It’s never too late to add value to your hotel business with a WordPress hotel room booking plugin. You might be tired of using monopolist OTAs like Booking.com or don’t even want to start with them.
Okay, you know that you need a reliable extension to add a property booking system to your WordPress website. But are you sure what things to consider when choosing the right plugin for your needs? This is not that easy as you might think! You can mix up a quality plugin with a quality product description. Probably you need some unique piece of functionality that is offered by only one or two plugins.
Here is a quick checklist to help you consider the things you need or don’t need in the WordPress booking system. It should help you easier find something that will perfectly suit your needs, understand what questions to ask the plugin providers, plan the budget and, eventually, improve your hospitality business.
We compared around 10 top WordPress hotel reservation plugins. This helped us create the following list of things to consider:
1. If you are looking for a totally free solution
What’s the risk? Typically, a free version comes with basic tools and you’ll need to purchase either a pro version or paid addons to get access to all instruments. So make sure that a free version contains all features you need for your particular project or check whether the prices of paid addons are affordable.
2. The plugin allows to add an unlimited number of rooms/hotels
Check whether the plugin allows to add as many rooms as you need. It’s generally possible with the vast majority of market representatives.
However, after revising more than 10 WordPress hotel booking plugins, we found out that adding multiple hotels/locations through one admin dashboard is not a usual thing.
Ability to add several hotel establishments is generally possible via booking calendars (e.g. Pinpoint System Pro, Booki, Booking Calendar), but their management toolkit is often limited or confusing, because they are not hospitality industry dedicated. It’ll just take a bit more time to figure out how the things work for hotels.
Moreover, ability to add multiple locations doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be able to synchronize all your hotels through one search availability form – all booking calendars will be displayed as individual booking system featured with each room.
3. Multilingual and editable content
Non-English websites should be also properly served, and if you run one, make sure that the plugin offers easy ways to translate its frontend and backend content into your language.
Also, check whether you can customize the content (edit text strings) to your needs without paid and fancy software. It’s perfect if the plugin already comes with the needed professional translations, so it can save a lot of your time.
Almost all WordPress hotel booking plugins are translation ready, but not all are already translated. For example, Online Hotel System Pro comes with machine translation into 16 languages, MotoPress Hotel Booking is professionally translated into 14 languages and Booking Calendar is available in 7 languages.
4. Payment methods
Have you already decided what’s the easiest way for your hotel to accept guest payments and for the customers to pay? Probably you want to give them several alternatives.
Check whether the plugin offers it. If guests should pay online and you are interested in some specific payments gateways that work perfect in your area, ask whether you’ll be able to offer them to your clients within the booking system.
If you are fine with guests paying after arrival, make sure that there is a default option for this as well.
Currently, some top plugins support the following payment gateways:
Pinpoint System Pro – PayPal, but if you need more gateways, you’ll need to pay for individual addons.
Online Hotel System Pro – PayPal IPN, payment after arrival, offline credit card payments.
MotoPress Hotel Booking – PayPal, Stripe, 2Checkout payments, Braintree, payments after arrival (offline).
Booki – PayPal Express with guest checkout, CC payments via Authorize.net or Stripe.
AweBooking – Integration with WooCommerce and Contact Form 7.
HBook – Stripe and/or PayPal + offline payments (on arrival, bank wire).
Bookli – Stripe, PayPal, 2Chekout, Payson, Mollie, and more.
Booking Calendar – Pro version supports payments in cash, PayPal Standard, PayPal IPN, Authorize.net, etc.).
Opal Hotel Booking – PayPal, Stripe, offline payments.
5. Mark chosen dates as unavailable
If you plan to apply specific booking rules and block hotel rooms for some period of time, check whether there is such functionality.
6. A type of search availability form
Some WordPress booking plugins for hotels come with a very basic search availability form fields (but probably this is what you are looking for?), others offer more advanced functionality (where you can let guests search accommodations by review rate, for example).
Think what kind of search form is more practical for your hotel establishment and find out with plugin providers whether you can get one – check backend and frontend demo of the plugin you are interested in. More or less basic fields are provided by mostly all plugins, but if you want something really advanced, consider checking WP Booking plugin.
7. Rates and seasonal prices
If you want to set up and manage the booking system properly, namely, easily regulate and change prices depending on seasons and holidays, make sure that there are settings for this purpose that you change yourself. Lots of f hotel-dedicated plugins are ready to perform this task.
For example, MotoPress Hotel Booking plugin comes with highly customizable system of rates and seasons. With Online Hotel System Pro you can also define various rates and seasons, HBook offers a pretty handy toolkit to set all this. However, with PinPoint Booking plugin you won’t be able to set rates.
8. Login area for customers
It’s absolutely not a necessity, but if you need it for some reason, take into account that there are mostly no ready-made solutions and you’ll probably need to create it additionally. Currently, Online system Pro offers this option.
9. Generating coupons
If you plan to provide your prospects with discount coupons, there should be an option to generate coupons easily on your dashboard. A lot of market representatives offer this option: Bookli, PinPoint Booking plugin, Booki, Opal Hotel Booking, and some others.
10. Handing adult and child price for a room
This feature is far from an industry standard yet. If you need to set different prices for adults and children, and, moreover, add any discount for 2 or more children, find out whether this is possible.
There should not be necessarily a specific option for this, probably the plugin functionality allows to do it in any other way (this is what you may ask plugins providers). Currently such specific functionality is provided by AweBooking.
11. Ability to set minimum nights for all rooms/per room
Some plugin solutions allow to set only some global settings for minimum and maximum days to stay, some allow to specify these parameters even for each particular room/room type, others don’t offer it at all. If this is a crucial point for you, check it beforehand.
12. Think of what level of automation you need
A bit of automation in hotel business management won’t be redundant. Moreover, it can save you lots of time and will help focus on high-level business strategies.
You should have an opportunity to check whether you can customize and send different types of emails to your guests automatically, so you don’t have to take care of each cancelled or submitted booking notification.
Think out all the processes you want to be automated and check whether the plugin meets your needs. For example, Bookli comes with such a great feature like sending invoices right from the admin panel, MotoPress Hotel Booking allows you to send all types of emails automatically adding your branding features to it, etc.
13. If you run a hostel
As the vast majority of hotel-dedicated plugins let you create various room types, more likely you’ll be able to add beds as room types and let customers book a bed in a dormitory room, for example. However, if you want a specific functionality that will allow you to add both rooms and beds independently, you can consider plugins like WP Hostel, which is available as a freemium solution.
So, get a sheet of paper and write down all the important things from this list, specify questions you’d ask the plugin creators, so you are sure the booking system will function exactly as you want.
Sure, if you already set your eyes on some good and affordable solution, but there is one or two pieces of functionality it lacks, you may simply ask the plugin developers whether it can be implemented.
Also, consider the difference in pricing, the frequency of plugin updates and search for reviews.
I hope this piece was helpful. If you have any question or suggestion, your comments are more than welcome!