How often do you get asked for what times you can meet? Comparing two schedules to make a meeting happen can be a challenge, especially when you cross time zones or have a constantly shifting schedule.
Microsoft has created a free tool to help people request meetings from you and to be able to see what times of day you are open to meet. MS bookings is a tool that lets people request a meeting for open times on your calendar (based on your Outlook calendar). You can send people a link to a website that will show your available schedule and let them request a time slot.
MS bookings is free app available on the MS store. You may need an administrator to enable it. This is open to anyone using Microsoft Exchange in the cloud. There are instructions here to get the app installed for your organization: Turn Microsoft Bookings on or off.
Once the bookings app is created you can navigate to the bookings configuration page to set up your calendar. It will ask you to log in with your account and then you can create a new setup for yourself. There are details on how to set it up: Get Access to MS Bookings
As you set up your bookings calendar there are a bunch of options:
- What are the normal business hours you want to show as available
- How far out can people request a meeting (minimum and maximum) – IE they can only ask for meetings for the next day minimum but not more than a month out
- Set up Holidays and other days not available
- Whether to automatically add MS Teams web meeting to the appointment
- Some customization on colors and logos
- Whether the meeting could be for other staff
- Meeting are available to anyone, or just to people inside your organization
After you set up the bookings calendar, you will be give an website link to send to people who you would want to meet with. That link sends them a webpage that lets them pick the meeting type, and then see what times are available on your calendar. Then they fill in some information to set up the appointment. When they click the “book” button then the bookings website will send an appointment request to both you and the requester for that time. The website is integrated with your Outlook calendar so if you block off time during the day, it is reflected in the available times on the website.
Below is an example setup that has one meeting type of “Meeting (General)” for 30 minutes. You can see that only 3:30pm is available on the selected date.