This week a client had a question: “I’d love your help with deciding on the best scheduler. I need to send out a link with my calendar availability to about 20 people so they can make an appointment with me. I want this to be easy, free and professional looking while also able to sync with my google calendar.”

A great free tool is Google Calendar’s own Appointment Slots. It does only work if all the people you are invitingĀ have a Google account but is very easy to use. Normally when you click and drag on your Google calendar to create an appointment it will, by default, be a single event. You may have noticed that at the top of the data entry window that pops up to create an event is also “Appointment slots”

AppointmentSlot1

Click on Appointment slots and you’ll be shown a slightly different data entry box:

AppointmentSlot2

Now your event can either be shown available as a single appointment slot or you can break up the period into different slots of equal length

Click “Create slots” and you’ll be taken back to your calendar view, showing a single block. Double click on this block and you’ll be taken to the settings page for your appointments. Here you can add a title, location and description to your appointments and importantly, get a link to your calendar’s appointment page. You can either invite people to see this by adding them as guests, or send them the link in an email.

AppointmentSlot3

When people view the calendar url they will see all the appointment slots you have available like this:

AppointmentSlot4

They can click on their preferred available slot and enter their name:

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If you’ve filled in What, Where and Description on set up then these will be filled in automatically. When the person clicks Save then they will see the calendar availability change and show they’ve taken the slotAppointmentSlot6

 

In your own calendar, the slot they’ve chosen will appear as an individual appointment, alongside your original block.

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I’m not sure why Google haven’t extended the ability to make appointments to anyone without a Google account. This of course may be problematic if you’re not sure if this is true for the people you want to invite. Unfortunately in this situation then it’s likely that a paid solution is needed. You may want to take a look at the following that have been recommended to us:

ScheduleOnce

BookFresh

TimeTrade

vCita

Timely

Some of these applications allow payments to be taken for appointments, so may be ideal if your client offers coaching or otherwise charges for appointments. Most integrate with a Google calendar and in to WordPress websites.

What do you use? Do you have any recommendations for online scheduling of appointments?

 

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