What’s the best WordPress booking plugin?
July 23, 2015 11:26 am
One of the reasons why WordPress is such a powerful tool for developing online content is the use of plugins and widgets. These add-ons automate the experience allowing virtually anyone of any skill level to create engaging and useful websites. For businesses that require booking capabilities, implementing this function on a website could be as simple as a few clicks of the mouse.
There are many booking plugins available for WordPress. Whether you’re looking for a free WordPress booking plugin or don’t mind paying a little extra for functionality, the list of these add-ons is extensive. Since the installation of a plugins is simple, the most difficult part about adding them is choosing which is right for you.
What’s the best WordPress booking plugin for you?
When choosing a booking engine, you should start with writing a list of what you wish to accomplish with your website. This can give you a place to start as you detail what it is you’re looking for. Afterwards, you can compare this list to some of the best WordPress Booking applications available.
With over 20,000 active installs, Booking Calendar is one of the most popular plugins for creating schedules and managing accounts. Although its free version does have some functionality for setting appointments and customization, the paid business versions have far more capacity for professional implementation.
- Supports various payment methods for bookings
- Supports coupons and other discounts
- Multi-user settings and independent configurations for various accounts
- Premium versions can be used on more than one website
- Easy to use WordPress dashboard for booking schedules
- Customizable cost plans for bookings
- Overall cost is higher than many alternatives
- Free version may be too restrictive to be of any real use
- Overall plugin has few customization options available
Booking System (+WooCommerce)
The Booking System plugin offers users the ability to create and customize entries. This allows you to easily change the content depending on the services you offer. The booking form itself can be developed to give you all of the pertinent information you need for any given individual.
- Able to support multiple currency types
- Adjustable taxes and fees
- Customizable email templates and notifications
- Customizable CSS front-end templates for your clients
- Various complaints about the system not working properly
- Only supports PayPal for accepting payments
- Documentation may be difficult to understand for some
Booking Calendar Contact Form
As an easy to use application, the Booking Calendar Contact Form may be ideal for operations that center more around room reservations. Should someone book a specific day or half a day, then it will be removed from availability. With that in consideration, this plugin could be ideal for caterers, timeshares, party planners, entertainers and others that don’t have multiple appoints per day.
- Support for discounts and coupons
- Customizable email and validation messages
- Supports more than 50 languages languages
- Only allows for full-day or partial-day bookings
- Unable to make custom changes in the free version
- Most of the needed functions are only available in the Pro version
WordPress Appointment Schedule Booking System
This customizable WordPress booking engine supports an unlimited number of appointments and clients. It provides ShortCode allowing you to place the booking calendar into any post or page within WordPress. While the free version has a large number of features, the paid version deals more with user support and site integration.
- Flexibility to be used in many different venues
- Various options for appointment scheduling
- Able to accommodate custom time slots throughout the day
- Shopping cart integration within the paid version only
- Only supports PayPal or manual payments
- Need to purchase separate license for additional sites
Jomres Booking System Bridge plugin for WordPress
For those looking exclusively for a hotel or villa WordPress booking system, Jomres is an application that has been in development for more than nine years. It is developed to be customizable with the intention of giving users a completely unique experience. Although WordPress has its own media upload system, Jomres allows users to fine tune the process with an easy-to-use image gallery.
- Google maps integration
- Variable options for monetization and end-user features
- Integrated rating system for provided services
- Ideal for travel and lodging sites
- Additional plugins not available in the free membership
- Paid versions are based on a bi-annual subscription
WordPress Appointment Booking and Online Scheduling Plugin by vCita
The vCita WordPress booking engine allows website owners to brand their calendar portals while having the capability to integrated invoicing, payments and file sharing. This solution is developed to optimize business practices by creating a complete online scheduling platform. The software may be capable of integrating with email campaigns and social networks as well.
- Mobile notifications regarding scheduled appointments
- Automated client emails and texts for appointment reminders
- Cross synchronization with Outlook, Google, iCal and other services
- Monthly subscription fees instead of outright purchase of the plugin
- Limited overall customization
- Multiple complaints about customer service against the developer
Appointment Booking Calendar
The Appointment Booking Calendar allows website visitors to book an available time slot based on your availability. Notifications and confirmations are then sent to respective parties regarding the booking. You can go so far as to set a maximum number of bookings for each time slot, which may be perfect for hotels and other rentals that are based on a certain number of available products or services.
- Printable bookings list
- Export to Excel file types and CSV
- Long list of supported languages
- Complaints of website becoming slower
- Only allows PayPal payment methods
BrichPress takes booking to a new level by allowing you to assign employees to services as well as track payment history. Email notifications are sent to your staff when a client books an appointment from the website. It also has the capability of synchronizing with other calendars allowing you to create an integrated system for your business.
- Supports various forms of online payment
- Supports various types of currency
- Detailed service descriptions and settings for the front-end user
- Lacks greater design and field customization
- Additional functionality is offered in premium editions such as syncing and online payment types
- Much higher premium cost than many alternatives
WP Simple Booking Calendar
For those that need a basic WordPress booking plugin for their website, WP Simple Booking Calendar may be a good choice. Its basic and simplistic design can integrate well among several business services ranging from time shares to those in the entertainment industry. The premium version of the software is competitively priced for the tools that are available. This may be more ideal since the free version is severely lacking in capabilities.
- Ability to edit multiple dates from one click
- Ability to create an unlimited number of calendars
- Ability to assign various users to calendars
- Free version doesn’t save booking information
- Limited features compared to alternatives
Checkfront Online Booking System
Checkfront has potential to be a powerful system for online booking. Customizable services, data tracking and analytics and more make this a feature rich plugin. As part of the premium service, your information is hosted on Checkfront’s own servers keeping data safe and secured.
- Shows real-time availability on promoted services
- Multiple payment gateway support
- Integration with Zoho, Google Apps and more to promote a complete business experience
- Higher than average monthly subscription payments
- Supports limited yearly bookings
When it comes to finding the best WordPress plugins, it all boils down to what you find are the best features. Although everyone loves to have a free and powerful plugin, most of the elaborate and well-designed apps may require a purchase of some kind. However, it may turn out to be a wise investment for your business. This is especially true for those that could use a strong online booking method.
Main image: Dean Hochman