So many businesses need to accept bookings and appointments through their website. Since millions of such websites are based on WordPress, it follows naturally that there is a need for good appointment plugins for WordPress. The typical use case is a private practice (ie. Doctor, Hair Dresser, Fitness Instructor, Massage Therapist, etc…)
We, therefore, went ahead and tested the options on the market and present you with the best ones we’ve found.
As you view the many different booking, appointment and reservations plugins below, bear in mind that booking functionality is fundamentally resource-intensive, no matter which plugin you use. Before adding any significant new functionality to your WordPress site, you need to consider whether your current hosting is capable of handling that strain.
Once you actually have traffic, you don’t want visitors to your site to be confronted with unexplained delays, they are not going to stick around if a page takes minutes to load, no matter how much they want to book that appointment to get their nails fancified. More importantly, you definitely don’t want the nail salon owner contacting you to ask why her site isn’t working!
The advice we always give is to make sure you get properly resourced hosting in place before you launch. We recommend two hosts that we have seen work out well for our readers, the choice between them comes down to money:
If you are on a tight budget, SiteGround has a good reputation for well-managed and well-supported shared hosting at a good price. They are by far the best at that price level, consider in particular their GoGeek level.
If, on the other hand, absolute reliability and performance are more important to you than price, WP Engine provides the best possible managed WordPress hosting, I use them for all of my most important sites, the ones that generate money. They even work out significantly cheaper than other managed WordPress hosts if you take advantage of the exclusive discount we have arranged for the readers of WP Mayor which, surprisingly, you can use in addition to their usual annual discount:
EDD Bookings adds a booking system to WordPress that uses Easy Digital Downloads’ e-commerce solutions, allowing clients to book and pay for appointments, meetings, consultations and any other any service that needs to be scheduled by date and time.
Site admins get a powerful interface that makes it easy to manage every detail necessary to match the simplest or the most complex of real-life situations. In just a few steps your service will be ready to go live on your site.
Clients see a simple booking process that makes choosing, booking and paying for a suitable time slot a breeze. Check out the slideshow below to see the booking process.
All bookings can be monitored from your WordPress dashboard in a list or calendar view, giving you full awareness of all incoming bookings and payments, and upcoming appointments.
- Easily set up services in a few steps through the sleek UI.
- Set multiple appointment lengths for each service, or just one.
- Set up multiple availability rules to show when you’re available and when you’re not.
- A simple booking process for clients, with the ability to switch timezone if needed.
- Manage bookings from the WordPress admin area via a list or calendar view.
- Create new bookings from the admin area for clients who show up in-person or contact you via phone or email.
- Integrates with all payment gateways offered by EDD.
- Many more features offered through EDD extensions.
Get EDD Bookings at these incredibly low rates today. As new features, such as staff, locations, variable pricing options, Google Cal integration, and more are added in the coming months, the price will most likely rise.
- Single-site – $39
- Up to 5 sites – $59
- Up to 20 sites – $99
YITH Booking & Appointment for WooCommerce was built upon request by, and keeping in mind, Yith and WooCommerce customers. It integrates a regular WooCommerce store with a simple booking system which can be used by both customers and vendors.
It can be used for estate agencies, travel agencies, hairdressers, doctors, business consultants, and anyone else who may benefit from integrating a booking system into their WordPress site.
It creates a dynamic booking system where the price is processed in real time according to your customers’ requests. This allows you to arrange your bookings by date, period or season, number of people involved and much more.
Here are some of its great features, among many others:
- Create unlimited bookable products
- Configure All Day bookings or et monthly, daily, hourly, and per-minute booking products
- Let users set the duration of the booking.
- Automatically approve all new bookings or review them before confirmation
- Allow users to cancel their booking until a specified term before the start date of the booking
- Set the booking location (using Google API: towns and cities worldwide will be available)
- Increase or decrease the booking cost based on the following factors:
- pre-set time frames (e.g. high season and off season)
- number of people in the booking
- duration of the booking
- Set the first and last date available for the booking
- Provide info about check-in and check-out
- Ask for the type of people during the booking process
- Offer additional services either for free or for an extra cost
- Add the map pointing to the location of the bookable product in product detail page
- Create custom search forms
- Create a booking manually from the WordPress backend
- Export bookings in CSV or ICS
- Integrate Google Calendar to be synchronized with admin calendar
- Auto-sync the calendar with services like Booking, Airbnb and Homeway
This is the official bookings extension from Woo themselves. It allows you to sell your time or date based bookings, adding a new product type to your WooCommerce site. Perfect for those wanting to offer appointments, services or rentals.
- Create booking slots
- Multi-person bookings
- Customer email notifications
- Have bookings made either right away, or sent to you for approval.
- Filter and update bookings, as well as booking availability, directly from your WordPress admin.
- Create bookings manually via the WordPress admin, mirroring the frontend bookings form your customers see.
- There is huge flexibility in defining costs per booking, resource, block, people or duration.
- Define when your booking is available to your customers.
- “Resources” per bookable product for added flexibility. Resources can also be created globally, to apply to multiple bookable products.
- Define global availability rules for all bookable products.
- Integration with the Product Add-ons extension letting you add extras for each booking.
- Send custom email notifications to people who have booked a product.
- View bookings in either list or calendar format.
- Single-Site – $249
- 5 Sites – $299
- 25 Sites – $449
BirchPress Scheduler is a well-coded plugin with an excellent user interface. It lets you book appointments either via the dashboard as an admin, or via the front end as a non-registered website user. You can define locations, staff, services as well as clients.
You can of course then create associations between them. For example a particular member of staff might be available at only one location at specified hours/days. He might also be able to perform a number of services but not all. Each service also has a number of settings including price, duration, and also padding time.
BirchPress Scheduler adds a new item in your dashboard menu named ‘Scheduler’, from which you can easily manage all the functionality of this scheduling and appointment system.
A very well-rounded plugin which also has 2 pro flavours giving you even more functionality.
- Pro Personal – $99 – 1 site
- Pro Business – $199 – 1 site
- Pro Developer – $499 – 5 sites
Each support license is good for 12 months from the date of your purchase. Personal license users receive 25% off their renewal, Business license users receive 35% off their renewal and Developer license users receive 50% off their renewal. If your license expires, your scheduler and website will still work just fine but you won’t have access to product updates, new features or the excellent product support or documentation that BirchPress provide as a service. Click here to view all the differences between the above plans.
The Pro Business and Pro Developer include PayPal integration so you can also accept payments when a client books an appointment. BirchPress Scheduler is especially ideal for companies having multiple services, locations and staff, it’s perfect for managing this combination.
Amelia is one of the new kids on the block that is here to make a difference. It supports multiple employees with unique working hours and days off, multiple services and service categories (plus extras), custom fields for all booking inquiries, 2-way Google Calendar synchronization, multiple locations, fully integrates with WooCommerce, provides KPI reports though graphs and diagrams and much more.
The focus of Amelia is on appointment bookings, and this becomes evident as you start to use the plugin. It has a great user experience both for you as the service provider, and also for your clients.
As the service providers you can get an overview of your bookings in various formats; a calendar with monthly, weekly and daily views, a list and even a timeline. There are filtering options to then narrow down the overview as needed. It supports PayPal and Stripe payment systems directly, and any other payment system through WooCommerce, and keeps track of all financial records internally.
- Regular License – $49
- Extended License – $245
The Booking calendar plugin allows users to easily schedule appointments directly through your website. It supports multiple calendars and customized booking forms in a unique online booking experience
- Multiple calendars
- Appointment form
- Mobile support
- Shortcode support
- Availability toggle
- Day, Week and Month view
- WooCommerce and EDD integration (with add-on)
- Group meetings (with add-on)
- iCal Sync (with add-on)
CP Appointment Calendar is a WordPress plugin which allows you to define “available” time slots that can be booked by the website visitors. It’s integrated with PayPal for receiving the booking payments.
It’s pretty useful for booking/management of meetings/appointments for lawyers firms, teachers, doctors, veterinaries, beauticians, etc… and for any kind of activity which is developed with a specific schedule during the day.
The professional version ($25) of the plugin includes the following added functionality:
- Allows to disable the Paypal payments
- Can be used also as a Widget
- Multi-site compatible
- Includes all future updates and improvements made to this version
- Includes 60 days of technical support
With the free version you are therefore forced to work with PayPal and accept payments on all bookings.
This is a simple and straightforward plugin that only allows you to enter one service and accept paid bookings for it. If you have multiple services, staff, or locations then this plugin is not for you.
It’s major limitation is that it is inflexible. For example, when a customer wants to order, he needs to enter his name, phone, email, and comments. If you don’t want one or more of these fields, you’re stuck because the plugin doesn’t allow you to remove them. The plugin author accepts requests for customization, however ideally you’d be able to do these things yourself through the plugin’s administration interface.
The calendar display isn’t exactly gorgeous either, would have loved to see something more modern and stylish.
This WordPress plugin will enable online booking services for your site. Visitors to your site will be able to check availabilityof apartments, houses, hotel rooms, or services you offer. They can also make reservations and appointments with the ability to choose from multi-day, single day, or by the hour booking. Your clients can even view and register for upcoming events. With integrated Paypal (also Sage and iPay88 payments systems) support your clients can pay online.
With the free version, you cannot accept payments, you’d have to go for one of the premium packages which start at $199 and go all the way up to $2499 for the full featured multisite version.
Booking Calendar does have a lot of features, at least when we’re talking of the premium versions. I would use it for hospitality solutions such as hotels, guesthouses, hostels etc. For service providers BirchPress Scheduler is probably easier to set up and use.
The Bookly plugin is an easy-to-use and easy-to-manage booking tool for service providers who think about their customers. It supports a wide range of services provided by both businesses as well as individual service providers, offering reservations through your website.
It allows you to setup any reservations quickly, pleasantly and easily. It supports reservations for all types of services including:
- beauty, massage, wellness and healthcare reservations
- sports, trainings, dance, fitness, yoga or pilates appointments
- scheduling learning and educational courses, tutors and helpers
- organisation of special events and free-time activities
- searching and booking of visits to photographers, stylists, placing requests for babysitters, dog-walkers etc.
Bookly offers interesting solutions to make the booking process as pleasant as possible for customers. The only thing that is required from the client is to complete 5 easy steps. The intuitive interface, as well as clear and attractive design make this process extremely easy.
Customers have the possibility to find a convenient time for their appointments, select service provider, book the time slot and even pay for the services. One more thing that will please your clients is the ability to view the available booking time intervals in their own time zone.
You can try it out for yourself (both on the front-end as well as the back-end) using their demo.
The WooCommerce Booking and Appointment plugin by Tyche Softwares transforms your WooCommerce shop into a full-fledged booking platform. It lets you capture the booking date and time for each service,
It’s fully integrated with WooCommerce and can be used to create and manage all types of booking services. Whether you want to sell tickets, tours, hotel bookings, appointments or more, this plugin can do it for you.
Some of the many benefits of this plugin include the flexible labels that allow you to name your bookings as you want, the choice of a booking calendar in your language, the option to sell vacation rentals and volume discount rentals, and even the ability to accept bookings over the phone or by email.
If you have any calendar applications you can simply sync these with your bookings, and if there are any dates on which you want to block bookings you can do that too using the global and product specific “exclude days” rules.
Setup appointable products for WooCommerce with the WordPress Appointment Booking Plugin. It is perfectly integrated into WooCommerce, WordPress as well as Google Calendar.
It’s one of the best appointment scheduling software you can get right now. You can request payments or just confirmations, and it even allows you to receive payments for appointments. You’ll be able to keep a perfectly organized calendar and reduce no-shows with advanced notifications and reminders.
It is very easy to add a new appointment manually for a customer. Besides adding new appointment in your website admin, you can also add new appointment to your Google calendar and it will be automatically synced. All email templates are also integrated with the WooCommerce notification system and can be edited the same way as default WooCommerce email notifications, while templates can also be edited in your child themes.
For a better overview of your appointments, you can view and edit your appointments inside a flexible calendar, and manage it in a weekly or daily view while being synced with staff as well as Google calendar. In addition, not only can you accept payments/deposits for your appointments, but you can also receive appointment requests. This way, you don’t accept payments for your appointments upfront and have better control over the schedule.
I also found and tested a few other plugins, however I didn’t include them with the major ones above for one reason or another.
WP Simple Booking Calendar – I really like this one, it promises to do just one thing and does it well. Basically, it lets you create a clean calendar as a widget or in a post/page, and set the availability of whatever it is you are selling. Users cannot book themselves through the plugin, rather this is just for displaying availability. The pro version ($25) lets you create multiple calendars.
Appointy – While it works fine once you get it setup, this is really an interface between WordPress and Appointy.com (a third party) rather than a native WordPress plugin.
WP Online Booking System has similar features to BirchPress Scheduler, however the interface is completely alien to WordPress, it just looks like another system dumped into an iframe in the WordPress dashboard. Since I really don’t like plugins which do this, I didn’t feel it would be a good inclusion here. It also doesn’t have any free version, instead you can get the Pay-As-You-Book version at $10/month, the Business version at $349 and the Multi Domain version at $849.
easyReservations is a good plugin with many premium add-ons, however I don’t like the fact that it creates a totally custom user interface rather than relying on the default WordPress UI. I also found the multitude of tooltips intended to help the user to be more of an annoyance than an aid. There appeared to be some bugs as well with the version I tested. This plugin seems mostly targeted towards the hospitality industry (hotels, guesthouses, hostels etc.).
Zingiri Bookings is another alternative targeted toward the hospitality industry, but again it has a completely non-WordPress interface, and I don’t like the fact that it stores some of our data on the Zingiri servers.
The Events Calendar Pro (or its free version) is a very well-made plugin, but it’s not really for taking appointments. Rather, it’s for events, and also integrates with a number of services for ticketing (through add-ons). I just thought I’d mention it if someone was looking for this functionality, so here are the related add-ons: EDD Tickets, Eventbrite Tickets, Shopp Tickets, WooCommerce Tickets & WP E-Commerce Tickets. There are also a couple of other related plugins from Modern Tribe, and these are Facebook Events & Community Events.
It seems that this category of plugins for WordPress is not yet very well-defined. It’s common to see users ask for refunds because this or that plugin didn’t fulfil their needs. The main issue seems to lie in the fact that it’s not that easy to distinguish what each plugin does and what it’s target market is.
It might be helpful to categorise user needs and plugin types in the following sections:
- Display calendar (for appointments)
- Display calendar, let folks book appointments
- Display calendar, let folks book appointments + e-commerce
- Display calendar (for events)
- Display calendar, let folks commit to the event
- Display calendar, let folks commit to the event + e-commerce
- Display calendar (for accommodation)
- Display calendar, let folks book accommodation
- Display calendar, let folks book accommodation + e-commerce
- Other miscellaneous calendars
So yes, there are quite a number of different niches here, and I doubt if one single plugin can be useful for each and every niche. For some cases it might even not make any business sense for a plugin to be developed, hence you will need to seek custom development services.
Do you have any appointment plugins you could wholeheartedly recommend? And do you feel there are some needed features which the current batch of plugins don’t cater for?