Primary Components of Bookings
- A Booking page (or Intake Form) where your customers and clients can schedule appointments with the Staff member who should provide the service or run the appointment. This web-based scheduling page can be shared via a direct link in a communication or pasted into your course syllabus; it can be shared to your Facebook page, and can also be embedded in your website.
- A web app that contains a set of web-based, business-facing pages where Bookings calendar owners and administrators within Princeton can define appointment types and details, manage staff schedules and availability, set business hours, and customize how appointments are scheduled. These pages allow for versatility and the ability to customize a Bookings calendar to fit the diverse needs of the person or department.
- A business-facing mobile app where Bookings calendar owners and administrators can see all of their appointments, access customer lists and contact information, and make manual bookings on the go.
We're Here to Help!
Use Microsoft Bookings for scheduling and managing your appointments with ease. Bookings includes a web-based booking calendar and integrates with Outlook to optimize your staff’s calendar and give your students (or others who need to meet with you) the flexibility to book a time that works best for them.
With built-in flexibility and the ability to customize, Bookings can be designed to fit the situation and needs of many different working parts of campus.
OIT is here to assist you with the configuration of your Bookings Calendar. Below is a detailed guide to walk you through configuring your calendar.
Configure your Calendar with this Step-by-Step Guide
The first time you use Bookings, you'll be prompted by a wizard to go through some initial steps before your calendar can be successfully created and configured.
Select Get Started to launch the wizard.
You'll notice that Step 1 of 4 is a required field. You are asked to provide a Business Name. The name you enter here will be used to create the email address (Bookings Mailbox) for sending booking invites and the Booking page link.
The Business Name should be a unique to the Service(s) you provide and be prefixed with the word "Bookings".
See the Before You Get Started section for more details on Princeton's preferred naming convention.
It is recommended that you skip steps 2 and 3 in the Wizard so your calendar can be thoroughly configured at one time. As these steps are not required, clicking Next at the bottom of Steps 2 and 3 will move you to the next step.
Step 4 of the wizard askes you to consider who should be able to access your Booking page (to book time with you). This choice can be made now or when you customize your Booking Page.
The information you provide here will be displayed on the page customers (students) use to book appointments (known as the Booking Page or Intake Form) and in messages and reminders sent to them by Bookings.
- From the left-navigation, click Business Information.
- On the Basic Details section, enter your business name, address, address, and phone number you would like to use for your Bookings calendar.
- In Send customer replies to field, type the preferred email address where email replies to booking confirmations and reminders should be forwarded.
Hint: This can be the calendar's Administrator, a service account, etc.)
- In the Website URL field, enter the URL of the home page for your business.
- On the Business logo section, if you haven't already uploaded your business logo to the Bookings app, add your business logo.
- On the Set your business hours section, set business hours to your operational hours. These are the hours to which all bookings are restricted.
Hint: Additional time restrictions of when appointments can be booked can be set for each service and for each Staff member in the Services and Staff pages.
- On the Business information page, under Business hours, use the dropdowns to select start and end times for each day. Click + to add start and end-time selectors.
By default, the business hours in the Bookings app are set to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Times are provided in 15-minute increments. The Bookings app uses the 12-hour clock.
Set Hours for Split Shift
You might need to block out a portion of each day or week to have staff meetings, book time for lunch or breaks, or take care of other details. The Bookings app allows you to limit appointments to your specified time slots.
For example, if you have staff meetings every Thursday from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., and you want to block out that time so all of your staff members can attend.
To do this:
On the Business information page, under Business hours, select a start and end time for Thursdays. In this example we'll set 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Select + to create a new row for Thursday.
- In the new row, select 2:30 p.m. for the start time and 6:00 p.m. for the end time.
- Click Save.
When a student/customer goes to your Booking Page, they will see that your business is closed from 1 to 2:30 on Thursdays.
Upload Your Logo
If you haven't already uploaded your business logo to the Bookings app, you can do it from the Business information page.
On the Business information page, under Upload logo, select Change.
Select Upload photo.
The Booking Page is where you set up how your public-facing intake form will appear to those who are booking time with you.
Once your Booking Page is published and the URL is shared, people can book appointments with you without your intervention.
To customize your Booking page, click Booking Page from the left-navigation.
Configure Booking Page
Publish your calendar live to make your service(s) bookable. You have the option to share the link to your calendar via email and Twitter, and to add a Book Now button to a Facebook page.
The link can also be embedded into your website or shared to your course syllabus.
Choose to publish so your Booking Page is:
- Available to anyone: People on the internet can book with a public self-service page (all the need is the link)
- No Self-Service: Don't publish a self-service book page for customers (handle all bookings manually)
- Available to people in your organization: Only people in your organization can book with an internal-only self-service page. Selecting this option will only allow those within Princeton to view your page or book any services. Access to the page is authorized via credential checks to ensure the visitor belongs to an account within the tenant.
Booking page access control:
- Disable direct search engine indexing of booking page: This setting prevents your page from appearing in the search results for Google, Bing, or other search engines. Selecting this box will ensure access to the page is limited to the generated page link.
- Require a one-time password to create bookings
Customer data usage consent When selected, text requesting the user's or customer's consent for your organization to use their data will appear on the Self-Service page. The box will have to be checked by the user in order to complete the booking.
Scheduling policy, Email notifications, and Staff: All of these settings are similar to the ones available for each service on the Services tab. If you are offering multiple appointment types (or Services) you can set the defaults here and apply them to other Services later.
Availability: This is an option to set specific time and date ranges of availability for a service. Otherwise, Bookings will default to your business hours.
You can use the Availability option here for scenarios such as holidays or extended hours.
Customize your page: Choose colors and logos that appear on the Self-Service page, such as for brand consistency.
Region and time zone settings: Here you can set your time zone and language preferences for the Self-Service page.
We recommend setting your local time zone. For visitors to your Self-Service page, Bookings automatically detects their local time zones and will show availability to them in their own time zones. For example, if an appointment is available at 1:00pm PST, someone in CST will see the available time displayed as 3:00pm CST.
- The Staff page in Bookings is where you create your staffing list and manage staff member details such as name, phone number, and email address.
In this section, you can add staff members, set custom hours of availability for each of them, and assign an appropriate role to control their interaction with the calendar.
Note: By default, the creator of the calendar will be assigned the role of Administrator.
- From the left-navigation, click Staff.
- Click the + Add New Staff button.
- Begin typing a Staff member's name in the Search for People or Groups field.
Note: By default, the Staff member will be assigned the role of Team Member.
- Use the drop down arrow to identify and assign the appropriate role.
- Decide whether this particular Staff member should be notified via email any time someone books time with them or changes an existing appointment. If the Staff member should not be notified, uncheck the box for this option.
- Decide whether Bookings should sync with Outlook so that events on the Office calendar reflect your availability in Bookings. This will prevent double-bookings and optimize the availability of Staff members. If Bookings should not be synced with Outlook, uncheck the box for this option.
- Decide whether this particular Staff member's availability should be the same as the Business Hours that were set up on the Business Information Page, or if their availability should be custom. If their hours should be custom, toggle the Use Business Hours switch off and edit their availability as appropriate.
Note: By deselecting this box, Staff can be given custom hours that further limit when they can be booked. This is helpful for scenarios where a Staff member may only be available on certain days, they dedicate their mornings/afternoons to certain types of meetings, or take lunch at a different time than the Business Hours suggest.
To manage information for a Staff member or remove them from the calendar, simply hover over the Staff member's information to reveal the Edit and Delete icons.
When you define your service offerings in Microsoft Bookings, you set a service name, description, location (choose whether you want to meet in person or have an online meeting), duration, default reminders to customers and staff, internal notes about the service, and pricing, if applicable. You can also tag the Staff members who intend to provide the service. Then, when customers come to your Bookings Page/Intake Form to book an appointment, they can see exactly what types of appointments are available, choose the person they want to provide the service, and how much their service will cost (if applicable).
You can also incorporate custom fields to collect additional information and paste URLs to the email confirmation and reminders that you send when someone books a service through your Booking page.
Create the Service Details
- Click Services from the left-navigation.
Note: There must always be at least one Service in Bookings at all times. By default, an 'out-of-the-box' Service has already been created for you. You have the option to edit the existing service or create a new service and then go back to delete the 'out-of-the-box' service.
*If you create a NEW service, don't forget to delete the original!
- Click + Add New Service
- On the Basic Details section, add your selections:
- Service name: This is the name that defines the type of appointment you're offering.
- Description: The information you provide about this appointment type will appear when the user clicks the information icon on the self-service Booking page/Intake Form.
- Location: This location is what will be displayed on confirmation and reminder emails for both staff and customers, and it will be displayed on the calendar event created for the booking.
- Add online meeting: This setting enables or disables online meetings for each appointment, via Teams. The link to join the meeting will be added to all confirmation and reminder emails.
- Duration: This is how long all meetings will be booked for. The time is blocked beginning from the start time, which is selected during booking. The full appointment time will be blocked on the staff's calendars.
- Buffer time: Enabling this setting allows for the addition of extra time to the staff’s calendar every time an appointment is booked. The time will be blocked on the staff’s calendar and impact free/busy information. This means if an appointment ends at 3:00 pm and 10 minutes of buffer time has been added to the end of the meeting, the staff’s calendar will show as busy and non-bookable until 3:10pm. This can be useful if your staff needs time before a meeting to prepare, such as a doctor reviewing a patient’s chart, or a financial advisor preparing relevant account information. It can also be useful after a meeting, such as when someone needs time to travel to another location.
- Price not set: Select the price options that will display on the Self-Service page. If Price not set is selected, then no price or reference to cost or pricing will appear.
- Notes: This field appears in the booking event for booked staff, as well as on the event that appears on the Calendar tab in the Bookings web app.
- Maximum attendees per event: This setting allows you to create services that require the ability for multiple people to book the same appointment time and the same staff. The appointment time slot for the selected service, staff, and time will be available to book until the maximum number of attendees, specified by you, has been reached. Current appointment capacity and attendees can be viewed in the Calendar tab in the Bookings Web app.
- Let customers manage their appointment when it was booked by you or your Staff on their behalf: Toggle this on to avoid having to handle this yourself, manually.
In the Availability Options section, you will see the options mirror those you've set on your Bookings Page, if those defaults were set. These options can be overridden by deselecting the box for Use Default Scheduling Policy.
Typically, you'd set General Availability to "Bookable when Staff are Free".
You can set specific date ranges for times you are not bookable and you can also configure Bookings to allow for opening up blocks of time on the fly by setting your General Availability to Not Bookable and then adding different date ranges and times with custom hours. See the Quick Reference Guide above or the FAQ section for more information.
- In the Assign Staff section, you'll find a list of all Staff members that you've added to your Bookings Calendar. Choose which Staff should be assigned to this particular Service by selecting them and whether users should have the option to choose from a list of available Staff members.
In the Custom Fields section, review the Customer Information and decide which fields are necessary and which of those necessary fields should be Required fields.
You can also add Custom fields in this section to capture additional information prior to meeting with those who book time with you. To do this:
- Click + Add a Custom Field
- Choose whether this should be an open-ended Text Question or a Drop-down Question.
- State your question in the Question field.
- Add any subsequent custom fields.
- Click the radio button for each of the Custom fields you'd like to include in your Bookings page/Intake form.
- Choose whether the selected field should be a Required field.
In the Reminders and Notifications section, review the following options:
Email and SMS Notifications
- Notify the business via email when a booking is created or changed: The 'business' being referenced here is the email address you entered in the Business Information section. Check this box if applicable.
- Send a meeting invite to the customer, in addition to the confirmation email: This allows the user to add the appointment to their calendar.
- Enable text message notifications for your customer: If this is checked, make sure that this is reflected in the Customer Information (Phone Number) in the Custom Fields section.
Additional Information for Email Confirmation
Use this area to customize the email confirmation that is sent to the user immediately after they book time with you.
Reminders and Confirmations
Use this area to set up and customize reminders to be sent to those who book time with you as often as appropriate.
When you have completed entering all of the details for your Service, click Save Changes.
Occasionally, you'll want to close your business for holidays or team events, or your employees will need time off when they're sick, on vacation, or unavailable for other reasons. You can schedule time off from the Microsoft Bookings calendar, and the employee will be unavailable for bookings during the specified time. Once the business reopens or employees return to work, everyone will be listed on the booking page according to their established work hours.
Schedule Employee Time Off
- Click Calendar from the left-navigation.
- In the top navigation pane of the Calendar, click Add Time Off.
- Fill in the details, including a title, start, and end date and times, location, and more notes. If the employee
will be gone for a full day or for several days, select All day event.
- Select the staff member or members who are taking the time off.
- Click Save.
Schedule Business Closures
- In the top navigation pane of the Calendar, click Add Time Off.
- Fill in the details, including title, start, and end date and times, location, and extra notes.
- Select All day event.
- Select all Staff members.
- Click Save.