Calendly Expert Review, Pricing, Alternatives - 2022
Calendly stands out from its competitors for its ease of use, slick design, and the amount of time it saves. It’s also one of the few scheduling tools with an indefinite free plan.
- Calendly’s simplicity is its biggest pro. It has an elegant user interface, it's very easy to navigate, it promptly gets the task done, and connects seamlessly with other applications.
- The reduction in back-and-forth emails. Your invitees can book a meeting slot, without reaching out to you multiple times. Calendly automatically sends them a confirmation and they can reschedule or cancel on their own. It’s even better for virtual meetings because once your invitees schedule a meeting with you, Calendly will automatically generate a meeting link based on your preferred video conferencing tool.
- The ability to set your own rules so that you can get complete control over your availability preferences. For example, you can decide how long a particular kind of meeting should be, buffer time between meetings, how many appointments can be booked per day, etc.
- Calendly seamlessly integrates with popular calendar and mailing tools. Meetings are automatically reflected on your personal calendar and video conferencing links with tools like Zoom or Google Meet are generated without any extra steps.
- Besides branding and the ability to choose different colors, Calendly does not offer a lot of options for customizations. This could be frustrating for users who want to embed Calendly in their website without making it seem like a completely different component.
- Calendly is not very mobile-friendly. You can’t perform all the functions on the mobile version.
- The payment collecting feature is not available in all currencies. Your invitees can only pay in the United States Dollar (USD), Australian Dollar (AUD), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Pound Sterling (GBP), and Euro (EUR).
- You’ll be severely limited in terms of features if you choose the free plan or the cheaper ones. According to Craig, a Customer Success Manager at a small business, “All advanced functionality is locked behind higher subscription levels – We have the Professional level so that we can set up a team, but they locked the most obvious and useful meeting type for teams behind yet another upgrade to the sub level.”
Calendly is a cloud-based meeting scheduler that aims to eliminate back-and-forth emails. One of the first things you’ll notice about Calendly is its slick design and a user experience that conveys simplicity. While gathering feedback from active users, we found that Calendly’s ease of use came up almost every time. Michael, a Digital Marketing Consultant at a small-sized business says, “Calendly is so easy to use. I haven't needed to contact support or refer to any help documentation, because the UX is just so intuitive and simple. I love how clean and simple the layout is. All my bookings are booked without anyone getting confused.”
How Calendly works is that you create a set of rules for your availability, integrate video conferencing tools, create your schedule, and share your calendar with your guests. You can either send your Calendly link or embed it on your website. Your meeting attendees can then pick a time from your available dates and you wouldn’t have to confirm their meeting slot, Calendly would automatically send them a confirmation mail with details.
Your invitees can reschedule or cancel a meeting, without your interference and needless back-and-forth emails. You can create personalized reminders and thank you notes that Calendly would automatically send to all attendees. One great thing about Calendly is the automatic timezone conversion it comes with, which makes it very easy for both the attendee and the meeting host to fix a meeting in their local time.
Calendly has a lot of useful features but one that stands out from the crowd is the team scheduling feature. What that means is that not only can you schedule one-to-one meetings but also create different types of group events. You can book events for multiple attendees or co-host the meeting with other people or even share the hosting responsibilities with other members of your team. The last one is referred to as a round robin event and can be particularly useful for HR teams that like to equally distribute their work. You can also create different calendars for different types of meetings, lengths of meetings, etc. so that certain kinds of meetings are scheduled for 30 minutes only and others for 60.
Be aware though, a lot of the features that make Calendly great, such as the ones listed above are only available in the paid plans. Another problem you might run into with Calendly is that syncing it with your personal calendar is not always accurate. For example, you book into a webinar that by default adds the meeting to the ‘Home’ calendar instead of ‘Work’. That can cause conflict with new Calendly bookings.
Calendly is simplistic and straightforward when it comes to scheduling. It may not be right for organizations who have complicated scheduling needs.
Quite a few users have qualms with Calendly’s functionality on the mobile app. So if you’re somebody who relies on a mobile phone for work, you might face some limitations.
Calendly has many big names in their customer base, such as eBay, Compass, Lyft, Dropbox, La-Z-Boy, Twilio, and Stack Overflow.
- 10 million user base spread across the world
- Used by 50,000 companies
- Over 100 partner integrations
- Ancestry, a genealogy company saw a 40% reduction in scheduling emails after using Calendly
- Cengage, an Ed-Tech company had a 30% increase in annual retention of employees after using Calendly
- AgriWebb, a company in the agriculture industry experienced a 75% reduction in time to schedule customer success calls because of Calendly
- Availability preferences: You can pre-define your availability preferences based on the type of meeting. For example, you can add caps on the meeting, add some buffer time before or after the meeting, or restrict invitees from scheduling at certain times.
- Time zone conversion: Calendly detects invitee time zones automatically, so when your guests book a slot from your available time, they book it in their own time zone. This reduces error, manual work, and multiple emails confirming the time.
- Team scheduling: Apart from one-to-one meetings, Calendly also lets you host different kinds of group events. This could be co-hosting a meeting with other members of your team or hosting a meeting for multiple attendees, or by letting Calendly round robin the meeting i.e. letting your invitee pick a time that works best for them and Calendly would automatically assign it to the host who is available during that time.
- Routing forms: With Calendly, you can build a form for screening your invitees and let only those invitees book an appointment who match your requirements. Those invitees who fit your criteria would be able to book a meeting and those who don’t would be routed to another resource such as a referral page.
- Meeting polls: You can create polls for your invitees to vote on the meeting times that they prefer. This feature is particularly useful in group meetings and meetings with attendees who are located in different time zones.
- Workflow automation: You can automate your workflows to boost attendance and communication. Calendly lets you schedule event reminders, meeting confirmation, and personalized messages that your attendees automatically receive after or before a meeting. You can also set your meeting location to Zoom or Google Meet, and Calendly would automatically create a meeting link and send it to your invitee.
- Calendar integration: Calendly integrates with popular calendars such as Google, Outlook, Microsoft Office, and iCal, so you don’t have to worry about double bookings. Scheduled meetings are also automatically added to the host and invitee calendars.
- Syncs across devices: You can access Calendly via browser as well as the mobile app. There’s also a Chrome extension for it, that lets you share your availability with invitees directly in an email. Whatever option you choose, Calendly syncs across devices so you don’t have to worry about updating your availability in multiple places.
- Payment integration: If you’re hosting a paid event, you can collect payments from your invitees when they schedule an event with you. For this, you would need to embed Stripe or Paypal.
Calendly integrates with a variety of calendars, video conferencing software, recruiting solutions, and other third-party tools. You can also get custom integrations with Calendly’s API or other connectors like Zapier, Make, Outfunnel, etc.
Some of the popular integrations include Zoom, Typeform, Slack, Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, Webex, and Hubspot.
Calendly has five pricing plans that can be billed either monthly or annually. If you choose the latter, you’ll save 20%. Below are the prices you’ll pay per month per user, if you choose to get billed annually.
- Basic Plan: This is completely free of cost. However, as the name suggests, you’ll only have limited features to use.
- Essentials Plan: This plan costs $8 and is suitable when you need scheduling automation.
- Professional Plan: This plan costs $12 and is their most popular plan. Use it if you need customizations, integrations, and basic team features.
- Teams Plan: This plan costs $16 and is useful for teams that rely on collaboration and need to align on a scheduling process.
- Enterprise Plan: This plan has custom pricing and is suitable for teams with 30+ members and advanced needs. You’ll have to contact their sales team to get pricing.
All the paid plans come with a 14-day trial, at the end of which, you’ll automatically be downgraded to the free plan. They also offer special pricing for non-profit organizations. You’ll have to reach out to their customer support specialists for details.
Setting up Calendly is very easy and you don’t even need to be tech-savvy to figure it out. Calendly guides you every step of the way without overwhelming you with too much information. The implementation process won’t take you more than 30 minutes.
Calendly has a help center with articles for customers to self-serve. Customers may also reach out to Calendly's customer support team via email or live chat if further help is needed.
Calendly was founded by Tope Awotona in 2013, out of his personal need for a scheduling product that came without the frustration of exchanging needless emails. When he realized that he could not find something on the market that worked as seamlessly as he wanted it to, he took matters into his own hands.
Seeking inspiration from Dropbox and its cloud-based approach, Awontona hired a couple of engineers in Kiev with the aim of building a simple scheduling product that could be used for multiple reasons by different kinds of users.
It’s worth mentioning that the same company that started with Awontona’s personal savings accounts is now valued at $3 billion, as of May 2021. Awontona has had to face a lot of hardships in life; seeing his father get murdered when he was only 12, immigrating to the U.S. from Nigeria, and later losing his mother. He attributes his success to sheer grit and perseverance.