Microsoft Bookings is still in a trial phase at the University of Oxford. Use the MS Booking Trial Sign-up Form for more information on accessing the service.
Nexus365 users who have been licenced to use Microsoft Bookings will see the Bookings icon (in the form of a stylised letter B) in their list of available applications when they visit https://portal.office.com.
It is also possible to go straight to the Bookings app's page.
The Bookings app is intended to provide pre-set meeting slots in your staff's diaries that anyone can book . The person making a booking only sees the types of meeting, and staff availability, that you have created. They do not need to know the names of bookable staff, or see staff members' calendars: they are simply selecting from a pre-configured list of services, and preconfigured times at which those can be selected.
Behind the scenes the page will check staff availability at the requested time and assign an appropriate member of staff to that request. The Bookings service you create can be made public, or limited to University members, depending on your needs.
The service is intended for, and marketed as, a service for small businesses. However it serves a useful purpose for University members in situations where you may need people outside the University to make appointments. For example you may have parents needing a pre-set time to drop off students' belongings, or for students needing to book a time for an interview.
To set-up Bookings you will need to plan in advance. You should consider:
- What type of meeting(s) you want to make available, and their duration.
- Will your meetings require 'buffer time' between them to allow for over-runs, clean-up, or contingencies.
- Who should be assigned to provide that service (and that they have agreed to be added to it).
- Whether the service you are creating will be open to the public internet.
- Number of attendees - your bookable sessions can be one-to-one or it can allow multiple people to book the same session.
- What information you need to collect from someone making a booking. You can use custom entry fields if necessary.
- How far in advance you want to allow people to make a booking.
Overview of Bookings' tabs
This is also where you configure your business hours - these are the hours each day in which people can make a booking. You may wish to limit these to a subset of the working day, for example if assigned staff will require time to attend to other duties.
Warning: Duplicated email notifications
If you fill in an email address in the 'send customer replies to' field, and also in the booking form, this can cause duplicate confirmation emails to be sent.
This is where you add the people who will be assigned to bookings created on the page that you are building. By default anyone you add here will receive an email notification to inform them of this, via a pre-ticked tickbox under 'Email notifications'. In the availability section you should tick the box that ensures pre-existing events in that person's calendar can't be double-booked. You can also set if this person is available for all of the already-set business hours, or for more limited ones.
On this page you configure the type of events/services you wish people to book, and assign staff members to them.
As a minimum you should give the service a name and a default duration. This is also where you set if the meeting needs 'buffer time'. For example, a 45 minute meeting with a 15 minute preparation/clean-up buffer will block out one hour in the calendar.
It is in this section that you set how many people can book the same slot ('maximum attendees'), and 'custom fields' let you ask the person booking additional questions.
Scheduling Policy lets you specify how far in advance people can book a session, and the least amount of notice they must give.
Assign Staff is the section where you can decide which of the already-added staff can be allocated to be in attendance for the booked meeting.
This is where you are shown the URL for the finished page, and a link to open it.
'Booking Page Access Control' allows you to determine whether access is open to anyone, or restricted to Nexus365 users within the University.
Scheduling Policy determines the default increments (i.e. a 30 minute increment would show bookable slots at 1:30, 2:00, 2:30 etc.)
There is a tickbox for email notifications
Warning: Duplicated Emails
If you ask for email notifications here and also in the Business Information tab you may receive duplicate emails.
In the 'Staff' section a tickbox allows the system to randomly select an available staff member from all of those you've set against that particular service.
The 'not bookable' section allows you to set exceptional periods where no booking can be made, even during times that would normally be bookable, such as during the Christmas closure period.
On this page you will be able to see the bookable staff and any commitments assigned to them via the Bookings app. The 'work week' view is the one which shows the most readable information at one time.
This is the page which end-users will interact with - note that if you have made your page public it requires no sign-in or authentication to allow people to make a booking.