Booking Calendar

WordPress plugin, receive bookings easily

Strengths

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    Mature, stable booking plugin for WP

    Description

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    Numerous (15 different) premium plans - it may be confusing to figure what what plan offers what features 

    Description

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    Roll out of features has slowed down in recent years

    Description

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    Slight learning curve

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    Powerful, customizable, and responsive

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    Powerful free version

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    Affordable, one-time-payment premium plans

    Description

Weaknesses

    Booking Calendar is considered by many developers to be the de-facto appointments plugin for WordPress. It has been around since 2009. Like many other plugins that have had that much time to grow and evolve - you can expect Booking Calendar to be powerful, customizable, and responsive. However, it is easy to argue that quality development and additional features have slowed down in recent years. This plugin is suited for resource scheduling, equipment rentals, client scheduling, meeting scheduling, event scheduling, patient scheduling, and other reservation-oriented services. The free version of Booking Calendar available on the WordPress repository offers is well rated by hundreds of users. There are a whopping 15 premium plans that can seem like too much choice. Many uses have a hard time trying to figure out what features come with what plan. Prices range from $47 to $539 depending on the package selected and the number of websites.

    What sets Booking Calendar apart

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      Battle tested

      Booking Calendar is a mainstream appointments plugin that also happens to be one of the oldest in the market, having been around for over ten years.

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      Powerful free version

      One of the best things about this plugin is that it comes with a powerful free version that may suit the needs of most small websites.

    Free plan limitations

    The free version of Booking Calendar offers basic features that may suit the needs of small websites with very minimal requirements. You'll need to get the premium version of this plugin if you need to use advanced features such as advanced hourly bookings, online payments, seasonal availability, booking discounts, deposit payments, custom booking forms, and capacity and availability.

    Alternatives

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    Amelia

    Amelia

    https://wpamelia.com/

    Amelia is a capable WordPress booking plugin and an excellent Booking Calendar alternative.

    This versatile plugin offers enterprise-level booking functionality for repair centers, gyms, private clinics, and other appointment-oriented businesses.

    One of the strong points of Amelia is its versatility. It supports multiple services, locations, and employees in order to accommodate diverse case scenarios.

    It also has a very vibrant support team and keeps on churning out new features every now and then.

    Just like Booking Calendar, Amelia is a competitively-priced plugin with lifetime plans ranging from $189 to $586. Both plugins also have freemium versions on the WordPress plugin marketplace, but the free version of Amelia does not appear to be as capable as that of Booking Calendar.

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    BirchPress Scheduler

    BirchPress Scheduler

    https://www.birchpress.com/

    Birchpress Scheduler is a highly rated and feature-rich booking plugin for WordPress. It isn't as established as Booking Calendar, but all the same offers a decent appointment booking experience.

    One of Birchpress Scheduler's strong points is that it makes it very easy to capture PayPal and credit card payments without the need for third-party gateways.

    It also has an extendable codebase that allows developers to write custom functions.

    On the flip side, Birchpress Scheduler currently does not offer a freemium version on the WordPress plugin marketplace.

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    Simply Schedule Appointments

    Simply Schedule Appointments

    https://simplyscheduleappointments.com/

    Simply Schedule Appointments and Booking Calendar are equally impressive booking plugins for WordPress.

    Both plugins have top ratings (over 4.7 stars). Each of these appointments booking software also offers a powerful freemium version on the WordPress plugin marketplace.

    Users seem to like the fact that Simply Schedule Appointments is a very easy-to-use solution that comes with a 5-minute installation wizard and a well-organized admin dashboard.

    It offers the right balance between simplicity and functionality, and there's a shorter learning curve involved for users.

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    Start Booking

    Start Booking

    https://www.startbooking.com/

    Start Booking is one of the newest booking plugins for WordPress.

    It is a SaaS-based solution that allows users to separate management of appointments from the WordPress dashboard.

    Start Booking is simple and easy to set up and also blends in with the existing design and layout of your WordPress website.

    The plugin offers a free version on the WordPress plugin marketplace but it comes with very limited features.

    Start Booking is also considerably more expensive than Booking Calendar with annual plans ranging from $120 to $720 per year.

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    Features

    Booking Calendar offers varying sets of features depending on the package selected. Common plugin features, however, include the following:

    • Responsiveness – simplistic designs that look great on all devices. 
    • Unlimited resources – add an unlimited number of resources (services or properties).
    • Customizable form and calendar – customize the booking form fields and calendar skin to suit your site’s design. 
    • Manage bookings – edit, duplicate, export, import, and sync bookings. 
    • Email templates – create custom email notifications in response to booking actions. 
    • Accept payments – integrates with popular payment gateways. 
    • Multiple bookings – accept multiple bookings on the same day by different visitors. 
    • Email Notifications - send automated notifications to site administrators and users regarding specific booking actions.
    • Search Availability – makes it possible to search available services for specific dates and number of visitors.
    • Google Calendar Events - import your Google Calendar events to the admin booking panel.

    Pricing

    Booking Calendar WordPress plugin for scheduling has a free plugin version available in the WordPress repository. The plugin has an extremely confusing pricing model for the premium version, with prices ranging from $47 to $539. This is a one-time pricing arrangement with NO recurring monthly or yearly payments. Most developers find it difficult to distinguish between one plan and another. The plugin website however offers demo access for each version so you can a sneak view of what features and options to expect before you actually commit to buying.

    Conclusion

    Booking Calendar is an established and well-regarded appointments plugin for WordPress. It features a capable free version that may be meet basic appointment setting needs. While the premium plans can be confusing, they allow you to select a package that is suited for the features you're looking for and the number of sites you need to install this plugin.

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