SaaS based solution (separate management from WP Site)
Simple and easy to set up
Blends in with existing design and layout
Very limited freemium version
Notably more expensive
This is a relatively new but notable appointments plugin for WordPress that is simple to use and blends in with your existing website design and layout. Start Booking is a SaaS tool that is ideal for small appointment-based businesses, spas, salons, etc. Basic appointment settings can be administered directly from the WordPress admin dashboard. However, you'll need to log in to the developer website to set up services and availability, add classes and customers, customize your calendar, and more. While this plugin isn't as tried as tested as the likes of Booking Calendar, it seems to score highly for its simplicity. The free version of Start Booking offers basic features and is available on the WordPress repository and on the official website. If you are looking for more features, the premium options range from $25 to $75 per month.
What Sets Start Booking Apart
Start Booking comes across as a beginner-friendly, easy-to-setup SaaS plugin. There's a setup wizard that will help you get everything going in minutes, along with tons of help desk articles and resources to guide you through all aspects of this plugin.
Free Plan Limitations
The free version of Start Booking supports unlimited appointments, a single user, a single bookable service, WordPress integration, Google Calendar integration, and Stripe payments integration. You'll need to go for the premium plans to take advantage of advanced features such as multiple users, unlimited bookable services, custom form fields, classes and group booking, customizable email, advanced availability, advanced reporting, and designated booking rooms.
Start Booking provides the features you need to facilitate a simplistic appointment booking functionality, including:
Manage services – advanced options to create and categorize services, define service duration, and create detailed service notes.
Book appointments – allows customers to book one or multiple appointments in a single checkout.
Manage customers – customer profiles with tools for marketing preferences, appointment history, and record keeping.
Manage staff – create individual or multi-user accounts and assign specific services and working hours to employees. Personal notifications are delivered to each staff member.
Booking calendar – integrated booking calendar with multi-view options.
Booking locations – set and define office hours based on location. Assign specific rooms or locations inside your office for booking.
Online payments - take payments before, during, or after bookings.
Start Booking offers a limited free plan, as well Basic and Business premium plans.
The Basic plan goes for $20 per month (billed annually) and supports unlimited sites, appointments, custom form fields, classes, and group bookings, block custom dates, customizable emails, basic reporting, stripe, and Google calendar integration.
The Business plan goes for $60 per month (billed annually) and offers all the features in the individual plan along with advanced reporting, designated booking rooms, business priority support, and personal setup.
Users can switch plans or cancel at any time.
Start Booking may be the right booking plugin choice if you are looking for simplicity and want to manage your bookings outside the WordPress dashboard. The freemium version doesn't offer much but you can unlock a wealth of features with the premium plans.
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