Service-based businesses often need to have an appointment system to make their functionality easier for themselves and their customers. Having booking facilities on the business website cuts down on many hassles of the call and book-keeping of appointments.
For this, your site would need WordPress plugin development, which focuses on adding bookings to the website. The plugin must have certain features that make appointment schemes simple, practical, and accessible for all.
Features of a Booking Plugin
A booking-based WordPress plugin development plan does more than maintain a calendar with appointment forms. It also has factors such as:
- Customizable calendars
- Methods of accepting payments for appointments
- Support for multiple staff or service providers
- Mobile-friendly interface
- Schedule customization options for staff
- Facilities for editing and viewing appointments for customers
- A book management module which is filterable
- Confirmation and reminders through emails/texts
Top 3 Booking Plugin for WordPress
Here are three of the most straightforward and feature-rich booking plugins available in the market:
1. WooCommerce Appointments
This plugin integrates well with all the other WooCommerce facilities. Starting at $89 per site, you can opt-out of receiving updates by making it a one-time fee. The extension syncs you’re your Google calendar so that you can accept appointments with ease. Bookings can be made for free, and also have a setting for charging money.
Bookly boasts of the most modern-looking backend and frontend. You can customize the appointment website without knowing coding skills. It offers several service providers in the booking schedule so that each of the staff can manage their calendar. The extension allows the inclusion of several add-ons like coupons, extra services, etc. The annual charge for Bookly starts at $89.
At $49, it provides a complete package for small business owners. Supporting multiple employee calendars, it can also include custom time slots to alter their schedules. New or visiting customers can easily make an appointment under the guest bookings without registering themselves.
Creating a Booking System
After choosing the appropriate plugin for your website, you will need to install it and run some configurations before publishing it for customer use. The steps are:
1. Download and Install
Usually, the plugin is downloaded in a zip-file format. Once it is made available on your desktop, upload it to the plugins screen in the WordPress admin controls. If you have chosen to buy the premium version, then an add-on plugin would be made available along with the actual one.
2. Configure the Settings
Open the plugin through the admin controls, and search for the plugin’s settings option. These would be concerned with the timings, the type of schedule, and the features of booking slots. Other settings might include:
a. URL settings
This redirects the staff and customers to pages that declare the approval, cancellation, or rejection of their appointments.
The fields visible to both employees and users need to be personalized.
c. Google Calendar
Contains the settings of the syncing and tracking arrangements for the app and the plugin.
Setting up a customer database according to their types of bookings, their accounts, services used, and payments.
e. Timings and Holidays
Opening up slots concerning your business hours and the weekends or holidays.
3. Staff Members
The majority of booking plugins are equipped with a section for staff members. One person cannot run a business. Be it a spa, restaurant, hospital, or real estate. There would be employees who would be dealing with customers, inevitably.
This feature allows you to create pages for each of them, including their details, contact numbers, and services. The staff can manage their appointments through access to the extension granted to them.
4. Appearance of the Form
For the bookings, the customers would need to fill a form. You can curate forms for different services or a common one for all of them through the plugin. Choose the details which need to be asked from the customers, and edit the timings available.
The font, colour, and layout of the form can also be altered. You can also give the responsibility of making the forms to the service providers under you to change it according to their schedule.
5. Other Settings
Some other details that you would need to take care of are:
a. Payment Methods:
Some plugins allow you to make the customer pay an advance fee during the booking. You could also draw up an invoice based on the records of the extension.
Email and text notifications are enabled by default, whenever a booking is made or cancelled.
If you use the premium features of the plugins chosen, you could include selections like group bookings or flexible hours.
Once you are done with the steps, the site’s appointment platform will be published for public use. Your booking schedule can be easily categorized and managed through a plugin, without the need for a WordPress development company. The extension would enable you to make changes as your business progresses.