The 4 online booking softwares with a free plan in 2023

By Brieanne Biblow

Booking ManagementBooking Management

Illustration of a woman sitting on a cushion looking at a large laptop choosing from multiple options.

In a world where everything seems to come with a price tag, stumbling upon a “free online booking software” can often trigger a mix of excitement and skepticism. 

We’ve all experienced that feeling—the allure of something valuable being offered at no cost. Making us wonder, “Is this too good to be true?” When it comes to online booking apps, the realm of “free” plans can be just as captivating and perplexing.

More and more, finding the perfect online reservation software has become essential for activity businesses, rental operators, tour companies, and accommodation owners. But, if you’re at the “how do I start an activity business?” stage of the journey, finding a free online booking system can be the perfect first step. 

With a dizzying array of options available on the market, we’re going to dive into the best booking apps that have “free” options. We’ll evaluate these tools based on their features and usability while making sure to point out any limitations. 

In the end, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which free online booking software aligns perfectly with your tourism business.

How to choose the best free online booking software

Free plans for reservation apps can be an excellent starting point for fledgling businesses and budget-conscious individuals. After all, they provide access to crucial booking functionalities without breaking the bank. 

But, not all free plans are created equal. Some may come with limitations – like a cap on total number of bookings, limited integrations, or restricted features. After all, any successful company can’t totally give away its products for free!

So, let’s walk through some of the core features you should keep an eye out for when looking for a free online booking app.

Top online booking software features

 With a solid understanding of these top online booking software features, you’ll be better equipped to identify the one that harmonizes with your business’s goals and aspirations.

🎟️ Booking page and/or booking widget

With phones in our hands, laptops on our desks, and iPads in our bags it’s become second nature for customers to make purchases and bookings online. 

With that in mind, when you’re evaluating any free reservation app, you should be on the lookout for an online booking page and/or widget that allows you to:

  • Customize your booking page or widget to fit your branding
  • Beautifully showcases your experiences with images, product descriptions, and in your desired language
  • Show real-time availability of your activities, rentals, tours, or accommodations
  • Easily organizes your experiences so customers can see everything you have to offer

With the power of a booking page/widget, your customers will be able to make bookings at any time of day, from anywhere in the world.

🔀 Booking flow

Investing the time it takes to choose an activity or rental reservation software only makes sense if it makes taking online bookings seamless for your staff and guests.

While it seems like a no-brainer — that creating and automating your booking flow will lead to more bookings and happier customers — you should know exactly what your guests are going to see on your website. 

A great booking flow allows customers to easily move down the booking funnel ultimately leading to you making a booking! Here are some features of an excellent booking flow to look out for. 

Your customers should be able to:

  1. View your products with ease
  2. Select the desired date, time, and number of guests for their experience
  3. Clearly see the price
  4. Add any valid discount or promo codes
  5. Select from any additional upsells like merchandise, food, or photography
  6. Complete a simple and customized booking form
  7. View their booking invoice
  8. Pay for their experience seamlessly 
  9. Receive an automatic booking confirmation
  10. Easily access and complete a guest form to provide any details for additional guests on the booking.

📧 Automated notifications

We’re going to guess that you didn’t get into the experience industry just to be bogged down by admin work. Chasing down customers over the phone or email to get information, payment, or waiver signatures isn’t the best use of your precious time. 

That’s why the best booking app will have automated notifications built right in. Meaning you can set it, forget it, and get back to what you do best. Some automated notification features to look for are:

  • Booking confirmation
  • Invoice reminders
  • Marketing emails
  • SMS/Text messages

📄 Waivers

As an entrepreneur, keeping your guests and business safe is always at the forefront of your mind. That’s where waivers come into play. These forms will protect you and your customers. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Some examples of waivers or forms that your online booking software should let you create:

  • Release of liability waiver
  • Rental equipment agreement 
  • Signed release form for photography and video consent 
  • Parental permission form

🗓️ Real-time availability calendar

Convenience is Queen in today’s world. Meaning customers want the ability to see what dates and times they can book with you right away. 

Plus, giving guests a calendar view that updates automatically as bookings are created means fewer phone calls and double bookings.

Tip: a great additional feature to look for with any free reservation app is the ability to show or hide sold-out, unavailable, or upcoming experiences, and customize how these are labeled. For example, an “Upcoming — Sells Fast!” message can build excitement around an upcoming product.

💰Financial services

There are few things more frustrating to customers than being excited to book an experience only to get to your website and find out they can’t pay online. 

Avoid this disappointment altogether by choosing an online booking software that accepts payment from multiple credit cards, GooglePay, ApplePay, or offers Buy Now, Pay Later.

Ensure that your booking system offers a payment provider that is easy to use like Checkfront Payments. Or, check to make sure they can integrate with the one you’re already using so you can see your bookings quickly translate into cash in your account.

🗂️ Resource management

Keeping track of resources, be it jet skis, driving range bays, escape room availability, or tour capacity, can be one of the most tedious parts of any experience business. 

When considering a free online booking app, look for some or all of these features to get the most out of your resources:

  • Allocation flexibility
  • Multi-industry
  • Public & private options
  • Availability
  • Pricing controls

A software with a robust resource management tool will mean you’re booked to capacity more often!

What are the 4 best online booking softwares with a free plan? 

We did some research and found four online booking softwares built for experience businesses that offer free plans in 2023.

But all “free” plans aren’t created equal! So, we’ve separated the options into Truly free plans and Free commission-based plans. Let’s dive into how what they each have to offer!

Truly free plans


Admittedly, we’re a little biased about this one! Checkfront has been the most flexible online booking software for 13 years. We’re passionate about powering rental, activity, tour, and accommodation operators all over the world to take more bookings, maximize their resources and run their businesses efficiently.

Checkfront’s free booking software plan option

Our Starter Plan which gives any experience operator – from ATV tours to watersport rentals – access to the most flexible booking software for $0. 

Things to consider

Is it really free? Yes! Our Starter Plan has no subscription cost and is a direct commission-free booking option. Operators must use Checkfront Payments as their payment processor with this plan.

What do you get?

  • Time limit | No. You can access this plan for as long as it takes you to reach 100 bookings annually.
  • Features | Operators get access to all of Checkfront’s core features.
  • User limit | Yes. This plan offers 1 User per account.
  • Booking volume | This plan offers a maximum of 100 annual bookings.


Rezdy helps tours, activities and attraction providers and resellers get more online bookings. In addition to being an online booking software, Rezdy offers a robust Channel Manager distribution platform with connectivity to major online travel agencies and resellers around the world.

Rezdy’s free booking software plan option

Rezdy offers operators a 21-Day Free Trial of their online booking software. This allows business owners to trial their software and see if it’s a fit for their business.

Things to consider

Is it really free? Yes! For 21 days, operators don’t have to pay any fees. 

What do you get?

  • Time limit | Rezdy’s free plan ends after 21 days.
  • Features | Operators get access to all of Rezdy’s features on the free trial of their selected plan.
  • User limit | Unlimited users.
  • Booking volume max|No. There is no booking volume limit.

Free commission-based plans


Checkfront’s free commission-based plan option

Our Growth Plan gives any growing experience operator – from multi-day tour operators to axe-throwing businesses – access to the most flexible booking software for a per-booking commission fee.

Things to consider

Is it really free? Yes! Our Growth plan gives you total control over how you pay. You can select from a 4% monthly or 3.5% annual per-booking commission fee which you can choose to pass on to your customer.

What do you get?

  • Time limit | No. You can access this plan for as long as you like.
  • Features | Operators get access to all of Checkfront’s features.
  • User limit | This plan offers 5 Users per account.
  • Booking volume | Unlimited bookings


Xola is an online booking system built for tour and activity operators. With a powerful, easy-to-use booking and marketing software, they help tour and activity operators efficiently run their business. 

Xola’s free booking software plan option

Xola offers their software for no monthly subscription. So, operators can use Xola for no upfront cost. However, Xola’s software does have commission-based pricing with a 6% fee for online bookings that can be passed onto the customer.

Things to consider

Is it really free? Yes. Xola does have a 6% per-booking commission fee which you can choose to pass on to your customer.

What do you get?

  • Features | Operators get access to all of Xola’s features.
  • User limit |Unknown. Currently, Xola does not list if there is a user limit. You can book a demo with them to find out.
  • Booking volume | Unknown. Currently, Xola does not list if there is a user limit. You can book a demo with them to find out.
  • Is there a time limit? | No. You can access this software for as long as you like.


Fareharbour is an all-in-one booking solution and business management platform that makes it easy to operate tours, activities, rentals and attractions. Built to scale with experience operator’s businesses, from local shops to enterprise operations.

Fareharbour free commission-based plan option

Fareharbour’s booking software has a fixed per-booking commission-based plan. With no immediate cost to the operator, this plan is free of any monthly or annual subscription fee.

Things to consider

Is it really free? Yes. Fareharbour does have a 6% per-booking commission fee which you can choose to pass on to your customer.

What do you get?

  • Features | Operators get access to all of Fareharbour’s features.
  • User limit |Unknown. Currently, Fareharbour does not list if there is a user limit. You can book a demo with them to find out.
  • Booking volume | Unknown. Currently, Fareharbour does not list if there is a user limit. You can book a demo with them to find out.
  • Is there a time limit? | No. You can access this software for as long as you like.

Online Booking Software Free Plan | Comparison Matrix

A comparison matrix showing the breakdown of different free online booking softwares.

Booking software pricing

Most free plans for online booking softwares are built to support experience operators at a certain stage of their business. With each having its pros and cons, what happens when you’re ready to grow beyond your free plan’s capacity?

Checkfront’s answer is our Growth Plan. With no booking volume max and up to 5 users, this plan is built to support businesses that need more help managing their demand. With a subscription or per-booking fee option that they can pay annually or monthly, operators have the control to choose how they pay.

A card showing Checkfront's new choose how you pay Growth Plan for our online booking software.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a new experience business that’s looking for an online booking software that offers a free plan, there are some great options on the market! But, it’s important to have a keen eye and take a deeper look at what’s being offered. 

At Checkfront, we’ve always believed that your booking software shouldn’t hold your business back in any way. So, if you’re a new experience business and in need of a free online booking software, we’ve got you covered with your Starter Plan. Then, as more and more customers discover you, we’ll be ready to help you take your business to the next level with our Growth Plan.

Sign up for our Starter Plan today

Get the most flexible booking software for $0.