Bookly Appointment Comparison vs MotoPress.

Bookly Plugin vs. MotoPress Appointment Booking Ultimate Comparison

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Green versus orange. In this post, we’re comparing premium and free versions of the popular appointment scheduling plugins for WordPress: the Bookly plugin and MotoPress Appointment Booking.

Both booking systems allow you to sell lessons or consultations, doctor or salon appointments, schedule studios, organize meetings, etc. Basically, accept automated appointments in the field of service booking or rental industries.

If you want to understand which one is better for your hourly service booking website, take a look at our categorized comparison tables that shed some light on the differences and similarities in these plugins.

Here are some intro stats: Bookly PRO has been around for a long time, while MotoPress Appointment Booking is a newer kid on the block.

User satisfaction (out of 5)SalesRelease year
Bookly4.3 (wp.org)51K+2015
MotoPress Appointment Booking5 (wp.org)2K2020

The prices and features listed here are current as of the date of this post.

  • MotoPress Appointment Booking v. 1.21.1
  • Bookly v. 22.6

My eye has been more trained to work with the MotoPress Appointment Booking plugin than Bookly, but rest assured I’ll have my critic cap on.

After the review, we’ll make more detailed conclusions, meanwhile, here are the main areas where the reviewed plugins differ for your immediate attention:

Booking form type.
With either PRO version, you can create and use unlimited booking forms across your website. Both plugins offer users responsive multi-step appointment forms, with the Bookly plugin giving you more default templates and MotoPress allowing you to create both common and individual service booking forms.

Pricing model.
Bookly is an extension-centric WordPress booking system, while MotoPress offers the vast majority of features within the core plugin. The lifetime plan of MotoPress includes lifetime support, while Bookly lifetime still requires extra purchases of support. Additionally, fees may apply with so-called Bookly Cloud products, which are made to optimize automated sending of messages or connection to third-party apps.

Advanced features.
Bookly makes a special accent on marketing-crucial features to ensure the utmost flexibility of setting your booking rules and adjusting the schedule; for MotoPress, essential features are central.

Integrations.
Bookly provides a wider range of integrations, with a special focus on the apps for online meetings, like Zoom.

Payment gateways.
MotoPress provides almost all gateways for free within the premium plugin version, while the Bookly plugin for WordPress sells every gateway as an extra add-on and offers two methods for free.

If you want to learn the details of specific features of the MotoPress and Bookly PRO & fee, jump to the needed table to compare things. We did our best to create a detailed comparison!

Bookly Plugin Comparison vs Appointment Booking: Premium Versions

Full-blown premium versions are our first point of interest.

Cost

MotoPress sells a core plugin along with optional add-ons, so does Bookly. But which one allows you to save up some money yet get powerful tools?

Bookly PROMotoPress Appointment Booking PRO
Annual cost
  • 1 domain: $59
  • Unlimited domains: $199

Includes 12 months of support and updates.

Lifetime cost$89

Includes six months of customer support and lifetime free plugin updates.

$799 (unlimited domains, 40+ other MotoPress products)

Includes lifetime plugin support and updates.

Free trialSandbox7-day free trial
Extensions$1325

+Consider the cost of Bookly Cloud Products

$266 for 1 domain

$796 for unlimited domains

Pros of Bookly: the key advantage is the lifetime cost of whether the PRO version of the plugin or addons. You might need to pay a lot, yet you pay once and use the Bookly solutions forever. The cost of support, however, is not included.

Pros of MotoPress: it’s much more affordable if you choose the most basic option. Another advantage is that you have a choice between an annual or lifetime cost, the latter is obviously more expensive, but it includes the PRO plugin version, all add-ons and 40+ extra plugins and themes by MotoPress within the membership package.

To conclude:
1) The annual cost of the MotoPress membership is less expensive than purchasing Bookly and all its premium addons.
2) There are 30+ add-ons in Bookly. The annual cost of the Bookly plugin WordPress is less expensive if you need to buy the core plugin + about 10 addons.
3) The lifetime membership cost of MotoPress includes lifetime support, while Bookly includes only 6 months of support. You can buy support when necessary.

Main features

The essence of the booking solution lies in nuance, every small feature can play a crucial role in your decision-making process. Make sure to create a checklist of the features you plan to use in your day-to-day workflow of managing your service or rental website.

Main featuresBookly PROMotoPress Appointment Booking PRO
Unlimited appointmentsYesYes
Unlimited servicesYesYes
Unlimited employeesYesYes
Unlimited locationsYes ($39)Yes
Step-by-step booking wizardYesYes
Individual employee working hours, breaks and days offYesYes
Recurring days offYesNo
Service categoriesYesYes
Employee categoriesYesNo
Default time slot step customizationYesYes
Minimum and maximum capacity settings for appointmentsYesYes
Minimum time before bookingYesYes
Minimum time before cancelingYesNo
Buffer times before and after appointmentsYesYes
Appointment capacityYesYes
Group appointmentsYes ($39)Yes
Allow price per person in group appointmentsYesYes
Multi-service booking in one transactionYes ($29)Yes
Individual employee or service booking formYesYes
Availability calendarYesYes
CurrencyYesYes
Booking history/logYesYes

With either plugin, you can add and manage multiple locations, associate employees with locations, enable clients to select locations, and filter appointments by locations in the backoffice.

Both plugins allow you to limit how far in the future clients can book, provide smooth buffer time options and allow clients to schedule several services at once.

Setting days off in Bookly.
Setting days off in Bookly.

Although I must note that the group appointments feature is limited by MotoPress: it doesn’t work as you would expect from events when independent people can book the same time it date; it works, however, if one customer books a meeting for a group of people, such as for a walking tour or a study room for a group.

Schedule appointments.
Creating an individual schedule for an employee in MotoPress Appointment Booking.

We’d say it’s a dead heat since both plugins are powerful scheduling solutions when it comes to default features.

Booking form customization

Client-facing appointment forms are a great deal for creating the first pre-appointment impression. So how can you alter the default booking forms?

Form CustomizationBookly PROMotoPress Appointment Booking PRO
Service image and description in the formDescriptionNo
Edit form field labelsYesYes
Fonts & colorsColorInherited from theme defaults
LayoutForm width and heightInherited from theme defaults
Form templates51
Custom CSSYesYes
Custom fieldsYes ($49)In development
Form progress barYesNo
Terms & Conditions checkboxYesYes
Add appointment to customer calendarYesYes

Both Bookly and MotoPress Appointment Booking plugins allow you to create multi-step appointment forms, which are pretty intuitive for clients.

Bookly booking form.
An example of a Bookly appointment scheduling form.

With Bookly PRO, you have a choice of 5 booking form templates, which differ in the first step: it can be a service, date, staff member, or category; there is also one form for the cancellation process.

Booking form templates in Bookly.
Booking form templates in Bookly.

The MotoPress Appointment Booking plugin’s form styles are up to the activated WordPress theme; Bookly allows you to go beyond defaults with the color palette. After adding either to the page, it doesn’t feel like an alienated piece of content. But if you want to customize them even further, CSS styles are available in both plugins.

1 booking form choose service
An example of the booking form in MotoPress Appointment Booking.

With MotoPress, you can create individual forms for service and place them into separate pages, for example, when you want to have dedicated booking pages for services/studios that don’t overlap with other ones. In this case, the availability calendar is displayed as the first step.

On the other hand, the Bookly appointments plugin allows you to choose which service to show as a default one in a multi-step appointment form, but it seems you can’t completely ‘limit’ the form to just one service.

Communication

There are several ways that you can use to set up automated messages and notifications sent to your staff and clients.

CommunicationBookly PROMotoPress Appointment Booking PRO
Custom notificationsYesYes
Automated emails (approved/canceled bookings)YesYes
Email remindersYes + More automated scheduling with Cloud Cron $11.99 per yearYes
Insert ICS files with emailYesNo
WhatsApp NotificationsPay as you go (Part of Bookly Cloud Products)No
SMS remindersPay as you go (Part of Bookly Cloud Products)Yes (Twilio $69)
Voice notificationsPay as you go (Part of Bookly Cloud Products)No

Both plugins offer you to automate the most essential emails, such as appointment reminders, cancellations and confirmations, without extra charges. In addition to standard emails, you can create your own ones for a specific purpose and send them before or after the appointment at a specific time.

Appointment notification settings in MotoPress.
Appointment notification settings in MotoPress.

If you want to connect more ways, such as SMS via Twilio, you’ll need to pay extra.

Payment processing

This Bookly comparison table vs. MotoPress sums up payment gateways supported as well as associated features, such as discounts and invoices.

PaymentsBookly PROMotoPress Appointment Booking PRO
Payment gatewaysPaypal Express Checkout and Stripe Payments – FREE

  • Square Payments (as a Bookly Cloud product)
  • PayPal Payments Standard ($29)
  • PayPal Checkout ($29)
  • Stripe ($39)
  • Authorize.Net, incl. Akamai ($29)
  • Mollie, incl. iDEAL ($34)
  • Payson ($29)
  • PayU Latam ($29)
  • 2Checkout ($29)
  • PayUbiz ($29)
PayPal, Stripe (Bancontact, iDEAL, Giropay, SEPA Direct Debit, and SOFORT, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Link), Direct Bank Transfer – FREE

  • Square ($59)
WooCommerce integrationYesYes ($89)
Pay on-site (locally)YesYes
Deposit payments (fixed & percentage)Yes ($39)Yes
Discount couponsYes ($39)Yes
Manual payment info adjustmentYesYes
Automated conditional discounts Yes ($29)No
TaxesYes ($39)No
RefundsVia payment gatewaysVia payment gateways
InvoicesYes ($39)No

The choice of payment gateways is crucial for smoothly accepting online payments for appointments. Paypal Express Checkout and Stripe Payments are included in Bookly Pro, while the PRO version of MotoPress Appointment Booking is offered with a longer list of gateways you can enable without paid extensions.

The extra advantage of the discount coupon feature in Bookly versus MotoPress is that there are several types of them: 1) manually entered coupons (the Bookly Coupons add-on) and 2) conditional discounts that will be automatically applied during checkout (the Discounts add-on).

Bookly payment.
Paying for an appointment in Bookly.

The MotoPress Appointment Booking plugin deals only with manually redeemed coupons. The coupon code plugin settings are pretty much the same in both plugins.

Paying for an appointment MotoPress.
Paying for an appointment in MotoPress.

The Bookly booking system automatically generates invoices – you can customize invoice templates, while this feature is unavailable with MotoPress at the moment.

Both appointment scheduling WordPress plugins allow for refunds that can be handled via chosen payment gateways.

Integrations

Integrations are a great way to smoothly connect third-party apps, without a need to resort to a developer or search for external solutions. They can serve multiple aims, from adding multilinguality features to easier providing clients with online lessons.

IntegrationsBookly PROMotoPress Appointment Booking PRO
Services & appsStripe, Zapier, Square Payments, WhatsApp Notifications – Bookly Cloud Products.
Google Calendar ($49), Google Maps ($29), Mailchimp ($29), WooCommerce
Google Analytics ($49), WooCommerce ($89), Square ($59), Google Calendar
Translation pluginsWPMLWPML
Online meetings Zoom, Google Meet, Jitsi, BigBlueButtonNo
Page buildersBlock editorElementor, Divi, Block editor

The Bookly appointments wins in the number of integrations for online meetings, while MotoPress perfectly integrates with different page builders that are most popular with clients. The Bookly WordPress plugin recommends WPML as a tested option for translating the plugin.

As for the popular calendar apps, Bookly and Appointment Booking both allow you to sync Google Calendar with the staff calendars as well as allow customers to add bookings to their calendars immediately after the reservations.

Calendar integration in Bookly.
Clients can add appoiintments to their calendars upon the reservation via Bookly.

By default, Bookly PRO offers one-way and two-way front-end only synchronization modes with Google Calendar, but if you want to sync your backoffice bookings calendar with Google Calendar in two-way connection, you need the advanced Google Calendar add-on ($49).

Another advantage of the Bookly scheduling plugin over MotoPress worth highlighting is the Zapier integration since Zapier itself is a powerful middleman machine for all further integrations that might be available with specialist addons.

Square payments.
Using integration with Sqaure clients can pay using a card or gift card.

Both WordPress booking systems provide smooth integration with different page builders, with the block editor integrations at the center of attention.

Booking management

Both plugins treat bookings, payments, and customers separately, giving you control over the chosen category.

Booking ManagementBookly PROMotoPress Appointment Booking PRO
Reschedule appointmentsYesYes
Booking cancelation by customerYesYes
Backend calendar viewsMonth, week, day, listMonth, week, day, list
Import data to CSVYesYes
Period available for booking in advanceYesYes
Add appointments from the backofficeYesYes

You can easily find or adjust a payment, edit customer information, add an appointment, export bookings data and more.

Bookly dashabord.
Sorting appointments by location in the Bookly admin calendar.

It’s an easy and smooth process with either booking plugin.

MotoPress Appointment Booking backoffice calendar.
Backoffice calendar in MotoPress.

Employee accounts

You can provide every staff member with an individual account on your WordPres site to allow them to manage bookings.

Bookly PROMotoPress Appointment Booking PRO
Staff Cabinet (Add-on) $39Free
Front-end access without WordPress dashboardBackend access to WordPress dashboard

The MotoPress Appointment Booking plugin employs default WP user roles, adding two custom ones to the settings: the Appointment Manager (more access privileges) and Appointment Employee (fewer default privileges, but you can customize it).

The staff can connect their Google Calendars to the booking calendar, view bookings and appointments in the calendar and in a list, adjust their schedule, and more. Your staff members will need to log in to their account via the WordPress login area.

With Bookly’s specialist add-on for the Staff Cabinet, you can also unlock the staff user roles and create front-end staff cabinets, where your employees can view and manage their calendars and bookings on the frontend.

Customer accounts

The WordPress booking systems reviewed in this post allow you to enable customer account registration.

Bookly PROMotoPress Appointment Booking PRO
Customer Cabinet (Add-on) $29Free
Front-end access without WordPress dashboardFront-end access without WordPress dashboard

The Customer Cabinet add-on by Bookly allows your customers to view and manage their personal details and appointments list in a user account on the front-end. Your customers can access and review their past and upcoming bookings on your site. Additionally, they have the option to cancel reservations if needed.

The MotoPress Appointment Booking plugin allows customers to view personal details, booked appointments, and view details of individual bookings. In the plugin settings, there is an option to ask a customer if they want to have an account or choose to create it automatically.

Advanced features

These are rather specialist features that add value to the overall plugin’s flexibility as well as marketing activities. They are called ‘advanced’ while they are not crucial for each and every service business.

Advanced featuresBookly PROMotoPress Appointment Booking PRO
Recurring appointmentsYes ($39)No
Share resources between employeesYes ($29)No
Sell services in custom bundles with discountYes ($29)No
Marketing and analyticsBuilt-in

Google Analytics

Built-in dashboard (free)

Google Analytics ($49)

Gift cardsPart of Bookly Cloud ProductsVia Square
Customer accountsYes ($29)Yes (default WordPress user roles)
Sell extra services along with the main onesYes ($49)No
Internal notesYesYes
Waiting listYes ($29)No
Show booking slots in client time zoneYesNo
Special day/hour pricingYes (Special Hours $29 and Special Days $39)No
Customers can choose service durationYes ($29)No
Services with unique scheduleYes ($29)No

You can promote unpopular times of your schedule with the marketing-focused features of Bookly, such as ‘special day’ or ‘special hour’ pricing. What’s more, with such interesting extensions as Bookly Service Schedule, you can create services with non-standard availability that are available during specific times or days.

To sum up this chapter, the Bookly scheduling solution provides many more advanced marketing features which you can connect with paid add-ons. The following ones among them we find especially helpful:

  • Let customers book appointments without selecting a specific date and time, allowing them to schedule late ($29).
  • Create personalized appointment status types that align with your specific preferences ($29).
  • Let your clients determine the length of their visit by booking back to back sessions of the same service ($29.)
  • The Bookly scheduling frontend calendar allows you to add a frontend calendar of your staff’s availability to the frontend – it will display only the time and name of the service, no personal information or the option to book an appointment.

Free Versions Comparison: Bookly Free vs. MotoPress Appointment Booking Free

Let’s see if the free versions of Bookly and MotoPress are good enough for service booking websites. Below is a table that illustrates the features available in MotoPress Appointment Booking Lite and those that are exclusive to the free version of Bookly, and vice versa.

FeaturesBookly FreeMotoPress Appointment Booking Lite
EmployeesOneUnlimited
ServicesFiveUnlimited
LocationsNoUnlimited
Buffer times before and after appointmentsNoYes
Payment gatewaysNoNo
Pay on-siteYesYes
CouponsNoYes
Add appointment via backendYesNo
Appointment remindersNoYes
Google Calendar integrationNoNo
Automated confirmation emailsYesYes
Download Linkhttps://wordpress.org/plugins/bookly-responsive-appointment-booking-tool/https://wordpress.org/plugins/motopress-appointment-lite/

The most evident conclusion I can draw is that the free version of MotoPress limits you in non-critical features, while free Bookly, sadly, locks basic features. This means just one thing: you can perfectly run a small business website with the MotoPress booking plugin for free, while it’s hard to imagine the same on the free version with Bookly.

Then why the free Bookly plugin installed on 70K+ websites, I hear you ask? The answer is – you don’t know how many of them are actually using the free version, since Bookly PRO doesn’t work without the free version installed and activated (that is, this number indicates ALL active users of Bookly, free and premium together during 8+ years of existence).

Last not least, you need to go PRO to use paid add-ons with Bookly, while on MotoPress, you can stay on the free version and use any paid add-ons. In the Bookly free vs pro dilemma, the answer is rather clear.

Useful links

Here I collected some extra links associated with both WordPress booking plugins that you can find informative:

MotoPress Appointment Booking

Bookly

Conclusions: Bookly Plugin vs. MotoPress Appointment Booking Plugin Comparison

In our sum-up, let’s focus on the advantages of each of the reviewed appointment scheduling systems for WordPress.

Bookly is a fantastic product that does the job, although its pricing model may scare away even the most generous business owners and WordPress developers. With Bookly PRO, you have a feeling that you work with a mature product, with the utmost flexibility and numerous business scenarios thought-up.

Bookly is better at:

  • More flexibility and unique features, although you can get them with paid add-ons.
  • More booking form layout and color customization options for manual adjustments.
  • A bigger choice of a wider range of advanced/added-value features and third-party app integrations.

Get Bookly

The MotoPress Appointment Booking plugin doesn’t lag behind, it’s just as mature solution when it comes to the crucial feaures that help you launch a service booking system online. Even more so, with its beautiful collection of themes for different niches that come with the custom design for the booking plugin, it takes noting to start a full-scale business website online.

MotoPress is better at:

  • More decent free version.
  • Many pre-designed WordPress themes for salons, schools, and coaches.
  • Better affordability, including the lifetime cost of the plugin comes with 50+ more products in total.
  • To use any Bookly extension, you must be on the PRO version (which is installed as an add-on to the free version); meanwhile, MotoPress allows you to connect any paid add-on if you are on the free version.

Get MotoPress


Disclosure: this article may contain affiliate links for third-party products. If you click a link and later make a purchase, we may earn an affiliate commission that doesn’t result in additional charges to you.

FAQ

Is Bookly plugin free?

There are a free and premium (paid) version of the Bookly WP plugin. As of January, 2024, the free one is limited to one staff member and five services, while the paid version offers a core plugin of $89, plus optional 30+ paid extensions.

How do I integrate Bookly with WordPress?

If you want to use the Bookly WP plugin free, just download it and activate from your WordPress dashabord (search for Bookly in the Plugins menu, then Download and Activate). To use the Pro version, purchase it on CodeCanyon and install as an additional plugin to the free Bookly WordPress plugin. You must have both plugins installed and activated.

Can I manage multiple locations or staff members with MotoPress?

Yes, you can add and manage multiple locations and staff members with the MotoPress Appointment Booking plugin without extra extensions.

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