Microsoft Bookings is an online scheduling tool and is part of the Microsoft Office 365 family of products. Faculty can use Bookings to provide their availability for office hours and allow students to book appointments. Staff can use Bookings to provide their availability to both internal and external colleagues and allow them to schedule a time for a meeting or event. Additionally, Bookings can be used on a department basis depending on what services are being offered. Bookings is integrated with Outlook calendar, MS Teams, and Office 365 email to send booking invitations and reminders.
Faculty and staff can establish specific hours of availability, including:
- duration of appointments
- acceptable lead and cancellation times
- automatic notification of booking changes
- virtual meetings via Microsoft Teams
- Students can book appointments
“The Academic Advising Center (AAC) has used Microsoft Bookings since going fully remote in March. We have 10 academic advisor calendars that are managed by a select few (1-3 staff members) on Microsoft Bookings. Once familiar, with the site it became very easy to use.
- Allows students to schedule themselves: Students select the time, day, and advisor that they would like to meet with.
- Can control availability: Administrators/staff are able to control when they are available for appointments and how many days out students are allowed to schedule. It is also very easy to block time off for meetings or vacation time.
- Appointment mode: Administrators/staff are able to offer virtual appointments by selecting the Microsoft Teams option in the service settings. This is how the AAC has been conducting all appointments since working remote.
- Syncs to Outlook: When a student schedules an appointment with an advisor in Microsoft Bookings it will appear on that staff member’s Outlook calendar.
- Allows multiple services: We have many appointment types in our office (new students, probation, graduation reviews, etc) and Microsoft Bookings allows us to distinguish between those appointments and assign specific team members to those appointments/services.
- Additional information: Microsoft Bookings allows us to ask additional questions when a student is scheduling an appointment. For example, we ask each student to provide their student ID number and other important information that is needed for their appointment.
- Confirmations and reminders: Students receive a confirmation email and email reminders when scheduling their appointment through Microsoft Bookings. The AAC includes important appointment information in each confirmation and reminder.
- Text Messaging: The AAC has decided to turn of text message reminders as it has caused confusion with appointment times. Reminders that went out in early March would display a different time than the email confirmation. This could have been updated/fixed since then but our office has decided to omit the text messaging option for now.
- Error Messages: Sometimes students receive an error message when trying to schedule an appointment but this is often because the student is using Safari or trying to schedule while on a mobile device. Additionally, if students are logged into their Outlook accounts then Microsoft Bookings will recognize them as an authenticated user.
All in all, Microsoft Bookings has been the best option for our office in regards to any scheduling software. Prior to working remotely, our office had looked into a number of other programs and none of them were able to meet our office needs as much as this program.”
-Academic Advising Center
“Bookings is going to be paramount to our success in completing new hire intakes remotely. The ease-of-use makes it friendly, time-saving, and manageable. So glad our IS&T team was able to present us with such a great scheduling option!”
-Talent Acquisition Team – Human Resources
“The Graduate Financial Aid Office recently moved from a third-party scheduler to Microsoft Bookings and are very excited about this transition. The setup was extremely easy, the students are already giving great feedback, and it is so seamless with our other applications like Outlook and Teams. Our office highly recommends Bookings!”
-Graduate Financial Aid Office
“We find Bookings quite user-friendly. Jessie did a GREAT job in walking us through the orientation and set up of the product for our Chat with a Chaplain Bookings, and responded quickly to us with any questions or issues we had. I look forward to using it more actively in the coming semester.”
-Fish Interfaith Center