What to look for in appointment-scheduling plugins for WordPress
On a WordPress-related Facebook group someone asked…
I’m looking for something similar to Schedulista that can do the following:
-Allow people to book appointments on a website
-Remove unavailable appointments in real-time
-Send SMS/Email reminders to people who book the appointments
-Create a calendar each employee can access from an app
-Open source to manipulate how it appears on a WordPress website
I’ve had clients who use the cloud-based Acuity and Schedulicity appointment managers, and one client has had great success with the self-hosted BirchPress plugin. (No affiliate links, just tools clients have used.) I don’t have very strong opinions about which is best.
My advice is always to look for ones with a well-reviewed companion/connecting plugin for WordPress.
More important, no matter what you choose: look for two-way synchronization with your calendar apps whether it’s Google Calendar, Outlook, Cal, or whatever. It’s WAAAY easier to have the appointment scheduler that automatically blocks out time on your schedule when you have a doctor’s appointment or an unplanned day off.
Being able to enter an appointment once and having it automatically update to your schedule saves you from having to remember to enter those things in two places. Having new client appointments show up on your personal calendar makes sure you don’t overbook yourself with them!
This is all in keeping, by the way, with the internet-authoring goal to “Create Once, Publish Everywhere.” Something I spend a lot of time talking to clients about and really ought to spend more time blogging about as well.