What is Microsoft Bookings?

Microsoft Bookings is an online scheduling tool that is part of Office 365 at Penn State. Bookings allows users to set up calendars and manage availability for themselves or a group, so that others can book appointments with them efficiently. Bookings can stand alone or integrate with Outlook calendar and email to ensure the accuracy of individual’s availability and to send event invitations and reminders.

 A Grooming service's Bookings calendar displayed simultaneously on the Bookings app and a computer screen as somone books an appointment
Figure 1: The process of booking an appointment using a Bookings site on both mobile and desktop.
Image source: Microsoft (2019)


Why Use Bookings?

Instructors 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 schdule a time for a meeting or event. Student groups can use Bookings to set up shifts at welcome week booths, club interviews, and more!

For more information, see Microsoft’s Overview of Bookings and Product Information Page.

Log In

Ready to get started with Bookings? Click Login on the Office 365 at Penn State Webpage and select Bookings from your apps menu.

The Microsoft Bookings icon- a segmented lowercase b
Figure 2: The Bookings logo.



Schedule a Booking

Did someone send you a link to a Bookings site so you can schedule an appointment? Learn more about scheduling a booking by reading the KB Article: Schedule and Appointment using Microsoft Bookings.

Want to know what a finished booking site looks like or practice making a Booking? Check out Microsoft’s sample Booking pages:


Set Up a Bookings Site

When you set up your Bookings site for the first time, there are several items you need to customize for your audience. 

A page showing the multiple customization options for a Bookings site including the publishing options, color schemes, social media connections, access settings, customer usage data consent (if you are collecting information about your audience) and the time zone settings.
Figure 3: The customization options found on the Booking page tab.


Managing Staff

Bookings allows you to add a team of staff members with whom your audience can book appointments and customize your staff's availability.

Note: Bookings refers to anyone on your team as "Staff"

  • Create a Staff List: Manage multiple people’s calendars and availability within Bookings. Anyone can be part of your Bookings team, and if you want someone to help manage your site you can add them as an administrator!
  • Set Staff Working Hours: Customize each team member’s availability within Bookings.

The Manage Staff page has a list of current staff, each staff member's role, whether or not they are bookable for appointments and their contact information.
Figure 4: A sample staff list.


Calendar and Booking Management

Once your basic features and staff list are set up, the next step is to customize your scheduling policies.

  • Set Scheduling Policies: Define the increments of available times, length, lead time, cancellation policies and automatic notification settings for different types of appointments.
  • Set Up Closures, Vacations, and Time Off: Set up your Bookings calendar to account for campus closures, holidays and any other time off.
  • Set Up Buffer Time: Some types of services and appointments require travel or set-up time. Build in buffer time for different services so it is automatically accounted for when a user sets an appointment.
  • Sync Your Staff’s Outlook Calendars to Bookings: Sync your team's calendars to Bookings so they can only be booked when they are truly available.
    NOTE: This step is optional and will only sync an individual’s main calendar. Additional calendars will not be accounted for.

a calendar layout of several staff members' appointments on both a computer screen and the Bookings app
Figure 5: The Bookings page calendar showing each staff member's booked appoinments.
Image Source: Microsoft (2019)


Publish Your Bookings Site and Start Booking Appointments

Once you've set up your site, added your staff, and customized your scheduling policies, you are ready to share your site and start booking appointments.

  • Publish and Unpublish Your Bookings Site: Make your Bookings site available to others, or take it down while you make changes.
  • Share your Bookings Calendar (Resource coming soon!): Share your calendar with others via a link, email, or social media.
  • Create and Staff a Booking: Schedule an appointment on behalf of a client and/or team member from the administrator view of your Bookings site.
  • Get a Report: Export your appointment data from Bookings to an Excel document.

Image Sources

Microsoft. (2019). [Animated Bookings site on desktop and mobile]. Retrieved from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2016/07/20/bring-in-b...

Microsoft. (2019). [Bookings calendat showing staff members' appointments]. Retrieved from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2016/07/20/bring-in-b...

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