For the last couple years, people have asked me about the best appointment booking solution for WordPress.
My constant answer has been, “Why are you adding the ‘for WordPress’ into your analysis?”
I’ve asked that because most of the solutions in the WordPress space have either been non-existent, or poor competitors to the services that are out there.
The Best Non-WordPress Solution
My favorite solution out there has been a site called BookFresh – a site you may have never heard of until this past February when Square bought them. They do two things really well:
Self-Service Scheduling – where end-users (site visitors) get to pick and schedule their own appointments
Appointment Approvals – whether it’s rule-based or manually, they let you approve appointments.
Integration into your website has always been easy, and there’s really never been a reason to recommend another solution.
But the response I hear a lot is that they don’t want to pay a Software as a Service (SaaS) company monthly. And that’s what BookFresh is – a monthly SaaS.
Getting away from a SaaS solution
Now, I’m the first person to tell you that you ought to pay for a SaaS if it’s not part of your core competency.
After all, do you really want to become a website administrator if you’re a professional coach, personal trainer, run a tanning business or some other business that makes money off booking appointments?
I wouldn’t want to take on that level of administration and add it to the rest of my business, and so, in most cases I suggest that the $20/month is worth it.
But the world also includes folks who not only are amazing at their professional job, but also like to play with web technology – and do a great job at it.
So the question pops up again – what’s the best way to offer “bookings” on a WordPress website?
The Best WordPress Bookings Solution
If you’ve used WooCommerce, then this little image should get you excited. It’s a new extension that WooThemes has been working on.
And it works with other common extensions like one of my favorites, the smart coupon extension.
It’s a great way to get return visitors, for example. You create a $10 dollar off coupon and mail it to anyone who schedules an appointment.
Look at the bottom of that image. See how I can attach a coupon to a purchased product? Now, they have an incentive to schedule another appointment.
And there you see the coupon used, bringing the price down.
But wait, you haven’t seen the beauty of self-service scheduling!
Three reasons why it’s awesome!
It uses everything your existing WooCommerce site.That’s not a little thing, if you’ve invested a ton in building a WooCommerce site – which a lot of people have.
It gives you control over available and restricted hours and even allows you to determine if you need to approve an appointment before it’s finalized.
You can link dependent resources, so if the appointment requires a tennis court, or a specific therapy station, you can do manage it.
I may be a bit biased…but still.
I had nothing to do with building the extension, but when I got a recent chance to review it, I jumped at the chance.
And then I got a chance to collaborate with the WooThemes’ guys on their promotional video. Head to their extensions to check out it as they launch.
So while I may be a bit biased, I can honestly say that this will expand the WooCommerce market for the tutors, coaches, consultants, small businesses, gardeners, repair folks, and more that didn’t realize WooCommerce was for them.