Choosing the right online scheduling app is a process that requires careful consideration. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be a difficult process when you know what to look for. With the rise of scheduling apps, there are so many to choose from that some people don’t even know where to start when comparing the many alternatives available today.
To assist with that, we’ve created this guide to help you compare two of the best scheduling tools on the market today: Calendly and Acuity Scheduling. Each has its own features and pros and cons to consider, but it’s ultimately going to be up to you to figure out what’s best for your needs.
Calendly was rated among the Top 20 Appointment Scheduling Software for 2020, but so was Acuity, so it’s probably ultimately going to come down to the finer details. What’s in a scheduling tool, though, and how are you to choose? Before we get into the breakdown of which program is best, though, let’s talk a little more about factors to consider when you are choosing the best scheduling apps:
There are other things that will factor into your final decision, but these are the important things to cover. Now that we’ve covered that, let’s dig into the details of these two scheduling apps.
Up first, let’s talk about the ideal users for each app, and how to decide which user you are.
One of your first considerations will be finding the app that is ideal for your specific business or scheduling needs. While both of these apps have plenty of robust features and can deliver powerful scheduling assistance, they may be better suited for one audience or another.
Calendly is a favorite because its ideal user is anyone who needs scheduling software. It can be set up for single users, SMBs, and enterprise clients with over 1,000 users. It makes scheduling simple with fewer back-and-forth emails and missed connections.
Acuity, on the other hand, is focused more on helping small businesses, particularly those within the service industry and that have fewer than 1,000 users. Although it is a robust platform and includes a free option, it can only go so far in terms of scaling up for larger brands.
Based on the features and functions of each scheduling tool, here’s how it shakes out:
Calendly is best for new organizations and small brands that need a simple scheduling tool without a lot of bells and whistles, but with enough features to provide a dynamic solution.
Acuity is best for established brands and larger organizations that need a total administration management solution for scheduling, appointment booking, payment integration, and more.
Now, let’s get into the breakdown of the features.
This is probably your second-biggest concern. The features available on both scheduling tools are quite impressive. They share many similarities, but they are also quite different in several ways. For starters, let’s talk about usability. The learning curve for these scheduling tools is similar—while Calendly provides a simpler interface, Acuity comes with a platform that’s easy to customize and even easier to use, despite being more dynamic in several ways.
Calendly offers the option for up to six external calendars for scheduling, while Acuity offers much more complex options for scheduling and appointment booking.
What features does each platform provide? In the table below, you’ll see a side-by-side comparison of the most important features to have in a scheduling app and whether these tools offer them.
It’s important to note that Calendly and Acuity alike may have additional features and premium upgrades available for those who want them, but these are the most sought-after and commonly used features, so they are the ones that we highlight.
The terms and conditions of pricing and subscriptions between these two platforms is another thing that should be on your list. The most common variable that you’ll find here when it comes to online scheduling apps is the number of calendars and users that will have access to the platform based on the subscription tier or plan chosen, as well as what features are included for the price.
Calendly offers users a free trial for up to 14 days, in addition to having a free Basic plan available for users. Trials are open to all team members, and the platform offers one calendar per user for the free version, with many more calendar integrations available for paid plans. There are no cancellation fees for ending a membership, and you can choose to pay monthly or annually, the latter of which can save you even more if you can afford to make a single lump-sum payment.
Acuity Scheduling never charges hidden fees, and they offer discounted rates for those who choose an annual membership, as well. There are no contracts or termination fees, and users can cancel their plan at any time without penalty. Plans are available on a monthly and annual basis to give everyone the right solution.
Acuity Scheduling offers a free trial, but there is no free version of the app available. The cheapest option includes a single user or location, while the premium plan can incorporate up to 36 staff members or locations. Pricing is as follows, and is based on annual subscriptions:
Calendly also offers a free trial and a free version. The free plan includes a single calendar, while multiple calendars can be added for a small price. There are additional features with paid plans, so consider what you need from your scheduling app. Calendly has three subscription tiers:
Calendly and Acuity both offer integrations with all of the major calendars and platforms, including Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook, Office365, and others. Even though these are scheduling tools that include dedicated calendars, they aren’t going to be your end-all solution. You'll want to continue to use your other calendars, which is why making sure that these apps can integrate with your calendar software, no matter what you might be using.
Bear in mind that each app may function differently in the way that it integrates with your calendars and which features or tools are included. However, they do both integrate with several of the most important and commonly used calendars and other tools to help streamline business operations.
Acuity and Calendly also have several other integrations outside of calendars. They can work alongside your existing software to provide you with plenty of solutions, with hundreds of integrations and extensions available. Below, we’ll highlight the most popular integrations for each scheduling app.
Calendly integrates with:
Acuity Scheduling integrates with:
Both Acuity and Calendly offer their own open API that also allows users to create their own customized integrations and solutions for scheduling, administrative management, and other tasks and solutions. Plus, while these lists highlight some impressive options, you’ll find that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other integrations available for each.
Bonus: If you’re looking into the assistance of scheduling and appointment booking solutions from Smith.ai, we can integrate with both of these scheduling apps and the available scheduling alternatives out there today.
So really, what have you got to lose?
Once you decide on a tool, of course, you’re going to need to put it to work. Before you choose, it helps if you find out how these tools can be embedded into your website, whether they can be used on social media, and more.
Acuity offers a standard calendar that can be embedded into any website and there is even the option to add a scheduling button that people can use to navigate to your schedule so that they can make an appointment.
Calendly, interestingly enough, doesn’t have a "book now" integration, but you can get an embed code to generate a pop-up or just offer inline scheduling access to people who visit your website. You can customize your embed, at least, and integrate with several different platforms, apps, and sites.
With these tools, you can integrate either scheduling app on your website, with solutions available for most common website hosts, such as:
So, now that we’ve stacked up all the details, you can easily see what each app has to offer and how they can meet your scheduling needs. Ultimately, Calendly is a simple scheduling tool designed to help create efficiency for those who are just starting out or who need something basic that can work with other tools and integrations, while Acuity is more of a personal assistant, of sorts.
Acuity is ideal for those who want a total administrative management solution and who are willing to pay for the level of plan that they need. This platform is intended for larger brands and businesses, and it has integrations available for payment acceptance, recurring appointments, and other features that Calendly doesn't provide.
So, are you looking for a simple solution when you’re just starting, or are you seeking a robust management app that will help with everything from scheduling to payment acceptance? And either way, remember that you can take them both to the next level with the assistance of the dedicated virtual receptionists at Smith.ai.
Our team of experts knows how to make the most of your scheduling app integration and other software solutions and can help with everything from lead intake to appointment booking, customer service follow-up, and more. When you’re ready to get started, schedule your free consultation and find out how our virtual receptionists can take your scheduling even further. You can also drop us a line at (650) 727-6484 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.