Lots of people need some kind of booking system on their websites and there are a lot of great plugins out there. Which one is right for you depends on your needs. I recently had a client who needed a way to book his conference room. Many of the plugins weren’t right for him because they booked by day, like for a hotel. Other ones booked a specific time period, like an hour for a hair appt or a massage. He needed people to be able to choose the number of hours that they needed his room. We also needed a responsive solution. That made the Pinpoint Booking System right for him.
The Pinpoint Booking System is a free plugin as long as you need only one calendar and only one location. If you need to upgrade, the cost isn’t too bad.
Set it up
To get started, install the plugin like you would any other from the WordPress repository. Then you will see a new menu item on your left hand menu in your dashboard that says “Pinpoint Booking System”.
Once you are there, go right to the Calendars dropdown to see the first calendar that will be installed for you. In my example, I’ve changed the name to “LaGrangeville Conference Room”, but by default it will say “New Calendar”.
There you will see your calendar, but go ahead and click on the settings icon, so you can set the defaults for your calendar.
At the top you will see the name, which you can change to whatever you want, and then you can choose the date format and currency settings. I left these at the default since I was using American time and currency. This is also where you can choose the number of months to display. By default, it’s set to display one month at a time, but my client wanted to show two months. One thing to note is that every change is saved automatically, so there is no need to hit a save or update button.
Next I chose the dates that I wanted the room available. Since it’s a business, I just selected Mon – Fri.
Setting the hours was a little more confusing. Instead of checking off the hours, you need to list them in military time. You can see here I have each hour listed under “Define hours”:
The good news is that once you set these in the general settings, they are set by default when you have to set the availabilty each month.
Next you have a couple choices for how the calendar and booking options display, and options for Rules, Extras, Discounts, Taxes & Fees, Coupons, Deposits, and Orders, none of which I needed. I should also mention there are options for Paypal and WooCommerce, which I didn’t need.
Contact/ Form Settings
Next you will choose what contact information you need from those who will be booking a room. The contact information form that is set up by default worked fine for me, so I didn’t need to make any changes here. If you do need to make changes here, go to Forms on the sidebar under Pinpoint Booking System and click on the Contact Information line and you can add, remove, or move the form fields.
This I thought wasn’t obvious either. Once you submit the form, you get a confirmation saying, “our request has been successfully received. We are waiting you!” If you want to change that, you need to go to the Translations link in the left menu under Pinpoint Booking. Then scroll down under Order and you will see the text to change. There are also lots of other default texts here that you can customize.
Once you’ve set all the general options, you might want to update the default email templates. To do this, click on Email Templates in the left menu under Pinpoint Booking System. You’ll see the default templates here and can choose the one you want to edit in the drop down.
For me, since I wasn’t using the Extras, Coupons, Fees, etc, I simply deleted this section from the template. The Form information is from the form that you setup above, so that can be edited as well. This will set the default emails. If you have more than one calendar and want the email to be different for that calendar, go to that calendar and chose the email icon above it to change the emails for that calendar only. Also, you will need to go to that email icon above the calendar to set the email address that the admin notifications should go to once the room has been booked.
Also, one thing to note: I had set up the “Admin notification”, but since I had enabled Instant Approval (since I wasn’t accepting payment online), then the Instant Approval notifications went out instead of the regular Admin and User notifications, so be sure to look through all the templates and make sure you have updated the ones that are going to be used.
One thing I didn’t get when I first installed the plugin was that I needed to set the availablity for each day. I’m not crazy about having to do this, but you can do it month by month, and it’s a fairly quick process. If you forget to do this, your calendar will show that there are no available days and the days will all show black instead of green. Here’s how you set the availability:
So basically, you go to your calendar in the backend. If you see the days are all gray, they you need to select availabilty. Click the first day you want to set (for me, this is the first day of the month) and then click again on the last day you want to set availablity for (for me this is the last day of the month.) Those days will all turn black as you can see in the example above. Then, if you need to change the hours from the default, you can use the “Set hours definitions” to change that, but for the most part, you will just be checking the box in the top of “Set days availability” to use the default hours and then click submit (#5 above) to set. The days will then turn green. I recommend doing several months at a time, and then marking your calendar so that you remember to come back and set the next section of months.
Reservations are then displayed in the backend under Reservations. You can search them and sort them. You can approve them or cancel them from here as well.
Also, I should mention that I didn’t understand setting availability right away and the plugin author got back to me right away even though I was only using the free version. They also have decent documentation here: https://pinpoint.world/wordpress/documentation/home/ And several nice examples you can see here: https://pinpoint.world/wordpress/examples/
This plugin isn’t a plug-and-play installation, but that’s because it allows so many options and flexiblity. If you need a responsive plugin with options for hours and being able to book more than one time period, this is the option I would choose.