The Ultimate Meeting Scheduling Software Buyer's Guide

Interest in meeting scheduling software has surged in recent years and hasn't let up. New to the software? Here's what to look for in a Calendly alternative.
Sanja Mitar
Features
May 9, 2022
5 minute read

Interest in meeting scheduling software surged to previously unseen heights over the past two years and continues to grow in popularity. 

With most deskbound workers still confined to their homes, tech conglomerates and a cottage industry of upstarts have risen to the occasion. They continue to create new meeting scheduling tools and enhance existing ones to help us stay connected.

One of them was Calendly. Founded in 2010, the appointment scheduling software grew its userbase over the past two years as everyone from sales teams to senior management grappled with booking a time to chat with people inside and outside of their organizations.

But a recent viral tweet reignited a fiery debate about the inherent shortcomings of Calendly, making some question: “what else is out there?” And, “Is there something better than Calendly?”

Whether you're new to meeting scheduling software or simply want to find a better alternative to Calendly, look no further.

Our guide to meeting scheduling software offers a breakdown of the important meeting scheduling tool features. It also provides suggestions on what to look for when choosing an easy meeting scheduler.

But before we dive into things, let's define meeting scheduling software for the newbies and explain some of the benefits.

What is meeting scheduling software?

Meeting scheduling software helps individuals and groups of users determine the best time to schedule a meeting together. Scheduling software helps users share availability by connecting to a user's calendar, displaying their free and busy times, and generating a booking form or link that can be shared with other users who select their preferred time to meet.

Meeting schedulers are often designed to eliminate back-and-forth emails when determining the perfect meeting time. But that isn't always the case. Sometimes, they have the opposite effect and can lead to even longer conversations and more confusion when booking a meeting.

Benefits of meeting scheduling software

It's Easier to Stay Organized

Online meeting scheduling apps like Nook Calendar make it easy to keep track of meetings without searching through multiple calendars and can sync across multiple devices, so you always know what's next on your schedule (even if you're away from your computer).

Fewer No-Shows or Forgotten Meetings

Scheduling software reduces the likelihood of someone forgetting about a meeting. Meeting scheduling apps put events front and center in your calendar. They'll often send automated reminders and notifications in the event you or the people you're meeting with forget about a meeting or appointment.

Easy Access to Calendars

Online meeting apps that help you schedule meetings will allow recipients to conveniently select a time at their leisure, so you don't need to wait around for a response and manually add it to your calendar.

Alright, now that's out of the way…


7 Things to Look for in Meeting Scheduling Software


1. Calendar App Synchronization and Third-Party Software Integrations

Integrations are essential to meeting scheduling software. Without the ability to see availability, create an event in a calendar, or video conferencing software to facilitate a meeting, it's impossible to know when someone's free and book a meeting.

When selecting meeting scheduling software, check to see what calendar apps the software can be integrated with, such as Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook (many providers only sync with one or the other and not both). 

Also, check which communications software the app supports. Popular video meeting and calling software include Zoom, Webex, and Google Meet, among others.

2. Customizable Meeting Scheduling Booking Forms

Customizable booking forms and availability settings are the second most important factor when deciding which meeting scheduling software to choose.

Meeting scheduling software should have ample capabilities and settings when it comes to blocking off certain days, adjusting meeting lengths, adding buffers (such as blocked time slots and predetermined start and end times), and factoring in time zone changes. Users can share the times that work best for them while also creating boundaries to prevent overlap with other events.

3. Easy Booking Link Creation

Scheduling software should also provide users with the ability to select their preferred dates and times and share availability directly with recipients—either through direct links or embeds in messages—to reduce any further back-and-forth conversations. From there, any selected times are immediately added as an event in each person's calendar.

Although uncommon with some meeting scheduling software, Nook Calendar offers dynamic availability. Links aren't permanent, and as preferred meeting times are selected by invitees, available times are dynamically updated to reflect real-time availability and prevent double bookings.

4. Automated Meeting Reminders and Notifications

Booking a meeting is great and all. But what's the point if no one shows up or attendees are late to the meeting?

Automated reminders like emails, SMS messages, and push notifications alert recipients to meeting start times and reduce the likelihood of no-shows.

5. Mobile Friendliness and Ease of Use

Recent months have seen a shift towards hybrid and flexible working arrangements. That means, although many still work from home, people are increasingly away from their computers. They may be heading into the office, picking up their kids from school, or running errands while they work.

Meeting scheduling software should be easy to use for both the event organizer and the people responding to the request to meet, so creating shareable links or selecting a time to meet is simple even when someone's on the go.

Many booking software providers only offer web interfaces. Consider broadening your search to Calendly alternatives that are mobile-friendly and offer easy-to-use interfaces and are accessible whether someone is using an iPhone or Android.

6. In-Depth Meeting Analytics

The majority of our everyday activities are now digitized, and the last thing you probably need is another set of data to dig through that ends up distracting you from your actual work.

But meeting scheduling software can sometimes surface relevant insights—about repeat no-shows, meeting locations, and time spent in meetings—that can help you better plan your days.

Although accessing meeting analytics isn't necessary, they're certainly nice to have and becoming more common in the emerging scheduling software market.

7. Pricing

Last but certainly not least, you want to consider the overall cost of using meeting scheduling software.

For teams that want to propose meeting times more easily, Nook Calendar helps sync your calendar and set up meetings quickly and easily.

Meanwhile, organizations with larger teams can expect to pay anywhere from $8-16 per user for a service that offers paid plans like Calendly or another alternative.


What's the best meeting scheduling software?

At this point, if we were any other company, we'd create a list of the top Calendly alternatives and put Nook Calendar at the number one spot. But we're more transparent than that (biased opinion, but we think our scheduling and proposal software is pretty darn great). 

There are many meeting scheduling software reviews out there. But the answer to "what's the best software to schedule meetings" isn't so cut and dry. Some people are content with free meeting scheduling software while other individuals or teams with many team members (such as a sales team) may need more bells and whistles. 

This guide is simply a starting point. That said, we know it'll provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision when choosing a Calendly alternative or meeting scheduling software.

Try Nook Calendar today to see if it's right for you.

Whether you’re a sales superstar, in-demand consultant, busy recruiter, or someone who simply needs to schedule a lot of meetings, one thing’s for sure—you’ve probably booked a lot of them over the past two years.

Hybrid work has forced the majority of our meetings online, and while we appreciate being able to wear sweatpants during normal work hours, the time-consuming ballet that is sharing your availability, finding a time to meet, and adding it to your calendar isn’t quite as enjoyable. 

Speaking with everyone from solopreneurs to seasoned professionals, it seems like a lot of people find meeting scheduling software either costly, impersonal, or just plain boring. And Calendly and other alternatives don’t always cut it.

We hear you. 

Everyone is different, and so is how they work. Making good first impressions is important, and you shouldn’t have to pay a premium for them or basic customizations and integrations with your meeting booking system.

Nook Calendar’s meeting proposal feature is already used by tons of high-performing teams for selecting and proposing meeting times outside of their organization. 

Now, we’re making things even easier by letting you build personal pages with shareable calendar-booking links, right in Nook Calendar. Add them to your LinkedIn profile, email signature, website, or messages when finding a time to meet.

We think it’s the best meeting scheduling software out there, and we’re excited for you to give it a try, so let’s get started.

Here’s How to Set Up a Personal Booking Page in Nook Calendar

First off, if you’re new to Nook Calendar—hello! (If you’re already a Nook user, you can skip ahead.)

You’re going to start by syncing your calendar—either from Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook—and entering your work email address.

Once you approve any necessary permissions, you’ll set up your People Bar. Search for any connections and add the people you interact with the most when scheduling meetings.

From there, you can add any additional calendars you want to see (add your personal one, if you like, to further prevent any overlaps when scheduling meetings), integrate with Zoom (so you can launch calls straight from your calendar), and choose your preferred display setting—select Match OS, Light Mode, or Dark Mode.

Launch Nook Calendar, and you’re ready to set up your online meeting scheduler.

Now, the fun begins

You’re going to start by claiming your unique URL for sharing your meeting availability page. 

Your first name appears by default, but really, it can be anything. We recommend using your full name (e.g., /john-smith).

(You can always change your URL in the future, as long as it’s still available.)

From there, you want to complete your profile. 

Your profile pic is automatically pulled in from your Microsoft or GCal account.

But you can add your name, job title, welcome message, and links to social media profiles or professional website, so guests know a bit more about you when booking a meeting. 

Then, you can start setting your weekly availability.

Nook Calendar defaults to traditional time blocks—9–12 a.m. and 1–5 p.m. These are the hours someone can book a meeting from your personal page. Adjust them based on your availability. 

Your timezone is automatically set to your local time, but you can change it if you primarily work with people in a different timezone and it’s better to visualize that when setting your availability.

Choose which calendar you want to accept meetings in—it can only be booked in one, but Nook Calendar will automatically reference your availability in other calendars you’ve synced to prevent double-bookings when someone schedules a meeting.

Now, it’s time to set up some paramaters. 

You can set up your preferred meeting duration in either 15, 30, 45-minute or one-hour increments (or a custom time).

You can also add buffer time to give yourself a break between meetings, or set a lead time of up to 24 hours, so no one can book any last-minute meetings.

And you’re all set! You can preview what the page will look like, then share it with contacts or add it to your LinkedIn profile (we suggest adding it as a secondary URL), email signature, and anywhere else you do business.

Once someone books time in your calendar, you’ll receive an email and get a notification in the Pulse.

If you ever need to make any changes, you can access your personal meeting page in the bottom of the Magic Panel and make any adjustments—either to your weekly availability or personal information.

You can also remove your availability by simply creating events in Nook Calendar and marking them as Busy to block off time and prevent any bookings.

Nook Calendar’s new personal pages for sharing meeting availability are available on Web, iOS, and Android. 
If you have any questions or thoughts, we’d love to hear them. Hit us up in our Slack Community or contact us through Support.  
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