Many hotels, hostels, guesthouses, and businesses in the hospitality business are building their website with WordPress. Naturally, they will also be looking at ways of incorporating a booking or reservation system into their website.
The most important thing to remember is this. While any form of e-commerce is resource-intensive, online bookings are the MOST resource-intensive. This is because, for each bookable item, you are dealing with far more parameters than a normal (non-bookable) product.
This means that, once your site starts to attract significant traffic, you need to make sure that your hosting is able to deal with hundreds of simultaneous database calls. All this without slowing to a crawl or throwing an error just as your potential guest is trying to finalize his booking.
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, BlueHost has a good reputation for well-managed and well-supported shared hosting.
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. This is true, especially if you take advantage of the exclusive discount we have arranged for our WP Mayor readers:
So, here are the best hotel and room reservation plugins for WordPress:
MotoPress Hotel Booking plugin is a feature-rich and affordable WordPress plugin to build a website for any hotel establishment. The plugin can be used for a hotel, hostel, apartments, vacation rental, etc.
You can use it to build a stylish, unlimited listing of all your properties and services. You can also allow guests to book them online (with or without payment).
One great thing about this plugin is that it can synchronize the availability of bookings submitted through your website with other travel platforms. These platforms include Airbnb, Booking, TripAdvisor, HomeAway, or any other platforms that supports iCal.
The plugin allows you to feature accommodation types complete with details and photo galleries. You can also turn on the automatic booking confirmation (by email). You can authorize payments via PayPal, 2Checkout, Braintree, Stripe, Beanstream/Bambora, set custom booking rules, set seasonal pricing and rates, and create discount coupons.
Additionally, you can allow guests to add multiple rooms to one reservation. The plugin comes with many more features, including the fact that is professionally translated into 14 languages.
Pinpoint offers a way to rent accommodations, schedule services, book events or receive online reservations and appointments of any kind. It’s easy-to-use, fast, and clear to both check availability and send a booking request in a unique AJAX calendar.
Jomres is the most fully-featured booking plugin available for WordPress, but with that comes a considerable learning curve. It comes in a portal version that enables you to create multi-property sites, Airbnb-style. However, for the purposes of this article, we are more interested in their Single-Property version, ideal for a hotel.
The same developer, Englishman Vince Wooll, has been working on Jomres fulltime for over 14 years. There is nothing else quite like it in the Open Source world. The Jomres manual, including video tutorials, is probably the most comprehensive and well-written documentation of any WordPress plugin. This provides the best way to understand what Jomres is capable of.
Booking Calendar is probably the most popular free booking calendar plugin available on WordPress.com. For a free plugin, it’s full of great features you’re sure to find useful.
Create any number of calendars that can include custom booking form fields. This way guests can select their stay using the days on the calendar, select available time-slots (optional), fill out the form fields, and submit their reservation.
After submitting the form, your guest and your website Admin will receive a confirmation email. The Admin can then accept or decline the reservation (and manage all other reservation requests) from the easy to use admin booking panel.
Booki is a lovely premium booking form and calendar WordPress plugin. This advanced reservations system adapts to the user’s timezone, so they can see what’s available in real-time.
From a guest’s perspective, Booki makes it easy to select a travel date, view available listings, and make payments via PayPal after receiving an invoice.
The plugin also includes 24 color themes, advanced admin statistics (total bookings, amounts earned, discounts given, etc.). Plus the plugin is translation ready so you can change it to any language you need using the included .po file!
The WP Booking Calendar is a WordPress plugin that lets you add a simple booking calendar or form to your hospitality site. The plugin allows guests to make reservations on a per-day basis and includes easy-to-understand color coding for available and booked days.
Once a user has completed a reservation request, you’ll receive a booking notice right in your WordPress dashboard where you can quickly organize and manage all of your reservations.
Have you used any other hotel or apartment reservation system plugins for WordPress? Let us know how it went.