- Option to define time intervals for each appointment.
- Allow users to specify a time length for each booking or appointment.
- Supports group booking. Option to specify a minimum and a maximum number of customers/clients per appointment.
- Set up special pricing and discounts for group bookings, appointments on specific days, and so on.
- Support for online payments.
- You can review each appointment before confirming a booking.
- Automatically send email reminders to reduce no-shows.
- Booking Overlay support.
- Google Calendar synchronization.
- Tons of add-ons available for the plugin to add niche-specific features.
And much more.
Pricing: The plugin is on the pricey side and costs $249 / year.
BookingWP offers tons of options to help you provide flexible booking options to your clients as well as give you enhanced control over the entire appointment taking process. This includes the option to create custom form fields, dedicated calendars for each staff member, tons of availability rules to set off-days, breaks, and much more.
The plugin is also optimized to work with all major WordPress themes, so you won’t face any compatibility issues messing up the design. Not only that, it is also designed to support all popular WooCommerce plugins, so you won’t face any issues running it on your WooCommerce website.
Other notable features of the plugin includes support for online payments, booking confirmations and reminders via email, option to cancel bookings by the customers, multi-day scheduling, shortcode support, and much more.
Here is a more in-depth look at what you can do with the plugin:
- Option to create custom form fields to let customers provide extra information about their appointments.
- Dedicated calendars for all your staff members.
- Assign particular dates as holidays and particular time periods as break time.
- Online payment support with multi-currency.
- Timezone conversion available.
- Supports multi-day scheduling.
- Users can cancel appointments.
- Email notifications for booking confirmation and reminders.
- Shortcode support.
- Two-way Google Calendar synchronization support.
- Built on WooCommerce and compatible with all popular WooCommerce plugins and add-ons.
And much more.
Pricing: If you want to use the plugin on a single website, then a single year subscription would be $89.
Using it on up to 5 websites would cost $129/year. And finally, the 25 website license is $299/year.
However, you do get 50% with renewals, so that’s always a plus.
3. EDD Bookings
EDD Bookings is an appointment booking plugin designed as an add-on for Easy Digital Downloads.
Now for those of you who don’t know, Easy Digital Downloads is a WordPress plugin that helps users set up a complete eCommerce solution for selling digital products on WordPress. It is similar to WooCommerce but optimized for selling digital goods.
EDD Booking helps you set up an appointment booking functionality on your Easy Digital Downloads powered website. So let’s say you sell online services like consultations, then this is an excellent plugin to consider.
In terms of functionality, it can help you set up an user-friendly booking calendar. Your clients can use it to make an appointment within a couple of clicks. On the website backend, you will get a calendar interface where you can view and manage your bookings.
- Allow users to complete a booking in three steps – choose service, pick date, provide additional notes, and Book It.
- Dedicated calendar view from the website backend. Option to see, day view, week view, and month view. Option to filter through services using color coding.
- Add unlimited services, staff members, and as many bookings as you like.
- Integrated payment gateways.
- In-depth analytical data.
And much more.
Pricing: At the time of writing, the plugin is “coming soon” and there is no confirmation whether or not it will be a free or paid plugin.
Bookly is available as a standalone WordPress plugin that can help you automate all the booking and scheduling functionality on your website.
The plugin is optimized to offer a user-friendly experience to both you – the admin, and your users.
Your customers and clients will get a straightforward interface where they will need to pick a service, confirm the date & time for the appointment, provide user details like phone number and email address, make the payment, and that’s it.
After following all these steps, an email with a booking confirmation will be sent to the user.
On the flip side, you – the admin, get access to granular control over how the look and feel of the booking interface, along with tons of customization control like building your own custom forms, adding custom holidays, dedicated areas for your staff member, and much more.
In fact, the plugin comes with a list of features and functionalities. A few notable ones are highlighted as follows.
- Completely customize the look, feel, design, and layout of the booking interface.
- Option to add unlimited booking form, services, and staff members.
- Create a separate pricing structure for different staff members.
- Each staff member has their own custom schedule.
- Detailed backend calendar to showcase all your appointments. It is color coded for different services.
- Send sms and email reminders to customers.
- Customers can make online payments through PayPal, or pay on arrival.
- Built-in analytics.
- Google Calendar synchronization.
- WooCommerce integration.
And much more.
Pricing: The plugin offers both a free version as well as a paid version. The free version comes with limited functionalities and is designed for basic use cases.
Bookly Pro comes packed with advanced options and is available with a one-time payment of $89 for lifetime access.
MotoPress Hotel Booking plugin for WordPress websites has been specifically curated for websites that handle hotel bookings and reservations.
It comes with all the niche-specific functionalities to help you build and manage a property rental website. However, it is flexible enough to be used by websites belonging to any other related niche.
In terms of functionalities, the plugin gives users a dedicated form to search for hotel room availability. You can also create different accommodation suites complete with custom information like bed type, room size, offered facilities, and any other useful information.
Each room can be customized to have multiple rates depending on which facilities the user wishes to avail. There is also an option to make multiple reservations or group bookings where visitors can specify how many people are coming, and how many rooms they require.
Now, for accepting payments, the plugin offers an integrated online payment gateway. Whereas, to help set the pricing, you can set up automated rules to regulate the pricing inside a custom period. This includes setting up seasonal pricing, offering discounted rates depending on the length of stay, and much more.
Here is a more detailed look at all the awesome features offered by the plugin:
- User friendly booking form that also shows availability for bookings.
- Offer comprehensive accommodation details along with a featured image of the room.
- Dedicated booking calendar with all booking information including room type, period of booking, room status, and more.
- Option to set flexible pricing rates.
- Support for online payments with built in support for PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, and more.
- Visitors can make group bookings.
- Sends email notification to admin and guest upon booking confirmation.
- Shortcode and widget support.
And much more.
Pricing: The plugin has a free version called Hotel Booking Lite which offers only the basic functionalities discussed above.
However, if you are looking to get the complete deal, then the pro version will cost you $79 for a license to use it on a single website, or $199 for a license to use it on an unlimited website. Each comes with only 1 year of support and automatic updates.
Alternatively, you can also subscribe to the MotoPress Club, where you will get access to all their premium plugins and themes for $249/year or $699 for lifetime access.
Salon Booking System is a full-featured appointment booking solution specifically curated for salons and similar businesses that require single person reservations within the same day.
The plugin comes with an intuitive frontend as well as backend interface. Users can easily make appointments within a couple of clicks. Whereas, the admin gets access to a featured backend calendar which helps to keep track and manage all the bookings and appointments.
Apart from this, you get a lot of flexibility and customization options in setting up the user interface. This includes the ability to completely customize the booking form. On top of that you can set up custom booking rules, add potentially unlimited services along with service providers, and much more.
The plugin is also optimized to accept online payments from your customers. Once they make a payment to book an appointment, a confirmation email and/or SMS will be sent to both the customer as well as the agent/service provider.
Beside this, many more notable features are offered by the plugin. These are listed down below:
- Option to set up custom booking rules to best reflect your working timetable.
- Set holiday rules and off-days when users can’t make bookings.
- A dedicated backend calendar to help you manage, cancel, or even create bookings.
- Option to create unlimited services, agents, and so on.
- Send reminder emails and SMS to both your customers as well as assistants.
- Integrated discount system for your special customers.
- Google Calendar synchronization.
- Tons of customization option for the booking form.
- Support for online payment via PayPal, Stripe, and Redsys.
- Detailed reports and stats on reservations, most booked services, most booked assistants, and most spending customers.
And much more.
Pricing: Here too, you can get the plugin under a free license as well as a paid one. The free version, like the others, fills you up with all the basic functionalities.
Whereas, the pro version delivers the entire package priced at $75.59/year with a license to use on a single website.
You can extend the license and scale it up to 10 websites for $218.01/year.
And finally for $327.56/year, you can get the license to use the plugin on unlimited websites.
Next up, we have the Booking & Appointment plugin for WooCommerce. It is yet another add-on plugin for WooCommerce that comes with a bunch of features and functionalities to help you create a full-fledged booking platform.
It comes with a lot of useful features to streamline the entire booking process. For example, you get a powerful search widget which showcases available dates and time to your customers.
The user also has the option to input a custom time duration for the appointment. However, this is a niche option which is relevant to a few businesses like consultation service providers. As such, the option can be enabled/disabled from the backend.
Speaking of which, you get a rich options panel at the back, which lets you control and configure almost every aspect of the plugin. Here is a more detailed look at its feature list.
- Optimized for taking bookings, appointments, rentals, and the likes.
- Users can search for time and date availability before booking.
- Supports unlimited bookings.
- Customers have the option to reschedule a booking.
- Admin has the option to confirm or deny a booking.
- Tons of customization options for the booking calendar.
- Option to send SMS and Email reminders to the customers to reduce no shows.
- Compatible with multi-vendor plugins like Dokan and WC Vendors Pro.
- Google calendar integration.
- WooCommerce support.
And much more.
Pricing: This one is a premium-only plugin. For a single website license, it will cost you $119/year. Extending that to five websites increases costs to $199/year.
And finally, for developers, there is the unlimited website license which comes at $249/year.
Start Booking is a complete appointment booking suite fitted with all necessary options to help you start accepting online bookings and appointments, right from your website.
Your users get access to an easy to use booking interface that will help them fix their appointments in a matter of clicks.
Once a booking is made, the client will also receive a confirmation message regarding the same, along with timely appointment reminders so they don’t forget to show up at the appointment. All the messages and reminders can be either sent via email and/or SMS.
You can also set up online payments, which is many times preferred by customers. There is also an option to set up flexible billing to provide more freedom to your users. Besides this, you will get access to tons of settings to control how the plugin functions from the backend.
With that being said, here is a more detailed look at all its bells and whistles.
- Provides an intuitive interface for users to book appointments on your website.
- Supports group booking.
- Stripe integration to help you accept online payments.
- Comes with both Email and SMS support.
- Gives you the option to create separate calendars for your staff members.
- MailChimp integration to help send emails.
- Detailed analytics and reporting.
- The booking system is backed by cloud servers and not natively run on your website server.
- Responsive and mobile friendly.
And much more.
Pricing: This is a premium only plugin, but is a bit more affordable compared to the other plugins on the list.
The most budget plan priced at $12/month is targeted for individual use and is perfect for managing a single calendar.
Then there is their more advanced business plan at $28/month for handling multiple booking calendars and is targeted at teams and growing businesses.
BirchPress is another powerful WordPress booking plugin that allows you to create booking forms and embed them straight into your posts and pages. Users can then use the forms to check for booking availability and schedule their appointments in a matter of clicks.
Once a booking is made, the plugin is designed to send a confirmation email to the user. However, you can also review the appointment and approve it later. In that case, the confirmation email will be sent at the time you approve it.
Automatic reminder emails are also sent to customers to help reduce the number of no shows.
Besides this, the plugin is extremely flexible when it comes to integration with third-party calendars. It supports 2-way synchronization with popular calendars like Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook Calendar, and so on.
There is also the option to export and import appointments between these calendars and the main plugin booking calendar.
WooCommerce and PayPal integration is also provided to help you accept payments while booking an appointment.
- Simple and easy to use booking interface.
- Shortcode support. The booking form can be embedded straight to pages and posts.
- Tons of customization options to control the look and feel of the booking form, including a dedicated form editor to help add custom form fields.
- Synchronization with popular third-party calendars like Google Calendar, iCal, and Outlook Calendar.
- Option to import and export appointments from third-party calendars to the plugin booking calendar.
- Automatic confirmation and reminder emails sent to customers.
- PayPal and WooCommerce integration to help accept online payments.
And much more.
Pricing: This is another premium plugin where pricing starts at $99/year per website.
Then we have the $199/year and $249/year plans.
Both of these provide a license to use it on a single website. The pricer options simply provide more features and functionalities.
For starters, it boasts a modern design and an intuitive user interface to provide a smooth appointment booking experience for your customers. A user visiting your website can pick the time and date of their appointment, as well as which agent or service provider they want.
On the admin side, you get access to an insight dashboard powered by a rich calendar view that helps you stay on top of all your bookings. You also get tons of customization options to help you control the look and feel of the calendar.
And of course, the admin has comprehensive control to manage all the bookings, including the option to cancel or reschedule them. Automatic email and SMS notifications/reminders are sent as soon as an appointment is booked, canceled, or rescheduled.
Here is a quick rundown of the most notable features offered by the plugin.
- Step by step booking process to guide the users throughout the booking process.
- Rich customization options to help you control the look and feel of the booking calendar and booking form.
- Insightful admin dashboard with all booking information.
- Dedicated search widget to help users find booking availability.
- Automatic email and SMS notification.
- Support for online payment with PayPal and Stripe integration.
- Google Calendar synchronization.
And much more.
Pricing: This is another premium, but affordably priced at just $59/year for a 1 website license. A $109/year plan is available that extends to 3 websites license. And finally, we have the $249/year plan which provides a license to use on unlimited websites.
If you are not happy with the annual subscription plans, you can buy their lifetime plans which start at $189 for 1 website license, $389 for 3 websites license, and $589 for unlimited websites license.
Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Booking System in WordPress
For this demo, we are going to use the Booking Calendar plugin. It is completely free to use and is frequently updated, making it a solid choice for any project.
Note that we are also using the Gutenberg version of WordPress’s editor, so if you are still running the classic editor, the instructions will be slightly different.
To help you visualize your own consultant-oriented website, we are using our own Astra Business Consulting template. It’s included (along with nearly two hundred other templates) in our Astra Essential Bundle.
Step 1: Download, Install and Activate the Plugin
First, you’ll need to download the plugin. You can get it for free from the WordPress repository.
You can also just search from within your WordPress site by going to Plugins > Add New and typing in the name of the plugin.
Once you’ve downloaded it, upload and activate the plugin.
Step 2: Create a New Page
Now we need to create a new WordPress page. Go to Pages > Add New.
Give your page a title, such as “Book an Appointment.”
Then, click the black ‘+’ button to add a new block. Search for “book” to see the Booking Calendar item. Click on it to add it to your page.
Now click on the Configure Booking Calendar Block button.
A panel will appear with three tabs. These are not simply settings; they are different shortcodes that will display a different element of the booking system on your site.
Let’s go through each one and then see what it will look like on the front end of your website.
The Booking Form tab will display the booking form itself. You can choose how many months will be displayed and what the starting month is.
If you press Insert into page, the [booking] shortcode will appear. This will display an appointment booker on your page, like this:
You can insert this booking form anywhere you can paste a shortcode, including text blocks, posts, pages, and your sidebar. You can also add a widget with the form.
The next item is the TimeLine. This displays the times that are currently booked, presented in a graph-like image that displays the time.
It looks like this:
This is useful for both viewing your own schedule and for displaying times to your potential clients. To add this item manually, add the [bookingtimeline] shortcode.
Lastly, the Calendar tab creates an item that displays pre-booked times on a standard calendar. Unlike the TimeLine item, it displays the month, not the time.
Once you’ve created a booking system, you’ll naturally want to view them. To do this, go to Booking > Bookings on the sidebar.
The number inside the red circle indicates how many new, unread bookings you have.
If you scroll down below the welcome message, you’ll see all of your bookings listed. By default, there are a few items listed as demo content.
Adding Bookings Manually
Want to add a booking manually yourself? You can easily do so by going to Booking > Add Booking on your WordPress sidebar.
Customizing Other Settings
Finally, you may want to customize some other settings for your booking system. To do this, go to the Booking > Settings page on your WordPress sidebar.
There are four different tabs, each with many options available. We won’t cover every single setting, but just some of the most useful ones.
- Calendar Skin lets you modify the look of the calendar. You can choose from dark and light themes.
- Number of months to scroll lets you change the maximum number of months (or years) to show in the calendar. By default, it is one year.
- Start Day of the week lets you choose which day of the week the calendar will start with. Typically this is Monday or Sunday.
- Unavailable week days allows you to remove certain days from the selection. For example, you might want to exclude Tuesdays.
- Checking to prevent double booking, during submitting booking is a useful setting that lets you prevent clients from accidentally booking the same date at the same time.
The Form tab is fairly straightforward. It lets you customize which fields you want to include in your form.
If you want to allow clients select time slots, you can add a new field by clicking the button in the panel.
You’ll then see the settings for these new time slots. Customize it to your liking, then save it.
The Emails tab lets you set up notification emails that are sent when someone makes a booking. Make sure that you have the right email listed, otherwise you may not know when someone books an appointment!
Finally, the Sync tab is for connecting your booking system to Google Calendar and other programs. To learn more about setting this up, watch this video by the developers of the plugin.
So this was our comprehensive in-depth look at finding the best WordPress booking plugins for your website.
We have put together a list of almost universal criteria that you can use as a checklist to find the best appointment booking plugin for your WordPress website.
It’s not secret that if you’re not online, it’s less likely that people will find you. So why not start now and put your site online, and while you’re at it, add a booking plugin so that your clients can make booking online too.
Any favorites on the list? Let us know in the comments below.
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