In this article, we're going to be taking a look at one of the top appointment booking plugins for WordPress, Amelia. Amelia is an appointments and events WordPress booking plugin That's powerful and build for enterprise applications.
We will be running through the front end and the back end of this plugin, identifying potential use case scenarios, and taking screenshots along the way - this post is created to give you the relevant information you need to make an informed purchasing decision.
Ameila's main purpose is to turn your WordPress website into a tool that you can use to manage appointments, events, and payments. And believe us when we say, it has pretty much every feature you'll ever need when it comes to appointment bookings and word press.
You can integrate it with your Google Calendar, set up a step by step booking wizard, natively integrate with zoom, send SMS text message notifications, have multiple locations, and more.
If you have individual employees who need their own booking portals, you can set that up as well.
If you bill for your bookings -- for example, you may be a consultant, or a service provider, you can do that with the Amelia plugin. Integrate with PayPal, WordPress, and other payment processors.
both the back end for employees, and the front end for customers have dashboards and well designed reports which we will have screenshots of in a later section of this article.
In short, it's one of the best featured appointment booking solutions on the market today.
Standalone competitors would be something like Calendly or Vcita.
The Amelia plugin is designed for all types of use cases.
If you're a small business that only needs an easy way for customers to schedule appointments, you can quickly set up A booking interface on your WordPress website , and synchronize it with your personal Google Calendar.
These are the main features of the tool. Email and SMS notifications when clients book an appointment (sent to you, the business owner, and the client), native WooCommerce integration, superpowered pricing and payment integrations (Stripe and PayPal), custom fields on bookings that allow you to collect all the information that you need, and two way Google Calendar synchronization for each employee.
You may have noticed that we have mentioned the Google calendar synchronization multiple times already. That's because it is an extremely important and useful feature that the Amelia plugin includes. If a client books a appointment through your WordPress website, it's pushed to your Google calendar. Amelia sees that this new event is on the Google calendar, and automatically removes any timeslots that coincide with it.
If the employee manually adds an event (say that they have a business lunch between 12:00 and 2:00 on a specific day ), Amelia sees that this time is already booked, and won't let clients schedule an appointment for that time. You can also configure buffers, so it won't schedule an appointment for at least 30 minutes after a calendar event. That super powerful, and removes the risk of any miscommunications between Employees and clients – resulting in happier people on all sides!
If you are large multi location business with dozens of employees that need their own booking portals , as well as advanced management tools, Amelia can do that too.
If you need to incorporate custom functionality, you can use webhooks and connect Amelia with third party applications. The expandability of this product is endless, and the base features that it ships with fulfill pretty much every need when it comes to WordPress appointment booking plugins.
Amelia utilizes the "licensing plan" style of WordPress billing setup. What this means is that every plan has the same features, you just pay more to use the plugin on more domains.
For most use cases, the basic subscription plan which comes in at $59 per year is good for you. This allows you to use Amelia and access all of the advanced booking features that it ships with on one domain. If you want to use the plugin on more than one domain, The pro plan offers the best value which allows you to install Amelia on up to three domains. That plan comes in at $109 per year.
Finally, if you're a developer, agency, or large company that needs to install a WordPress appointment booking plugin On unlimited domains, you can do this by accessing the developer plan for $249 per year.
You can also opt to get a lifetime license which is a great option to have. The basic lifetime license costs $189.00, while the three domain license costs $389.00, and a unlimited domain license cost $589.00. Depending on your needs, this could be an extremely valuable purchase for your company. We like that they have this offering because most other plug-in companies only offer annual billing setups because they can make more money off it in the long run.
All plans offer a 15 day money back guarantee - you can try it out risk free!
There's also a free version of Amelia. You can get it from the WordPress plugin repository, but it's fairly limited. We recommend taking the free version of the plugin for a spin to get a good feel for the back-end design, and then upgrading to a paid plan if you need the features that it has to offer. The main drawback of the free plan is that you cannot accept payments through stripe or PayPal , and most other features are limited to the paid offerings.
Let's do a quick value analysis using the basic annual plan as a benchmark rate. If you are a service business looking to integrate a booking management system into your website, you have a couple of options. First up is Amelia coming in at $59 per year. It natively integrates with a WordPress website, and offers a bunch of features which we discussed in a previous section of this article.
Now, let's take a look at the two closest competitors that offer stand alone solutions. The first major competitor is Calendly. To access the same features that Amelia has to offer with Calendly, you'll need to opt for their pro plan. Billed monthly, the pro plan costs $15 per month, And doesn't come with as many features as Amelia. If you opt for an annual plan, it costs $12.00 per user per month.
Let's assume that you have two users and you're paying for the plan annually. That comes out to be $288.00 per year.
An equivalent vCita pricing plan (this one offers comparable features to Amelia, unlike Calendly) costs $45/moth for one user.
You can shop around, but you'll be hard pressed to find an offering that integrates well with your WordPress website, and comes in at $59 per year. Now, let's take a look at the actual front end and back end design of the WordPress booking plugin. This should give you a good idea of the quality of the software, as well as the features that it has to offer.
Let's take a look at the back end of the Amelia WordPress booking plugin. The back end is the dashboard that you, the employee or business owner, is going to use to manage all of your appointments through word press. It's essential that it's well designed and easy to understand/use. We already know that Amelia offers many powerful features, now we need to figure out if these features are easy to access.
You access the Amelia employee/owner dashboard on the back end of your WordPress website. You can set up specific user roles that only allow employees to access the booking plugin, and nothing else.
The initial dashboard of the booking plugin Displays the approved appointments, revenue generated, and additional information about clients, employees, and services. It's well designed, clean, and pleasing to look at.
Depending on who's viewing the dashboard, information is filtered. As an admin user, we have access to all data regarding appointment bookings on our WordPress website. We can view our employees, the services that we offer, and all upcoming appointments for everybody.
As an employee, you're only able to view your specific clients, services, and settings.
You can view all of the upcoming appointments, who the customer is, which employee is administering the appointment, and what the status of the booking is.
Then you have your booking calendar which allows you to see all of the appointments for the upcoming week/month. you can manually add new appointments from this interface.
From the finance dashboard, you can review payments, and set up coupons. From the notifications dashboard, you can configure the default templates that both email and SMS notifications follow:
From the back-end, you can also customize the front end of the plugin. You can change colors and fonts, while also adding additional fields. This allows you to expand the functionality, and completely integrate the Amelia booking plugin with the brand guidelines of your business.
Finally, you can access the advanced settings which allows you to change everything from labels, to roles, to payment integrations. This is where the plugin really shines because it takes all of the advanced features that come packaged with it, and give owners an easy way to access and manipulate them. For example, let's take a look at the integration of PayPal into the booking plugin. Doing this is fairly simple, from the settings tab just click on the payments settings link.
A sidebar settings interface pops up, where you can easily add your client ID and secret keys generated by PayPal. After adding them, Amelia will confirm that PayPal is set up on the website, and you're good to go.
It's as simple as that to add an advanced payment system to your WordPress website. If you've ever used other systems, it's typically a lot more complicated than Amelia makes it out to be. This is a common theme throughout the plugin - Advanced features in a very simple to use and understand interface.
Integrating with Google Calendar, Zoom, or webhooks is very easy to do from the back end as well. As you can see, you simply need to paste in your ID keys and you're good to go. If you don't know where to get started, clicking on the massive blue "? Button" loads the very well written documentation.
It'll walk you step by step through the process needed to access your client key and your client secret. This documentation quality is consistent for every thing you would need to understand when it comes to setting up and configuring the booking plugin for WordPress.
See for yourself: https://wpamelia.com/configuring-zoom/
The front end is where your customer or client is going to book an appointment. It's essential that the front-end design of any booking solution that you use in your WordPress website is easy to understand, looks good, and functions well.
There are several main pages that a customer is going to access when using the appointment booking plugin. (Checkout A Live Demo Here)
You can easily browse through all of the available services by heading to a catalog. The catalog displays the categories of services . Clicking on the category displays all the services within that category that are available to be booked.
This is the main page that a customer is going to use to find a service and then book an appointment for it. On it, they can easily filter the services offered by date, time range, price, and more. They can also search for it using an Ajax powered search.
From the back end, you can set the agent that offers the appointment, how many people can attend, and how long the client is booking for. To get started with the booking process, all the client needs to do is click the book button at the bottom of the entry. There are no redirects, and everything is done on the page resulting in a fast and streamlined booking process. This is good because it gives your business credibility, and also minimizes the risk of abandonment.
After selecting the date and appointment time, the client is quickly brought to a pop-up check out screen. Here, you enter your first name, last name and email. Clients can also add any coupons (These are easy to add from the back end).
If you have stripe payments enabled, the customer can enter their credit card number on this screen and check out directly on your website. If you have PayPal enabled, clicking confirm will redirect them to a PayPal checkout where they can use their balance or a credit/debit card. Here's what the base of your appointment booking popup would look like if you had stripe enabled:
After successfully scheduling the appointment, customers are presented with a congratulation screen that confirms that the booking is completed. They can then easily select a calendar to add the appointment to. On the back end, you can set up the system to automatically email them a confirmation, as well as text to them.
The customer dashboard is a front end area that customers can use to manage existing bookings through the system. They can view appointments that they have scheduled from the main screen:
If you have it enabled, they can also reschedule and cancel the appointments. If billing on line, clients can also access invoices for the appointments that they have already paid for.
This is an example of an automatically scheduled zoom appointment:
With the zoom functionality, which we discussed in detail when reviewing the back end of the Amelia booking plugin, customers can automatically schedule and pay for meetings. After successful payment, a zoom link is automatically generated and sent to the customers.
as you can see from our screenshots here, Amelia is a very well designed plug-in on both the back end and the front end. On the front end, clients and potential clients can easily schedule and book appointments on your WordPress website. If you have it set up, they can pay with PayPal and stripe, automatically schedule zoom appointments, and manage all bookings through a customer portal. This is truly an all-in-one solution If you're looking to add appointment bookings to your WordPress website.
Of course, we have to mention it again, but this integrates with Google calendars, and can support multiple employees at once.
To conclude this article, we wanted to give you our thoughts on this plug-in. We've used the Amelia booking plugin (paid) On several client websites now and are extremely impressed with its quality, and the developers attention to detail when it comes to the back-end usability and features that it has to offer.
It truly offers what it says it offers. We've used this in applications from sole proprietorships to multi location businesses looking to integrate appointment booking capabilities into their WordPress website.
The value that it brings to the table is incredible. Compared to several other solutions (especially when there's more to one user) this plug-in simply offers more for less. Compare $59 per year to the $1000 price tag that comes with other solutions, and the value of the Amelia plugin Is apparent.
As an agency, we found the installation and configuration of this plugin dead simple. It's obvious that this tool is designed for business owners looking to add appointment bookings to their WordPress website. You should have no problem installing it and figuring out how to configure all the settings that apply to you. The documentation is very well featured and easy to follow, offering video tutorials if you find yourself stuck.
Finally, the developers consistently release new updates - each offering more and more features than the previous version. These are included with your license (for one year), so you know that you always have an improving product. There's a 15 day money back guarantee, so you can try out the plugin risk free. If you don't like it, or if it doesn't work with the needs of your business, you can simply get a full refund.
In conclusion, the Amelia bookings plugin for WordPress is a super well featured premium solution that allows you to integrate booking an appointment management software directly into your WordPress website. It's a super valuable tool, costing much less than competing products (which typically offer less features).
The core theme of the plugin is advanced capabilities wrapped in a super well designed an easy to use interface. This goes for both the front end and the back end.
The company offers a 15 day free trial of their product. We definitely recommend checking it out, integrating it into your WordPress website, and seeing if it's a good solution for your company. If it is, enjoy the new booking software Directly from your WordPress backend. if it's not, simply get a refund and continue on your way!
We have personally used this product in many client websites in the past. From photographers looking to easily built for their services too beauty parlors looking for an easy appointment management system, the Amelia WordPress plugin covers it all. If you have any questions about this plugin, the integration, or anything else regarding it, feel free to reach out in the comments section below.
IsoGroup- Web Dev/Design, WordPress and More