If you’re a consultant, tutor, personal trainer, or other professional that sells your services by the hour, you probably use a calendar or submission form to keep track of the appointments.
But wouldn’t it be easier to have a well-designed booking system on your site that makes it easy for clients to register for new events?
Then, we’ll use the Amelia plugin to create a booking system on our site. Finally, we’ll mention some other booking plugins you could use if you prefer.
Let’s get started!
Who Needs to Create a Booking System?
There are a wide variety of businesses that might need to build a booking system into their website. This is especially true for eCommerce businesses.
Let’s cover just a few of the potential use cases!
Consultants typically bill by the hour or by the day, which means they need a way to book time slots on their calendars. A booking system that allows potential clients to choose from available dates and times is a great way to solve this issue.
An accountant usually meets with clients regularly, for example, every financial quarter. They may also meet with clients for particular issues. To do both of these things, they need a booking system that allows clients to select dates and times for those meetings.
Are you a tutor, teacher, or other educational professionals? You probably have a number of clients and need to schedule them throughout the day. With a booking system, you can easily let your students choose the times they want to have lessons.
Finally, personal trainers are another type of professional that needs to create a booking system. Training sessions usually go for 60 or 90 minutes and occur at a gym or in your home, so personal trainers need a way to book appointments ahead of time.
Basically, anyone that sells their time needs to have a booking system!
Thankfully, it is easy to create a booking website as you’ll soon find out.
Creating a Booking Website with the Astra Theme
Let’s first create a WordPress site for our booking system. Whether you’re using a managed WordPress host or handling all the configuration yourself, the process is the same.
To do so, we’ll use the Astra theme, which has a template designed for business consultants, fittingly called Business Coaching and Consulting. There are many other templates available with Astra that also might be useful to accountants, educators, personal trainers, and other professionals.
Step 1: Install Astra
If you aren’t already using Astra, you’ll need to first install it.
To do so, you can either download it from the WPAstra.com website or search for it from within your WordPress Dashboard at Themes > Add New.
Type Astra into the search box or just scroll down.
Then, click Install and Activate.
Step 2: Select A Starter Template
Once you’ve activated the theme, go to Appearance > Starter Templates on your WordPress sidebar.
Then, search for Consultant in the search bar. You can also use any of the other templates if they fit your project!
You will now see the different page templates displayed on the right-hand side of the screen. This lists all of the pages that are in the template, including About, Contact, Home, and Services.
Step 3: Customizing Site
You now have three options:
- Preview Site: See what the template will look like on your site. This will open in a new tab.
- Import Complete Site: This will import the entire template to your website, which includes all of the page templates
- Import “About” Template: This will only import the selected page template. Since we have About selected, clicking the button will only import the “About” page template. If you only want the Contact page template, select that one instead.
For this demo, let’s import the entire template.
Click the second option, Import Complete Site. After answering a couple of basic questions, you will begin the import process.
Once it’s done importing, press the View Site button to view your new site.
Nice job! You now have a business consulting website set up.
Creating a Booking System in WordPress with the Amelia Plugin
Now that we have a booking website, let’s walk through creating the booking system itself.
To do this, we’re going to use the Amelia booking plugin, which is one of the best options available for WordPress.
Step 4: Install and Activate the Plugin
There are both free and paid versions of Amelia. For this demo, we’ll use the free version, Amelia Lite, which you can download from the WordPress Plugin Repository.
Once it’s installed, activate the booking plugin.
Now let’s look at some of the different features the plugin has.
Step 5: Customizing Settings
First, we’ll want to adjust some of the settings. Go to Amelia > Settings on your WordPress sidebar. You’ll now see a page with many different options.
- Under General, you can set many of the default settings for appointments, including their approval status.
- Under Company, you can input information about your company. This includes your name, address, phone number, and website.
- Under Provider Details, you can add the information about you, the consultant, or whoever will provide the service. You can add your name, your available working hours, days off, and more.
- Under Payments, you can connect your booking system to WooCommerce and other payment providers.
Most of the other settings require you to have the paid plugin.
Step 6: Create Services
Now we need to add the services that we will provide.
Go to Amelia > Services on your WordPress sidebar.
Now click on the blue Add Category button to add a new category for your services. Type in a name and press the blue check button to add the category.
Now we want to add a service. Press the blue Add Service button in the top right corner of the page.
Add the details of your service, including the name, price, duration, image, and anything else you might need a customer to know.
Once you save the service, you’ll see it listed on this page.
Step 7: Create a Booking Page
Now that we have created our services, it’s time to create a page where clients can make an appointment. Amelia makes this easy with a Gutenberg block.
Simply create a new page and add the Amelia – Booking view block.
Then, view the page. You’ll see your booking system!
Step 8: Viewing Bookings
To view a booking, go to Amelia > Appointments. Then, select the date range in the top left corner. You’ll see your bookings listed:
Step 9: Adding Bookings Manually
Finally, if you make a booking over the phone or in person, you may want to add a booking manually.
To do this, go to Amelia > Appointments and click the big blue Add Appointment button at the top right.
Then, fill out the information, which includes the date, time, customer name, and service. You can also send a notification to the customer.
Congratulations, you now have a booking system on your site!
The Best Booking Plugins for WordPress
Let’s briefly talk about the best booking plugins that are available for WordPress.
As mentioned above in our walkthrough, Amelia is one of the best WordPress plugins available for creating a booking system. It has a powerful collection of features that can create just about any type of booking system that you can dream of.
- Tons of customization options
- Create any kind of booking system
- Add appointments manually or let clients book them
- Ideal for consultants, trainers, and other professionals
- Easily manage other team members’ bookings
- More advanced features require a premium plan
- Can be overkill if you just need a very basic booking system
- Basic free plugin for one user
- Paid plugin is $59
2. Booking Calendar
Booking Calendar is a very simple and straightforward plugin that does exactly what its name suggests. The powerful free plugin lets you create a booking calendar for many different types of activities. It also comes with enough features for most sites, making it a solid choice for any project.
- Powerful free plugin
- Nearly 2 million users means a broad base of resources
- Simple setup and use
- Has most features that sites will probably need
- Flexible for most use cases
- More complex features are missing
- Free plugin means less immediate support
- Powerful free plugin
- Paid plugin starts at $47
WPForms is one of the best forms of plugins available for WordPress, as it comes with a ton of features. One of these features allows you to create contact forms. You can create a submission or registration form that includes the name, date, time, location, and many other variables.
- Powerful form plugin
- Flexible for most situations
- Elegant, simple design
- Easily integrates with eCommerce and payment processing
- Templates make setup easy
- Not aimed solely at booking systems
- Somewhat expensive for more advanced features
- There is a basic free contact form plugin
- The main plugin starts at $31 per year
4. MotoPress Hotel Booking
A final suggestion is a hotel niche plugin – MotoPress Hotel Booking. This plugin is designed for hotel bookings, however, it can be effectively used for any business where a physical location is rented or reserved. That makes it ideal for property managers, event hosts, hostels, apartment agencies, and similar professionals.
- Ideal for hotels and property managers
- Unlimited accommodations and rooms
- Accept direct reservations
- Synchronize all bookings across different platforms
- Flexible enough for related businesses
- Aimed more at hotels
- Can be expensive for smaller businesses
- A single site is $89
Wrapping Up Our Guide to Building a Booking System
That just about finishes our guide to building a booking system. Whether you’re a business consultant, personal trainer, educator, or other professional, you definitely need to have a booking system.
In this post, we created an awesome booking website using the Amelia plugin and the Astra WordPress theme. Together, we used them to create a beautiful site in a matter of minutes.