*** NOTE: ALL INFORMATION IS ACCURATE AT DATE OF PUBLISHING ***
Typically if you think about the ability to make a booking online it would be for a service or experience of some kind. I might need to book dinner, or an appointment to have my dog groomed, but what about being able to book an internal resource for the company I work for? We are now in a weird time, with some organisations slowly trying to find their new normal. There are so many reasons why the need to book a resource might come up. If your office has set up for social distancing it might mean less desks, so the need to book a hotdesk or office for a period of time might be there. We can use Microsoft Bookings to do this.
First, make sure you have an email address for each user. You can add new users in the Microsoft 365 Admin centre. These users should be unlicensed. You’ll also need to add a new Bookings calendar (see this post for more details).
Once you’ve added the calendar in bookings, go to the Staff section and remove all members of staff apart from yourself, you will have the Administrator role and cannot be removed. You can however change your availability and make sure every day is a day off 😉
Next, add all of your ‘staff’ that are the hotdesks. You will need to add a name and the email address from the user you created.
Keep going till you’ve got them all set up.
Next, add your services. For the hotdesk scenario, each service is a set defined amount of time the we will allow someone to book a hotdesk for.
Within each service, make sure to adjust the fields by clicking on Modify in the Custom fields section. You can then click on the fields in the Customer Information section to de-select them. We will just ask for the name and the email address for the person booking the hotdesk.
Also on each service, in the section to Assign Staff, click to select only the hotdesk staff members. This will make sure that you or any other users who are Administrators of the Bookings calendar will not be displayed on the Bookings page.
Now we can update and publish the bookings page. All of the services will be displayed. If they are not in the order you want them in, you can drag and drop them within the Services section in Microsoft Bookings.
If you have allowed the staff member to be selected, all of the hotdesks will appear in the list. Only annoying thing, you can’t change the wording at the top that says Select staff. 😕
Once the date and time has been selected, the user can then add their name and email address, agree to the text added for the Customer Data usage consent in the Bookings Page settings, and then click Book.
They will then see a confirmation for their booking. Jane has Hotdesk 4 booking for 2 hours.
When the next person goes to book the same hotdesk on the same day, they will see reduced availability based on any previous bookings made for that resource.
The confirmation email for the booking that goes to the user who booked it will look like this. A bookings.ics file will be included with the confirmation email which they can use to add to their calendar.
If you don’t want the users to be able to select a specific hotdesk, there is a setting within the Bookings Page area where you can deselect this option below.
However, something to keep in mind, the users confirmation email will not show which hotdesk they have been booked for, so not very helpful. You could send some kind of additional confirmation email generated by Power Automate, but just be aware of this functionality.
Another thing to think about, when the confirmation email is sent, and the .ics file is added to the users calendar, the name of the ‘service’ selected is used as the subject. So, keep in mind that if I just see 1 Hour on my calendar, I might forget what it is. Adding the word Hotdesk in to the name of the Service will fix that, or whatever type of Resource it is that you are asking people to book.
Finally, we can see all of the bookings made for each hotdesk in Microsoft Bookings.
What do you think? Can you see other business use cases for using Microsoft Bookings for things other than booking time with people?
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