Scheduling appointments can be a hassle for you and your clients. With an automated scheduling tool, you can skip all the back-and-forth. While you’re shopping for scheduling software, you may be comparing Calendly and Acuity Scheduling. Both sync with your calendars and have built-in reminders and follow-ups. This way, you can spend less time doing busywork and more time working with your clients.
Both solutions are popular, affordable options for streamlining your scheduling and regaining control over your team’s calendars. But what are the differences? And how will those differences affect your productivity or integrate with the software you already use?
Other than recouping some of the time you spend on scheduling emails and phone calls, online scheduling boosts your ROI in another critical way — more appointments. Many business owners report an uptick in the number of appointments scheduled. Often, convenient scheduling decides whether a client chooses you over another company.
We understand that sometimes it’s tough to figure out which vendor is the best fit. Here’s a comparison to help you choose the right online appointment scheduling tool for your business.
Acuity vs. Calendly: Overview
Both Calendly and Acuity are automated scheduling software, and that is where Calendly keeps its laser focus. While you can manage teams and integrate with other apps using both options, Calendly’s features concentrate on scheduling appointments, reminders, and follow-up messages.
Calendly’s users primarily want an easy way to take the drama out of booking appointments. They also want a tool that reduces no-shows, connects with their other software, and helps their team collaborate and stay organized.
Acuity offers a reliable automated scheduling tool, but expands its capabilities into business administration like client management, customizable intake forms, and invoicing. Acuity was acquired by Squarespace in 2019, so it plays nice with Square.
Acuity’s users are interested in replacing multiple existing admin systems with a single cloud-based tool. It’s functionality goes beyond automated scheduling and into accounting and client database management.
While freelancers and small businesses may benefit from Acuity, larger teams report using Calendly more often. Many small, mid-size, and large businesses require more robust admin features than Acuity offers. These businesses already have other database and accounting software in their tech stack, so they don’t need Acuity’s other capabilities.
Features they share
Calendly and Acuity are competitively priced, and both offer a free trial period for paid features. Calendly’s free trial lasts 14 days, and Acuity’s lasts 7 days.
Also, Calendly has always offered a completely free plan for users who only require one calendar integration and one type of appointment. This option suits many freelancers and small businesses that only need the basics.
To clearly see how Acuity and Calendly stack up, let’s compare their most similarly priced plans: Calendly’s Professional plan ($12 per seat) vs. Acuity’s Emerging plan ($14 per seat).
With these plans, both Calendly and Acuity scheduling tools allow users to:
Automate meeting scheduling, notifications, and follow ups
Offer client self-scheduling
Sync with calendar apps including Google, Office 365, Outlook, and iCloud
Create unlimited appointments and meetings
Integrate with PayPal or Stripe, letting you accept payments, vault credit cards for charging clients later, and accept tips
Connect with MailChimp email marketing
Incorporate APIs and web forms
Enjoy the convenience of web-based apps for iOS and Android
Customize branding and templates
In this age of online meetings, it’s important to note that both Calendly and Acuity offer direct integrations with popular video conferencing platforms. Both connect with Zoom and Google Meet; however, Calendly provides you more connections, including Microsoft Teams and Webex. This means with one click you can include video conference details directly in your Calendly events, allowing you to scratch another item off your list while keeping all the key information in one place.
How Calendly and Acuity are different
When you ask users, Calendly comes out on top. The scores on review sites seem comparable, until you look at how many more Calendly users have submitted positive reviews. For example, on TrustRadius, Calendly scores a 9 out of 10 (293 reviews) and Acuity Scheduling scores 8.5 (91 reviews). On G2’s software review site, Calendly earns a 4.7 out of 5 from 1,234 visitors: Acuity also sits at 4.7, but that’s from 370 reviews.
Calendly is better for teams
As the leader in modern scheduling, Calendly has partnered with teams of all sizes and industries to simplify scheduling. With Calendly’s Workflows, you can send automated communications like reminders, follow-ups, and thank yous via email or text before and after meetings. Workflows boost meeting attendance, increase engagement, and standardize communications, all while eliminating repetitive, manual work for hosts.
Calendly integrates more easily with the tools you already use
Calendly has more custom connections to other apps, including the two most popular CRMs, Salesforce and Hubspot. It’s crucial to seamlessly connect your automated scheduling tool with the other platforms that keep your business running. It also helps you maximize existing features within your online scheduler. Read more about Calendy’s integrations and Acuity’s integrations, and take note of the custom integrations that already exist vs. the integrations you’d have to create using a third-party tool.
Acuity has accounting features
The main difference is that Acuity has accounting, invoicing, and client database management. That may be an advantage, unless you’ve already built out and paid for those services in another app. Your company might also benefit from Acuity’s customizable forms, like intake and agreement forms.
Acuity also touts its ability to offer appointment packages (including payment plans), and in-app sales of subscriptions, memberships, and gift certificates. Just know that you’ll need to upgrade to the $23 plan to get those benefits, which may already be offered by your payment platform, anyway.
Which is more user-friendly?
Both automated schedulers come out on top in the ease-of-use category. Each tool requires only basic software knowledge and offers simple customization options.
This is possible because their platforms include defaults designed to streamline setup.
Creating automation rules for scheduling in Calendly doesn’t take much time. Once you know your availability preferences, the system walks you through the process. Even users with little software experience can set up controls like:
Email confirmations and reminders
Buffer times between events
Daily limits for meetings
Minimum scheduling rules to prevent last-minute meetings
Do you schedule across time zones? Calendly and Acuity include automatic time zone detection for scheduling.
One thing we’ll note that may not seem like a big deal now, but could cause frustration down the road. Calendly offers a key feature that Acuity doesn’t — user access controls (or user permissions). For example, this lets you give full calendar access and editing permission to a manager or your front desk, but limit other staff to just viewing the calendar.
Which keeps your team and clients most organized?
If scheduling automation and calendar management are your priorities, then you’ll reap more benefits from Calendly’s platform. Especially if you work on a team. Calendly syncs with up to six different calendars (per user) including Google, Outlook, iCloud, and Office 365, which helps prevent scheduling conflicts.
Calendly’s shared events (i.e. collective, round-robin, group) remove the hassle from organizing meetings with multiple hosts, multiple invitees, or availability-based scheduling. And to keep everyone on the same page (literally), this online scheduling tool includes team-wide pages that display the availability for your entire company or department on one page. Calendly also offers Polls, which allows invitees to vote on the best meeting times.
For scheduling, Acuity offers extended benefits such as multi-location appointment setting. This keeps you organized even when team members from several offices are included in your scheduling process.
Both Calendly and Acuity offer access across devices to keep you organized and on schedule even when you’re not in your office.
Calendly vs. Acuity: choose according to your priorities
The best way to choose between two good options is to consider your organization’s most important goals. Once you have a clear vision of your direction, you can create a targeted plan for incorporating automation and upgrading critical platforms.
When to choose Calendly
Are you looking for an online scheduler to connect with existing software and systems and accept payments? Then Calendly wins the standoff because the cloud-based software specializes in automated scheduling and does it well.
If you want robust scheduling features for teams, Calendly’s user permissions, collaboration tools, and activity management are must-haves. And regardless of your company’s size, the price remains highly affordable.
Additionally, Calendly’s website is transparent about available features, how to use them, and what you get with each paid package.
When to choose Acuity
If you’re looking for comprehensive software that goes beyond scheduling, Acuity offers an expanded platform. It provides client management, accounting integrations, and invoicing alongside its online scheduling tool.
Acuity’s higher-priced plans offer e-commerce features for service-based businesses, allowing you to receive tips, offer coupons, and even upsell clients with add-ons at checkout.
Acuity’s end-to-end software service packages are helpful if you want to update several business admin systems (or are starting from scratch).
The automated scheduling software you choose depends on your needs. If you find little value in Acuity’s business administration capabilities, you probably wouldn’t want to pay the additional cost for their platform.
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Sarah is a Managing Editor at Calendly, the perfect home for her obsession with words and compulsion to organize. Hobbies include spoiling her rescue dog and soaking up Nashville's live music scene.
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