Can Google Calendar be Used as a Booking System?


·8 min read

When you think of class or course-based businesses, what tools come to mind? A payment system that accepts credit cards and manages subscriptions? A learning management system to host course materials and track student progress?

These are all important, but one tool may make or break your system – an effective booking system.

A booking system is likely at the top of the list - a crucial solution for streamlining appointment scheduling, managing attendee lists, and tracking attendance. With the right booking system in place, you can provide a seamless experience for customers while efficiently handling the administrative tasks involved in running classes, workshops, or events.

Given its familiarity, many wonder if Google Calendar can serve as a viable booking system. After all, it's a free, readily available tool that allows users to set appointments and events.

But here’s the catch: while Google Calendar may seem like a convenient option for basic personal scheduling needs, it often falls short when it comes to the custom features and functionality required for managing unique bookings – especially for group activities or recurring events with complex requirements.

But what’s the alternative in a Google-first world? Let’s explore the limitations of relying solely on Google Calendar as a booking system, and the alternatives that offer more robust features and flexibility. (Hint: Pembee offers the perfect solution that gives you booking functionality, premium features and more!)

Can I use Google Calendar as a booking system?

While Google Calendar is a handy tool for scheduling personal appointments and events, using it as a full-fledged booking system for businesses or organizations comes with significant limitations.

At its core, Google Calendar allows you to create events, invite attendees, set reminders, and share availability. However, it lacks many of the advanced features that are essential for managing bookings effectively, especially when it comes to group activities or recurring events with complex requirements, such as flexible payment options, reminders for clients or even the basic client management database. To use Google Calendar as a booking system, you’ll need to:

1. Create separate calendars for each bookable resource or service

2. Add events to represent available time slots for each resource

3. Share the calendars with customers where they can check different calendars for availability and have them manually select their desired timeslot

4. Manually confirm bookings with provided email address and update availability as needed

This process can quickly become tedious and error-prone, especially as booking demands increase. And when growth equals success, you don't want to be held back by a limited booking system.

What are the limits of Google as an online booking system?

As you can imagine, you’ll soon run into a variety of challenges if you try to use Google Calendar as a booking system:

1. Limited customization options: While Google Calendar does allow you to create separate calendars and add events, there are not many options for customizing the booking process or appearance.

2. Lack of automation: As mentioned earlier, using Google Calendar as a booking system requires manual confirmation and updating of availability. This can be time-consuming and prone to errors.

3. Difficulty managing multiple resources: If you have multiple bookable resources or services, it can be difficult to track each individually using Google Calendar.

4. Inability to integrate with other systems: Google Calendar is a standalone tool and does not have the capability to integrate with other systems such as payment processors or customer management software. This can make it challenging to streamline your booking process.

5. Limited customer information tracking: While Google Calendar allows you to add notes and details for each event, it does not have the capability to track customer information or preferences. This can make it difficult to provide personalized service to your clients.

While Google Calendar can technically serve as a basic appointment scheduling tool for small businesses, it quickly becomes inadequate for organizations that need to manage complex bookings, handle payments, track attendance, and gain valuable insights into their operations.

Does Google have a free booking app?

While Google Calendar doesn't have a dedicated booking app to book appointments, it does provide an "appointment scheduling" tool that allows users to share their availability and let others book time slots directly on their calendars Here's what Google's appointment scheduling tool offers:

Availability management: Users can set their preferred available times for appointments/meetings on their Google Calendar. This includes options to limit how far in advance appointments can be booked, set buffer times between appointments, and cap the maximum number of appointments per day.

A basic, shareable booking page: Google generates a personalized booking page where people can view your availability and schedule appointments according to your settings. The booking page dynamically updates to prevent double bookings.

General information collection: When booking an appointment, people can provide details like their name, email, and any additional information you'd like to collect via custom fields.

That said, while handy for basic appointment booking, Google's appointment scheduling tool still lacks many of the advanced capabilities needed to effectively manage bookings for classes, workshops, camps, and other group activities. On the other hand, these are the basic features of most dedicated appointment scheduling apps such as Pembee.

Can you create multiple appointment slots in Google Calendar?

Google Calendar does allow you to create multiple or unlimited appointment slots or time blocks for different appointment types that can be booked by others. But it’s going beyond the simple bookings that quickly spiral into a difficult-to-manage situation.

Not only will you find yourself quickly confused by the number of attendees as well as their details, but you'll also struggle to keep track of cancellations and rescheduling requests. Plus, a lack of a “professional booking” look and feel to your page may cause attendees to question the legitimacy of your organization.

To create multiple appointment slots in Google Calendar, you would typically follow these steps:

  1. Open Google Calendar and create a new event.
  2. In the event details, check the "All day" option or set a date and start/end times.
  3. Click "More options" and select "Appointment slots" under the "Appointment Scheduler" section.
  4. Set the appointment duration (e.g., 1 hour) and click "Add" to generate appointment slots within the event time range.
  5. Share the event with others, who can then book available slots.

So, while you can create a booking system using Google Calendar, it may not provide the most professional and user-friendly experience for your attendees. This is where a dedicated booking software or service might come in handy.

Why invest in a dedicated booking software system?

While free tools like Google Calendar may seem like a cost-effective option initially, the limitations and inefficiencies they introduce can quickly outweigh any perceived savings. Investing in a dedicated booking software system designed specifically for managing group activities, classes, and events can improve efficiency, customer experiences, and growth.

  • Advanced feature set tailored for bookings: While Google Calendar is great for personal scheduling, it lacks the comprehensive feature set required to effectively manage bookings, especially for group activities, classes, workshops, or events. Imagine if you could automatically send reminders to attendees with pre-configured email templates, easily set up waiting lists for popular classes, or allow customers to pay for bookings online. A dedicated booking software system can offer all of these capabilities and more.
  • Streamlined check-in process: With Google Calendar, there is no way to easily track attendance or check-in participants for a class or event. This can lead to confusion and delays as staff tries to manually confirm who has arrived and who still needs to check in. In contrast, a booking software system can provide a streamlined check-in process with the ability to scan tickets or RFID wristbands, instantly updating attendee records and helping staff stay organized.
  • Customizable options: Google Calendar offers limited customization options for setting up events or classes. However, you can fully customize your offerings with a booking software system. You can create different pricing options, set up discount codes or promotions, and even offer add-ons or upsells during the booking process. This allows you to tailor your offerings to fit the needs of your attendees.
  • Automated communications: With Google Calendar, communication with attendees is limited to email reminders about upcoming events. But with a booking software system, you can automate all types of communications before, during, and after an event. This includes confirmations, reminders, follow-ups, and even feedback requests. This saves you time and keeps attendees engaged and informed throughout the entire booking process.
  • Integration: Google Calendar is a great tool for managing your schedule, but it doesn't integrate very well with other software or tools. A booking software system, on the other hand, can easily sync with your existing calendar apps and platforms, such as Google Calendar or Outlook. It can also integrate with payment processors and marketing tools to streamline your business operations.
  • Data tracking and analytics: Tracking attendance rates or gathering data on attendee demographics is difficult when using Google Calendar. With a booking software system, you can access detailed analytics that help you understand customer behavior and make more informed decisions for your organization or company.

Pembee: A Better Booking Software for Group Activities

While Google Calendar can be a useful tool for basic personal scheduling, it quickly falls short when managing bookings for classes, workshops, camps, and other group activities. If you want to give attendees the features and convenience they deserve, Pembee is the perfect booking software solution.

With its robust feature set and tailored approach, Pembee solves the limitations of using a generalized tool like Google Calendar for bookings. Here are just a few ways Pembee offers a superior solution:

Seamless Payment Processing

Unlike Google Calendar, Pembee offers built-in payment processing capabilities through integrations with popular gateways like Stripe. This allows class operators to accept online payments securely and conveniently during the booking process, eliminating the need for separate payment systems and providing a seamless experience for attendees. Stripe's built-in security measures also provide customers with ease of mind when sharing sensitive payment details online.

Customizable Registration Forms

Pembee understands that everyone has unique registration requirements. With its customizable booking forms, organizations can collect any relevant attendee information beyond just names and email addresses. This could include medical conditions, experience levels, special instructions, or any other data necessary for managing group activities effectively.

Robust Attendance Tracking

While Google Calendar merely shows who has accepted or declined an event, Pembee provides comprehensive attendance tracking features. You can easily monitor check-ins, no-shows, late arrivals, and cancellations, ensuring accurate attendance records and minimizing revenue leakage from missed bookings.

Automated Administrative Tasks

From sending booking confirmations and reminders to following up on outstanding payments and generating attendance registers, Pembee automates numerous administrative tasks that would be manual and time-consuming with a tool like Google Calendar. This frees up valuable time for staff to focus on more important responsibilities. You can also customize confirmation emails for each activity you run.

Insightful Reporting and Analytics

Collect data and get insights into your classes with Pembee's reporting and analytics, including stats such as new users per month, bookings per month. Easily track attendance patterns, identify popular class times, monitor customer behavior, and access data-driven insights to continually optimize your offerings and operations. Such in-depth analytics are nearly impossible with Google Calendar's limited reporting features.

Scalability and Growth Support

As your class expands its offerings or experiences increased demand, Pembee's robust architecture and automation features ensure smooth operations at scale. Whether handling higher booking volumes, managing multiple instructors or locations (or single location), or dealing with complex scheduling requirements, Pembee is designed to grow with you, unlike the limitations of a generalized tool like Google Calendar.

With Pembee, you can streamline their booking processes, provide a professional and seamless experience for attendees, and gain valuable insights to drive growth and optimization continually. Say goodbye to the frustrations of trying to force-fit a tool like Google Calendar for managing group activities, and embrace a dedicated solution tailored to your unique needs.

Ready to expand your class or group offerings and take your bookings to the next level? Sign up for Pembee today and experience the benefits of personalized automation for yourself!

Try Pembee Now


Can I use Google Calendar as a booking system?

While Google Calendar can be used for basic appointment scheduling, it lacks many essential features for managing bookings effectively, especially for businesses offering group activities, classes, or events. Limitations include no payment processing, limited customization options, lack of attendance tracking, and minimal reporting capabilities.

Is there a free booking app from Google?

No, Google does not offer a dedicated free booking app. Google Calendar is their scheduling tool where you can set appointment availability, but it is not designed as a comprehensive booking solution for businesses managing classes, workshops, camps, or other group activities with complex requirements.

Can you create multiple appointment slots in Google Calendar?

Yes, Google Calendar allows you to create multiple appointment slots within an event that can be booked by others. However, this process can become cumbersome and prone to errors when dealing with recurring events or a high volume of bookings. It also lacks advanced features for managing group bookings effectively.

What are the limitations of using Google Calendar for booking management?

Key limitations include no payment integration, limited customization of booking forms, lack of robust attendance tracking, minimal reporting/analytics, and scalability issues as booking volumes increase. Google Calendar is designed for basic scheduling rather than the complex needs of activity-based businesses.

Why invest in dedicated booking software instead of Google Calendar?

Dedicated booking software provides an advanced, tailored feature set for managing registrations, payments, attendance tracking, and reporting. This improves operational efficiency, provides a professional customer experience, enables scalability, and offers valuable insights to optimize offerings.

What makes Pembee a better booking solution than Google Calendar?

Pembee is designed specifically for businesses or organizations offering group activities like classes and camps. It provides payment processing, customizable registration forms, attendance tracking, automated admin tasks, insightful reporting, and scalability to grow with your needs - solving the major limitations of Google Calendar.

Google calendar booking system