Microsoft today unveiled Bookings, a new Office 365 service to help business owners manage appointment scheduling.
Customers can use Bookings to book appointments based on staff availability. Businesses can send email confirmations, reminder emails, and allow customers to reschedule or cancel their reservations with the new tool. It also gives business owners a calendar to easily view upcoming appointments and a “Customers” list that organizes new and existing contacts. Bookings also can integrate with Outlook or Google Calendar.
Bookings does not require your business email to be routed through Office 365. Only the business owner needs to own Office 365; employees nor customers need a subscription to use Bookings.
Bookings is rolling out to Office 365 Business Premium “First Release” subscribers and will soon be available to all Office 365 Business Premium customers worldwide. A Bookings mobile app will debut in the coming months, Microsoft noted.
Office 365 Business Premium costs $12.50 per user per month annually, or $15 per user per month on a monthly basis.
Microsoft is not the only tech company that offers scheduling software, but Bookings is a nice add-on for those that already use Office 365, and perhaps will help attract business owners to the platform.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday talked about Office 365 on the company’s earnings conference call, saying that Microsoft now counts more than 50 million iOS and Android monthly active devices using the service, up more than four times over last year. Microsoft added that Office 365 commercial revenue grew by 54 percent from last year; there are also now 23.1 million Office 365 “consumer subscribers.”
A new report published last month found that Office 365 is now the most popular enterprise cloud service. Its release five years ago was a key element of Microsoft’s broader shift away from the traditional one-time software licensing fees that drove its business in the early days of the company.
Microsoft announced last week that Facebook is an Office 365 customer. The social media giant uses pieces of the cloud-based software, vindicating the usefulness of Microsoft’s productivity suite for a high-profile, fast-moving tech company.