This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Microsoft Bookings Blog articles.
Bookings is a Microsoft 365 app built to help organizations and businesses easily manage and simplify the complexities of scheduling. Appointments can be configured and scheduled to support scenarios such as healthcare and financial consultations, parent-teacher conferences, government-provided public services, curbside pickup and retail store visits, internal trainings, IT helpdesk appointments, and even candidate interviews. Integration with Teams allows you to conduct these appointments virtually via Teams meetings, and keeps Teams as your hub with schedule management via the Bookings app in Teams. Bookings helps alleviate the hassle of scheduling by reducing repetitive tasks and delighting end-users.
We are continuing to evolve Bookings and address the growing need to schedule and manage appointments both inside and outside of your organization. We are bringing you an enhanced, redesigned user experience and adding new capabilities to support broader use cases and large-scale deployment.
If you choose to sign up for the early access private preview of Bookings features, you can experience these updates later this year and have the opportunity to test them and provide feedback. Here’s what we have in store:
Brand-new flows to simplify how you set up your Bookings calendar
Whether you are opening Bookings for the very first time or are a seasoned pro that is interested in using Bookings in even more ways, starting from scratch can feel overwhelming. That is why we are implementing new experiences to help guide you as you set up your Bookings calendar. We want to give you the power of customization and versatility, without the headaches that come with starting fresh.
Creating a brand-new Bookings calendar for the first time
We want to simplify the steps you need to take to get a functional calendar, so you can start making appointments through Bookings right away. Our new creation experience will help you do just that with a simple, user-friendly setup experience. The guided prompts capture key information such as calendar name, logo, service type, availability, booking page access, and quick-add for staff members in one easy flow. Your Bookings calendar is then constructed behind the scenes, the booking page is published, and you can promptly start scheduling appointments. It’s that easy! All of these settings are populated within the Bookings web app, where you can visit the Bookings calendar to make changes or expand the configuration with the full menu of settings and customizations. This new experience simplifies the calendar creation process, saving you time and resources.
Many organizations tend to perform the same services and conduct the same types of appointments across multiple departments and locations. These appointments and their related booking experience needs to be consistent, yet still slightly customized to fit the particular department or location. To help you save time and more easily scale Bookings across an organization, we are introducing a new experience where you can quickly create a new Bookings calendar based on the configuration of an existing one.
Using an existing Bookings calendar as a template to create a new one
When creating a new Bookings calendar, you will have the option to create one from an existing calendar that you have access to. Once a calendar is selected, you will then be able to select which attributes of the Bookings calendar you would like to copy among services, staff, and general settings. Select specific entries within each element, such as particular services or staff members, for added customization in the setup experience. Your new Bookings calendar can then be named and published right away, and later be accessed from the Bookings web app. Whether you are a financial institution trying to roll out the same Bookings calendar for each branch location, or an HR department that wants each team to have the same scheduling experience for candidate interviews, this experience allows you to maintain consistency and uniformity across your Bookings calendars while still leaving ample room for customization.
Refreshed user experience within the Bookings app and scheduling webpage to streamline creating and managing appointments
To more easily manage appointments and coordinate schedules in one central place, we are bringing you an updated user experience that aims to surface the most important information and simplify day-to-day management of your Bookings calendar. We have redesigned the Bookings web app to ensure all entities of the Bookings calendar are seamlessly connected, providing enhanced versatility as you manage appointments, staff members, and customers. The fresh new design elements have also been brought to the web-based booking page for an improved experience for those that book appointments with you. Our goal is to help you get the views you need in the most effective way possible.
We understand that the calendar view is where you end up spending most of your time after initial setup. That is why we are making updates to the way you view the calendar within Bookings to ensure you can quickly find what you need and take necessary action. You might want a birds-eye view of this week’s appointments, or maybe a detailed look at when a specific staff member is scheduled. The new calendar experience helps you do just that by providing customizable access to the calendar views that are most important to you. Instead of viewing all appointments at once, you can select specific services or staff members to obtain a focused view of the schedule. Additionally, we’ve added alerts to let you know when appointments may be at risk, such as those where a staff member is unassigned or a recent conflict has surfaced. This allows you to easily triage the Bookings calendar and view your appointments in a flexible way.
For those that manage multiple Bookings calendars within your organization, we are introducing a new experience that allows you to browse and locate the calendars you need more easily. Whether you are an administrator that keeps track of customer appointments across multiple branches, or an educator that provides advising across a variety of subject matters, you will be able to see one view of all the Bookings calendars you belong to. You can easily toggle between them, keep track of those that are most important, and even download an aggregate report of all recent appointments for the selected calendars.
Enhanced controls that bring versatility and customization to your Bookings calendar
Bookings can be used in a variety of ways and is relevant across different industries and organizations, both large and small. Every organization is unique, which is why Bookings provides an experience that can be customized to your needs end-to-end, from internal management to the end-user booking experience.
Organizations that want more control over how Bookings is implemented and used will now have access to new settings within the admin center. To prevent collection of sensitive information from those booking appointments, admins can choose to remove elements such as phone number, address, notes, and custom fields from new booking forms, both within the Bookings app and on the web-based scheduling page. Admins can also protect staff information by preventing it from being shown to customers and end-users via appointment notifications. Once these settings are changed, they will be implemented across all new Bookings calendars within the tenant to ensure consistency across the organization.
In order to provide more flexibility with who has access to information within a Bookings calendar, we are introducing a new role type for staff. As an addition to the Administrator, Viewer, and Guest roles this new role will have write-access to only the calendar itself to create and edit appointments. They will not be able to make edits to other sections of the calendar, such as appointment types and staff settings. This new staff role is ideal for organizations that need someone to manage all of the appointments flowing through Bookings without having to worry about them making unwanted changes to other settings.
Experience new features – sign up for the private preview
We are continuing to add new features and capabilities to Bookings and provide a simple and reliable scheduling experience that can be customized and scaled for use across your organization.
If your organization is interested in being among the first to try these new beta experiences in Bookings, please fill out this form to be contacted with more details. We will be providing early access to these experiences, and others, later this year in a private preview and are eager to hear your feedback.
Be sure to also check out Outlook and Bookings at Microsoft Ignite 2020. The sessions should start to light up at 8AM PT on Tuesday, September 22nd. We can’t give out stickers at Ignite this year but feel free to download our free digital give-away from here.