WordPress Booking Plugins and Why You Need One
Online booking is the new trend
Let’s face it, most businesses today rely on online bookings and reservations, provided by websites with WordPress booking plugins. People make bookings to:
- Rent a car in another city
- Reserve a hotel room
- Get a dinner-for-two table at your favorite restaurant, and etc.
In the past, a customer would have to look up a business phone number from a directory and call for a booking. That’s actually not anymore the case today. In fact, that’s no longer a preferred way for two reasons:
1. It’s a waste of time.
Being placed on hold over the phone while 19 other customers are waiting in line to be booked can be a pain point.
2. Only a few options.
Having less variety of options to choose and view from in a limited amount of phone time is one of the reasons why phone calling for a reservation stresses out customers.
According to Getlab, nearly 70 percent of their survey respondents choose to book online if options were available, compared to 20 percent who still choose to book by phone.
Assessing your need for a WordPress booking plugin
As we mentioned earlier about websites giving users the option to view through WordPress plugins, there’s no doubt that WordPress is amazing in running most websites today and plugins are just one of the reasons why. Before you install or pay for a WordPress booking plugin, however, you’ll need to ask yourself if your website needs one or not.
Here are some scenarios when you need a booking plugin:
- Perhaps you’re assisting people in finding the right hotel. In this case, a hotel booking plugin with payment integration would be amazing.
- You may be helping people with reserve a table in their favorite restaurant. A plugin that can handle restaurant reservations would be suitable.
- Perhaps you wish to help people rent a car or any vehicle in a different location. A car rental booking plugin would be great as well.
Hence, if you run a business website that requires bookings and reservations, you can start asking these questions on why you need to avail a booking plugin:
- Does it improve my website’s experience for my customers?
- Is there a need to provide a call to action works best for your customers?
- Does it allow me to start within my allowable budget and scale up later?
Eventually, make sure to consider the value for the cost of getting an option that fits your business. Adding a booking feature to your website will make things easy for your site visitors and help convert them into potential new customers.
This is exactly why you should look into a free WordPress booking plugin to use.
What to expect in a WordPress booking plugin
In our research, we recommend these core features when starting out that you look for:
- An easy install and configuration
- A customizable calendar (or integrated with Google Calendar)
- Email or SMS confirmations and notifications
- Mobile-friendly user interface
- Options for accepting payments
- A free version
Not all businesses have to spend much for a plugin just because they only need a few basic features at the start. As they scale up their business, they can eventually choose to upgrade to more features and functionality.
While there are plenty of amazing WordPress booking plugins out there, the core functions remain the same. It all depends on what you prioritize — budget or capabilities.
Our recommendation, however, is to test out free plugins first and start from there.
Free WordPress booking plugins available
Yes, you read it right. There exist a few free booking plugins for WordPress. As we share the list, we’ll be emphasizing some of their limitations as well:
- Sagenda is one of the free online booking plugins that can help your website visitors reserve meetings and appointments with you or your business online.
However, a few major issues are present:
- Too basic and bland user interface
- Expected only to work best on appointment setting
- Issues with mobile devices
- Booking Calendar is another WordPress booking plugin for your site that has a free version. Additionally, it’s one of the oldest booking plugins around already with flexible functionality to fit any business needs.
However, even this plugin has its issues:
- Too basic and bland user interface that’s just not visually appealing to modern website designs today
- Issues with mobile devices recently reported
- Free version has no payment integration
- Easync Booking is a new WordPress booking plugin, still in the beta stage, that has potential. However, the plugin offers usable modules that developers can use: Car Rental, Hotel, and Restaurant. Unlike other free plugins, this one provides a sleek user interface that suits modern website designs. Also, the developers intend to add more features in future updates.
Some of its limitations include:
- Only focused on three above named modules
- Integrated Paypal as the only free version payment
Recommendations for your website
In conclusion, if you’re still undecided about which free booking plugin is best for you, let me help you. In fact, here are some of our suggestions and short reviews. If you:
- Prioritize reputation over potential — Go for Booking Calendar
- Want a beautiful interface that matches with your modern website design — Pick Easync Booking
- Consider that appointment setting is just what you need and nothing else matters — Choose Sagenda
- Believe that customer experience is what matters to you — Easync Booking is a great option
- Just need Paypal as your primary payment gateway — Easync Booking has the feature