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Microsoft

Today we are getting you up to speed on the two biggest features that have launched within Microsoft Bookings in the past few months. Two of the most consistent pieces of feedback we received is that you conduct many meetings online and have “class-style” services where you need several people to book the same appointment time. We listened to that feedback and have added that functionality to Bookings to help you succeed.

 

Support for online meetings

In today’s world, people are engaging with businesses more and more from the comfort of their home, or even from across the world. Online meetings allow you to maximize appointment scheduling and allow your customers to meet with you from anywhere.

 

To add more flexibility to your business’ service, we have introduced the ability to add an online meeting to a booking. The services your business provides and the appointments your customers need to make are different, so we know your booking options may need to be different too.

 

When creating a service within your Bookings page, you will see a toggle to indicate whether or not you would like the service to have an online meeting option when booked. If the toggle is turned on and your organization has a Skype or Teams license, each booking that is made will automatically have a Skype or Teams meeting link added to it. Staff members must have online meeting capabilities as a part of their Office 365 license to schedule online meetings. Have a particular service that is still better done in person? Simply leave the toggle off and see the same booking experience you’re familiar with.

 

Set specific services to have online meetings enabled when booked with a simple toggleSet specific services to have online meetings enabled when booked with a simple toggle

 

Once an online meeting has been booked, the Skype or Teams link will be available in the calendar event. This is shown in the customer’s calendar, as well as the staff’s. People who booked the appointment will be able to join the online meeting directly from the confirmation and reminder email, and even from their calendar. When it’s time for the appointment, participants simply join through the meeting link via a web browser in one-click, directly from the Teams mobile app, or by dialing in from any phone, and can then carry out the appointment with ease.

 

People who booked through Bookings can join the appointment directly from their calendar if they have Skype or TeamsPeople who booked through Bookings can join the appointment directly from their calendar if they have Skype or Teams

 

Ability to book

One of the most frequent requests we get from our users is the ability to accommodate booking multiple customers for a single service, which is why we have prioritized this feature and are rolling it out now. Whether you want to make it easy for customers to sign up for a yoga class or have participants register for a conference session, group bookings is here to help. Now when you set up a service to be booked, you will be able to specify how many people will be allowed to book that service. As people start booking the service, the specific time slot and staffer will remain available until all bookable slots have been filled. When customers cancel their appointment, the spot opens up for others to book.

 

Set specific services to have online meetings enabled when booked with a simple toggleSet specific services to have online meetings enabled when booked with a simple toggle

 

As always, please let us know what you think about these features and Bookings overall! We love seeing your feedback in UserVoice and learning about what you want to see in the future. It’s our goal to continue to make Bookings a powerful solution for your business.

36 Comments
Regular Visitor

So how should the setting be set for group bookings? Because as of now, if I make it available to let's say 10 people, as soon as the first one book from the booking page, it is no longer available to anyone else....That surely can't be how it is suppose to work.

Visitor

Thanks Jessica, was so happy to find this feature and that Teams has enabled the ability for guest users and guest meeting attendees.  This will likely allow me to decommission Zoom in our org. And thank goodness for that, b/c their security and compliance is pretty abysmal.

 

One feature that still feels missing from a Teams meeting is the ability to add a file attachment to the meeting invite. But it's not a deal-breaker. You can still accomplish it if you have Outlook with the Teams add-on.

https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/38658901-add-a-feature-to-atta...

Senior Member

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Contributor

@Jessica_Wilczek  Both of these features are great additions to Bookings! Unfortunately, the Group bookings features seems to have some bugs (or limitations) and is working inconsistently for different people. For those who can use it, it seems that one has to define a separate service for each instance of a self-service group booking if there are multiple instances on one day. Only if each instance is scheduled for a different day, it appears you can define a single service with multiple group time slots as posted in this thread:

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-bookings/group-bookings-in-ms-bookings/m-p/1183551#...

  Is that expected behavior or a bug?

 

Also, the feature itself is very unintuitive. Is there any documentation from Microsoft on how this feature is supposed to work and what it can and cannot do to answer the questions in the above and other posts here in Tech Community? It would be great if someone from the Bookings team could chime in and provide guidance. 

Senior Member

Hi @Kreera House 

Thank you for sharing. Unfortunately your workaround is not ideal for us, as we do around 10 group meeting per day. Have you raised a ticket with Microsoft regarding the bugs? 

 

Hi @Jessica_Wilczek Can you please give us an  update on this?

Senior Member

Hi Jessica,

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, we started using Microsoft Teams to treat suspicious COVID positive patients who visited our Emergency Rooms in each of our hospital facilities.  We have also started using Teams to do the 1:1 evaluations for Mental Health patients.  There are other opportunities that we are exploring such as using the platform to do group meetings.  At first, the 2x2 video capability of Teams was a stopper but now with the 3x3 option, we understand that it will be possible and that it will worked for us.  These groups meetings have to be coordinated by us because we don't plan to open the booking web page for them to book.

At the moment we are testing Bookings for those group meetings for which have configured a service in Bookings with a max capacity of 9 participans (due to the 3x3 limitation).  We haven't figured out how to book all the participants for the same meeting.  I think there is a limitation on the way the systems works, it will be usefull if you could add more clients/patients for the same service/meeting.  

I noticed if you have a meeting type that was created before the feature was created, you cannot add multiple person bookings to it. But, new meetings allow the feature without issue.

Contributor

@PM2O2O  I have raised this issue of not being able to schedule multiple group sessions on the same day to the product group and am waiting for support.

 

@Christine_Wilson  I see the same behavior: The multiple participant setting works only on services created after the feature became available.

@Kreera House Thanks for support here. It is be design that this feature only works for new services and is not available for older services. Feel free to create new service for Group Bookings.

 
Regarding 'schedule multiple group sessions on the same day', can you share some details for this? Either you can share the details here or on UserVoice and we will take a look.
 
Occasional Visitor

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@SisselaN Hey thanks for reaching out. Currently we do not have a way to forward bookings. But a workaround would be, to expose you mailbox link to the client and they can book the required slots themselves. This would save the hassle of the admin. Thanks for your interest in Bookings.

Occasional Visitor

@Radhika_Khetan_MSFT thank you for your quick respons. Right after I posted this I realised I could forward forward the confirmation and it looks like you can reach the teams meeting from there. 

 

Thank you.

Occasional Visitor

@Radhika_Khetan_MSFT I have started using Microsoft bookings to hold training sessions for our clients. However as i'm using the system, there are quite a few things to still think about...

 

1) The ability to setup webinar training sessions is very fiddly. if i have a couple of training sessions on a Thursday and then several sessions on a friday and no other training sessions needed, i have setup 2 schedules in the service with a different date range.

 

2) also if an attendee has made a mistake with a booking, there is no ability to change the booking for them?

 

3) there is also no way to delete a calender, once it is no longer needed. this can only be achieved through the admin centre..... 

 

4) it would also be good to have the ability to search for a user and see which sessions they have signed up for? i have to go through each session manually to find them currently. 

 

this software still needs a lot of tweaking to make it a usable product for training sessions and webinars.... its getting there slowly!

Frequent Visitor

How do we set things up so guests can join a MS Teams meeting created in Bookings?

Occasional Visitor

Hi,  

 

We have started to investigate Microsoft Bookings and have a couple of question about online Booking features. 

In the demo that you show, the online booking creates a calendar invite for the person making the booking and the service provider.  There are a couple of strange behaviours.

1) For online meetings, the appointment in service provider's calendar does not contain the name of the person making the booking in the booking subject (or anywhere else)

2) For online meetings, the appointment in the client's calendar (i.e. person that made the booking) does not contain a link to the meeting (the confirmation email is nicely formatted and contains a button etc...but the actual calendar invite has not information).

 

Are we doing something wrong, or are these features still in the making?

 

Occasional Visitor

Hi,

 

We have a question about the online booking features in the Bookings App.  We are currently using Skype for Business (Hybrid onprem/cloud implementation) AND MS Teams.  When allowing online Bookings, the app always defaults to MS Teams.  However, we would like it to default to Skype (or allow people to select), because Skype also provides the dial in telephony options whereas MS Teams does not.  Is there a way for the app to default to Skype when you have both Skype and Teams?

 

Thank you.

@Mariagra Thanks for highlighting this feature request. We really value this feedback. Currently we do not support it. We will get to it sooner but we don't have a precise timeline for it yet. Regarding your questions on online meetings, the service provider can get all these information from the Bookings Calendar. Thanks for your interest and support to Bookings!

New Contributor

Is there a way to remove a customer who was added to a group bookings? When I edit the group booking, the only option I have is to Edit the customer details and notes, but not to remove it. It would make sense to have a Delete icon next to the Edit icon for that specific customer to remove them without having to Cancel the whole group booking.

 

Thank you.

Hey @Christine_Chong Thanks for highlighting this feature request. We really value this feedback. Currently we do not support it. We will get to it sooner but we don't have a precise timeline for it yet. Thanks for your interest and support to Bookings!

Contributor

@Radhika_Khetan_MSFT  - in the use case of having a training course with a morning and an afternoon session, we attempted to configure the sessions as shown in the screenshot, which resulted in the error below.  After more trial and error to accomplish this type of schedule, I think our workaround is to manipulate the "Time increments" value for the service until we see the correct class times become available. If we increase the increment to, say, 4 hours, then the schedule ends up with only one morning and one afternoon session at appropriate times. This lets us save the schedule but is awkward to implement as you have to fiddle with the settings until you get what you need.

 

group-sessions multiple.jpg

 

Update 7/9/2020 - Turns out we overlooked the little + symbol that allows us to specify multiple windows for a single day. Doh!

Contributor

@PM2O2O  - As long as your meetings don't overlap, try creating one range and adjust the time increments, default duration and then the day's start and end time. That should then work. 

 

Something to watch out for is your staff configuration. You will want to assign a specific staff member to this service or Bookings will randomly assign each session to a different staff member that exists on your site and you need to turn off "Events on Office calendar affect availability". Otherwise, if that staff member has any entries in their calendar, that will cause time slots to disappear from the list of available class times.

group-sessions-day.jpg

 

In the calendar, you can see how many seats have been booked in which class:

 

 group bookings calendar.jpg

Occasional Visitor

When you have an teams online meeting with a booking, the company information (the person booking) along with any notes they wrote does not show up anywhere. Has anyone else experienced this or is there a way around that?

 

Basically, if customer notes or any custom items were included in the booking, they don't show up anywhere. Now it's just the teams link.

Senior Member

Hi, Jessica, hope that booking created in Teams can be edit in Bookings website.It's useful and convience for admin to assign resources

Occasional Visitor

One feature that I find missing from the Online meeting option (while team is useful for those on the computer) What about mobile users? Many clients would prefer to have a dial in to a teams meeting. Is there a function in which you can send a follow up email with the Teams meeting number and pin?

Visitor

Hi, 

 

I want to only allow one booking per customer? I do not want a customer who already has one booking in the system to click "new booking" in order to book another appointment. Is there anyway to disable that "new booking" button?

Hey @danlif20 Currently we do not support this. We allow a customer to make multiple bookings. We will take this as a feedback. Thanks for your interest in Bookings.

Occasional Visitor

I have found that if I choose "1 day" for my service duration instead of a number of hours like "8 hours", even though I have maximum attendees set to "20", it only accepts 1 booking.  After that, the day is greyed out, even though on the calendar view of the admin page it says "1 out of 20 seats have been booked".  Is this a bug?  My only workaround is to create 19 more dummy mailboxes and add them as "staff", since it is only allowing 1 booking per staff member.  If I use "8 hours", I can successfully have 20 customers book the same time slot.  I did notice that when you choose "1 day", I get a warning that says "Please note, personal calendar availability will not be accounted for in multi-day services".  I suspect this warning isn't telling the whole story.  My service is only 1 day, not multi-day.  The staff member is just a dummy mailbox that will never have anything on it's personal calendar, so I am not concerned about overlap with a personal event.  Am I missing something?

Frequent Visitor

Hi.

Will there be an option to add equipment/room/vehicle to a booking?
In many cases several Staff members would need to share a limited number of e.g. expensive equipment or assign a vehicle from a car pool to certain bookings.

I also have (internal) cases where we would like to just book equipment and rooms without assigning staff (and without having to create e.g. a resource account for each equipment. In my testing I have not succeeded in creating a "staff" that's in fact an equipment unless I assign an unique email adress to each equipment ("Staff").

Microsoft

I am having the exact same issue as @jasoncap. Could you @Radhika_Khetan_MSFT or someone else respond as to whether this is a bug or a missing feature?

Visitor

We have started to use bookings for covid 19 related bookings to reduce numbers availing of services.

 

Each day we have 30 minute slots between 10 am and 4pm. each slot has 10 places.

We also use one required custom field.

On the booking page, the optional customer notes field is displayed but the notes do not get saved or presented anywhere. This is  a major issue for us. Is there any where we can look to see these notes (from my research online so far, its seems to be a bug/not available for group bookings)?

 

If there are no plans to fix this issue, is there someway to remove the customer notes field from the booking page?

 

Also, when printing the detailed agenda from the calendar view, neither customer notes, nor the values of the custom field are displayed. Is this planned to rectify also?

 

thank you

 

Mark

Frequent Visitor

Hello,

This article states that "When it’s time for the appointment, participants simply join [...] by dialing in from any phone, and can then carry out the appointment with ease."

Unfortunately the Microsoft Business Support acknowledged that there are issues with the dial-in numbers. A Microsoft Teams Meeting will be generated and a link will be included in the confirmation email, but neither the confirmation email nor the meeting invitation will contain the meeting ID or the dial-in number. Appropriate licenses are available on our site. Dialing in only by phone is therefore not available yet.
Microsoft Business Support confirms that telephone dial-in has not yet been implemented in Microsoft Bookings.

 

There are also problems with the formatting of the meeting invitation. For example, currently only the link to the logo is inserted instead of the graphic itself. All further links are also displayed as full URL.

Visitor

hi @Radhika_Khetan_MSFT do you know if there is any work being done around the customer notes issue for group bookings?

 Either the ability to view notes or to remove the field

 

thanks

 

Mark

Senior Member

@markotoole 

 

You're able to see notes by going to the calendar event either on Bookings or on Outlook. You have to open the event to see the details of what anyone has entered. If you do not want the notes field added to your appointments you can remove that field in services, custom fields, and then deselecting the field.

 

customer notescustomer notes

 Custom FieldsCustom FieldsDeselect notesDeselect notes

Visitor

thanks @Melissa Garcia I thought that would be the case. But when I look in the outlook calendar it says to see the notes in the booking app. And in the booking app, the customer notes are not displayed for customers that are part of a group booking.  See attached images. But thanks for the advice on removing the customer notes field.

 

Markbookings1.pngbookings2.png

Senior Member

@mark Ahh, I see now. I tested on a group bookings and the same thing for me when I viewed from outlook, but I could see custom fields on bookings when I clicked on the customer. What I couldn't see was the customer notes field like you said however I could see the custom fields I made. They didn't appear at first, but after I set them to required they appeared. Not sure if that is a bug or if it just took some time for them to appear. 

 

 

Like @jasoncap  we are also experiencing issues with the attendees. We are trying to use the booking system as a hot desk solution, allowing our users to book out a slot at a particular office and floor. Despite setting the number of attendees to greater than 1, as soon as the first attendee books on the bookings page, the availability is gone, despite the booking showing '1 out of x seats have been booked'. It's as though it creates an appointment in the 'Staff' calendar  and then sees that member of staff as busy and doesn't allow any subsequent bookings. I have even removed the option of 'events on office calendar affects availability'.  The only solution I have at present is to create a member of staff for each hot desk per session and assign them to the relevant service.  It's rather annoying, I am gathering this is a bug, Any suggestions @Jessica_Wilczek ?