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I've held numerous positions where I've needed to offer bookable appointments and trying to find a cost-effective bookable appointment solution was a never-ending challenge.
Fortunately, Google has added such a feature to its Calendar service and I'm here to tell you it's pretty sweet. Even better, the new bookable appointments feature is available to both the paid and free accounts.
Google's new bookable appointments feature is easy enough that anyone who knows their way around Calendar will have no problem adding it to their calendar. Once you've added a block of bookable appointments, you can then share it, so people can use it as a self-serve appointment calendar. It's simple enough on both ends that no one should have trouble using the feature.
However, I will offer one word of warning. If you use multiple calendars and want your bookable appointments to live only within a non-default calendar, you're out of luck. Even if you assign a block of bookable appointments to a non-default calendar, it will still show up in your default calendar as well. However, if you don't use multiple calendars, you won't notice a thing.
Let me show you how to add a block of bookable appointments to your Google Calendar.
How to create a block of bookable appointments
What you'll need: The only things you'll need are a valid Google account and a web browser (as the feature has yet to roll out to the mobile app). As I mentioned, this can be either a free or paid account.
1. Open Google Calendar
The first thing to do is open your default web browser and point it to calendar.google.com. If you're not already logged into your Google account, do so now.
2. Create a new appointment block
Click the Create pill in the upper left corner. From the drop-down, select Appointment schedule.
3. Name and customize the schedule
In the next popup, give the appointment schedule a name, set the appointment duration, edit the availability (by adding or removing days), and take care of the remaining customizations. Once you're done, click Next.
4. Finish the customization
In the final screen, you can add a few more customizations, such as the booking page, location, description, booking form (which requires specific information from those booking appointments), and edit the confirmation and reminders. When you complete this, click Save and your booking appointment schedule is complete.
Sharing your appointment schedule
If you click the small calendar icon in the upper left corner of the appointment schedule, a popup will appear, where you can then click Share.
In the resulting popup, you can then select how to share the appointment schedule (via link or website embed). You can then either copy the link and send it to those who need access to the appointment schedule, or you can embed the appointment schedule in whatever website you choose.
When someone visits the link (or views the embedded link in your web page), they'll see a page that makes it very easy to book an appointment with you.
And that's all there is to using the new Google bookable appointment scheduling feature. This is a great way to offer office hours or any other type of bookable appointment you might need.