Integration with Microsoft Bookings

Microsoft Bookings is an online scheduling service that's been designed to help (primarily) small businesses manage appointments. On clicking a special link, your customers can access a simple interface called Booking page to book a meeting in a few easy steps. And even if you work for a larger organization, you can still use Bookings to let your customers or associates book time with you instead of sending them a meeting link.

The service is available only with the selected Microsoft 365 business plans. Being a Microsoft product, Bookings easily interacts and syncs with other Microsoft 365 apps, such as Calendar or Teams.

Integrating your Booking page link into email signatures managed by CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 is a good way to:

  • promote your intuitive booking interface and, consequently, enjoy greater income;
  • let your customers easily access your booking service, which translates into more conversions as well; and
  • save time otherwise spent on long email conversations to arrange for all the details. 

If you want to add the Booking page link to email signatures, you need to setup the integration in both Microsoft Bookings and CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365.

Microsoft Bookings configuration

With Microsoft Bookings, you get a rich set of mostly self-explanatory options to configure and personalize your bookings service. That's why, for the sake of this presentation, we will discuss configuration in the most general terms only. If you need a comprehensive guide on setting up Microsoft Bookings, we recommend watching this walkthrough video.

Initial setup & configuration basics

To start using the service, you need to log in to the Microsoft Bookings web app with your Microsoft 365 credentials. The app is available at book.ms. You can also access it via the app launcher in the Microsoft 365 portal (Fig. 1.). 

Accessing Microsoft Bookings from the app launcher in Microsoft 365.
Fig. 1. Accessing Microsoft Bookings from the app launcher in Microsoft 365.

If you haven't used Microsoft Bookings yet, you will need to create a booking calendar first. You can either create:

  • a common calendar for your business that will include all your services and all your staff that provide them - on accessing it, customers will need to choose both a service and a staff member; or
  • a template calendar as a base for individual calendars for all/multiple users in your organizationon accessing these, customers (or associates) will not need to choose a staff member but a service only.

Either way, the calendar or the calendars will store bookings only. They will not show events or any other data from other Microsoft 365 calendars in your organization. However, they will take events from your staff's personal Microsoft 365 calendars into account when showing availability hours. To create a new bookings calendar, click Get it now and Add a booking calendar (Fig. 2.).

Adding a new booking calendar.
Fig. 2. Adding a new booking calendar.

If you've chosen the first option (single, company-wide calendar), provide your company's name, define the area of your specialization, and click Continue (Fig. 3.).

If you've chosen the second option (multiple calendars), create a calendar that will serve as a template for individual calendars of your users. You can provide any details you want, e.g. name it Template calendar.

Providing company's basic information for a new calendar.
Fig. 3. Providing company's basic information for a new calendar.

After a couple of moments, a calendar will be created and you'll be taken to its dashboard. Using the menu on the left (Fig. 4.), you can configure different aspects of your booking service. If you've chosen to create multiple calendars, configure only these options that will be common to all (or majority) of your users (e.g. currency) to avoid unnecessary editing later on. Read on for details.

  • Business information - start with this page to set up basic information about your company such as name, logo, currency to pay for services, or phone. 
  • Services - use this page to add & configure each your service that will be available to book. In the multiple calendars scenario, it's a good idea to populate your template calendar with all the services your users will provide.
  • Staff - add people from and outside of your organization (tenant) who will provide services. In the multiple calendars scenario, it's a good idea to populate your template calendar with all the users for whom you plan to configure individual calendars. By default, each user will be assigned the Team member role which is OK because allows them to manage bookings and availability in their calendar.
  • Customers - you do not have to configure this initially - customers can be added later, including automatically based on the bookings made. 
  • Booking page - define all aspects of your booking interface - continue to the next section, to learn more. In the case of the template calendar (multiple calendars scenario), skip this menu altogether.
  • Calendar - once booking page is live, you or your users can use this menu to manage calendar, including add bookings for customers or add time off.

Company-wide booking calendar dashboard with the main menu on the left.
Fig. 4. Company-wide booking calendar dashboard with the main menu on the left.

Configuring your booking page (scenario #1)

The Booking page settings are the most interesting to us because here you can find a Booking page link to use in your signature(s).

First of all, you should decide who can access your booking page (Fig. 5., item 1). If you provide services for customers, you need to choose Available to everyone. That way, anyone who clicks the link will be able to access the booking page.

If you want to let your associates book meetings with you, you will be likely to select Available to people in your organization. Thanks to that, the Booking page will be available to people in your Microsoft 365 tenant only.

The settings available for the Booking page.
Fig. 5. The settings available for the Booking page.

Once you've configured everything as intended, you can finally publish your Booking page by clicking Save at the top. You can also click the link (Fig. 5., item 2) to access the page yourself to see how it looks like from your customers' perspective. At the end, use the copy button next to the link (Fig. 5., item 2) to copy it for a later use in our software.

Configuring individual calendars and booking pages (scenario #2)

If you decided on the option involving individual calendars for all/multiple users in your organization, you'll need to create the calendars based on the first 'template' calendar. To start, click Back to all calendars (top left corner of the template calendar dashboard) or simply log in at book.ms (if you're not logged in) - you'll get to the Bookings main dashboard.

Next, click Create new calendar and choose your template calendar as a base for your first user's booking calendar (Fig. 6.).

Creating first user's booking calendar based on the template calendar.
Fig. 6. Creating first user's booking calendar based on the template calendar.

In the first step of the wizard, click Edit to edit services and staff. Since you want to create individual calendars, choose just one user and service(s) they'll offer for booking (Fig. 7.). 

Editing staff and services for an individual booking calendar.
Fig. 7. Editing staff and services for an individual booking calendar.

The Name field in the next step is really important because the value you put into it will be a part of the Booking page link. A good idea is to use consistent naming convention across all your users. That way, individual calendars will be easier to manage and integrate with third party services like CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365. For even greater ease of integration, we recommend that you use values of attributes from your Azure AD. In our example, we are using the following format: '{First name} {Last name}' (Fig. 8.).

Info

The space(s) between the values are removed in the Booking page link, so its format should be something like this: https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/{firstName}{lastName}@yourdomain.com/bookings/

When you create a booking calendar, it is added to your Microsoft 365 tenant as a new user. As there can't be two identical users in a tenant, you cannot use your user's username when defining a name for a Bookings calendar. For example, if you have a user [email protected] in your tenant, you can't name a Bookings calendar MeganB. You need to use something different like Megan Bowen or BowenM

Defining individual calendar name.
Fig. 8. Defining individual calendar name.

Finally, similar to the first scenario, choose who can access Booking page to book appointments and click Create calendar (Fig. 9.). You'll be taken to your first user's calendar dashboard where you can configure all the options that need to be set up individually for that user.

Configuring individual calendar visibility.
Fig. 9. Configuring individual calendar visibility.

Repeat the steps from this section for the remaining users (staff).

In the case of this scenario, to integrate Bookings with the CodeTwo solution, you do not need to copy link to each user's Booking page. This time, just prepare a general template of a Booking page address that will apply to all users. In our example, this will be https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/{First name}{Last name}@consultit.com/bookings/.

How to add the Booking page link in CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365

Now, when your Booking page or Booking pages are up and running, it’s time to configure CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365.

  1. Go to app.codetwo.com and log in using your admin credentials.
  2. Choose the email signature to which you would like to add the link to the page or create a new one. Learn more about creating signature rules
  3. On the Senders tab, decide which users will have the Booking page link added to their signatures. In our example, these will be only the users who actually provide services (Fig. 10.).

Add these senders who are responsible for providing services to customers.
Fig. 10. Add these senders who are responsible for providing services to customers.

  1. Go to the Design tab and click Edit Signature (Fig. 11.) to open the template editor.

Accessing editor to modify existing signature rule.
Fig. 11. Accessing editor to modify existing signature rule.

  1. Move your cursor to the place where you want to insert the Booking page link. Next, click Meeting link on the editor’s ribbon (Fig. 12.).

Inserting a meeting link
Fig. 12. Inserting a meeting link.

  1. In the Insert meeting link window that opens, set up the options, depending on how you configured Microsoft Bookings:
    • Single calendar for your entire business (Fig. 13.)
      • Type: choose Custom link.
      • URL: simply paste the Booking page link you copied. Microsoft Bookings does not allow you to modify (e.g. shorten) the link in any way, so you need to use it as it is, e.g. https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/[email protected]/bookings/
      • Label and Picture: those fields let you decide whether to add the link to a text fragment, image, or both.
      • Click OK when finished to insert the Booking page link.

      Configuring the common link in the CodeTwo template editor.
      Fig. 13. Configuring the common link in the CodeTwo template editor.

    • Individual calendars for users who provide services (Fig. 14.)
      • Set up all the options as in the scenario #1, except for URL.
      • URL: paste the template of a Booking page address you prepared. In our example, we'll insert https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/{First name}{Last name}@consultit.com/bookings/ that uses user's First name and Last name Azure AD attributes to turn this general link into an individual one to that user's Booking page. If you enter the address manually or need to use different placeholders, the Placeholders button may come in handy.
      • Click OK when finished to insert the link that will take recipients to sender's individual Booking page.

      Configuring the individual link in the CodeTwo template editor.
      Fig. 14. Configuring the individual link in the CodeTwo template editor.

Once you save the signature template and email signature rule, changes will be applied instantly. From now on, people who get emails from users added in step 3 will be able to use the link in the signature to access Booking page and easily book appointments (Fig. 15.).

Accessing the company-wide Booking page via link in the email signature.
Fig. 15. Accessing the company-wide Booking page via link in the email signature.

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