Since the internet is not only accessible through desktop computers, but laptops, tablets and smartphones as well, people all around the world try to find online alternatives for most of the things that they do. This goes for appointments and booking as well. It is so much easier to simply go online and book something, rather than calling the company or business and trying to accomplish it that way.
Many WordPress website owners have picked up on this as well and this is exactly why there are various appointment and booking plugins that we can choose from. Each of these tools should help you in arranging your bookings, appointments and calendars straight on your blog.
If you are a business owner, these plugins can help you even further, as your customers can easily see when certain events are happening. This method can save you a lot of time and bring in numerous new customers. In order to achieve this, many people have chosen to download and integrate certain appointment or booking plugins to their blogs or websites. This is exactly what we are taking a closer look at!
Booked – Appointment & Booking Plugin for WordPress
Booked is a premium WordPress plugin that was designed for managing bookings and appointments on your website with ease. It is a powerful plugin that comes with lots of in-built features.
Once you install the Booked plugin to your website, you will have access to the Booked widget and shortcode. You can place the widget in the sidebar or other widget area of your theme, or you can create custom booking landing page, where it is possible to add the booking form right into the article, using the shortcode.
The plugin allows you to set custom time slots, determining closed or vacation dates. It is also possible to add custom fields to the form if you want to collect custom information about each appointment.
Booked comes with a powerful backend interface that makes it easy even for non-experienced users to setup the booking or appointment form easily.
It also gives the possibility to customers to manage their appointments and account information. Beside this, customers have the option to add their appointments to their Google Calendar too.
Once someone books a date, the custom as well the appointment admin will receive a custom / customizable email. This ensures the customer that the appointment is registered and also informs the admin it got a new customer.
This plugin is fully responsive and colors are customizable too. If you want to use this plugin on a foreign website, you can set the language you want too.
Pros: Besides the multitude of features that are built-in, Booked plugin is very nice looking, intuitive and easy to use. With the use of add-ons it can be integrated with the WooCommerce system, allowing customers to complete payment after booking.
Cons: Although you can try out this plugin on a demo server while getting access to it as a guest user, you can use it on your website only if your purchase a license. The commercial license might also be a problem for many, because this plugin does not come for cheap.
AppointZilla Appointment Calendar
This might be the simplest way to implement calendars into your WordPress site, as the plugin does not require any professional setup. All you need to do is download the tool, activate it, and add certain services and once you are done, you can simply show your calendar in any post using a shortcode.
The Appointment Calendar plugin currently has around 4,000 active installs and a mostly positive, 4.7 out of 5 stars rating. This is not that bad, especially when you take into consideration that there are over 40 5 star reviews. Various developers and users contributed to the creation of the plugin and you can see all of them on the plugin’s WordPress repository page.
The plugin allows you to create any appointment that you and your business would ever need in a simple and effective manner. You can create new entries, edit old ones and modify them however you want. The admin interface gives you access to all the necessary options and settings that you are ever going to need.
The plugin comes in a free and a premium version as well and you can choose to use the one that you feel most comfortable with. The free version gives you access to a few features, but it lacks advanced ones as well as some crucial things that come with the paid plan.
Exporting the calendars and events that you have previously created is also a very simple task, as the plugin allows CSV file extraction from within the plugin itself. It also allows you to accept payments for the bookings and appointments through a Payment Gateway. This means that you no longer have to look for a third-party to accept payments, but you can rather do it from this tool’s interface.
If you would like to purchase the full version, you would have to pay a one-time fee of $99. This includes one year’s worth of updates and support, customizable business hours, customized appointment notifications and much more. Translating the plugin into your native language is also very easy, as it is multilingual. You can also choose from various translations that other people have submitted. This is a great thing, as you do not even have to do anything and you can receive the tool in any language that you might need.
Pros: You can start using the plugin as soon as you download it and there are no additional steps that you need to complete. It is very easy-to-use and nobody should have any trouble with it. This is a great plugin for those who just want to start posting calendars to their posts, so their users could make appointments and bookings.
Cons: If you want to use this plugin for professional purposes, you will have to pay for the premium license. Thankfully, this is a one-time payment and there are no additional fees. The free version has also been abandoned by the development team, as they have not updated it in over 2 years. Update: It looks like the developer has taken down the free version, because it is not available anymore in the WordPress repository.
Checkfront Online Booking System
This is a very professional plugin for businesses that need to show certain booking options on any of their pages. The great thing about the plugin is that you can create exactly the entries that you need and you can customize them however you want. You can add images, descriptions and various other things to your appointments and this is going to help you get more users interested in what you are offering.
The plugin is not that popular, as it only has around 3,000 active installs as of right now. Even though there are not many people who use the tool, those who do have left some very positive reviews and good feedback.
This plugin gives you some amazing services that you can rarely find with other ones. For example, you can follow daily statistics and see what was booked, when and by whom. Graphs, monthly revenue and an activity log are also available for you to inspect. This will give you a better idea of how your business is doing and you can know everything that you need.
Inserting calendars into posts is very easy, as you gain access to a shortcode generator that can create exactly what you had in mind. If you click on the Launch Shortcode Generator, you will be redirected to a page that contains some customization options where you can add discount codes, choose the color of the text, the font that is used as well as a few other things. Once you are done, you should click on the Generate Code button and you can copy/paste it into your posts and pages.
The shortcode that you receive can be further altered by adding tags to it. For example, you can choose to show events which will be held on certain days. This is very good, especially if you wish to cater to the interests of your users or if you want to highlight certain happenings.
Just like most plugins, Checkfront comes in a free as well as a paid version. Of course, there are a few features that are turned off for free users, but you can still try the plugin out regardless. This means that you do not immediately have to purchase a monthly subscription, only if you feel that you need the additional services.
Depending on a few criteria, such as on how many websites you want to use the plugin on, how many staff accounts you need, as well as how many bookings you require on a yearly basis, you can choose from the listed plans. The most basic and cheapest plan will cost you €39 / per month and it gives you access to 3 staff accounts, basic support and 1,200 bookings yearly. You can take a look at the other plans as well, if you require better services.
Depending on your plan level, you are eligible for using the support service if you encounter any problems. The support team is compiled of professionals who can answer any questions or concern that you might have and this makes for a very good user experience.
Pros: There are so many things that this plugin is able to help you with, from advanced analytics and statistics to adding any number of booking options to your site. With the help of the support team and the guides that you can find on how to set the plugin up, you should have no problems whatsoever!
Cons: Many people feel like paying for a plugin is not necessary. This might be true, but if you want to make the best out of this tool, you will have to purchase a paid license. Thankfully there are multiple to choose from, so everybody can find one that suits their budget as well as needs.
These plugins might not be the most popular ones on the market, but they both have a free version that you can try out. This is very important for many people, as they do not like paying for something that they did not yet experience. If you are one of these people, you can simply download and activate the free version and play around with it. Once you are certain that the plugin you are trying out is something that you truly need, you can decide on purchasing a premium version.
There are many types of plugins that we have already covered in our Best WordPress plugins series and you can inspect all of them. They are not only going to help you choose the right ones when it comes to certain categories but you might also find something that you did not even know existed. Take a closer look at some of the previous lists and you should find multiple ways of improving your experience as well as the overall feel of your website or blog.