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Start Time Increments: Managing your booking page's intervals of availability.

  • 15 March 2024
  • 2 replies
  • 638 views
Start Time Increments: Managing your booking page's intervals of availability.
Userlevel 4
  • Community Manager
  • 49 replies

Hey there CalPals! Something I find myself mentioning all the time in my support interactions is how robust a tool Calendly can be when you have a good understanding of how it all works. 

With that in mind, I thought it was about time that I write up some articles on different features and settings in every Calendly account, from the free plan to Enterprise. Unofficially, I’m calling these my Calendly 101 articles. 

We’re going to start off with a fun and fun-ctional setting you’ll find in every Calendly event type, start time increments

 

What are Start Time Increments?

Ever wondered why your live booking page displays times in 30 min increments or intervals when you first create a new event type? That would be the default “Start time increments” settings at work. 

You might also find yourself asking:

  • Why isn’t my booking page showing the right times to book?
  • Why don’t the available times on my booking page match the availability blocks I set for my event type?

Start time increments are the interval your live booking page will use to display available meeting start times.

How do you want your available start times to be spread out on your booking page?

For example, on the left below, a 15 minute start time interval, and on the right, a 30 minute start time interval:

How is the start time interval different from the event type duration?

The event type duration refers to the length of a booked event. How long will you be meeting for? What amount of time do you want your invitees to be able to reserve for that type of event? 

 

Take a look at where you’ll see each of these settings options in action on your live booking page here:

 

 💡Tip: Your start time increment settings are independent from your event type’s duration settings and will not automatically update when you change the event type duration. 

 

Whenever you create a new event type in Calendly (not a clone), the majority of the settings are pre-filled by defaults to help you get scheduling as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The start time increment default is 30 mins, which is where those 30 min increments are coming from when you first create an event type.


How can I update my start time increments?

You can update the start time increments of an event type at any time by following these steps:

  1. Navigate to your event type’s settings page by clicking on the event type from your home page. 
  2. Open the Scheduling settings section.
  3. Scroll down to the Start Time Increments setting at the bottom.
  4. Set your desired start time increment.
  5. Click Save and Close.

That’s it! So why is this setting so important?

 

Controlling your availability

You can use your start time increments to fine-tune your availability and accomplish your unique scheduling goals. Below, I’ve provided some use case examples for how start time increments can help you customize your availability.

 

I want to appear more “in demand”

You can use start time increments to space out the times your event type is offered. 

If you want to be able to offer more flexible availability to specific people, you can clone your event type, make it secret, and adjust your start time increments. You can then share this secret event type with those specific people.

Want to make sure this link isn’t used to book unwanted meetings in the future? Try making the link single use!

 

I need my booking page to display specific time slots

I’ve seen some users attempt to achieve this by creating what I call a “perforated schedule” using date-specific hours. While I completely understand this train of thought, you’ll end up doing way more work than you need to.

To accomplish this goal in a more seamless and efficient way, you’ll want to:

  1. Set your available hours in compound blocks
    • For example, if I want to offer the time slots 8:00-9:00, 9:00-10:00, and 10:00-11:00, I’d set my availability as 8:00-11:00. 
  2. Configure your start time increments to match your event duration
    • Following the above example, I’d set my start time increments to 60 mins.

 

I don’t want back-to-back bookings

I know, I know– What about buffers? Yes, buffers are a great way to spread out your bookings, but start time increments are another great option.

You can set your start time increments to be longer than your event type’s duration, which will prevent invitees from being able to book back-to-back meetings of the same event type.

  • For example, if I want 15 minutes to wrap up after a 15 min discovery call, I would want to set my start time increments to 30 mins.

Note: If you want to prevent back-to-back bookings across multiple event types, buffers will be the way to go. This is because when a booked event has a buffer, Calendly will see you as unavailable across all of your event types for the duration of the buffer. 

 

Troubleshooting Start Time Increments

Many times, we see users writing into support asking why their event type is offering times at the wrong intervals. 

  • For example, a 15 minute event type only displaying times on the half-hour (eg. 9:00am, 9:30am, etc)

More often than not, this is due to the event type’s start time increments still being set to the 30 minute default

If updating your start time increments does not resolve the issue, please double check your booking page’s Troubleshooting Tool to make sure the desired booking times are not blocked off with another type of conflict. 

 


 

Alrighty, that’s all for Start Time Increments 101! Keep an eye out for more Calendly 101 as I expand the series, diving into the nitty gritty of fundamental Calendly settings and what they’re capable of. 

 

Signing off for now 🫡

 - Sam


2 replies

Hi Sam, thank you for this break down and advice.

I’m trying to look for a solution that streamlines the booking options so my appointments are back to back, with a buffer.

I offer 30, 45, and 60 minute appointments. Apart from the scheduled lunch and admin breaks, I’d like appointments to be back to back with 5min buffers between them.

It seems the only way to achieve this is to have the start time increments set to 5 minutes. Which looks incredibly messy on the booking page, and I know I’m going to have trouble with people booking appointments at the “wrong” time. For example, if there is space for 4x 30min appointments with 5min buffers (1h 20m total) and someone books an appointment 15 minutes into that 1h 20m “block” then it throws off the whole block.

Is there a way, or will there be a way in the future, for Calendly to have start time increments that relate to current bookings (and their buffer), rather than locked into every 30mins on the clock?

For example, I have a client booked at 8am for 30mins, then someone goes to book a 30min appointment so Calendly could offer 30(+5)min intervals: 8.35am, 9.10am, 9.45am.

Or if the client selects a 45min appointment Caldendly offers 45(+5)min intervals: 8.35am, 9.25am, 10.15am.

Hope this makes sense!

Many thanks, Kate.

Userlevel 7

Hi Sam, thank you for this break down and advice.

I’m trying to look for a solution that streamlines the booking options so my appointments are back to back, with a buffer.

I offer 30, 45, and 60 minute appointments. Apart from the scheduled lunch and admin breaks, I’d like appointments to be back to back with 5min buffers between them.

It seems the only way to achieve this is to have the start time increments set to 5 minutes. Which looks incredibly messy on the booking page, and I know I’m going to have trouble with people booking appointments at the “wrong” time. For example, if there is space for 4x 30min appointments with 5min buffers (1h 20m total) and someone books an appointment 15 minutes into that 1h 20m “block” then it throws off the whole block.

Is there a way, or will there be a way in the future, for Calendly to have start time increments that relate to current bookings (and their buffer), rather than locked into every 30mins on the clock?

For example, I have a client booked at 8am for 30mins, then someone goes to book a 30min appointment so Calendly could offer 30(+5)min intervals: 8.35am, 9.10am, 9.45am.

Or if the client selects a 45min appointment Caldendly offers 45(+5)min intervals: 8.35am, 9.25am, 10.15am.

Hope this makes sense!

Many thanks, Kate.

Hey there Kate!

Sorry if I am a little confused re: your specific goal, here, but I am going to do my best to assist! If I am totally missing the mark feel free to let me know (and you can create your own topic, too)! 

Firstly, let me clarify our buffers tool for you, a bit. Buffers actually lock into a booking when a booking is made - they do not lock into the start time increments or the event type itself! For example: 

  • you have a 30 minute event type with a 5 minute buffer applied + 30 minute time increments with current openings on your booking page at 9am, 930am and 10am
  • all three of these remain open > one is booked > now the openings will change based on the booking duration + buffer
  • an invitee books your 30 minute event type at 9am
  • with the 30 minute duration, 30 minute start time increments + 5 minute buffer the booking takes up a 35 minute “slot” > the 930am start time is knocked off of your booking page because the buffer is attached to the 9am booking
  • your next available time is now 10am

With that broken down, let’s dig into your goals. You want your meetings to be back-to-back with a 5 minute buffer between them (so not truly back-to-back, but almost!), correct? (Apart from scheduled breaks - which will automatically be removed from all of your booking pages as long as you mark those as “busy” events on your “check for conflicts” calendar - so that part is easy!)

You’re right - setting your start time increments to 5 minutes is not ideal if you do not want those “blocks” to be messed up + do not wish to have such a never-ending slew of start times to choose from on your public booking page(s). However, I do not think this would be the most viable option regardless of those things. 

Ideally, you’d be able to simply use all the settings and tools as they’re designed to be used. You’d set up a 5 minute buffer on each event type. Then, you’d set your event type durations to 30, 45 and 60 minutes. Then, you can set up a start time increment that makes sense for each event type. Perhaps you’d like them to coincide with durations, for example - so your start time increments are also 30, 45 and 60 minutes. If you do this + a 5 minute buffer, then you’d see the scenario I went over in the bullet list above for each of your event types (making room for the fact that a 45 minute duration + 5 minute buffer = a 50 minute booking, so perhaps create 60 minute start time increments for that event type - and a 60 minute duration + a 5 minute buffer = a 65 minute booking, so perhaps create 60 or 70 minute start time increments for that event type). If you do this, then you should not run into any issues at all with “back to back” bookings + 5 minute buffers. Can you test it all out after setting it up for one of your event types? (You can book test events for yourself to view how it all functions!) 

If this doesn’t seem to suit your needs, an idea I have would be to lessen each of your meetings’ duration by five minutes. So, you could create 25, 40 and 55 minute event types with a 5 minute buffer attached to each event type. 

For your 30 minute event type, you’d:

  • shorten the duration to 25 minutes
  • add a 5 minute buffer
  • set the start time increments to 30 minutes

For your 45 minute event type, you’d: 

  • shorten the duration to 40 minutes
  • add a 5 minute buffer
  • set the start time increments to 45 minutes

For your 60 minute event type, you’d: 

  • shorten the duration to 55 minutes
  • add a 5 minute buffer
  • set the start time increments to 60 minutes

This way, the start time increments for each ET lead to time blocks on your booking pages that are clean, make sense, and look “normal” to invitees (on every half hour, 45 minute mark or on every hour depending on the event type). 

If this doesn’t work either, I’m sorry! Maybe some other community members will chime in with how they’ve set up their durations + buffers + start time increments for special use cases and that will help, too! 

Otherwise - I can certainly loop your feedback to our product team re: attaching start time increments to specific bookings + buffers. I cannot make any promises about if or when an update like that might take place, though.

Check out some of this reading material to see if it helps inspire you during your setup, too: 

Managing Additional Rules for your Availabilty

How to Create Your Own Custom Workflow

p.s. check out our New User Guide and our Company Admin Guide, too - they’re full of tips + tricks to help you get started. 

I do hope this helps - let us know if you get stuck or have any other questions! =) 

 

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