We all depend on our calendars to run our lives these days. And for good reason, it’s convenient to rely on a calendar that shows your daily schedule and meetings all in one place. But it can get complicated.
For example, if you have personal and work Gmail accounts, opening up the calendar on your browser only shows one calendar, but the Calendar smartphone app shows multiple calendars at once. This can make things confusing.
You also have to deal with last-minute meetings, rescheduling, missed meetings, and much more. That’s why appointment scheduling apps have become so popular. These scheduling apps remove the manual, repetitive work associated with managing schedules and let you focus on getting things done and meeting your goals.
What is an appointment scheduling app?
An appointment scheduling app is an easy and efficient way to book meetings. All you have to do is create a link, and send it to people who want to book a meeting with you. Or you can include it on your website, Instagram, Facebook Page, email signature, and other locations so people can access your meeting link at any time.
All you do is set up when people can book meetings (or services if you’re a services business), based on the available times you set up. These apps also prevent double-booking and give you the option to block off times when certain times may be unavailable.
For example, if you’re a startup founder who’s going to spend two weeks on fundraising, you might block off all the morning times in your calendar to dedicate that time to investor calls only – while everyone else can book time with you outside of that two week period.
What a great appointment scheduling app includes
Scheduling apps are a dime-a-dozen these days. They all come with a standard set of features like free appointment scheduling and calendar integrations. But these are just basic features. If you want a scheduling app that truly stands out and makes you more productive, here are the unique features to keep in mind:
Integrates with multiple calendars to prevent double-booking
Ever use a scheduling app that double-books meetings on your calendar? Yeah, we don’t enjoy it either. Some appointment scheduling apps limit you to one calendar integration. If you use multiple calendars, but don’t have them integrated, you can end up being double-booked and having to manually move calls around. Basically, you end up wasting more if you choose an app that limits your calendar integrations.
Sends automated reminder emails and follow-ups
We’re all guilty of forgetting a meeting is going to happen as we work throughout the day. Choosing an online booking app that sends appointment reminders and email notifications ensures people are more likely to show up for meetings. If they can’t make the meeting, they can easily reschedule using the link in the reminder email in real-time.
Some apps even support SMS reminders, but these are mostly used by services businesses like salons, personal trainers, and spas to remind customers about their appointment.
Easy to read booking page lets people see your availability and book appointments
You don’t want people to be confused when they land on your booking page. Your availability should be clear to see.
Ability to set up work and off-hours with flexibility
As remote work becomes more common, work hours as a whole are going to change. Some people might refuse to do anything before 10 am while others might need to have meetings at 12 am with overseas colleagues. Your scheduling app should support setting up work hours based on your personal preferences.
Create different types of meetings
Are you running different types of meetings depending on your role? For example, if you’re a startup founder, you might be booking meetings for investor calls, interviews, sales calls, and much more. Using just one link for all those calls can cause confusion as you might not remember why you’re holding the meeting in the first place.
The scheduling app you choose should allow you to create different links for the types of meetings you’re holding which have unique text and reminders so you and the attendee know why you’re meeting.
Some examples of meeting types you can schedule with apps include:
- Investor calls
- Sales calls with prospects
- Hiring interviews
- Team meetings
Customize the URL of the booking page
As we just mentioned, creating different types of meetings is useful. To distinguish between the meetings, you should customize the URLs of the booking pages so users can see what type of meeting they’re booking in the URL. For example, investor calls can have a URL of “https://schedulingapp.investor-pitch-meeting” to show the meeting is for potential investors.
Create a questionnaire for guests to answer when they book a timeslot
It’s a great experience for everyone involved when someone books a meeting with a link. But what if you need more information from a person when they book a meeting with you? Your scheduling app should allow you to add in a questionnaire for guests during the booking process.
Examples of questions you can ask during the booking process include:
- What’s the agenda for this meeting?
- What’s the link to your design portfolio?
- How did you hear about us?
Easily add teammates to the booking link and check for their availabilities too
Scheduling a meeting for one person is easy enough with an online scheduling app. But what happens when multiple people need to be in one meeting? Many scheduling apps are designed for personal use so they don’t account for teams.
When choosing a scheduling app, look for one that has team booking features so people can see the availabilities of multiple individuals. This reduces the amount of back-and-forth in scheduling and makes everyone’s lives easier.
Leaves buffers between meetings and creates time blocks following meetings in case they run over
Sometimes, meetings can run over and get in the way of your tasks for the day. Some scheduling tools allow you to automatically put in a time buffer between meetings so you’re not booked back to back. For example, you can buffer 5 minutes between meetings to give you a moment to recharge when you have 2 back to back meetings scheduled.
How appointment scheduling apps benefit you
No one truly enjoys booking a meeting. It’s not fun and is viewed as a time-waster by many people. Here’s how an appointment scheduling app makes your life easier.
Manage your schedule without relying on assistants
As a busy professional or founder, you might find yourself needing an assistant to manage your day-to-day. But with the right scheduling app, you won’t need an assistant. People can view when you’re available and book meetings with you in seconds.
You can automatically account for blocked time slots and meetings that run over and manage your tasks for the day all in one location.
Make it easier to schedule appointments with multiple team members involved
We all dread having to book meetings when our team members are involved. Appointment scheduling apps make it easy to see the calendars of your team members so that meetings can be scheduled without multiple emails flying back and forth.
Save time and money
Hiring assistants to manage your calendar these days is an unnecessary cost. And the automation provided by scheduling apps makes it easy to manage your day without spending valuable time adjusting your schedule.
Better plan your workday
Do you mark all your tasks in your calendar so you know what needs to be done and what’s a priority? It’s all too common as we become more reliant on our calendars. With meeting scheduling apps, you can plan tasks around your meetings to improve productivity and ensure you get things done.
Some scheduling apps will even move your tasks around automatically to ensure meetings don’t get in the way of your productivity (we’ll go into more detail later on in this post).
Avoid sending multiple emails to book a meeting
Do you enjoy the back and forth to book a meeting with one or multiple people? With scheduling tools, users can easily book meetings without having to get assistants involved or sending multiple emails. Just one link can make booking meetings a breeze.
4 great appointment scheduling apps – and which one is best
As mentioned earlier, there are tons of scheduling software available these days. Between the free apps and paid apps, there are plenty of tools that can help you better manage meetings. After all, the best scheduling app is the one that meets your specific needs.
If you need help choosing an app, here are the ones we recommend checking out – and why there’s a clear winner. Each app also has free trials available to help you determine which is best for you.
Motion – the best appointment scheduling app for scheduling your day
What is Motion?
Looking for an appointment scheduling app that does more than just book meetings? Start using Motion.
Motion is an all-in-one time management tool that helps users schedule meetings, manage tasks, and find time to get things done. It reduces anxiety, procrastination, distractions, and clutter. Motion gives you the clarity, focus, and flow to be more productive. Industry leaders use our time management solutions, including Shopify, Airbnb, Slack, and Disney.
Motion also allows you to personalize/customize the booking page for important guests, to show their name and email.
Here are the key features of Motion that help make you more productive.
With Motion’s 1-click calendar, users can open their calendar at any time regardless of which tab they’re in. No more going to your calendar tab! You can also:
- Combine calendars, like Google’s and Outlook’s, into a single space
- Schedule meetings in the same tab
- And enter virtual meeting rooms with a single click
Having back-to-back meetings prevents you from giving time to other tasks. With Motion’s Events features, professionals have the flexibility to block time out on their scheduling apps.
What if a job pops up that requires immediate attention, though? Motion’s Intelligent Events algorithm will move your time block to a different, more suitable time. So you’re all set.
Intelligent Meeting Scheduler
Motion’s intelligent Meeting Scheduler encourages efficient planning and time management. Professionals can use the tool to build a custom meeting booking page and share it with colleagues. The scheduler also displays preferred meeting times on the platform to help you plan accordingly.
Motion’s pricing starts at $19/month with plans available for teams.
The bottom line of using Motion
Motion has the benefit of being a great all-in-one tool that makes you more productive with its appointment scheduling and productivity features. Get started for free by clicking the button below.
What is Calendly?
Everyone knows Calendly by now. It offers basic appointment scheduling features and integrates with Google Calendar, Office Outlook, and iCloud.
Premium accounts get access to unlimited event types and live support. Calendly is a decent starting point if you’re just getting started with online scheduling apps. Easy appointment scheduling and an easy to view calendar but not much else. You’ll have to rely on other apps for managing tasks or the calendars of your team. This is why most businesses go for more specialized scheduling apps as they grow.
Calendly offers basic scheduling features including:
- Multiple event types (locked behind a premium plan)
- Calendar links
- Integrations with multiple calendars, Salesforce, and Zapier
- CRM integrations
Calendly has an “Always Free” plan available with limited features. Premium plans start at $10/month and scale up from there based on team needs.
The bottom line of using Calendly
Calendly is a good tool if you just want basic appointment scheduling. If you want additional features around time management or boosting productivity, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
What is Doodle?
Doodle is mostly used to schedule appointments for multiple people. Every user’s calendar is displayed and makes it easier to book group meetings. However, Doodle falls short when it comes to viewing meeting availability across multiple dates.
As noted in the G2 review below, Doodle’s UI can be clunky and hard to use.
- Support for multiple calendars
- Group meeting booking
- Automated reminders
Doodle starts at $6.95/month (annual plan) and scales based on the number of users.
The bottom line of using Doodle
Doodle is famous for its group meeting scheduling. It’s best if you want to only book internal meetings, but if you want task management and productivity tools, look elsewhere.
What is Acuity?
Acuity Scheduling is a tool mainly used by services businesses. It supports recurring appointments, completing intake forms, and paying in advance for services (through PayPal or Stripe). You can also offer coupons and give clients the ability to add on services when they book, such as adding a 15-minute foot massage to a pedicure.
Due to its focus on services businesses, Acuity falls behind when it comes to supporting white-collar knowledge workers. If you need to manage your tasks for the day while managing office work, Acuity falls behind. Its booking process can also be a little cumbersome as the UI is confusing as noted in the G2 review below.
- Custom scheduling page
- Payment collection
- Customizable forms
Acuity starts at $15/month with limited features and scales up depending on the features needed.
The bottom line of using Acuity
For services businesses, Acuity can be a good option for handling client appointments. If you’re not a services business, look elsewhere.
Scheduling meetings doesn’t have to be a pain anymore. With all the scheduling apps available today, booking meetings is an easy process that frees up your time and keeps you productive. By choosing the right scheduling app, you can run your calendar on autopilot to get things done.
Get started with Motion’s free trial today to become more productive and free up your time.
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