When WordPress first appeared in 2003, it was just a blogging platform that has evolved every single day. So what has made it the preferred choice among many website developers? Ease of use, and the vast number of hooks & filters is one of the biggest reasons. That has resulted in developers creating thousands of plugins for WordPress in the last few years.
A plugin is a tool that allows users to add additional functionalities such as booking forms without coding to a website hence making it more productive. This is particularly useful to startups wishing to create a user-friendly platform for their clients.
Bookings is a vast domain. There are many booking plugins available in WordPress, some free & some paid. But none of them can say that they are the leaders when it comes to Bookings with WordPress.
Below is a detailed comparison of the most popular WordPress booking platforms that will help you choose the right booking plugin for your needs.
WordPress Booking Plugins Comparison table
|Plugin Name||Booking and Appointment plugin for WooCommerce||WooCommerce Bookings||BirchPress WordPress Booking plugin||Bookly WordPress Booking plugin|
|WooCommerce Integration||Yes||Yes||Only available in Business+ plan||Available, but has a complex setup|
|Google calendar sync||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Flexible pricing rules||Yes||Partially||No||Yes|
|Padding Time option||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Payment Options||Default; that|
comes with WooCommerce
comes with WooCommerce
|Comes with PayPal;|
accepts credit card and direct PayPal account payments
2Checkout, Payson, Molllie, Authorize. net
|Confirmation and cancellation||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Integration with WC Vendors plugin||Yes, available in the core plugin itself||Available as a paid addon||No||No|
|Integration with Dokan plugin||Yes, available in the core plugin itself||Available as a paid addon||No||No|
|Fixed period bookings||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Works with Variable products||Yes||No||No||No|
|Works with Grouped products||Yes||No||No||No|
|Works with Bundled products||Yes||No||No||No|
|Works with Composite products||Yes||No||No||No|
|Works with Subscription products||Yes||No||No||No|
The Value of WordPress Booking Plugin to your website
Before downloading, installing, activating, and configuring a free or a paid booking plugin, it is significant to first understand why you need it.
A WordPress Booking plugin enhances your WordPress site’s user experience; many visitors love to make their reservations without talking to anyone or spending a lot of time on them. It is much easier for business owners when users book an appointment and make reservations on their own. It’s 2018!
Most of the plugins discussed below can be integrated with Google Calendar hence making scheduling much easier.
Implementing the booking functionality on your website could be important in the following industries:
- In travel industry where tourists can make their travel plans reservations
- Tourist can also book accommodation in hotels
- Patients can also book appointments with the physician
- In real estate
Let’s quickly dive into the detailed comparison of top 9 WordPress Booking plugins.
Comparing top 9 WordPress Booking Plugins
1. Booking & Appointment Plugin for WooCommerce
Always ensure you pay attention to flexibility and ease of use whenever you use a WordPress booking plugin. Created by us, Booking & Appointment Plugin has a user interface that is simple to understand and the process of creating products and services is in-built and native.
Due to it’s many features, you can use it for any business; from small resorts to hotels to real estate to tour companies. It also works for all consumer services providers like trainers, doctors, photographers, and consultants.
It is fully integrated with WooCommerce; you will benefit from various benefits that come with the WooCommerce toolkit. Some of these benefits include privacy, amazing reporting capabilities, several payment methods, and ability to give reward points.
Booking & Appointment Plugin also integrates with the two of the most popular marketplace plugins. It integrates with WC Vendors plugin and Dokan plugin. This integration was added in v4.6.0 of the plugin, that was released on January 4 2018. This will give a huge boost to implementing bookings for multiple vendors using those 2 plugins.
To start creating this robust online booking system, you will certainly need the WooCommerce plugin downloaded, installed, and setup. You can skip this part if you are already aware on the plugin & theme installation process.
Here is a brief step by step guide on how to get started with WordPress WooCommerce.
- WordPress setup: Installing WordPress is very easy and fast. All you need is a website host (a service provider who offers storage for your website) and a domain name (the website address that visitors will use to find your website). You can purchase them at your convenience. Once you have WordPress setup and you are logged in the next step is installing WooCommerce.
- Install WooCommerce: WooCommerce installation is just as easy as other WordPress Plugin. Install, activate the plugin then go to an onboarding guide that will give you details of important WooCommerce settings. After you are done with the onboarding guide go back to the main dashboard and you will notice changes in the basic setup.
- Getting the powered theme: The final step is getting your products, payments added; it is what your customers will be seeing. It is therefore important to use a theme that supports WooCommerce’s unique features such as storefront that display all your products and services, checkout progress, and supports numerous WordPress theme. Also, choose a theme that not only looks amazing but also one that allows you to add your items to the cart.
Choose your favorite theme, install it and you are good for go.
The next step is installing the Booking and Appointment Plugin. You will notice a newly created menu item named as ‘Booking’ from there you can describe all existing booking and global settings on your website.
Global settings page
This is where you set language, months in a calendar and time, and date formats. Each setting has a tooltip that elaborates further what the role of each item is. Here is a full list of options that can be managed from this page.
It is at this point where you black out days when your products or services cannot be bought or booked. It is very easy to do; just click that particular date on your calendar.
Save the changes and begin adding products with time and date components as part of their availability to your website.
How to Create Bookable Products
Do you know that it is possible to edit existing WooCommerce products and start using the new Booking meta box with the plugin in question? Whether you are adding the new products or editing the existing ones the process is the same.
Go to the Booking meta box and enter your preferred settings. Then use the View/Delete’ tab to view all the slots you have created as well delete any options if need be.
Once your product/service has been published, an appointment for a given date and time will be booked by a client. Then the reservation will be added to the client’s cart for easy reviewing before payments are made.
The bookings on the site can also be viewed from the View Bookings submenu.
Your bookings can also be exported as PDF, Excel, CSV or even printed out.
Our WooCommerce Booking and Appointment Plugin works with all payment gateways supported by WooCommerce. Since the plugin is only meant to work with WooCommerce, we don’t touch the way payments are handled. There are 88 payment gateway extensions just on their own marketplace. This number will go much higher if we consider other extensions available on the WordPress.org repo or 3rd party providers who are selling from their own shop.
Our plugin only adds the booking details to the products & converts the WooCommerce products to bookable services.
You will find these options under WooCommerce -> Settings and then Checkout. Choose the gateway of your choice by checking the box and then log in the relevant accounts and link them with WooCommerce.
Our Booking and Appointment plugin has 7 addons. These addons are designed to meet different needs. They include:
- With the help of WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin, your clients will do recurring bookings using Recurring Bookings Addon.
- Partial Deposits Addon allows your customers to choose partial payments for different items on your site.
- Rental System Addon transforms the plugin into a rental system.
- Printable Tickets Addon enables you to email your clients’ booking tickets once an order is placed.
- Multiple Time Slot Addon allows you to pick several timeslots on a date for different products on the site.
- Seasonal Pricing Addon allows you fix seasonal costs for products on your website.
- With Tour Operators Addon you can link tour operators with bookings.
Booking & Appointment Plugin Pricing Plans
The Booking and Appointment WordPress Plugin is presented on 3 pricing packages to meet needs of different website owners.
- Single store license at $119
- Five stores license at $199
- Unlimited stores plan which goes for only $249
2. Booking Calendar Plugin
Booking Calendar plugin was developed in 2009 and is a WordPress plugin with a great user interface and flexible functionality.
It can be used by different industries; visitors check the availability of the product or service you are selling and make a booking or reservation within a few seconds.
A brief overview of what your customers will be able to do:
- Select the day in a calendar
- Fill in the booking form
- Submit a booking
Both the administrator and the visitor will get an email notifying them of the new booking and approve or decline this reservation in an Admin Booking Panel.
The plugin also has a free version on WordPress.org that is used by over 40,000 customers.
Who uses Booking Calendar Plugin?
Booking Calendar plugin can be used by users operating a hotel with rooms and needs to develop a multi-user portal or an entrepreneur who needs to automate bookings for the service they offer. It is also good for a customer looking for a service to book.
Plug and Play
This WordPress plugin is designed to operate out of the box. All you need to activate it and insert booking shortcode into your page and you will start receiving new bookings. It’s settings come with small descriptions and predefined values.
How to Manage Bookings On your client side
Booking Calendar plugin prevents double booking for the already booked service; one booking per day. It also allows different website visitors to make several reservations on the same day (same calendar) up to the resource’s capacity. It also supports half day bookings. That can be a very useful feature when you have a tour / service that is offered on Morning, Afternoon or Full day.
You can do a glance booking checking for 3 months, a month or a year from your website’s front-end side. Responsive design that makes booking looks great on any device.
How to Manage Bookings in Administrator Panel
Just like mentioned earlier, the Booking Calendar plugin sends email notifications to both the admin and website guest about a booking action.
You can look for certain bookings using methods like the filter in the administrator panel. Moreover, you can set default dates format as well as approve or decline certain bookings.
You can also set advanced costs and rates depending on the selected day or from options, offer or deposit payments.
The Booking Calendar WordPress plugin also comes with a booking form captcha which you can enable or disable at your will. Finally, you can integrate PayPal, Authorize.net, Sage Pay as a payment option, among a few others available.
Booking Calendar Plugin Pricing Plans
The Booking Calendar plugins comes with various pricing plans. Actually they are a lot, to the point that it may confuse a potential customer. They have a total of 15 plans.
- A freemium model
- Personal at $79 (a single site license)
- Business is the most popular and its price is $119 (2 site license)
- Developer at $149 (5 site license)
They do have a 25% discount available right now on all their plans. So it’s a good time to purchase it.
3. WP Booking System
The next tool for making quick bookings for your travel tickets, apartments, accommodation, medical appointments, and consultation is WP Booking System. It is one of the easiest booking systems available for WordPress and its setup takes a few minutes.
It is available in both free and premium version. However, the free version only allows to create a single booking calendar. If you need more then 1 calendar, then you will need to go for the paid version.
Some of the common characteristics include:
- Ability to create booking and forms and calendar
- Support multiple languages
- Receive and manage all reservation requests
- Creates a shortcode that is used to insert your booking form and calendar into a web page
- You can also customize the system to meet your business needs.
When creating a calendar, you have to set the availability for each date. If you wanted to disable all Thursdays for accepting any bookings, you will need to mark each Thursday as “Booked” from the Add/Edit Calendar page.
With WP Booking System on your website, you don’t have to worry about a middleman. When you pay commissions for booking you are giving a portion of your income to these service providers.
With this plugin, first step is creating the calendar. Then you need to create a form. And the last step is adding that form to a page or post. I created a calendar for choosing dates for booking a theme park. This is how it appears:
WP Booking System Pricing
There are 2 versions of WP Booking System, a free version available on WordPress.org and a premium version which goes for $34 (a one-time payment). They don’t have any yearly charges for the paid version. So you pay $34 & you receive 100 days of support & updates. New features will be available at 50% of the plugin price.
This kind of pricing model is unique. I haven’t come across a similar model for another plugin or service.
4. Pinpoint WordPress Booking Plugin
This is another popular plugin that supports WooCommerce. It allows your clients to book appointments, make reservations and pay for them on your site.
Pinpoint WordPress Booking Plugin can be used by both individuals and enterprises of different sizes. This is because the admin section is very flexible, robust, native, and easy to manage client availability and make reservations. Also, the functionality of this plugin is improved by addons.
You can also take advantage of WooCommerce integration. WooCommerce bookings are easily created as well as use the shopping cart, amazing payment gateways among other interesting features.
Another unique feature of Pinpoint WordPress Booking Plugin is PINPOINT.WORLD that not only shares the location of your brand but also makes your brand known to the world. This is also an online presence marketing strategy that increases your organic traffic and generates more leads. This is particularly useful for brands in hospitality and travel industry. Currently it has 14 locations.
What are PinPoint WordPress Booking Plugin key features?
- Booking calendar: The booking calendar is very responsive and can be looked at by your clients from all browsers, PC, and mobile devices. Clients can also check availability and choose their desired booking period. Besides that, from the booking calendar settings, clients can set to view many or fewer months.
The booking calendar has a sidebar that helps a client search availability, select the number of items they require, use vouchers or coupons, see reservation summary, and fill in their personal details in a booking form.
- Reservation management: Admins can add, approve, cancel, or edit a reservation. They can also filter the booking request. Reservations do not overlap and they can either be approved or rejected by the admin by making changes in booking calendar
- Synchronize with systems like Google Calendar and Airbnb
- Multicurrency support: Any currency can be used with this plugin, all you need to do is add your currency.
- Multilanguage support: All text in this plugin can be changed using a translation tool. You can also enable/disable or add your own language.
Pinpoint WordPress Booking Plugin Pricing
For the PRO version, the Regular license costs $50 for 1 site. The Extended Developer license costs $425. The difference between Regular & Extended license is that Regular license gives you 1 year of updates & support whereas Extended license gives you access to lifetime updates & support for the plugin.
It also has a Reseller license that costs $400. What this means is if a theme seller wants to embed the plugin within their theme, then they have to purchase this license.
5. WooCommerce Bookings
Using any of the WordPress Booking plugins discussed in this post (or others) has its disadvantages too. You will also need to take care of payments, integrating with different payment gateways, discounts, the checkout & ordering process & much more. These can easily shift your focus away from handling bookings.
Thanks to the WooCommerce Bookings plugin, you can stop worrying about the payment gateways, discounts & ordering process. Created by WooCommerce’s own team, WooCommerce Bookings plugin is a powerful extension that enables you to sell your time.
Typically, a website owner can use WooCommerce Bookings for online bookings, appointments booking, and table reservations. Below are some of its best features.
Works with WooCommerce
The biggest benefit of this plugin is that it works only with WooCommerce, and second, it is developed by the WooCommerce core team.
WooCommerce is simple to use, flexible and has many features. All these outstanding features will be inherited by WooCommerce Bookings, and by any plugin that leverages WooCommerce to build a Booking extension.
You can add your products or services just like you do with WooCommerce. Just click Products, then ‘Add New’, and then select the product type as ‘Bookable Product’. Then you can build your bookable block, set their availability, and prices.
Set the cost per block, tax, offer
WooCommerce Bookings allows you to develop entirely automated booking engines by building a bookable block. The bookable block gives a time limit and the price of different blocks. Consequently, the cost on the front end will be determined automatically depending on the packages selected by your client.
For example, if a bookable block for one day goes for $100 and the client books 20 such blocks, then the cost will automatically be $2000.
One advantage of WooCommerce Bookings over traditional systems is less time used to manage bookings received online. It allows you to create a self-managed booking system; just include the price, taxes, offers, and discounts and the payable price will be determined accordingly.
You can choose the maximum number of bookings for a specific period of time, you can create specific booking ranges between which the bookings need to be taken & much more.
Custom pricing rules
WooCommerce Bookings also allows you to set custom prices; you can choose to hike the prices or sell bookings at a discounted charges. For instance, when you want your visitors to book hotel rooms for 10% off the price during Christmas, all you need is create a range with the starting date and the ending date and the special price.
Fully automated bookings
With WooCommerce Bookings, users don’t have to wait for a response from the administrator once they send their booking request. Instead, the user checks what is available, pays online and then gets a booking confirmation. Such self-managing online booking systems are also efficient for the admin; there is no need to check the requests.
All the orders placed are viewable in the admin under the Bookings main page.
WooCommerce Bookings Plugin Pricing
WooCommerce Bookings plugin comes in 3 pricing plans:
- Single site license at $249/year
- 5 sites license at $299/year
- 25 sites license at $449/year
Bookly is feature-packed and easy to use WordPress booking plugin on the market today. The plugin is renowned for its strong back-end administration characteristics, not forgetting the amazing visual customization. One can add different services as well as customize prices for each product, service, and member. With the unlimited number of staff, Bookly setup is very fast.
Email reminders are automated hence reducing the number of no-shows. Your customers can also cancel their appointments using a simple link in their reminder email.
Your customers first enter the page with a booking form and select their preferred service and staff member. They also choose their desired time (appropriate hours and weekdays). Booking forms can be customized to custom fields, standard fields or default values.
Payment gateways include PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net. After you have built your form, you can add it to any post using a simple shortcode.
Your visitors can also book their appointments quickly through the time slot, give their personal details, and pay for the service online. One aspect that your clients will love is the ability to see available booking time intervals in their time zones.
Other features include Google calendar sync, WooCommerce integration, group booking, export appointments to CSV, and payment reporting.
One disadvantage is that Bookly can only be used for appointment bookings. It can’t be used for overnight bookings.
Bookly Plugin Pricing
The cost of purchasing Bookly is a one-time payment (no monthly or yearly charges) of $89. This includes a lifetime of free updates & customer support upto 6 months from the date of purchase.
BirchPress is basically an appointment booking WordPress plugin that was designed for small and medium enterprises. By installing this plugin to your website, clients from all over the globe can book appointments at any branch of your business.
Your highly-esteemed clients can also choose from different services on offer and then pick one member of your staff offering that service.
What are the different usage Features?
- Easy online appointments: A booking form can easily be posted in a page or post through a shortcode. Therefore your visitors will be able to directly see available blocks, book appointments or secure reservations online.
- Calendar sync: BirchPress plugin works closely with the calendars found on your mobile devices using both Android and iOS operating systems, Google Accounts, Outlook, or iCal and either automatically imports or exports your appointments.
- A customizable booking form: You can easily create and design your booking form using the inbuilt form editor.
- Automated email reminders and notifications: BirchPress effortlessly configures all the notification emails you receive when an appointment is booked, canceled or rescheduled. It also sends personalized and responsive emails that remind you of upcoming appointments.
- Accepts different online payment gateways: BirchPress Scheduler comes with PayPal that accepts credit card and direct PayPal payments. Other payment options accepted include those supported via WooCommerce integration.
- Developer friendly: The plugin was developed with the interest of website developers at heart. It has many filters and action hooks that you can use to improve or even develop your custom functionality even without interfering with the core code.
You can also add your clients to the site via the administrator interface or just wait for them to self-register when booking appointments via the website’s frontend.
BirchPress Scheduler Pricing Plans
- Personal plan package that goes for $99 for one site
- Business plan which goes for $ 199 per site
- Business plan+ at only $249 per site
- They did have a Developer plan a few months back, which was for $300 per 10 websites. But they don’t seem to have that plan any longer.
All the packages come with:
- One year support and updates
- Automated email notifications for all your staff and clients
- Custom email messages with a .ics file attached
- Sends email reminder
- Blocks holiday
Once the year is over you can decide to continue using this plugin unsupported. On the other hand, you can renew the license before the year ends; you will be given a 30% discount off the cost of your preferred plan.
8. WooCommerce Appointments Plugin
It is a plugin created for handling bookings for WooCommerce and as a result, you get to enjoy all features, payment gateways, and extensions supported by the platform.
This plugin only has a paid version, it doesn’t have a free version.
WooCommerce Appointments Plugin Main Features
- Calendar administration: You can view, edit, and manage your appointments in the calendar in the weekly, monthly or daily view. The calendar is also synced with your employees and Google Calendar.
- Reservation request confirmation: This means you do not accept your appointment payments and deposits upfront. There is an enhanced mechanism over the schedule.
- You can add bookings manually: You can easily add a new reservation for your customer. Moreover, you can do it using Google calendar since it will be synced automatically.
- Email notifications: Email templates are incorporated with WooCommerce notification arrangement. This means they can be customized the same way as WooCommerce emails.
- Strong staff management options that help you to assign employees to specific bookings
- Thanks to the multi-lingual feature that helps the plugin automatically convert time into your client’s time zones. It also shows local currency for your international clients.
WooCommerce Appointments Plugin Pricing
Currently, the WooCommerce Appointments Plugin is available in 3 different pricing plans
- Single site license for only $69/year
- 10 sites license at $129/year
- 25 sites license at $199/year
Each site license comes with one year of updates and support from the date of purchase.
Small enterprises and many beauty service providers, consultants, medical practitioners, tutors, and academies are really benefiting from this plugin.
Appointments+ enables you to design custom profiles as well as the availability of each team member. This plugin meets the needs of all business sizes; with unlimited employees profiles and boundless services, there is no restriction on what can be achieved. All profiles have black-out dates and times, break times, and working hours. This means your clients can book an appointment by visiting your office, on their own or manually.
This plugin has a nice front-end interface that integrates perfectly with almost all themes. Using a color preset will help your brand blend perfectly with color picker.
Appointment+ also supports social media login; users can log in to their WordPress account, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+.
Both clients and website owners can save appointments and reservations made on the site to Google calendar with just a single click (no set up is required).
Moreover, Appointment+ comes with Google Calendar API. Google Calendar API aligns a reservation booking and syncs any changes made to both your site and Google Calendar.
Another plus for Appointment+ WordPress plugin is the streamlined scheduling where its three-click process is configuring to help your visitors book an appointment without becoming a user.
Some additional features include:
- Reliable appointment reminders
- Several locations
- The capability of asking for payments or deposits when making reservations or bookings
- It is easy to set up the appointment webpage
- Supports shortcode integration, has 20 addons that improve functionality, and inbuilt widget to shows where services, calendars, and providers
- Let your clients log in with their social media platforms
- Shows weekly and monthly schedules so you can see your schedule prior or later
- Resists advanced bookings for a certain duration
- Google Maps integration
- Sync with Google calendar
- Uses PayPal for direct online payments
Appointments+ Plugin Pricing
It comes with a 30 day free trial. It doesn’t have a forever free version.
Since it is part of WPMU DEV membership bundle, it cannot be purchased separately. It comes with a monthly membership cost of $49. Some users also complain that it lacks the visual result.
The above discussed WordPress Booking & Appointment plugins are just a few from a wide range of available booking plugins. Each of them is capable of creating a modern and detailed booking system that will take your business to the next level.
When it comes to making any WordPress booking plugin decision, the best way is to first work with demos of each plugin. No single plugin meets the needs of every business. Check how frequently are those plugins updated.
Consequently, research intensively and find out which features are a must-haves and which you can do without.