As a service-based business owner, scheduling appointments can be a real nightmare. If you’re not using a WordPress schedule plugin to handle your bookings, things can be tough.
Not only can it be a huge and unpredictable time suck, but incorrectly scheduled appointments can also have a seriously negative impact on both your bottom line and your reputation. If you want to not only remain in business but prosper, scheduling appointments efficiently and reliably should be a top priority.
Fortunately, the solution to efficient and reliable appointments scheduling is a simple one: use a WordPress schedule plugin. There are a number of options available, which in itself can make the task of picking one overwhelming. Fortunately, that’s where we come in.
In this post, we take a close look at the seven best WordPress scheduling plugins currently available and provide you with all of the relevant information you need in order to make the best choice for your business.
Let’s get cracking!
How Proper Scheduling Can Boost Your Business
Using online tools for work scheduling can not only save you from lost productivity due to human error; they can also boost your bottom line.
Handling bookings and appointments by hand in this day and age is (at best!) inefficient, considering how many timesaving tools that can automate the entire process are available. The (typically small) fee required by such services is more than made up by the reduction in scheduling errors and increase in efficiency improvements.
Better still, according to leading SaaS booking solution provider ScheduleOnce, using an online booking service can lead to a 3x increase in conversion rates for your services.
A good online scheduling solution will also help you reduce lost time and revenue due to clients not showing up, thanks to the ability to send them reminders before their appointments roll around and give them the chance to cancel them if circumstances change.
Convinced that automated scheduling systems are the way to go? Great! Let’s take a look at the best schedule plugins available out there, ready for integration with your WordPress website.
1. Simply Schedule Appointments
Some schedule plugins are a bit too simple. So that’s why this one is titled Simply Schedule Appointments, rather than Simple. With this, it’s simple to do, but the functionality is anything but. Aimed at people who need the automation of a plugin like this to keep their businesses running smoothly, the developers have made it so that things get set up quickly and once they’re set up, they work smoothly.
From the user’s end, it couldn’t be easier to make an appointment. The instructions are clear, and when they’re finished, it syncs to their calendars via Google Calendar or iCal. If you need the extra functionality of the plugin being smart enough to exclude times on either your or their calendars, you can purchase the premium edition for that and other higher-end functions. This is a relative newcomer to the game, but its basic functionality in the free version of this WordPress schedule plugin more than edges it in above some of the long-time top spots. Definitely worth checking out.
- Built with Vue.js for a modern experience for admins and users
- Multiple scheduling types, from phone to on-site to property
- Quick wizard-based setup
- User interface is clean and fast
- You can either link to the scheduling form or use a shortcode to embed it on your site
- Custom CSS lets you style the booking forms however you want
2. Timetable and Event Schedule by MotoPress
Now, let’s check out MotoPress’s Timetable and Event Schedule. You get a lot of shortcodes that you can customize, filtering for all your events so that your users see exactly what they want and not events that don’t pertain to them, color-coded calendars to easily display different types of bookings, featured images for each event, and different views based on the timeframes that you need. Setting the view for hourly or quarter-hourly is as easy as a couple of clicks. This one has more doodads and buttons to press, so it may take more getting used to than simpler plugins, but you can do a lot more with it, too.
- Color coding
- Customizable time slots
- Featured images
- Event filtering
- Tabs or Drop-down filtering
- Unique URLs for each event, perfect for sharing
3. BirchPress Scheduler
BirchPress Scheduler is an appointment booking manager built specifically with small business owners in mind. Among the examples listed on the plugin’s page are spas, yoga studios and photographers; hardly what you would call Fortune 500 companies.
Aside from handling regular appointments, BirchPress Scheduler can also take care of staff assignments and schedules, making it a double-edged tool for business managers.
The plugin has moved from free on the WP.org repo to totally premium (starting at $99 per year for support and updates for 1 site), which unlocks the developers to work on a lot of new features. You can get email notifications both for the administrator and custom confirmation messages for customers, an auto-fill option for recurring customers, color coding appointments, declining bookings made without a minimum window of time in advance, group bookings, and support for several online payment platforms.
There are several premium tiers for different-sized businesses, which should be taken into consideration if you want to enable customers to make online payments and gain some extra control over scheduling. There is a reason this is a top WordPress schedule plugin.
- Bookings can be made for specific times, specifying the duration of services, the time between clients and pricing information.
- If your business has multiple persons in charge of attending customers, the latter can choose between staff members and different kinds of services. The plugin also enables you to assign staff to different tasks directly.
- Enables you to add, edit or delete appointments from within the dashboard.
- The booking forms are ready to be integrated into responsive themes.
- Includes support for multiple currencies and customer payment history.
4. Bookly PRO
Bookly PRO is a premium-only plugin and its license will set you back $89, but it comes packed with enough features to make the purchase attractive for businesses of all kinds.
Aside from its booking features, a license will also get you six months of full support from the developers (covering technical difficulties, bugs, and compatibility issues with other plugins) and of course, future updates.
- Powerful admin interface and customization features, enabling you to make each scheduling form stand out.
- Attractive and responsive booking interface divided into five steps: service, time, details, payment (with integrated support for PayPal and direct credit card payment if the customer doesn’t want to pay in cash) and confirmation.
- Credit card payments can be handled via Authorize.net, PayU Latam, Stripe, and 2Checkout.
- Enables you to handle staff scheduling, task assignment, individual prices according to different services, and their days off.
- Includes support for integrating unlimited service providers into your schedule, so you won’t need to use separate tools for customers and other business-related appointments.
- Detailed payment reports which can be filtered according to several criteria.
- Includes support for creating and managing discount coupons.
- Custom email confirmation messages for customers.
5. WP Booking Calendar
This plugin’s 50,000+ installations kind of speak for themselves. This powerful plugin is used by thousands of businesses to handle their appointments and equipment rentals, keeping track of meetings and every other business-related event that would otherwise be jotted down on a calendar.
This WordPress Schedule Plugin offers a solid free version that doesn’t skimp on features and four different premium plans for businesses of varying sizes, as well as multisite licenses.
- Can be used for handling complex bookings such as equipment rentals or assigning specific properties (i.e. rooms for an inn or bed & breakfast), on top of regular business scheduling for service professionals and keeping track of meetings.
- All the booking calendars are customizable and mobile-ready.
- Choose between several attractive email templates to serve customers with notifications and booking receipts.
- Enables you to set varying rates depending on your own criteria, such as limited availability, seasonal rates, etc.
- Both you and your customers can edit their existing bookings in case it’s necessary to reschedule or any mistakes were made during the scheduling.
- Integrated online payments through several gateways such as PayPal, Authorize.net, Sage Pay, iPay88, and direct/bank wire transfers.
6. Events Schedule
Multiple filters make it so that you can keep your users from getting overwhelmed if you have a packed schedule of classes or a lot of properties on the site, and best of all, it’s WPMU compatible and easily translatable so that no matter where your users are in the world (or where you are), you can be sure that nothing is lost in translation. For $35, it’s a downright steal.
- Many filters for events
- Repeat events
- Design and style-oriented
- Built to work with page builders like Visual Composer
- Works with child themes, multisite, and caching plugins
- Google Maps
- SEO ready from the start
7. WooCommerce Bookings
WooCommerce is the top ecommerce platform on WordPress. So it only makes sense to use it to schedule your events, classes, and anything else with a time attached to it. With this extension, you will be able integrate your properties and classes into your existing storefronts. By making use of the already-refined products and categories, the learning curve goes way down and your revenue will go way up.
You can make bookings based on people, and you can schedule the products pretty much any way you like. It is expensive at $249 for a single site ($299 for 5), but it’s an official WooCommerce extension, so you can be sure support will be fantastic and that updates will come regularly and effectively.
- Offical WooCommerce extension
- Schedule by person or by date
- Create schedules like products in WooCommerce
- Email notifications
- Custom costs based on your own parameters
- You can set blackout dates and other availabilities
- Confirm or deny any booking personally
- Automatic invoicing via WooCommerce and integrated payment gateways
- Buffer periods between bookings
- List or calendar views
- Add resources per booking that can apply to single or multiple products and schedules
Now Find Your Favorite WordPress Schedule Plugin
We’ve featured a number of plugins above, and with good reason – what is suitable for one business may not be suitable for another. Consult the summaries and features list of each and make the decision that is right for you.
That said, a top quality booking plugin should (at the least):
- Eliminate time spent manual scheduling.
- Be easy for all parties to use.
- Give customers all the information they need.
- Provide support for whatever payment processor you prefer.
While a tight schedule and a good booking solution alone won’t work miracles, you can bet they will make running your business considerably easier and more efficient.
Do you have any questions regarding the plugins we have featured above? Fire away in the comments section below and we’ll be happy to help!
Article thumbnail image by Irina Strelnikova / shutterstock.com