In this blog I will explore Microsoft Bookings and I also will show how to perform a basic setup to get started with Microsoft Bookings. Most people will only know Microsoft Bookings as one of those other apps in the Microsoft 365. With this app you are able to create in a few easy steps a (public) accessible portal to offer services which can be integrated in an existing website. I think Microsoft Bookings is one of those unknown apps in the Microsoft 365 suite which could help a lot of small and even big companies (schedule: remote help, pickup hardware, etc).
Microsoft Bookings was globally launched on March 20th, 2017. At first it was only part of the Business Standard and Premium licenses. Because of the COVID outbreak in the first months of 2020 it suddenly became very relevant because of the online scheduling of (remote) appointments based on the availability of your calendar without the interaction. Additionaly in March of 2020 Microsoft added the option to schedule Teams meetings to Bookings and also added the application by default to Microsoft Enterprise E3 and E5 subscriptions. It currently is included for free in the following Microsoft 365 subscriptions:
How does it work
With Microsoft Bookings you publish a portal to offer services which can be booked by your customers (internal/external). By default this portal is public accessible, but there is an option that requires users to authenticate with their Office 365 work or school account before they are allowed to access. The bookings portal can also be integrated in an existing website.
On the bookings portal all the services are displayed which can be booked by the customer. After selecting a product a staff member can be selected (optional). You will then see the availeble dates and timeslots which can be selected to be booked.
The customer has to enter how to be contacted and additional notes. These fields can be adjusted for every product which is offered on the Bookings page.
Once the button “Book” has been pressed the customer will see an onscreen confirmation and will recieve a confirmation email. The email contains a calendar file, booking details, teams link for the meeting and a button to manager the booking.
Using the manage booking button the appointment can be rescheduled, cancelled or add a new booking.
Once a booking has been created by the customer an engineer (staff) will recieve an confirmation email which is simular to the email the customer recieves. Also the appointment with all details and the optional Teams link will also be added to the calendar of the engineer.
All appointments, customers and business hours can be managed in the Bookings portal, but they can also be managed with the Bookings App. Depending on your role you can manage/view information. The app is avaible for Android and iOS. I had issues running the app on my Samsung S10 but on other devices the app was working fine.
1. Select Bookings in the office portal or go to https://outlook.office.com/bookings.
2. Press the “Get it now” button.
3. Enter a business name/type and press “Continue”. It will take some time to setup your Bookings page. (You can create multiple Bookings pages.)
4. After a while the Bookings portal will be displayed. In this picture the main functions are shown.
4. The first step is to enter your Business information (Logo, Address, contact information and Business hours). Select “Business Information” in the navigation pane to enter the information.
5. Now we need to add staff members, these are the people which can be assigned to the services. Select in the navigation pane “Staff” and press “+ Add staff”.
6. In the “add people” field enter the name of the staff member. Select the availability settings and a user role for the new staff member. Currently there three user roles: Administrator, viewer and guest. Press “Save” to add the staff member.
7. Next step is to define the products/services you want to offer using the Bookings portal. Select “Services” in the navigation pane and press “add a service”.
8. Multiple settings can be configurated for each service. Examples of settings which can be configured are: Teams meeting, Duration, buffer time, scheduling policy, assigned staff, etc. Configure the service and press “Save”.
9. The last step is to customize and publish the Booking Page. Select in the navigation pane “Booking Page” and customize settings e.g. Color theme, access control, scheduling policy, notifications, etc. Press “save and publish” to make the page accessible. The page can be accessed by entering the “Share your page” url
10. The page can also be embedded in an existing webpage by adding the HTML or IFrame code which can be viewed by pressing “</> Embed” in the top of the page.
11. The Bookings portal is now ready to use. Enter the url which is displayed on the Booking page and your Booking portal will be displayed. You can either integrate the portal in a (existing) website or just share the url.