Zoho Bookings vs Calendly: Which online scheduler is better?

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Explore the showdown between Zoho Bookings and Calendly in our in-depth comparison. Find out which scheduling tool wins in features, ease of use, and customization.

 
 
Free - $12/user/mo
Free - $20/mo (per seat)
Startups, freelancers, and businesses
Everyone from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies looking for a tool to make scheduling
Free - $12/user/mo
Startups, freelancers, and businesses
Free - $20/mo (per seat)
Everyone from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies looking for a tool to make scheduling

Zoho Bookings and Calendly are both leading players in the appointment scheduling industry.

Zoho Bookings brings its unique flair to managing appointments, while Calendly is renowned for its streamlined scheduling capabilities. 

Our comparison seeks to illuminate the distinct qualities and functionalities of each platform, helping you choose the best fit for your scheduling needs. 

You can also explore our detailed reviews of Zoho Bookings and Calendly.

Zoho Bookings vs. Calendly: At a Glance

Both Zoho Bookings and Calendly have been evaluated under various criteria by SMB Guide. For detailed insights into this evaluation process, you can read the SMB Guide Evaluation Criteria

CriteriaZoho BookingsCalendlyWinner
SMB Guide’s Rating89/10Calendly
Appointment Workflow AutomationTie
Customization OptionsTie
Calendar Management FeaturesCalendly
Automated Reminders and NotificationsTie
Client Management & CommunicationZoho Bookings
Automatic RulesTie
In-Meeting ToolsTie
Meeting TemplatesCalendly
Meeting AnalyticsCalendly
UX and UICan be difficult to locate certain featuresHigh user-friendlinessCalendly
Integrations & API Capabilities30+ integrations50+ integrationsCalendly
Supported PlatformsTie
Customer SupportPhone, Email, Live chat, Self-helpSupport ticketsZoho Bookings
PricingFree – $12/user/mo$20/mo – $61/moCalendly
ScalabilityCalendly

Zoho Bookings: Key Features, Pros, Cons, & Pricing

zoho bookings homepage

Zoho Bookings is an appointment scheduling application within the broader suite of Zoho business software. 

This user-friendly tool assists small businesses and individual entrepreneurs in efficiently managing appointments, whether for virtual meetings or in-person services.

Pros & Cons

Pros

Free forever plan

30+ integrations

Two-way calendar sync

Mobile apps

Cons

Slightly tricky interface

Difficult managing multiple bookings

Pricing

Zoho Bookings offers three plans: 

  • Free
  • Basic: $6 per user per month
  • Premium: $9 per user per month

All plans offer unlimited users, one-on-one service bookings, calendar sync, meeting integrations (Zoom, Zoho Meeting), automatic notifications, mobile-responsive booking pages, notes, and mobile app access.

The free plan supports one calendar link and meeting app integrations but lacks payment gateways, SMS support, or Zapier.

The Basic plan provides more flexibility, offering two calendar connections/user and Zapier integration, plus personalization options for booking pages.

The Premium plan unlocks online payments, SMS reminders, and access to Zoho’s full suite, including live chat and CRM features.

The Premium plan includes a 15-day free trial allowing full access to its features. After the trial, users can continue with the free plan or upgrade.

Plans can be billed monthly or annually with a 25% discount on yearly subscriptions.

Zoho Bookings

Zoho Bookings is an appointment scheduling software that empowers any business to effortlessly schedule meetings with clients.

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Calendly: Key Features, Pros, Cons, & Pricing

calendly homepage

Calendly stands out as a leading web-based tool for scheduling appointments, and streamlining the process of coordinating meeting times.

Its intuitive design and flexible features have garnered widespread acclaim from individual users and businesses. 

Key highlights of Calendly include seamless integration with multiple calendars, a variety of customizable meeting options, automatic reminders, and efficient timezone recognition.

However, some users might find its pricing structure a bit restrictive for certain requirements.

Pros & Cons

Pros

Free forever plan

iOS & Android apps

100+ integrations

Easy to build workflows

Cons

Too many features

Expensive for larger teams

Pricing

Calendly offers four pricing tiers, beginning with a no-cost plan that covers basic scheduling needs.

  • Free: $0
  • Standard: $10/seat/month
  • Teams: $16/seat/month
  • Enterprise: Custom

Large organizations that need over 30 accounts should contact Calendly directly for a personalized pricing quote.

Appointment Workflow Automation

Zoho Bookings is an efficient scheduling tool that facilitates the creation of personalized booking pages, appointment scheduling, and automated reminders via email or text (SMS).

zoho bookings scheduling appointments

Creating an account with Zoho Bookings is hassle-free, requiring only a few essential details. Upon sign-up, users can specify their time zone, preferred currency, and business name.

Configuring availability and service offerings is straightforward, allowing users to define their working hours, add special availability for specific services, and set up custom date ranges for temporary service access. 

The platform also enables the blocking of time slots, offering flexibility in managing schedules and accommodating unique working hours.

Calendly simplifies the appointment scheduling process by allowing clients to access your scheduling page via a shared link.

calendly appointment scheduling

Here, they can pick a suitable event type from your available options and select their preferred date, enabling them to independently set up meetings. 

The system is designed to incorporate buffer periods before and after appointments (which you can modify in the settings) to avoid consecutive bookings without intervals. 

After confirming a booking, clients are sent email invites containing links for the conference call and alternatives to modify or cancel the appointment if needed.

✅ Winner: Tie

Customization Options

Zoho Bookings offers extensive customization options for your service settings and booking page appearance.

You can tailor your service details, including the service name, duration, pricing, and meeting preferences.

zoho bookings customization options

Additionally, the platform allows setting availability for specific dates and times, along with pre and post-buffer times between appointments to prevent consecutive meetings.

Moreover, the booking page can be fully personalized to align with your brand identity.

Users can modify the design by selecting preferred colors for the template, incorporating their logo, customizing the title, description, layout, and even adjusting the URL of the booking page to reflect their branding.

Calendly’s paid subscriptions provide significant versatility in establishing a range of bookable appointment types.

calendly events

The free Calendly version restricts users to a single event type but still allows for considerable tailoring within that framework.

This includes designating meeting venues (such as Zoom or Google Meet), enabling the addition of guests by invitees, defining booking deadlines, setting buffer periods, minimum advance notice requirements, and capping the number of daily meetings.

Opting for the Standard plan or higher grants access to features like incorporating company branding and eliminating Calendly’s logo from the scheduling interface.

In contrast, while the free version allows for the inclusion of your business logo, positioned at the top left, it doesn’t provide the option to remove Calendly’s branding.

✅ Winner: Tie

Calendar Management Features

Zoho Bookings offers convenient two-way syncing with Google Calendar, Outlook, and its native calendar, allowing centralized management of appointments across different calendars and workspaces on a single page.

zoho bookings calendar management

Super admins can easily oversee staff details, working hours, services, and booking page settings, enabling adjustments to staff availability and adding special working hours for seamless operations.

You also get automatic time zone conversion and presets, allowing customers across various time zones to view availability and scheduled meetings in their local time.

This feature prevents confusion, double bookings, and inconvenient timing clashes. 

Moreover, Zoho Bookings allows customization of rescheduling and cancellation terms and facilitates automatic notifications for meeting changes or cancellations.

Calendly offers smooth integration with calendars from Google, Outlook, iCloud, and Exchange, ensuring no double bookings occur.

calendly calendar management

With the Free version, users can sync with one external calendar, which can be increased to six with a paid upgrade.

The system effortlessly adjusts meeting times across different time zones, facilitating clarity for clients in various locations.

For rescheduling, navigate to “Scheduled events” in the menu, pick the specific meeting, and adjust as needed.

While giving a reason is optional, clients are informed of the changes and have the flexibility to reschedule themselves.

✅ Winner: Calendly

Automated Reminders and Notifications

Zoho Bookings enables automated notifications for appointment changes like rescheduling, cancellations, completions, or no-shows via email or SMS to both customers and staff.

While Zoho doesn’t offer a built-in SMS service, it allows SMS notifications through integration with other apps.

zoho bookings notification settings

Staff members receive in-app notifications within Zoho Bookings for new, modified, or cancelled appointments.

These notifications can be personalized for individual employees via the general menu. Users can also determine the time frame for sending these notifications before an appointment.

Upon scheduling a meeting through Calendly, clients instantly get a calendar invite. To access extra automated reminders, a shift to a premium plan is necessary.

calendly automated reminders

Starting from the Standard plan onwards, you have the option to organize reminders through text or email, guaranteeing that attendees are well-informed about the meeting specifics.

✅ Winner: Tie

Client Management and Communication

Zoho Bookings simplifies customer management by enabling users to save and store customer information such as name, email, and phone number.

This stored data streamlines the process of setting up appointments by allowing users to quickly select a saved customer from the list.

zoho bookings customer management

Moreover, clients have the flexibility to receive appointment reminders and notifications via SMS or email, catering to their preferred mode of communication.

Regrettably, Calendly lacks the capability to store details of meetings in a client database.

✅ Winner: Zoho Bookings

Automatic Rules

Here’s a closer look at some of the key automatic rules you can leverage in Zoho Bookings:

  • Customizable Break Times: You can set specific break times throughout your day, ensuring you have the necessary time to rest, eat, or attend to personal matters. Block times allow you to mark certain time slots as unavailable for booking. 
  • Adding Special Workflow Hours: Adjust your availability during specific seasons or for special events. For instance, extend your hours during the holiday season or reduce them during a slow period. You can also tailor your availability based on the service offered or the staff member’s schedule. This level of customization ensures that your clients always have access to the right service at the right time.
  • Create More Rules with Integrations: Automatically sync your appointments with Zoho CRM or other customer relationship management tools. This integration ensures seamless communication and data flow between your scheduling system and customer databases.

Calendly provides a range of automated settings and rules that significantly streamline the management of appointments. Key features include:

  • Auto-Cancellation Policies: This allows users to create rules for automatically cancelling appointments under certain conditions, like defining a period within which clients can cancel or reschedule.
  • Time Zone Adjustments: The platform automatically aligns meeting times to accommodate different time zones, ensuring precise scheduling and reducing confusion related to time differences.
  • Setting Working Hours: Users have the ability to specify their working hours, restricting client bookings to these set times.

Calendly’s user-friendly interface makes setting up even complex configurations straightforward, enhancing the overall efficiency of scheduling processes.

✅ Winner: Tie

In-Meeting Tools

Zoho Bookings, in itself, doesn’t offer any in-meeting tools; however if you integrate your Zoho Bookings with Zoho Meet, you can unlock many in-meeting tool features like Polls, Meeting Notes, Meeting Recordings, and even more.

calendly meeting poll

Similarly, Calendly doesn’t offer activities like note-taking, file-sharing, or live collaboration within meetings. But Calendly does offer Meeting Polls to decide on meeting times.

✅ Winner: Tie

Meeting Templates

Zoho Bookings offers a variety of meeting templates to cater to different scheduling needs, including:

  • One on One: Ideal for individual appointments where a single client books a session with a service provider. 
  • Group Booking: Facilitates the scheduling of sessions where multiple clients can join a single time slot. It’s perfect for workshops, classes, or group events. 
  • Resource Booking: Tailored for situations where specific resources, such as rooms need to be booked, this template is a boon for businesses that depend on the availability of physical assets. 
  • Collective Booking: This template is used when an appointment requires the involvement of multiple staff members. It’s useful for scenarios where a team approach is needed, such as complex consultations or collaborative services.

With Calendly’s free version, users can craft templates ideal for individual meetings.

Calendly meeting templates

Upgrading to a paid subscription unlocks enhanced features, including the ability to create specialized templates for different meeting formats like Group, Collective, and Round Robin.

This feature allows for the customization of settings tailored to various meeting types. Users can develop and apply unique templates for each format, making the scheduling process more efficient for a range of meeting situations.

Calendly also offers suggestions on the most appropriate meeting type, considering the user’s specific preferences and requirements.

✅ Winner: Calendly

Meeting Analytics

Zoho Bookings, as a standalone platform, doesn’t come equipped with analytics features.

This means that within Zoho Bookings, you won’t find tools to analyze or track the performance of your appointments, customer engagement, or resource utilization directly.

Zoho Bookings meeting analytics

However, Zoho Meeting, another component of the extensive Zoho suite, does offer analytics capabilities.

These capabilities can be incredibly useful for gaining insights into your online meetings, webinars, participant engagement, and more.

Zoho Meeting’s analytics tools allow you to track various metrics, which can be instrumental in understanding and improving your online event strategies.

It’s important to note that Zoho Bookings and Zoho Meeting are distinct platforms within the Zoho ecosystem, each designed for different purposes – Zoho Bookings for scheduling and managing appointments and Zoho Meeting primarily for conducting online meetings and webinars.

For businesses or individuals who are already invested in the Zoho ecosystem, integrating Zoho Bookings with Zoho Meeting can be highly beneficial.

By leveraging the strengths of both platforms – the scheduling flexibility of Zoho Bookings and the analytical insights from Zoho Meeting – you can create a more cohesive and efficient workflow.

Calendly’s analytics, accessible in its paid plans including Calendly Groups, provide in-depth insights into meeting dynamics.

calendly groups

These tools offer detailed analytics on meetings and specific data on team bookings. Utilizing the Analytics leaderboard, administrators can pinpoint top-performing team members based on their meeting booking numbers.

This insight helps companies recognize effective meeting strategies, allowing them to cultivate and disseminate best practices for improved team performance.

Moreover, Calendly’s analytics assist in forecasting capacity needs by analyzing meeting trends, peak booking periods, and team performance indicators.

This function not only celebrates successes but also identifies areas for potential training, promoting ongoing improvement and skill enhancement across the organization.

✅ Winner: Calendly

User Experience and User Interface

Zoho Bookings offers straightforward account setup, yet navigating options for managing resources and notifications can be somewhat unclear due to a lack of cohesive organization in the user interface.

zoho \bookings-dashboard

The platform provides three types of booking pages—staff, service, and workspace—each customizable and linkable to your domain for an improved user experience.

It stores essential client information in customer profiles, allowing personalized notes for various appointments, and includes a team scheduling tool for clients to select preferred employees.

However, locating specific feature adjustments within the services, staff, and profile tabs can be challenging, and adding services from different locations or finding settings might not be readily accessible within the platform’s interface.

Calendly features an intuitive and user-friendly interface, offering immediate access to your scheduling link as soon as you log in.

Its dashboard is designed for simplicity, making it easy to navigate.

calendly dashboard

The setup process for Calendly is remarkably simple and user-friendly. It mainly involves setting your availability and crafting events, both of which are straightforward and intuitive tasks.

✅ Winner: Calendly

Integrations & API Capabilities

Zoho Bookings provides diverse integrations with numerous applications, spanning various categories:

  • Calendars: Seamlessly integrates with Google, Microsoft Office 365/Outlook, and Zoho Calendars.
  • Online Meetings: Facilitates connections with Zoho Meeting, Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams.
  • Online Payments: Offers integrations with PayPal, Stripe, Razorpay, and additional payment platforms.
  • Other Integrations: Includes connections to Zapier, various CRMs, Twilio, and more.

Moreover, as part of the Zoho ecosystem, Zoho Bookings effortlessly links to all Zoho applications, ensuring maximum utility for existing Zoho users. 

However, if you’re not currently using Zoho applications, leveraging these integrations for automation will necessitate relying on Zapier.

Additionally, Zoho Bookings supports API integrations for enhanced customization and connectivity.

calendly integrations

Calendly boasts over 100 integrations spanning a wide range of third-party applications, including those for marketing automation, project management, and applicant tracking.

It also effortlessly integrates with your calendar application to efficiently manage your schedule.

In terms of API features, Calendly provides an API that enables developers to craft tailored integrations.

This allows users to expand Calendly’s capabilities to suit their unique requirements.

✅ Winner: Calendly

Supported Platforms

Zoho Bookings is entirely web-based and thus can be accessed on Windows, macOS, and Linux. The good news is it also has dedicated mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Calendly provides an online platform as well as specialized mobile applications for both iOS and Android, facilitating easy scheduling of appointments on the go.

The mobile apps are well-received, with a 4.9-star rating on the App Store and 4.7 stars on the Google Play Store.

✅ Winner: Tie

Customer Support

Zoho Bookings offers comprehensive customer service through various channels, ensuring efficient support:

  • Access customer service via phone, email, or live chat, staffed by knowledgeable and helpful representatives.
  • Live chat provides swift responses, connecting you with a live agent promptly.
  • Schedule a call with support available 24/5.

Moreover, Zoho Bookings provides extensive resources like forums, guides, articles, a community portal, a knowledge base, FAQs, and the option to raise a ticket for inquiries or concerns.

Calendly’s free plan includes multiple support channels. Users can access automated chat for general questions, and for more specific assistance, there’s an option to submit a support ticket after signing into their account.

For independent problem-solving, the Help Center provides a variety of written guides and video tutorials. Subscribers to the Standard or Teams plans benefit from live chat support.

Those on custom plans receive priority support, which includes help with troubleshooting, as well as guidance for team onboarding and software deployment.

✅ Winner: Calendly

Pricing

Zoho Bookings has three pricing plans available:

PlanPrice (paid annually)Price (paid monthly)
FreeAlways freeAlways free
Basic$6/seat/month per month$8/seat/month per month
Premium$9/seat/month per month$12/seat/month per month

Calendly offers four different pricing plans to know: 

PlanPrice
FreeAlways free
Standard$10/seat/mo
Teams$16/seat/mo
EnterpriseCustom

✅ Winner: Zoho Bookings

Scalability

Zoho Bookings does have a limitation in terms of scalability, particularly for larger enterprises or businesses with highly specific needs.

One notable constraint is the absence of enterprise or custom pricing options beyond its Premium plan.

For instance, organizations might seek advanced customization, higher levels of integration with existing systems, dedicated support, or specific security features that go beyond what the Premium plan offers.

Businesses that outgrow the features and capabilities of the Premium plan might find Zoho Bookings less adaptable to their evolving needs.

The absence of an enterprise-level offering or custom pricing plans means that Zoho Bookings may not be the most viable long-term solution for every high-growth or large-scale business.

Calendly’s scalability shines through its varied pricing structures, catering to organizations of different scales.

Its higher-tier packages, especially geared towards enterprise-level teams, offer features such as collaborative scheduling, extensive integrations, and enhanced security.

According to Calendly, this package assists enterprises in:

  • Boosting team efficiency.
  • Improving overall business outcomes and customer interactions.
  • Harmonizing and expanding scheduling processes.
  • Strengthening data security within the organization.

✅ Winner: Calendly

Standout Features of Zoho Bookings

Zoho Bookings has a couple of unique features that make it stand out.

  • Resource management allows businesses to efficiently manage rooms or equipment essential for their operations. Users can access and add resources easily through the platform’s interface. 
  • Zoho Bookings enables flexible resource classification and individual booking page setup for seamless resource scheduling around staff appointments.
  • Routing choices offer the flexibility to assign staff to specific services while allowing customers the option to select their preferred staff member when setting up services.
  • Zoho Bookings automatically assigns employees based on their availability, streamlining the routing process.

Standout Features of Calendly

Calendly’s stand-out features include:

  • The capability to establish diverse event types, facilitating the organization of various types of appointments.
  • Auto-adjusting meeting times to accommodate different time zones, promoting clear and consistent scheduling globally.
  • Options to implement buffer periods, set minimum notification times, and establish daily meeting caps, which helps in avoiding consecutive bookings without breaks.

Zoho Bookings vs. Calendly: SMB Guide’s Verdict

After conducting an in-depth comparison, Calendly clearly stands out as the superior choice

Calendly’s comprehensive features are adept at servicing a wide range of businesses, with a versatile functionality, insightful analytics capabilities, and scalable solutions that can adapt seamlessly to the changing dynamics of any business. 

For businesses in search of a holistic scheduling platform that grows with their needs, Calendly is the go-to choice.

On the flip side, Zoho Bookings is a commendable option, especially for smaller businesses or those that are not heavily focused on scalability for the time being.

It is particularly beneficial for those already integrated into the Zoho ecosystem, offering seamless compatibility with other Zoho tools. 

It’s a solid choice for businesses whose immediate needs are well-met within its current feature set. 

So, for small-scale operations or Zoho loyalists, Zoho Bookings remains a viable and effective scheduling solution.

Zoho Bookings

Zoho Bookings is an appointment scheduling software that empowers any business to effortlessly schedule meetings with clients.

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Beatrice is a seasoned productivity writer with a knack for uncovering game-changing productivity hacks that simplify life routines. Armed with a triple major in Commerce, Accounting, and Insurance, she also runs her own digital consulting firm. You'll usually find her immersed in crafting captivating literary novels and traveling the world.