Finding the Right WordPress Booking and Scheduling Plugins for Your Site
Paper calendars and over-the-phone reservation systems are quickly becoming things of the past. If you run a business that requires appointments or reservations, having an online booking system is pretty much expected of you; and if you don’t have one already, it is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your customers. Most WordPress booking plugins are designed to streamline the entire scheduling process so that there’s no more guesswork, no more accidental double-booking, and – with little more than the push of a button – everyone’s calendar apps are easily updated.
Because there are so many scheduling plugins in WordPress, you may find yourself having to do a little bit of research to find the one that’s right for you and your particular business. It’s certainly not one-size-fits-all, as each WP booking plugin comes with its own unique features that may or may not be helpful to you. But generally speaking, the features that tend to be most valuable – whether to you, your customers, or both – are:
- Mobile-friendly interfaces
- Flexibility in where on your WordPress site your booking calendar appears
- The ability to accept payments for appointments
- Email confirmations and reminders
- One-click add-to-calendar-app functionality
- Editable bookings
- Individual calendar profiles for multiple providers or agents
Top 5 Recommended WordPress Booking and Scheduling Plugins
As we touched on above, there is certainly no shortage of WordPress appointment booking plugins. WordPress itself is such a popular platform that literally hundreds of WordPress appointment scheduling plugins have been created for it. But all are not created equally, so we’ve compiled for you some of the most popular.
- Booking Calendar
Considered one of the best appointment scheduling plugins for WordPress because of its longevity in the WP market, Booking Calendar is free and simple to use for beginners and can be upgraded (at a cost) to power the more complex scheduling needs of larger companies. It offers a clean and simple calendar view for both you and your customers; can be customized with your brand colors; and provides options for blocking out certain dates and times throughout the year.
- WooCommerce Bookings
If you’re familiar with the world of e-commerce, chances are you’ve heard of WooCommerce. The core WooCommerce plugin is free to download and offers its users dozens of options for accepting payments from third-party payment processors. It also includes the WooCommerce Bookings extension, which is a WordPress booking plugin with payment. In other words, it is a WordPress booking plugin that allows website owners to book appointments that require payment (as well as those that don’t). It also comes with a dashboard where all bookings are managed and has a free, 30-day trial period.
- WooCommerce Appointments
Although WooCommerce Appointments does integrate with WooCommerce (hence the name), it is not actually sold by the company. It’s actually made by a developer called BookingWP, which is just as reputable. Like WooCommerce Bookings, WooCommerce Appointments is another WordPress booking plugin that allows you to accept payments for appointments. It also integrates seamlessly with some of the most popular third-party apps like Google Calendar, is white-labeled and developer-friendly, and can be set up to automatically send out notifications and reminders to anyone who has booked an appointment with you.
- BirchPress Scheduler
If you don’t need your WordPress booking plugin to accept payments, the free version of BirchPress is a great option. It’s designed to be super simple out of the box, although it can be fully customized by an experienced developer if you do choose to go that route. With the paid, premium version of the plugin, you can accept payments and add an unlimited number of fields to your form. It also syncs well with Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook and the standard Android and iPhone calendar apps.
Bookly is one of the most modern-looking scheduling plugins in WordPress. It offers both free and paid versions and, like the others on this list, only supports free bookings unless you upgrade. Bookly is a great option for small businesses who may not have the budget to hire a custom developer because it provides all the tools you need to not only create a great-looking scheduling form, but also to run the booking system yourself. It even has a built-in SMS system for sending out appointment reminders via text.
While there are many other plugins that we could have added to this list, these five contain many of the top features that businesses and consumers tend to look for in an online appointment scheduler. If you’ve read through this list and still aren’t sure which WordPress scheduling plugin is right for your business, give us a call. We’d be happy to walk you through your options.