Using Bookings with Shared Calendars

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Occasional Contributor

We just switched over to Office 365 at work and I want to understand if Microsoft Bookings will be able to work for us or not. We are a charity that runs nature education programs.

 

I have always used multiple shared calendars in order to schedule my staff for classroom programs (two 1-hour programs on separate days), workshops (1-hour programs) and outdoor programs (full day hikes and snowshoes). I have one shared calendar for classroom/workshop programs and one for outdoor programs. Can Bookings book into the shared calendar rather than personal staff calendars? We have full time staff but also contract guides that lead outdoor programs. Staffing is incredibly complex and it would be better if I could assign staff to what gets booked into the shared calendar. Does anyone know if this is possible?

 

Furthermore, we usually have one teacher booking programs for multiple classes. Can they do that all at once or would they have to do 6 different bookings for 6 different classes?

 

Thanks for reading! 

7 Replies

@JaclynAngotti I am attempting to configure MS Bookings for a similar purpose - I need to be able to assign staff to bookings but I cannot allow clients to book specific staff. 

 

Essentially, I need to be able to assign staff members to an appointment 'queue' each day - so John may be responsible for all bookings in appointment Queue A on Monday, and Jane responsible for Queue B, while the rest of the team focus on offline work.


However, if John or Jane are running behind, or ill, or if urgent issues arise, I may need to ask Chris or Casey to switch from offline work to take over appointment Queue A or B.  

 

This would be easiest where the booked appointments sit in their own queues, but not automatically assigned to specific staff members. Any solution in this regard would be terrific.  

@David_Nicholson Hi David. We would like something similar. Unfortunately, I don't think MS Bookings can do this yet. We never got a resolution and abandoned MS Bookings. I think we're going to try Amelia. Amelia - WordPress Appointment and Event Booking Plugin (wpamelia.com). Best of luck!

Hi Jaclyn

I feel like this is entirely possible, but it needs some reframing of what you want to do...

The MS Bookings mailbox/site is effectively a shared calendar that all staff members (provided they are added in) can view and make appointments on. So, here's what I feel like would work;

Create a MS Bookings site with two services (Classroom Programs/Outdoor Programs) and set it up the way you want.

Create a guest staff member (or members) with a fake email (Staff1@contoso.org, something like that) and assign that staff member to the service/services. From here you can set your service up as 'available when staff are free' so that you cannot receive multiple bookings on the same day.

Set up your staff members as administrators or viewers, but don't assign them directly to the service (so they cannot be 'booked').

Next, on your staff members (real) Outlook/Calendar add in the MS Bookings site name @ yourorg (E.G. SchoolBookings@Contoso.org) as a calendar.

With this setup a staff member can view the shared calendar any time they like (from Outlook) and place the booking into their own (personal) calendar where appropriate.
Hi David. There is a setting within the service marked as 'allow customers to book specific staff' - all you need to do is untick that box.

@Kiroley  Hi - thanks for that - would this mean that the 'dummy' calendar would need to have an AD account associated with it? We currently have a shared team email address/calendar which I would ideally use for this purpose, but I'm unaware of a username/password which goes with it..? 

Kia Ora David!

Just to clarify, when you create an MS Bookings site it will create an account in Azure AD (with a mailbox attached to it).

When you create guest staff it does not create an associated account in Azure AD. For example, I could add a guest staff member who is a contractor from outside our organisation and use their organisations email address. They can still receive meeting requests but cannot view or administrate the MS Bookings site and calendar (or add the MS Bookings calendar on Outlook as they are outside the domain).

Alternatively, you add in the shared mailbox (It will have a username the same as the mailbox SMTP address E.G Sales@Contoso.com) as a staff member and assign them to the service. That way the shared mailbox's calendar can be booked by customers.
Thanks Kiroley :)