Last updated on February 25, 2020
Welcome to an in-depth guide on WooCommerce Bookings.
How to set-up bookings, how to manage bookings, how to get more sales using bookings, all covered here.
So without long lectures, let’s begin.
About WooCommerce Bookings – Definition, examples, pros
You transform your WooCommerce store into a full-fledged booking platform. Create and sell bookable products as bookings, rentals, appointments, etc. based on time and date. That’s WooCommerce bookings.
Book a night stay in a hotel, book air tickets, take spa appointment, rent an apartment, etc. all things which are part of your daily life are bookings.
Even the top companies you visit are booking websites – Airbnb, Uber, Expedia, etc.
From phone calls to standing in queues for tickets, waiting hours to see the doctor or other services, online bookings got rid of all these cumbersome tasks and made life easier.
Which WooCommerce sites need to create bookable products?
Let me make it clear. It’s not just bookings. But also rentals, appointments, reservations, etc.
All need to sell bookable products to gain customers and delight them.
- Bookings & reservations – Hotels, flights, trains, taxis, tours and travels, movies, amusement parks
- Rentals – Apartments, rooms, cars, bikes, boats
- Appointments – Doctors, spas, wedding photographers, make-up artists
- Services – Pet care, online learning, house cleaning
Anything else that comes to your mind related to bookings will fall into one of these four things.
Pros of having a WooCommerce bookings website
This is applicable to all bookings made online.
- Seamless booking experience – No wait times, no money hassles. Select slots, pay the price and done.
- No phone calls required – Most of the bookings required to and fro communication and wait times using phones. That’s not the case today.
- Instant or quick confirmation – Customers immediately get confirmation via email or message about their bookings.
- Flexibility – Customers can pick booking as per their convenience, cancel or reschedule if they cannot make it.
- Time-savings – Obviously, with the above mentioned things, it’s a big time savings for customers. Everything happens within minutes, in a few clicks.
- Offers – When you pitch some offers, a resistive customer will also make a booking.
That said, let’s see how to create and sell bookings on your WooCommerce store.
Best WooCommerce plugin for Bookings & Appointments
WooCommerce Bookings is the official, flexible and the most popular bookings plugin.
The extension allows your customers to book reservations, appointments or rentals on their own. No phone calls required.
The best part, you don’t have to fill up your calendar or papers to note the things. Nor worry about payments. Everything happens automatically.
Top features of WooCommerce Bookings plugin
- Define set options, like fixed and precise time slots for a class, appointment or guided tour. Can be in days, hours, even minutes.
- Create buffer between bookings to take care of your other priority tasks.
- Limit a booking to one-at-a-time or let multiple people make a reservation.
- Flexible pricing – special discounts for group bookings, lower prices for early birds, higher prices on holidays, special prices for kids.
- Display your availability in the customer’s timezone so they book the time they really need.
- Automatically send out reminders about appointments with handy notification emails when a reservation is made, confirmed, and a day before the booking date.
- Avoid double bookings for the same time. Example – If your bride books a stylist from 2:00 to 3:30, that stylist won’t appear available for that particular time slot for others.
- Update existing bookings or availability, or filter to view specific services or resources.
- Auto sync bookings with Google Calendar.
- Add customers manually from the calendar for phone bookings.
- Compatible with Smart Manager – ideal for managing bookings, bulk edit bookings, filter bookings and edit at once, export CSV, etc.
And the list goes on…
How to set-up WooCommerce Bookings plugin and bookable products on your website
Now that you’re acquainted with the WooCommerce Bookings plugin, let’s talk about setting it up for your business. And further things to manage it.
We will split this section into four steps:
- Installing WooCommerce Bookings plugin
- Creating a bookable product
- Configuring available booking slots
- Setting up the costs
Navigate to Appearance > Plugins > Add new and upload the WooCommerce Bookings.zip file. Activate it and you are good to go.
You’ll notice a new menu item in the sidebar, ‘Bookings’. From here, you’ll be able to create new bookable products and configure different settings related to accepting bookings.
2. Create a new bookable product
This plugin is extremely intuitive. You can create a bookable product much as you do for a normal product in WooCommerce.
- Go to: Products > Add New.
- Enter a title and description for your product.
- Under Product Data, select ‘Bookable product’ from the dropdown menu.
- Tick the Virtual checkbox if your product is digital.
Next, we’ll enter the details of the bookable product.
Whether you need to charge tax or not, select the appropriate value for the product.
This determines how long a booking lasts. It can be hours, minutes, days, weeks or months. The booking duration is of two types:
- Admin defined (Fixed blocks) – Have a set duration that you define. The customer can only choose one block which will last the defined amount of time. For example, car washing appointments last only thirty minutes and your customers can only book one at a time.
- Customer-defined blocks also have a set duration, but the customer can choose how many blocks they want. For example, the co-working space is rented out in hourly intervals, and the customer can define how many 1-hour blocks they would like to rent.
Calendar display mode
Select ‘Calendar always visible’ or ‘Display calendar’ on click. The calendar is set to ‘always visible’ by default.
Tick the Requires confirmation checkbox if admin needs to review the booking before confirming it. Once the booking is approved, the customer receives another email to then submit payment.
Allowing Booking Cancellation
Tick the box to allow customers to cancel their bookings. Once ticked, you can set the time customers can cancel the booking before the start date.
3. Configuring bookings
You can fill other details under Linked Products, Attributes, Advanced Tab respectively as per your choice.
Further is the Availability (what slots can be booked) under the Availability tab.
Max bookings per block
This setting allows multiple bookings at the same time. With a fixed booking of 1 day and maximum bookings per block set to 2, then each day you can accept two bookings.
Minimum block bookable into the future
With this option, you can specify the minimum time in the future for which the users can book. For example, if we enter a minimum block of 5 days in the future and today’s date is 7th March, then the visitors can only book for blocks on 12th March and onwards. Alternatively, you cannot book a block for 12th March before 7th March.
Maximum block bookable into the future
With this option, you can specify the maximum time in the future for which the users can book. For example, if we enter a maximum block of 2 months in the future and today’s date is 7th March, then the visitors cannot book for blocks 7th June onwards.
Require a buffer period between bookings
This if you want a break between your bookings. For example, if you sell appointments in 1-hour blocks and wish to have a break of 1 hour between them, you can specify a buffer period.
If you prefer to add a buffer before and after your appointments, tick the Adjacent Buffering checkbox. This option adds the specified block both before and after each booking.
All dates are
With this option, you can specify if all the dates will be available or unavailable by default. You can specifically turn some dates on and off with rules.
Check rules against
You get two options:
- All blocks being booked – This checks all available blocks within a duration. For example, if a customer chooses to book for 3 days and 1 block is equal to 1 day, it will check availability for all 3 days.
- Starting block only – This checks the first block the user selects. For example, if a customer chooses to book for 3 days and 1 block is equal to 1 day, it will only check availability for the first day.
Restrict start and end days
Say you have a weekly rental, but you only allow customers to start their rental on Fridays. Tick the box. Select the day (in this case Friday), or day(s) you would like to restrict the booking to start on.
Custom Availability Range
You can specify the range for availability as per your requirements using the range option. Click add range and create custom availability. For instance, you know your beauty salon will be closed for 10 days in March, then you can specify a range for the unavailability.
That’s quite a lot there. Further, is to set the bookable product price.
4. Setting Costs for Bookable Products
You can add two main costs:
Applied regardless of a customer’s choices on the booking form.
Cost per block that was assigned in the General tab. If a customer books multiple blocks, this cost gets multiplied by the number of blocks booked.
It is shown to the user on the frontend. Leave blank to have it calculated for you. If a booking has varying costs, the lowest available cost is shown and is prefixed with the word ‘From’.
Beneath the display cost, you have an area where you can define extra costs. This works similar to availability. Click Add Range to begin:
A row appears where you can input the range type, from/to and cost:
Base cost and Block cost can be added, subtracted, multiplied or divided by the amount you enter.
If the booking can be made for multiple persons at once, tick the ‘Has persons’ checkbox. Once selected, a new tab appears:
The Persons tab also allows you to define different prices depending on the person type. To set up different person types, tick the Enable Persons Type checkbox in your Persons Tab:
For added flexibility, WooCommerce Bookings supports Bookable Resources that can be booked independently within a bookable product. Tick the ‘Has resources’ checkbox to enable a new tab.
An example use case for a customer selected resource would be a room type, such as single and twin rooms.
Resources can be used globally across multiple products. For more information, see Using Resources.
Of course, there are many other settings you can configure with WooCommerce Bookings such as sending custom email notifications or SMS notifications.
We have covered all the main elements you need. You can refer this documentation for more details.
Now comes the important part – with so many bookings, how will you manage hundreds and thousands of bookings – reschedule, cancel, modify personal details, etc.
Another crucial thing –
Well, here’s the answer below.
The easy way to manage WooCommerce Bookings
Smart Manager for WooCommerce plugin makes it very easy to manage hundreds and thousands of bookings from a single place. Faster, smarter, better!
It’s one of those plugins that has made the life of 20K+ users easier and stress-free.
You don’t have to dig through each booking and make a change.
Say you have a 5-star hotel with 100 rooms including deluxe, semi-deluxe and other variations.
It’s season time next month and you want to raise the price of all your rooms by 10% before they are booked.
So using Smart Manager, simply select the date range, rooms and ‘select increase price by’ and enter the value. Done!
Four reasons why use Smart Manager along with WooCommerce bookings plugin
1. Bulk edit bookings
The biggest advantage of using Smart Manager is you can manage thousands of bookings in minutes. Be it changing the booking prices, rescheduling appointments or fixing the monthly rental prices, you can edit all in bulk in no time with Smart Manager.
2. Directly edit a booking
You can edit any booking field – date, time, status, price, etc. directly from the grid without moving to individual bookings.
3. Search for a specific booking in a flash
Don’t dig through thousands of bookings. Simply searching using keywords or operators will fetch you desired results instantly.
You can even apply advanced search filters and make changes to your booking.
Example – You want to cancel all bookings from July 2 – Jul 12 made in the name of Mr. Brad and Ms. Resse. Enter these names in the search bar, select all entries to delete the bookings of these two people.
As simple as that. No complexities involved.
4. Export bookings as CSV
Export all your booking data for future reference. You can also Export data based on date, column and search filters.
Bonus tips to grow your bookings and sales
Quite a few. However, we picked the top two.
1. Upsell and cross-sell
There ain’t any better option than upselling or cross-selling products to increase revenue.
If a person is booking any flight or hotel ticket, upsell premium class or super deluxe rooms based on benefits. Here upsell works without discount beautifully because people won’t care about money when comfort is involved.
And Smart Offers is a popular plugin for WooCommerce to create targeted upsell, cross-sell, BOGO, etc. offers and sales funnel.
2. Gift cards, coupons & restrictions
A great tactic to entice both new and returning customers.
To make a customer book again, offer a gift card or store credit with their current booking. The next time they book, they already have credit to redeem.
And who doesn’t want to apply a coupon on their bookings? If they want a premium booking, this gift card comes in very handy.
You can also offer instant discounts to customers on their bookings based on their location.
Smart Coupons is the best-selling coupon plugin on WooCommerce. Gift card, coupon vouchers, bulk generate, URL coupons, Smart Coupons does a ton.
5 WooCommerce Bookings plugin alternatives
Now other WooCommerce Bookings plugins also do a good job. We have listed the best ones:
1. Booking & Appointment Plugin for WooCommerce by Tyche Softwares
This plugin tops our list. It’s a great plugin with tons of features. You can offer any product as a bookable product. Link Bookings with other WooCommerce Product types like simple, variable, grouped, bundles & composite products.
- Set special prices for weekdays, time-slots or special dates.
- Fully automatic export of bookings to Google Calendar and importing of bookings to website from multiple iCal feed URLs.
- Allow customers to book faster by searching for available dates & time using powerful search widget.
- Change booking dates & times on cart & checkout page
- Real-time availability checking & updation
- Set varying prices based on number of days to book.
- Ability to approve or deny bookings based on availability.
- Compatible with WPML
- The time-slots will be automatically converted to the customer local time, making it easier and friendlier to offer services to customers in different time-zones.
Starts from $119
2. WooCommerce Bookings And Appointments by PluginHive
This is also a popular bookings plugin. This plugin allows service providers and businesses of all types to easily integrate and empower their WooCommerce website with a booking solution.
- Offer single and multiple days booking
- Offer recurring bookings, multiple non-adjacent bookings in a single order.
- Sync bookings with your calendar using Google Calendar Integration. Place bookings on your website directly from Google Calendar.
- Set up custom buffers before as well as after your bookings.
- Allow customers to book within a custom booking window and restrict your bookings to start only on certain days of the week.
- Add bookings on behalf of your customers from the backend.
- WPML compatible
Starts from $99
3. Bookly Pro
Bookly is one of the best-rated and most popular booking management plugins at CodeCanyon. It’s a WordPress plugin and compatible with WooCommerce.
- Fully-customizable booking form that can be used on any device.
- Filterable, sortable and searchable booking list that you can print or export to CSV.
- Various templates for customizable Email and SMS notifications.
- 2-way synchronization between Bookly Calendar and Google Calendar.
- Built-in analytics with booking statistics
4. Appointments for WooCommerce
This plugin is fully integrated with WooCommerce, WordPress and Google Calendar. It is one of the best appointment scheduling software you can get right now.
- Add-on fields (extra fields like check boxes, options, inputs, color swatches and uploads) are included with Appointments. Each add-on field can provide additional cost and duration. You can also reduce appointment cost and duration with each field if you want.
- Events from your Google calendar will be automatically synced with your site and vice-versa.
- Assign multiple staff to appointments, manage calendars for each employee and allow them to log in and set their availability however they like.
- Insert your appointment forms wherever you want (blocks, widgets, pages, posts…) with a simple WordPress shortcode.
- Increase or decrease available places for specific slots. Accept more customers when you can. Decrease available capacity when you are too busy.
Starts from $89
5. YITH WooCommerce Booking and Appointment
YITH Booking and Appointment for WooCommerce helps you create a simple and easy-to-use booking system for your WordPress business website. Create various types of bookable products with different pricing options.
- Accept bookings immediately or only after the admin confirms them.
- Set a base price and an extra cost that can be calculated based on the entire duration of the stay.
- Allow different rates according to the date of the booking, the number of people, the number of days selected and/or the people types.
- Setting a maximum number of bookings that can be accepted for the same date for the same product.
- Create and configure specific search forms that allow users to get only the results that match the selected criteria.
Starts from $167
There are other WooCommerce bookings and appointments plugin available for free on WordPress.org.
Having control over bookings, flexibility, good UX… save the customer time and efforts, WooCommerce Bookings plugin ticks all the boxes.
If you are selling bookable products, WooCommerce Bookings is your go-to solution.
Also, use Smart Manager to manage your bookings better and save your time.
What do you think about this article? Did we miss out on something important? Share your valuable thoughts below.