Using the Appointments+ Plug-In for scheduling preset blocks of time

We are working to leverage the plug-in for party scheduling. My wife operates a business that offers equine experiences. She offers parties, lessons, equine assisted learning sessions, and equine assisted therapy.

I believe we are going to ultimately need both events and appointments, but I would like guidance on the best way to accomplish our goals.

We would like to be able to create a calendar within Appointments plus that blocks times for parties, times for lessons, and times for therapies. These are all individual services, so one person books one time slot, and we want to set the times slots they can choose from, so that we have predictability for staffing start and stop times of the appointments.

All of our staff work for us, so they are not independent service providers.

I think we need to use Events+ for the learning events, as the are group based and will have a limited number of slots.

What is the best way to configure the plug-ins to allow our customers to book their own parties, choose their options for the parties, and submit a deposit?

  • pxwm

    Hi,

    I'll just cover my thoughts on the A+ plug-in as I'm not familiar with the Events plug-in.

    From my own personal experience you are doing the right thing by mapping out your requirements before setting up the A+ plug-in. Hopefully this way it will minimise the amount of iterations you have to make.

    You state 'All of our staff work for us, so they are not independent service providers'

    I would suggest for the plug-in you still class each employee as a 'service provider' or if you wish to allocate an employee to a booking then you allow the person making the booking to select 'no specific service provider' and then you allocate a service provider in the back-end when confirming the appointment.

    As for the services you are offering, could you confirm if each service has a fixed duration or do you want the person making the booking to select a service and then a duration for the service?. That is, does each service have a fixed or flexible duration?

    If it has a flexible duration are they limited?

    I ask because A+ requires you to create a service with a fixed duration.
    I also asked if the duration was flexible but limited then you could create the service more than once with a different duration such as Service A - 60 mins, Service A - 120 mins

    If the services you offer could potentially have an infinite number of durations then the only option might be is to consider creating each service with a fixed time and then when someone makes an appointment you can revise the time of the appointment slot to extend or shorten the time but the risk is that there is insufficient time slots to do that and therefore you have to contact the person making the appointment to arrange another date/time.

    Hope that helps

    Regards
    SteveB

  • michael_witt

    Thanks Steve for your response.

    The Parties are designed to be a two-hour event if the customer purchases everything.

    However, as with anything, different customers have different price points, so we wanted to be able to allow them to deselect a "Games" option, which reduces the party to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

    So far we want to be able to set a schedule for several months in advance.
    For example
    Tuesdays 9:30 - 2:30 would be available for therapy in 1 hour increments
    Tuesdays 3:00 - 7:00 would be available for parties in 2 hour increments

    Can we allow customers to deselect the games option during their scheduling and then indicate to them that their party will only be 1 1/2 hours in duration? It seems we might then have to adjust in the back end the total party time.

    Or does it make more sense to schedule the 2 hour parties and then the 90 minute parties in separate slots?

  • pxwm

    Hi,

    I would suggest the following:-

    1. Parties:-

    You create a page that provides details of the party with a paragraph with and without the 'games' option.

    You then create a booking button for each option so when they select the relevant button it will take then to the appointment page with the service field already populated. They would then need to select the service provider if this is an option and then they can select a date and time from the calendar.
    In the backend you would then create a user profile for all the 'service providers' and create a service for 'Parties with Games' with a duration of 120 mins and a service for 'Parties without games' with a duration of 90 mins

    2. Schedules - You can set a calendar up to one year ahead.

    3. Minimum duration time slots in the calendar.

    In the backend you have to set the calendar times slots so suggest you agree on the service duration and then ensure that the time slot is divisible. e.g. If you want services that are say: 30 mins, 45 mins, 60 mins, 90 mins etc then it would be best to set the calendar duration to 15 mins.
    You can then set the working hours for each service provider.

    However based on your example of:-

    Tuesdays 9:30 - 2:30 would be available for therapy in 1 hour increments
    Tuesdays 3:00 - 7:00 would be available for parties in 2 hour increments

    To enable this flexibility I would suggest you will need to create a number of 'dummy' service providers that are linked to a 'real' service provider. You would then allocate a service to a 'dummy' service provider and set the working hours to the day/times you want the particular service to be offered.
    However it is likely that you would have to fix these times for each week for it to work.

    I hope this helps you set up your A+

    Regards
    SteveB

  • Jack Kitterhing

    Hi there @michael_witt

    I hope you are well today, it looks like @pxwm has you covered on the Appointments+ part (some points sent your way SteveB).
    I'll be standing by if you need additional clarification on anything or encounter problems etc, one thing I would say is to update your current version of Appointments+

    With the Events+ plugin.

    I think we need to use Events+ for the learning events, as the are group based and will have a limited number of slots.

    You certainly will, you can limit the number attendees/the people who RSVP and you can charge a deposit/the full price to be paid by paypal.
    You might want to either use the inbuilt templates, I would recommend the plugin default calender. Or you could use the included shortcodes to customize it a bit further, might be useful if your using a custom theme to fit in with the theme better.

    The events+ you can set a event to be recurring so if you run the same event every month at the same time, then you could set up that as a recurring one.

    Thanks!

    Kind Regards
    Jack.

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