Whether you run a hair salon, work as a consultant or manage a hotel, being able to make and book appointments is undoubtedly essential for business.
With many of these types of businesses running a WordPress powered website, many business owners would like to offer the choice to customers that will allow them to book an appointment directly from their site, or at the very least, see their availability. If you’re looking for one of these options, then it may be time to consider using a booking plugin for your site.
3 Reasons Using a Booking Plugin on Your Site Is A Good Idea
1. Gives Your Clients The Option To Schedule Appointments With You Quickly
You’re a busy person, and your customers are likely busy people too. When a phone call is just too much (and let’s face it, sometimes it is) giving them the option to book an appointment with you from your website is not just a nice touch, but also great customer service.
2. Eliminates The Need For Papers That Can Easily Get Lost
Who doesn’t love sticky notes? They’re great little pieces of paper for making important notes that many of us use to help keep our lives’ in order. They also have a way of getting lost during the day to day scuffle that is life and running a business.
Unless you’re an extremely organized person, trying to keep all your appointments on paper and in order can be a challenge. If you find yourself misplacing papers or missing appointments, then it may be time for a new method.
3. Can Help Your Business Stay Organized
Running a successful business often comes down to a clear vision and good organization. But let’s face it — you’re only one person running the show. Running a business and keeping things in order is hard, especially when you have to juggle employees and just the general upkeep that comes with being a business owner.
Many of the plugins that will be mentioned below have the possibility to take a lot of worry and stress out of your hands. Some even automate things like reminder emails, or even payments and invoices.
When it comes to running a business, we can use all the help we can get. If you’re looking for help to keep your appointments in order, then be sure to take a look through these plugins. You may find that one tool you’ve been missing in your arsenal.
Checkfront and Checkfront WordPress Booking Plugin
Checkfront is by far one of the most comprehensive premium booking and management softwares around. The software streamlines a lot of the tasks that come with managing reservations by compiling a vast majority of your day to day business information under one easy to manage roof. Take that power and add a WordPress plugin, and you’re well on your way to smoother workflow.
Checkfront was built for 3 main purposes:
- Tours and Activities
- Rentals, and
What is offered by the software is really rather impressive:
- Accept online bookings (via your website, or even Facebook)
- Manage your business availability
- Automate payments and invoices (huge time saver!)
- Send automated email reminders
- Create coupons for your customers to use
- Take secure online payments
- Get over 50 free integrations along with a mobile app to let you manage things while you’re on the go or away from a computer
Though it’s not the most important features, it is worth mentioning that the user interface is rather beautiful, too. The WordPress Booking Plugin that Checkfront offers allows you to easily integrate their booking software directly on your WordPress site and syncs things to make sure you’re always up-to-date with your business appointments.
As a premium booking software, Checkfront and its corresponding WordPress Plugin does require a subscription in order to use it. The pricing tiers start at $49 per month for 1,200 bookings made per year and it goes up to $499 per month for 12,000+ bookings made per year. However, Checkfront does offer a 21-day free trial where you can test things out before you buy.
As impressive Checkfront is, the price and options available may be a bit more than one can afford or need. Thankfully, there are other options out there that still offer WordPress integration and that may be closer to what you’re looking for.
Appointments+ by WPMU DEV
If you’re looking for something a little less robust than Checkfront, then the Appointments+ plugin by WPMU DEV might be more your style. Unlike Checkfront, Appointments+ has just about all functions you need for making appointments directly from your WordPress site within the plugin itself.
According to WPMU DEV description of the plugin, your customer’s can schedule appointments with you in as little as three mouse-clicks. The Appointments+ plugin has a wide array of features that makes it perfect for small to medium businesses, and it is simple enough for your clients to quickly understand and use in order to make an appointment.
Main features of Appointments+:
- Allows customers to make appointments themselves directly from your WordPress site
- You can make appointments for clients using the plugin
- Manage all you client contact info
- Use PayPal to take direct payment online (no button integration needed; PayPal payment function built right in)
- Sync appointments with Google Calendar and update things weather appointments are made on your site or on your calendar
- Create blackout dates so that you’re not working on days your business is closed or days that you or your employee’s have off
- Schedule appointments as far out as a year
- Send out emails to remind or confirm appointments with you customers
- Create unlimited services or service providers from your admin dashboard (perfect for businesses like salons that have multiple people working within the establishment)
Another feature worth mentioning about the plugin is that you can customize each profile you create within it. For example, if a photography studio has more than one employee, the plugin comes with the functionality to customize the names, qualifications or skills, and time slots that each photographer would be available for.
The one possible downside to Appointments+ is that the visual end result is something that some may think is lacking. However, that’s strictly a matter of opinion, and others may really like the simple output. All and all, for only $40, this booking plugin is simply amazing.
Team Booking Plugin
This plugin is brand spankin’ new to the WordPress market, but it looks to be a promising product. The Team Booking plugin by VonStroheim (available on CodeCanyon) is both simple and powerful when it comes to its purpose: booking appointments.
Not only is it easy to use, but it has better aesthetics to it than some other more expensive booking plugin options.
Features of Team Booking Plugin:
- Fully manage your availability through Google Calendar
- Syncs with Google Calendar and vice versa so things are always up to date
- Allows customers to setup appointments directly from your site
- Create different services or products available at your business
- Let your team members, or employees to have their own personal availability slots
- Notify and/or confirm appointments with customers using customized emails
Price for the Team Booking plugin is only $21, and even though the plugin is new, the author looks to be quick respond to questions and pretty great on the customer service side of things. That, along with the features and price, is what landed it a spot on our list.
Bookly — Responsive WordPress Appointment Booking Plugin
Bookly is quite possibly the most impressive standalone WordPress booking plugin on our list thus far. Not only does it possess the booking features that you would hope to find in a plugin, but it also has visual customization options that many other plugins lack.
Features of the Bookly Plugin:
- Syncs with Google Calendar
- Responsive layout for great user experience while booking via mobile device
- Add and edit unlimited staff member details: add member details, services offered (you can personalize the prices for services offered), days they work and days they have off
- Add an unlimited number of services that can be color coded to create an easy to read backend calendar
- Send email notification directly from WordPress
- Edit the colors of the front-end booking calendar to match your site colors
- Edit the text of the front-end calendar
- Integrate PayPal payments
- Configure a payment report to see payments you’ve collected through your WordPress site
- Export your appointment list to a CSV
- In-depth documentation to help you get things up and running quickly
The back-end admin features on this plugin are so robust and easy still use that it could easily rival even the most expensive booking options out there. And the fact that you can customize the front-end colors to match your site colors takes the plugin a step further. Bookly is priced at $35 and most certainly warrants a look at.
WP Booking Calendar
This is yet another plugin available on CodeCanyon. The WP Booking Calendar is slightly different than the other mentioned above. The main difference being that this plugin doesn’t sync with Google Calendar, but that doesn’t render it a subpar product.
With this plugin your calendar(s) is setup and managed fully in your WP Dashboard meaning that everything you need to manage will be under one roof.
Features of the WP Booking Calendar plugin:
- Unlimited number of calendars, each with its own settings
- Multiple choice of reservations
- Unlimited number of timeslots that can vary a far as length
- Enable or disable a CAPTCHA form to lower spam
- PayPal integration
- Easy to use interface
- Nice roll-0ver feature
Though this plugin has fewer options and features than the others listed above, the features it does have are simple but still pretty powerful. The easy to use interface alone is enough to make it worth considering. It is priced at only $17 and has a preview option so that you can see what the user experience would be like.
WP Simple Booking Calendar
The WP Simple Booking Calendar (not to be confused with the one mentioned above) is just that—a simple booking calendar for WordPress. And for a booking calendar, this is about as simple as you can get. However, it could be exactly what some of you are looking for.
Being able to give your customers the options to schedule an appointment with you directly from your site may be nice for some but could still be a hassle for others. If all you want is a calendar plugin with the option to display the dates you have available and the dates you don’t, then the WP Simple Booking Calendar is probably your best option.
Features of the WP Simple Booking Calendar plugin:
- Quick install and setup
- Comes with a widget so that you can display your calendar in a widgetized area on your site
- Is available to download for free from the WordPress plugin depository
- You can upgrade to a premium version of the plugin for more options and features
As mentioned earlier, this is a pretty bare plugin, but it could be perfect for some who are looking for a simple booking calendar that is under their control. Plus, it’s free!
That about rounds out our WordPress Booking Plugin list. Do you guys have a calendar plugin that you love or hate? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so be sure to comment below.
Thumbnail Image by Author leosapiens via Shutterstock