Microsoft Bookings Adds Appointment Scheduling to Office 365

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Bookings is a new Office 365 app from Microsoft for scheduling appointments. You can specify types of appointments, and Bookings will use your calendar to find open time slots for you or for others at your firm.

Here is a demo of Bookings in action (just imagine you have appointment types like Initial Consult and Lunch instead of pet grooming–related appointments):

bookings-demo

Bookings also takes care of adding appointments to your calendar (or to the person at your firm who is responsible), sends out confirmations and reminders, and makes it easy to reschedule or cancel. There will be a companion mobile app so you can manage Bookings from your phone.

Right now you have to be a Business Premium Plan subscriber in the First Release program. Everyone else should see it in their Office 365 app launcher soon.

I’m in the “everyone else” category, so I haven’t had a chance to put Bookings through its paces. Right now I use Calendly and I’m very happy with it. Bookings looks like a great alternative if you rely on Office 365, but I wonder about a couple of things:

  1. A single page with a bunch of different appointment types isn’t all that useful for scheduling clients. How are they supposed to know if they need to schedule an Initial Consultation or a Check-In? With Calendly I have separate links for each appointment type, so I pick the type of appointment, not the client.
  2. I’d also want to use Bookings to schedule things like phone calls with opposing counsel, networking meetings like coffee and lunch, and signups for events I’m hosting. It’s not clear whether Bookings will let me set up multiple pages.
  3. Hopefully it won’t only work with Outlook calendars. Microsoft is late to the party on this, and lots of people have spent years getting everything working with Google Calendar, not Outlook.com.

While you wait to try Bookings, you might want to try one of these schedulers.

[TechCrunch]

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