A few days ago we released an important update for the Directory theme. The update makes it possible to use Directory alongside the Booking plugin. With the Booking plugin you’ll be able manage bookings for rooms and houses added to the site. In this blog post I’ll try to explain how to get started with the Booking plugin and how it can be useful for your directory.
How Can The Booking Plugin Be Useful?
This plugin will be useful if your directory contains vacation homes or other establishments available for rent. Instead of just forwarding visitors to Booking.com or similar website you’ll be able to process the booking yourself and earn a commission.
One thing worth noting is that listing owners won’t be able to setup booking themselves, it will have to be done by you. I’ll explain the easiest way to do this later in the post.
Installing The Plugin
Assuming you don’t already own the plugin, purchase it from here. Skip this step if you’re a Club member, Booking plugin is included inside the Club membership.
Connect to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins ⇨ Add New ⇨ Upload Plugin. Click on “Browse…”, select the zip file downloaded a moment ago and hit “Upload Now”.
Activate the plugin once it’s finished uploading.
Navigate to the wp-admin ⇨ Booking System area (if it doesn’t open immediately after activation). Click on the sample data button at the top of the page to add a few sample houses and rooms to your site.
Open the Booking guide for details on how to use the plugins various features.
Add A House
After installing the plugin proceed to House ⇨ Add a House and add your first rental. Here’s a list of fields/options you must fill while adding a house…
Total Guests – set the total number of guests that can book a room (for a single booking)
Charge Tax – should tax be automatically applied for this rental? Go to Booking System ⇨ General Settings (tab) to set the tax amount and type.
Minimum Stay – enter the number of days necessary to complete the booking
Price Settings – enter the price for each number of person and time-frame (day, week, month).
Category, title, images and description – every post in WordPress needs a category, name and some content. Your house is no different.
The Booking Page
The booking page is what your visitors will see when they try to make a booking. This page is generated automatically while installing the Booking plugin, but in case it wasn’t created you can create it manually by inserting the following shortcode inside any WordPress page
Here’s what your visitors will see
1 – Check Availability button
Opens the Booking Calendar and allows visitors to see on which dates is the rental available.
2 – Booking dropdown / information
When visitors initiate a booking procedure for a specific house (as I’ll explain later) this area will display the name of that rental. In cases where the Booking Page is opened directly this area will display a simple dropdown from which visitors can select the house they want to book.
3 – Select check-in / check-out date
This area requires visitors to select their check-in and check-out date. The calendar is simple; click once to select the start date and click again to select the end date.
4 – Total guests
This field is important because it determines the final price of the booking. To control the max number of guests available for your rentals go to Tevolution ⇨ Custom Fields and edit the “Total Guests” custom field. Tweak the “Option Title” and “Option values” settings.
5 – Services
Services are extras that go along your booking. These can be parking, WiFi, laundry, etc. To add new services (and their prices) go to Booking ⇨ Service.
To change the way services are calculated (by day or once) go to Booking System ⇨ General Settings (tab) ⇨ Service Settings.
6 – Price calculator
This area is automatic and there are no settings associated with it. It displays the final price of the booking.
7 – Visitor information fields
Information entered here will be available inside the wp-admin ⇨ Booking section once the booking is completed.
8 – Payment gateways
Lists the payment methods currently available on your site. By default Directory only comes with PayPal and Pre Bank Transfer. You can add more by purchasing gateway plugins.
Connect Listings and Houses
Your visitors will be able to book any house through the booking form. By default the URL of the booking form looks something like this: your-domain.com/booking-form. Along with providing a general URL to the booking form you can also pass a specific house argument. That one should look something like this…
555 – the post ID of your house. You can get it by hovering over the house in wp-admin ⇨ House.
Once you have this directory booking URL you can add it to your listing as a custom field or just inside the regular description area. I recommend adding it to the description area because you can use shortcodes to easily style the URL (transform it into a button). Follow these steps to create a “Book Now” button inside your listing…
Download and install the Shortcodes plugin (it’s free).
Get the booking URL for your house (as mentioned earlier).
Open your listing and insert this inside the description/content box
Don’t forget to swap the fake-site URL with your own.
If you did everything correctly your listing should look like this
You created a few houses, connected them with listings and several bookings have been made. Now what?
Bookings can be managed by going to wp-admin ⇨ Booking. To approve a booking click on the checkbox next to each booking, hit the “Bulk Actions” dropdown and select your action.
To manage actual booking payments, i.e. verify that a payment has actually been made go to Tevolution ⇨ Transactions. In this area you’ll be able to see exactly which payment gateway the customer used to pay for the booking and also the status of that payment.
What Is The Best Child Theme For Bookings?
Because of its built-in call to action button inside archive pages I believe Travel is a good Directory child theme for this purpose. Once you add the specific house booking URL to call to action button visitors will be able to initiate booking without even opening the listing detail page. Listings is another good child theme for booking due to its design and the way the content is structured.
If you run into any problems with using the Booking plugin with Directory just submit a new ticket inside our Helpdesk and we’ll do our best to help you out right away.
MyRestaurant is another Templatic theme designed around the powerful front-end visual composer or as we call it, QuickEdit. As you probably guessed by reading the theme name, MyRestaurant is designed for restaurant and diner owners looking to showcase their daily specials, unique offers and more.
MyApp is QuickEdit theme designed to make advertising your Android or iOS app as simple as possible. Like all QuickEdit themes, MyApp allows you to tweak everything from the front-end using an advanced visual composer.
If you have created a Directory site using Directory Map Customizer plugin in our most powerful Directory WordPress theme platform, you have more reason to smile now.
Earlier today we pushed an update on our popular Directory Map Customiser plugin which now makes it possible to utilise hundreds of attractive map color schemes posted by people on Snazzy Maps website. Meaning you have best of the both worlds.
Selecting pre-defined color scheme is now possible and once you select the color scheme, it will automatically tweak your advanced map color settings so you can modify it further if you wish to! It simply couldn’t get better than this.
If you are already a Map Customizer plugin customer, this update is available to you free of cost. Simply login you your directory website wp-admin dashboard and update the plugin. The map settings you used to do earlier, is shifted to “Advanced Map Settings” tab as you can see in the screenshot above and by default, the color schemes will be shown. Your map settings will remain unchanged if you don’t select any new colors schemes. Awesome right? :)
If you are not using this Map Customizer plugin yet on your directory site, you are missing out the change to give your directory site maps their own personality according to your brand. Grab this plugin from here.
Also did you take a look at over 20+ directory add-ons yet? Explore them and boost your directory site today.
Most of you have probably noticed something different about Templatic.com in the last few days. Along with the color scheme we also updated the homepage, club page, themes store and several other sections. To celebrate the new look we’re starting a Buy 1, Get 1 FREE offer. During the offer you’ll be able to grab a free product (theme or plugin) for every purchase you make at Templatic.com. The offer ends on June 25th, 2015.
Even though Directory theme performs the best in the market when it comes to speed, it has been a concern when we were considering hundreds and thousands of listings on a single site. Team templatic has continued to find better ways to improve the performance and have provided periodic updates. Earlier today we released important updates for Directory, all child themes and most add-ons. Most of these are focused on optimization and speed improvements which should significantly improve your directory site speed.
Along with minifying certain files we also implemented AJAX into several widgets. Expect the following widgets to load much quicker in the latest version of Directory…
All Categories List
Browse by Categories/Tags
To get these improvements you’ll need to update the main Directory product (4 components) and these two add-ons: Events and MultiRating.
With version # we removed a number of image sizes that were rarely used. As a result WordPress won’t need to create as many thumbnails for each image you upload. This will not only save storage space but also make image management easier.
To implement this change we updated all child themes and the following plugins
Tevolution – Events
Tevolution – Classifieds
Tevolution – RealEstate
REST API compatibility
A number of you have requested this compatibility over the last few months so we decided to investigate and ultimately add it to the theme. The compatibility is achieved via the WP REST API plugin. To make your Directory theme compatible simply update it to the latest version (all 4 components) and install the REST API plugin.
WP REST API will allow you to send listing information to other applications. It will also make it easier to receive information from other sources. You can learn more about the API here.
Important Tevolution – Events update
Along with the Events Calendar widget update mentioned earlier, the new version of the Events add-on also comes with improved recurring events. Archive pages (search page, category page, etc) will now display recurring events differently within the “Past”, “Current” and “Upcoming” tabs. The tabs will focus on displaying the recurring event instance that’s closest to the current date (today). If you have a weekly recurring event the “Upcoming” tab will display just the next occurrence in order to avoid spamming the feed with too many instances of the same event.
This recurring events tweak has been one of the most requested changes for the Events add-on. We hope you like the way it works now.
If you’ll have any comments about this update just let us know in the comment section below.
After Tech which we released earlier today, here comes another QuickEdit theme – Charity. The theme is targeted at small charities looking for a fast and easy way to create a new website. The visual composer that comes with Charity makes it possible to customize the entire homepage directly from the front-end.
Tech is a Templatic theme powered by the new point & click technology we like to call “QuickEdit”. This means you’ll be able to customize the entire homepage directly from the front-end using a visual composer. The theme is targeted at small tech companies or bloggers in need of a beautiful new website.
The front-end visual composer available inside the Tech theme will make editing the homepage significantly easier and faster compared to dealing with WordPress pages or widgets. Everything you do inside the front-end editor is instantly applied to the site giving you immediate feedback for every change. The visual composer can be used to modify virtually every homepage element, even the footer credits!
In the preview post released a few weeks ago we teased a new solution for customizing and creating websites – QuickEdit. The new point & click interface can be used right here at Templatic.com. In other words, you can begin creating your personalized website totally free. iBusiness is the first theme built with the QuickEdit technology in mind. It’s been designed with a broad appeal so it can be used by a wide variety of small businesses.
With QuickEdit you’ll be able to add content and customize the site without leaving Templatic.com or making any payments. The demo site even allows you to save progress and continue at a later time. Once you’re done with tinkering click on Export and purchase a license for iBusiness. After checkout we’ll provide a unique zip file containing your theme as well as an license key.
Every now and then I see people struggling to comprehend what Directory really is. Most of them aren’t sure whether it’s a theme or plugin and… I don’t blame them. We might have gone a bit overboard by describing so many things with a single word. Good news is that after reading this you should be an expert in “Directory” terminology. :)
The meaning depends on the context
The word “Directory” can mean different things depending on how you use it.
It can be the actual product you get for $99
It can be the theme or plugin component inside of that product
It can be a whole platform which encompasses the Directory product, add-ons and child themes.
1. Directory product
The Directory product you get for $99 contains 4 important elements: Tevolution plugin, Directory plugin, Location Manager plugin and Directory theme. The product was segmented into components to make it easier to maintain and update. For instance, if we want to improve something inside the multi-city functionality we only need to update the Location Manager plugin and not the other three components.
This Directory product is often what we’re referring to when we say “Directory”. This is especially true in the context of sales and billing.
2. Directory theme or plugin
Within the actual Directory product, the word “Directory” can describe 1 of 2 things: a plugin or a theme. To better understand this here’s a quick look at what each component actually does…
Tevolution – contains most of the core functionality such as registration forms, custom fields and price packages.
Directory (plugin) – contains the code that generates the “Listing” post type.
Location Manager – contains the code necessary to enable the multi-city functionality.
Directory (theme) – contains the actual design files, including the code for the mobile mode.
3. Directory platform
Directory platform is the term we use to describe all products designed with the main Directory product in mind. These products are various add-ons and child themes. Each of them requires Directory to work and are useless on their own.
Child themes are designed to significantly change the look of the site. Add-ons are designed to introduce new features.
Directory video overview
In the video below you can learn more about crucial Directory features. The video also contains a graphical representation of the structure explained above. Fast forward to the 2 minute mark of the video if you’re only interested in the structure.
If you have any lingering Directory questions please use the comment section below and tell me what you want to know.