Whenever you need a checkup with your doctor or book a seat in a restaurant, what do you do? That’s right – you fix an appointment.
Earlier, it was just a matter of phoning the clinic or restaurant and getting a time and date set by the receptionist. But, in these days of high-speed internet and smartphones, all bookings are made online using booking plugins.
What are Booking Plugins?
Booking plugins allow customers to get appointments online from your WordPress site quickly. Through the booking tool, you can list the services you are offering, your timings, your rates, and other details.
Through booking plugins, customers can get an appointment without talking to anyone, just by logging on to the website using their smartphones, tablet, or computer.
As a business owner, it removes all the hassle of dealing with clients personally and leaves you free to focus on other essential things.
Which is why,
Picking the correct plugin is important
The first goal of any booking system is – keep it extremely simple.
No complex jargon, no convoluted workflows.
Whichever plugin you choose, it should be able to meet all your requirements and ease the process of booking appointments and making payments.
Your choice of booking plugin directly reflects the business’ core value towards customer satisfaction.
Here, let us analyze two popular booking plugins – Amelia and Bookly – and make a detailed comparison of their features so you can select the one that suits you best.
Amelia vs Bookly – Overview
Amelia is a booking plugin with loads of features that help you manage services, customers, and payments easily. There are different functionalities of the plugin on the WordPress dashboard, which allows you to manage your schedule, appointments, payments, etc.
All the features and settings are available in an easy-to-use interface. At the same time, it is very lightweight and uncomplicated.
The plugin can be customized easily as per your business, and it is the preferred tool for services like spas, clinics, gyms, etc. You can include any number of your services, or sort them into different types. It also has a booking wizard to guide customers through the appointment process.
Bookly is a popular plugin that helps you to manage your clients, your services, your calendar, and helps increase your sales online. It makes online booking of appointments effortless with the booking form easily accessible on any device like mobiles, tabs or desktop.
It enables the customers to receive a notification before the scheduled date, and at the same time, the appointment gets added to your calendar.
The interface is very user-friendly and is easy to navigate. It does not require any coding knowledge to install it. You can customize the appearance of the booking form to match your business website.
Amelia vs Bookly – Initial Setup
After Amelia is installed and activated, you have to create a service for customers, which they can book. For adding the service, go to the Amelia >> Services, then click on ‘Add category’, give a name, and then click ‘Apply’.
After adding the category, you can click on ‘Add service’ and provide the details of the service like name, price, etc. Then you add the employees, who are offering the services with their information and schedules, by clicking on Amelia >>‘Employees’
Step 1: After activation, you can add the services you want by going to Bookly Menu > > Services.
Step 2: Add the employee who is going to perform the service by clicking on Bookly Menu >> Staff Members.
Step 3: If you want to change the looks of your booking form in the way you want by going to Bookly Menu >> AppearanceStep 4: To publish the form on your website go to Sidebar menu > >Pages/Posts.
Amelia vs Bookly – The Booking Process
The step-by-step booking wizard makes it easy for customers to use. First, the customer has to choose a service, a location, and an employee. He will receive two further options, as per the service selected, which are ‘Add Extra’ and ‘Bringing anyone with you’.
These are for adding more members of the family or friends to the service selected. After clicking ‘continue’, the customer can choose a date for his appointment. The third step is entering the customer’s personal details and selecting the payment method. The fourth and last step is for the customer to include their appointment on the calendar.
The plugin allows the customer to search the appointment by using different filters, which helps them in finding the available time slot. The filters available for making the search easy are as follows:
- Date: You will not be able to use any other filter when you have selected a date filter
- Time Range: The filter allows the customers to select the time range
- Services: It is applied when customers want to use more than one type of service. It also allows them to check the availability of time and date.
- Location: It provides them a choice of selecting different appointments
- Employees: The customers can freely pick up the employees from whom they want to pick up the services.
Amelia also provides a slot where a group of people can book appointments who are coming together to take up your services.
Bookly has a six-step booking process, which is easy to use. The first step is for the client to choose the service he wants, staff members, desired date and time. After entering the desired time, the customer is shown a list of time slots based on his preference, and he can choose the time suited for him. Step 3 is optional, giving the customer the option of making multiple appointments. In Step four, the customer has to provide his details, such as name and phone number. Step five is about choosing a method for payment like offline (cash on arrival) or online payment. Step six is the confirmation of the appointment, and if notifications have been set, then an SMS or email with details is sent to the customer.
Another classic feature of bookly is that it allows chain booking where the plugin will find time slots where a couple of services can be provided to the customer back to back. Bookly will add this customer’s appointment in the calendar as a different reservation.
If you have got loyal customers, who will keep returning to you for your services, then the option of recurring appointments can do wonders for you. Through this feature, the customer can book future appointments for the same services used just with a single click.
Amelia vs Bookly – Customizing booking form
The services which you are offering can be displayed in an attractive gallery format. Amelia allows you to customize the booking form in different colors, text, gradient, text background and font. All you need to do is go to Amelia and then Customization where you make all the changes required. As soon as you click on “Save”, your booking form will immediately be displayed as the customized form.
If you have more than one service, then you use the catalog option to display different services in detail. You can add description, services, employees assigned and category and the customer will be able to book the same through a booking wizard at the bottom of the page.
You can set up customized notifications and payment options. The booking form can be changed as per the industry; for example; a doctor can make a form suited to his services. You can use the custom fields feature to add extra fields for getting more personal details of the customer.
You can customize the layout of all steps in the booking procedure. You can insert new fields at the spot where the customers add their personal details such as their name, contact details. You can include new fields, change the colors to suit your scheme, and you can also change the look of the text on the form. You can also publish and add any amount of booking forms to your website
Amelia vs Bookly – Managing bookings
You can manage all your bookings from the admin area of your site. The calendar section in this plugin allows you to view all the details of the appointments and upcoming events in a list view form. This calendar format has five calendar views: Month, Week, Day, List, Timeline and week is the default view form with seven columns representing each day of the week.
From the Dashboard, you get an idea of the appointments booked and your earnings for a specified period. There is a section, named admin views in the plugin which displays details of payments and appointments.
The payment page displays all the information regarding individual payments. If you want to check a specific number of records at the same time, then all you need to do is to go to General Settings and select “Default items per page”. This provides you an insight into the customers and helps you understand which of your services are more in demand. You can also keep track of your upcoming appointments.
Amelia also allows you to set up events that will help you in planning your dates. Be it conferences, training sessions, official tours or vacation, you can add the entire list of events for the month by going on the events page and adding your “new events”
You can easily manage your bookings and get in touch with the customers on the calendar page and appointments section. You get to see the entire team’s appointments, and also for any particular staff member. To contact the customers, you only have to view their details and, you are also able to prepare for upcoming appointments.
Amelia vs Bookly – Pricing
Amelia booking plugin is available in three versions.
- Basic version – $59/year.
- Pro – $109/year.
- Developer – $249/year.
- $89/one time/per user.
- $89 for Pro version per domain with Add-ons at extra cost.
- The free version also available with lesser features.
Amelia vs Bookly – Applications
Amelia is ideal for sectors such as beauty, automotive, education, healthcare, spas, gyms, etc.
Bookly is well-suited for services like cleaning services, massage therapists, doctors salon, consulting services, legal firms, etc.
Amelia vs Bookly – Comparison Table
|Application||Education sector, Health Studios||Doctors, Consulting services|
|Price||Basic: $59 annually||$89 per year per one user|
|Bookings||Book appointments and manage payments||Manage appointment through its calendar for the entire staff|
|Handling Clients||Allows you to handle clients from different locations||Allows you to manage clients with different linguistic|
|User Interface||Allows one to create beautiful and lucrative catalogs||Easy to configure and is user-friendly|
So, which should you finally select?
From the above comparison between the two booking plugins, Amelia and Bookly, you can select the one that is ideal for your business, which will manage all your customer bookings efficiently and give you space and time to focus on other areas of your business.
Recommended Reading: If you want to explore more options, be sure to check out this list of top WordPress booking plugins.
Let us know in the comments which one you decide on!
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