By Lars Lofgren
I’ll get straight to the point. If your company takes reservations or appointments, you need an online booking system — period.
Take a moment to analyze your current process. How does a customer schedule their appointment?
Without an online booking system, I’m willing to bet that the process looks something like this:
That’s assuming you can clearly understand each other over the phone. We all know sometimes it’s difficult to hear based on things like reception, accents, and background noise. Oh yeah — that’s also assuming nobody else called you while you were on the phone. Then you’re forced to let the incoming call go to voicemail, or place your current caller on hold.
Each time someone calls, it takes you away from the task you’re working on. Sure, there are some alternative solutions. You could pay someone to sit by a phone and answer calls all day. But do you really want to incur that added cost? This still isn’t your most efficient option.
Why you need a WordPress booking plugin
Adding a booking plugin to your WordPress site will do more than just improve your operational efficiency. This new system will optimize the customer experience.
Roughly 70% of consumers prefer booking appointments online.
Furthermore, 36% of people said that waiting on hold too long when booking over the phone was their biggest pain point for scheduling appointments and 20% of people said the biggest inconvenience was having to wait to call during office hours to book.
By adding a booking plugin to your WordPress site, you’ll eliminate more than half of the biggest pain points for consumers while simultaneously providing them with their most preferred booking option.
When evaluating a new service provider, 94% of consumers say they are more likely to choose one that has online booking options compared to a provider that doesn’t.
In short, adding online booking options to your website will:
- Improve your efficiency
- Enhance the customer experience
- Reduce the time it takes to book appointments
- Increase the chances of getting new customers
- Give you a competitive advantage
I think I’ve made myself clear. Now that you know the importance of having a WordPress booking plugin, you need to install one to your site.
How do you choose? What’s the best WordPress booking plugin?
Use this guide as a reference to help you decide which one is the best for your business.
Bookly is fully customizable and extremely responsive. Its sleek design on both the front and backend is modern and visually appealing.
One of the features that makes Bookly one of the best WordPress booking plugins is the option for different employees to create custom pricing and availability. For example, let’s say you own a gym. Each personal trainer can set their own rates. Your customers would have the option to choose the trainer they want from a dropdown menu when booking a session.
From the user end, Bookly takes them through a quick four-step process on your website.
That’s right. Bookly even processes payments or deposits. This is great for those of you who are getting lots of no-show appointments and missing out on those earnings. If you don’t want to force your customers to pay in advance, you can set an option for paying on-site at the appointment.
You can also set up automatic text and email notifications with Bookly. Those notifications remind the customer as well as your staff members about upcoming appointments.
Bookly also lets your customers translate the booking process into their native language. This solves the problem that I talked about earlier in terms of having trouble communicating with certain customers over the phone.
Bookly lets you create promo codes to discount your services. The plugin tracks all of the data, so you can determine which deals are working the best.
With Bookly, customers can set up recurring appointments, get added to a waiting list pending cancellations, attach files, and rate your services. This WordPress plugin even has a feature for group booking.
Overall, Bookly is one of the most complete WordPress booking plugins you’ll find.
2. EDD Bookings
EDD Bookings is definitely another top option to consider. In addition to booking standard services, this plugin is great for those of you who offer rentals.
Maybe you have a business by the beach and rent out bikes, skateboards, surfboards, and paddleboards by the hour. All of this can be managed through your website with the EDD Bookings plugin.
It’s one of the easiest plugins to integrate into your ecommerce platform. For those of you who are already using Easy Digital Downloads solutions for ecommerce, I highly recommend this plugin.
Customers can book appointments or rentals in just seconds on your website with EDD Bookings. All they need to do is:
It’s as simple as that.
The EDD Bookings plugin makes it easy for you to manage all of your appointments in one place with different calendar views. They provide you with extensive details for your day, week, and month. You can color code your appointments as well to keep track of different types of services.
The plugin integrates with payment gateways, email lists, Zapier, and Slack as well. EDD will also provide you with reports and detailed analytics. EDD Bookings has a responsive design for desktops, smartphones, and tablets.
Compared to other similar plugins, it’s very affordable. Pricing for the EDD Bookings plugin starts at $80 per year.
Booqable gives you everything you need for your rental business. Once you add the plugin to your WordPress site, you can start accepting rantals immediately. It works with any theme and is super easy to set up.
You’ll be able to get rentals going today, that’s how easy it is.
It has a host of other features too:
- Request a quote: if you’d prefer to send quotes instead of letting customers book directly, that’s built right in.
- Embed products: add individual products or collections for rental.
- Mobile friendly: the plugin works beautifully on every mobile device.
- Control your rentrals: add blockout dates, time slots, and prevent last minute reservations.
- Real-time availability: time slots and stock are tracked automatically so nothing is every double booked.
- Advanced pricing: Easily set up flat-rates, fixed fees, and any other pricing structure you want.
- Built-in payments: Accept payments from Stripe, Paypal, all major credits cards.
- Customizable design: Easily match the plugin to the design of your brand. It’ll look like a seamless experience that you had custom-built from a professional designer. It also works with any WordPress theme.
The Booqable plugin comes for free once you sign up for Booqable’s rental software. It’s a perfect way to get a fully-featured rental tool along with an amazing WordPress plugin to make installation really easy.
The Booked WordPress plugin makes it easy for customers to book appointments on your website. I like this plugin because it comes with great add-ons for things like integrating payment options with WooCommerce, calendar integrations with Google Calendars and iCal, as well as front-end appointment management.
It’s a great option for beginners because it’s essentially ready to go right out of the box. You don’t need to worry about any custom coding. The interface is smooth and easy to navigate.
Booked makes it easy for you to add custom time slots to your schedule. This is great for adding in holidays or vacation days. The plugin also comes with some great shortcodes, making it possible to embed your booking calendar nearly anywhere on your site.
Booked is another option for managing calendars for multiple members of your staff. So let’s say you own a barbershop or hair salon. Customers can book with their preferred stylist online with ease.
This plugin also offers guest booking, so website visitors don’t need to be registered or logged into their profile in order to schedule a service or appointment on your website.
5. Booking Calendar
Booking Calendar has been around for ten years and is a top solution for those of you who are in the hospitality industry.
In addition to appointments, this plugin is commonly used to book stays at hotels, resorts, or a bed and breakfast. That’s because the system is designed to accommodate days-long bookings, as opposed to just an hour time slot for an appointment. Not every WordPress booking plugin offers this feature.
Booking Calendar is extremely responsive on both the frontend and backend. For those of you who aren’t too tech-savvy, you shouldn’t have any problems installing this plugin to your WordPress website. All you need to do is insert the booking shortcode into a page or post on your site.
Your bookings are stored in the Booking Calendar dashboard, so you won’t need any third-party services or accounts to manage them.
The plugin will automatically prevent double bookings based on this information. Again, this is ideal for those of you who are offering a service such as rooms in a hotel building.
Booking Calendar supports multiple languages, so you can accommodate website traffic that’s coming from other countries. The plugin also syncs with third-party platforms such as Booking.com and TripAdvisor, to make sure your availability dates are updated in real-time all over the Internet.
6. Team Booking
As the name implies, the Team Booking plugin is designed to accommodate the booking schedules of multiple members on your staff. We’ve seen some other plugins on our list that have this feature, but none that have it has their primary point of emphasis.
Team Booking integrates with Google Calendar, which makes it easy for managing appointments based on everyone’s unique availability.
But don’t let that that dissuade you if you’re a solopreneur. While this plugin was designed with teams in mind, you can still use it on your own if you’re providing an individual service.
This plugin allows you to set up multiple form fields to collect additional information about your customers.
Team Booking also has a map feature, which is another differentiating element. When a customer books an appointment, the map can pop up with the location. All of the directions are displayed in real time from the customer’s address.
You can collect payments or deposits with Team Booking as well. The plugin is supported by PayPal and Stripe.
Team Booking is a top choice for those of you who don’t want to spend a ton of money on a booking plugin. Pricing for this license starts at $28.
Amelia is an automated booking specialist. This plugin is great for those of you who offer multiple types of services.
For example, let’s say you own a car repair center. Your customers can schedule things like tire rotations, oil changes, brake replacements, and other services that you offer. You can even set it up so they can choose a specific mechanic to service their vehicle, based on availability, of course.
This plugin is also great for law consultants. Your clients can schedule meetings based on the type of help they need. You can collect deposits and payments through this booking plugin as well.
As you can see, the applications for Amelia reach far and wide. Its versatility makes it one of the best WordPress booking plugins on the market.
You can install Amelia to your WordPress site in just a few clicks. You don’t need to be a technology wizard or have experience with coding to get it up and running.
I also like how this plugin has an administrative dashboard that lets you track and measure KPIs with graphs, tables, and charts. This provides you with deep insights into your performance.
The design of the booking calendar is completely customizable, so you can choose the colors and other design elements that compliment your website color schemes.
You need to have online booking options on your website. If you’re not allowing online booking, you’re leaving money on the table. Now that you’re aware of the importance of this feature, it’s time to find a plugin that fits your needs.
What’s the best WordPress booking plugin?
The answer will vary based on who you ask. I created this with all different types of businesses in mind. Depending on your needs, I’m confident you can find what you’re looking for.
- Do you want to collect payments with your plugin?
- Do you need to manage appointments for multiple staff members?
- Are your customers booking a service, making a reservation, or renting equipment?
Some plugins specialize in these features, so think these questions through and install a plugin that meets the needs of your business.