Booking plugins are an interesting topic. Because WordPress has grown into such a popular CMS, many businesses which need booking functionality are starting to use WordPress over other website solutions.
And this growth in demand has led to an explosion of WordPress booking and appointment plugins. There are a ton of options out there. So to help you out, I tried to sift through the clutter and find only the best of the best. Keep reading for all of my picks.
What Kinds of Sites Need Booking Plugins?
It’s hard to pick one overall “best booking plugin” because there are so many different uses for them. Here are just a few types of sites which benefit from or require booking functionality:
- Personal Trainers
- Medical Professionals
- So many more.
So to help you out, I’ll try to note which type of business each plugin is best for as I move through the list.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the full list of the best WordPress booking plugins.
Booking Calendar is a free WordPress booking plugin that has been around since 2009. That’s quite a history for a plugin! It lets you create a simple calendar that displays available/booked dates.
Customers can select days from the calendar to book by filling out a form. Once they submit a new booking, you’ll get a notification email and can approve or decline the reservation.
You can limit bookings to one per day, which is great for renting vacation houses or single hotel rooms. Or, you can allow unlimited reservations for the same calendar day, which is more suited for salons and similar establishments.
Booking Calendar is free, well-supported, and highly-rated, which is why it gets the first spot on this list.
WP Booking Calendar
WP Booking Calendar is a premium plugin at Code Canyon that allows you to accept any type of online booking. It functions pretty similarly to the previously mentioned Booking Calendar plugin. But I think the premium price gets you slicker front-end designs, which may make it worth it.
Customers can book time slots or days from the front-end. On the backend, you can approve or reject reservations, set up closing days, and lots more. The plugin will even integrate with PayPal to allow you to directly handle payments.
WP Booking Calendar costs $18.
With the plugin, you’ll get a new “Bookable” product type in your WooCommerce options. You can customize emails, booking costs, and even allow multi-person bookings.
As I mentioned, though, WooCommerce Bookings is expensive. It costs $249 for a single site license. If you’re already using WooCommerce, this cost might be worth it. Otherwise, you may want to go with one of the other plugins.
Appointments+ is part of the WPMU DEV Membership, so you’ll need to be a member there to take advantage of the plugin. In addition to letting customers check availability and book appointments, Appointments+ adds some cool features that make it perfect for salons, gyms, or any other location with multiple service providers.
When users book their appointments, they can choose from different service providers. For example, if you have two different stylists working in your salon, visitors can choose the exact stylist they want to book. None of the previous plugins on this list offer this functionality.
You can also give individual service providers bio pages to highlight their specific expertise.
If you need to handle bookings for multiple service providers, then Appointments+ is definitely the plugin for you.
While not specific to bookings and appointments, Gravity Forms has plenty of booking power with its array of fields. The only thing it’s lacking is the ability to automatically update availability.
But if all you want is the ability to accept reservations that you confirm or reject at a later date, then Gravity Forms has all of the functionality that you need.
WP Simple Booking Calendar
WP Simple Booking Calendar is a freemium plugin that lets you create a basic booking calendar.
In the free version, you can create one free calendar which clearly displays which dates are available and which are booked.
The premium version increases that to unlimited calendars, multiple month displays, and lots of additional features. With the premium version, you can also quickly export your bookings to Booking.com, Airbnb, or FlipKey.
BirchPress Scheduler is one of the most popular premium options for accepting online bookings and appointments with WordPress.
Visitors can check real time availability and then easily make reservations or appointments. That’s pretty standard. But here’s what’s cool:
BirchPress syncs with all of your other calendars so you can keep your appointments synchronized across all of your calendars. You can sync with:
- Google Calendars
You can also easily import or export your appointments.
You can also accept online payments, customize your booking forms, and set up notification emails.
While not built for hotels or vacation rentals, BirchPress is perfect for pretty much any other appointment booking use.
Pricing starts at $75 and goes up from there depending on the exact features that you need.
EDD Bookings adds booking functionality to Easy Digital Downloads. Users can schedule appointments and pay directly through Easy Digital Downloads. As such, the plugin supports any Easy Digital Downloads payment gateway.
You can also configure your availability by both date and individual times. Internally, you can view a helpful calendar of all your scheduled bookings and edit or manually add bookings as needed.
If you have the front-end submissions add-on, you can even create a multi-vendor marketplace for bookings.
One thing to note is that each session is limited to a single customer. If you need to allow multiple customers to book the same session, the plugin won’t work for you.
EDD Bookings costs $89 for a single site license.
Team Booking – WordPress booking system
Team Booking is a premium plugin that adds beautiful, user-friendly booking functionality to WordPress. It has one unique twist, though. It uses Google Calendar to set up your availability.
To create a free slot in your booking system, all you need to do is create an event in Google Calendar. That event becomes a free slot, and whenever someone books that time slot, the event is automatically updated.
If you already use Google Calendar and are looking to set up single appointments or other services, Team Booking is for you. You can even handle payments via PayPal or Stripe and offer coupon codes.
Team Booking costs $22 at Code Canyon and has an impressive 4.75-star rating on 2,330 sales.
Whether you’re looking to accept reservations for your hotel or vacation property or just looking to allow clients to book individual appointments, these WordPress booking plugins can help you out.
If you’re just looking for a free way to accept bookings, I think the free Booking Calendar is your best option.
Otherwise, each plugin offers slightly different functionality, so I recommend you choose carefully when making your final decision.
As always, if I missed a good plugin, I’d love if you let me know in the comments so I can add it to my Rolodex of WordPress plugins!