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October 20, 2020

Book It! With Microsoft Bookings

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Table of Contents

What is Microsoft Bookings?

Microsoft Bookings is a quick and easy alternative to scheduling appointments with your customers over the phone and allows your customers to book appointments with your staff based on the services you offer and your staff availability. It provides businesses a public-facing Web portal for customers to book appointments, while also providing staff access to a shared calendar for scheduling purposes.


Features

  • Real-time appointment availability
  • Outlook calendar integration including automatic updates
  • Automated email confirmations and reminders
  • Appointment rescheduling and cancellations
  • Integration with Microsoft Teams
  • 120 days of appointment history (60 days past, 60 days future)
  • Unique appointment scheduling web page
  • Appointment reassignment between staff members

How Microsoft Bookings works


License Plans & Pricing

Enterprises generally are unsure that whether they want to stop using an existing spreadsheet or whiteboard by way of embracing anything new if the current system works. But here’s the good news: Basic pricing start around @12.50 per month per user for a la carte access if you are already using Office 365 Premium or Microsoft 365 Business.

Microsoft Booking is automatically activated for the following plans:

Microsoft 365 Business Standard

  • Microsoft Business Premium
  • Microsoft 365 A3
  • Microsoft 365 A5
  • Microsoft 365 E3
  • Microsoft 365 E5

Additionally, Microsoft Bookings will be available for the following Enterprise plans, but will not be enabled by default:

  • Office 365 Education A3
  • Office 365 Education A5
  • Office 365 Education A3
  • Office 365 Education A5

So, roll out to other Office 365 subscriptions as I guess Microsoft is only releasing this to Office 365 Business plans for limiting the potential no. of users using this feature until they feel it is mature enough to release to enterprise.


Comparison Analysis

Although many cloud-based applications are available out there for assisting enterprises overcome stress of booking customer appointments, managing employee’s workload and in establishing customer contact management systems. But now all those applications have competition from Microsoft as it announced the launch of Microsoft Bookings as part of a standard subscription to Office 365. A few prominent ones are;

Microsoft Bookings

Calendly

Calendly is an appointment and meeting scheduling software for business professionals and their clients and is also very easy to use, fast, user-friendly, and you don't have to even sign-up and go through the process of having yet another login to remember. This tool allows you to schedule meetings in minutes with people outside of your organization. It's also amazing how it integrates with other calendars such as Google calendar and Outlook. But it is not integrated into one suite for even more ease of use especially doesn’t suit to businesses having different branches or for those who work remotely as they require to use digital invites more than ever.


Doodle

Doodle’s radically simplify the process of scheduling group events. The company initially became popular because of its group scheduling service on www.doodle.com that’s used by millions of people. Today, it also provides a personal scheduling profile (MeetMe) and a professional booking service for local service providers (BookMe). The business is based on online advertising and premium subscriptions.

Even though Doodle also stands out in the market, but I would love if the un-paid version of it allows me to access more features and give me more options to customize the background, fonts etc. as its free version is very basic.


As we can see Microsoft Bookings does not provide more or any less features than other competitors in the market. The difference is that businesses can access this new application from within Office 365 and will be charged no additional cost as it is being offered as a standard part of the Office 365 subscription package. This surely gives Microsoft a competitive advantage over other options especially when an enterprise is already an Office 365 customer. Apart from this, you have other added features with Microsoft Bookings as well which are not being offered by other options in the market like;

  • Mobile App - View only” mode – Now, anyone added to a booking calendar as viewer who has a Bookings license can download and use the Bookings mobile app
  • Enterprise grade controls - internal use only/ Using Bookings for Internal Staff Appointments
  • Customization/Create your own bookings page- Email confirmation customization –You can add custom, service specific text and URLs to the email confirmation sent to anyone that books a given service through your booking page.
  • Integrations-online meetings support (adding Skype for Business support to Bookings and will follow that up with support for Teams meetings)

Is Microsoft Bookings worth a try? 

Microsoft Bookings is a very easy to use application and I’ve done my best to cover the important things and features in this review article. That said, although it wasn’t very hard to figure out but it’s clear there is a lot more that can be discovered-probably why there are so many training videos on it!

I think this application is a great way for scheduling and syncing with your Outlook Calendar and I like how you can have it send automatic emails and reminders to customers. But what I just love the most is that it enables me to create services and allows me to define who can give which service. So, in short it makes easy for me to give the customers options for booking that do not interfere with their already compromised activities. Adding to this, another great feature which I love is that it lets me define the timeframes in which a customer can create appointment and cancel it.

I don’t have many complaints about this application as it of now as it saves my time, also gives customers or potential customers direct access to my calendar, allowing us to get notified on the appointments-totally optimizes the whole internal process for me.

But there is one thing I dislike about it which is that not everyone knows about this application and how it works. Although it is very simple to use but since it is new in the market so when I attach Bookings link with a message, many people still prefer call instead of booking appointment on this application. Therefore, there is this one limitation, but Microsoft seems to have a good roadmap to keep this functionality going forward and will overcome it.

Last Updated 1 week ago

About the Author

Ayesha is a Business Development Executive and passionate about learning more on business communications. As a result, she obtained a unique blend of interests, on top of these years of highly relevant content generation experience.

Ayesha Shafqat

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