There are no available appointments to book or my availability isn’t what I expected

If you’ve set up at least one appointment type and aren’t seeing any available times when you try to book an appointment, then your appointment type settings likely need to be reviewed. In this article, we’ll walk you through checking your appointment type settings to ensure that you’re allowing for some available appointments.

In the WordPress admin, go to Appointments > Appointment Types and select the appointment type that’s giving you trouble.

Step 1: Check Appointment Availability

Under the Availability section, ensure that your availability reflects your availability for the entire appointment duration. For example, if you are taking 2 hour appointments and indicate that you’re available until 5pm, the last available appointment start time to book will be 3pm as an appointment booked at 3pm will keep you busy until 5pm, when you’ve indicated that you’re no longer available.

Step 2: Check Appointment Duration and Availability

Check to make sure that your availability allows for blocks of time at least as long as your appointment’s duration. For example, if you have a 4-hour long appointment – do you have blocks of time in your availability that are at least 4 hours long? You’ll find the duration under the Basics section and Availability under the Availability section.

Step 3: Appointment Buffer, Duration, and Availability

Under the Scheduling Options section, check your appointment buffers for both before and after. This is time that should be left free in your calendar before and after an appointment. It’s meant to give you time to have a snack, take notes, prepare, or otherwise have a breather between appointments. Be sure that you have large enough blocks of time in your availability to accommodate the appointment duration and the buffers that you’ve set. For example, if you have a 3-hour long appointment with a 15 minute buffer before and a 15 minute buffer after, you’ll need to have blocks at least 3 and a half hours long in your availability to accommodate appointments.

Step 4: Check Notice Required

Under the Scheduling Options section, check Notice Required. This is how much notice you need when someone books an appointment. For example, if you have this set to 1 day (or 24 hours), then there won’t be any availability for booking this appointment type during the next 24 hours. This helps prevent last-minute bookings and surprise appointments that you may not be prepared to take.

Make sure that your setting here is what you intended.

Step 5: Per day limit

Under the Scheduling options section, check to be sure that you’re accepting as many appointments of this type per day as you intended. If you select to limit the number of appointments books, we default to 3 appointments of this type per day. Even if you have availability on your calendar for more, we won’t allow display any availability once there are three appointments booked on the same day.

Make sure your setting here is what you intended.

Step 6: Check your Google Calendar

Skip this step if you’re not using Google Calendar Sync.

Do you have a full roster of appointments already on your Google calendar that are taking up your time and making it unavailable for appointments? Keep in mind that appointment buffer and duration still apply. If you have a 3-hour long appointment, is there a block on your calendar at least 3 hours long to accommodate it?

Step 7: Availability Window

Skip this step if you’re not using Advanced Scheduling Options.

If you’ve defined an availability window under the Availability section, check your settings here. These settings are for when appointments will take place. If you’re accepting appointments for job interviews during a two-day job fair, for example, you’ll want the start of the availability window to be the start of the job fair and the end of the availability window to be the end of the job fair.

By default, we assign midnight as the time for the availability windows, but that is editable. Keep in mind that setting an availability end time of midnight on January 1 means that no appointments will be available to book on January 1 as the availability window will expire as soon as its midnight.

Step 8: Advance

Skip this step if you’re not using Advanced Scheduling Options.

Under Scheduling Options, check your settings for Advance. This defines how far into the future customers should be able to book appointments. For example, if you want folks to be able to book appointments no more than 30 days into the future, this setting should be set to 30 days. That will prevent any availability past 30 days from today.

Make sure your setting here is what you intended.

Step 9: Booking Window

Skip this step if you’re not using Advanced Scheduling Options.

If you’ve defined a booking window under the Scheduling Options section, this will narrow the time when customers can book their appointments. Note that this applies to the time when customers have access to actually book the appointment, and not when the appointments actually take place.

If you meant to limit when the appointments would actually occur, you will need to delete your Booking Window settings and set the Availability window under the Availability section.

For example, you want to take 30 minute appointments for interviews during a job fair that’s happening from November 1-3, 2018 from 9am to 5pm. Attendees of the job fair should be able to come to the website to book these appointments starting at noon on October 15.

Here’s how you’d set that up:

  • Define a new appointment type called Job Fair Interview
  • Set its duration to 30 minutes
  • Set the availability to 9am-5pm for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. (November 1 is a Thursday, so the job fair starts on Thursday and the final day is Saturday)
  • Set the availability window for the appointment type to November 1, 2018 at 9am until November 3, 2018 at 5pm. That will make sure appointments only get booked while the job fair is going on.
  • Set the booking window for the appointment type to start on October 15, 2018 at noon. That will prevent attendees from sneaking in early to book their appointment before the booking should be available.

Step 10: Contact support for more help

If you’ve reviewed all of these settings, but you’re still not seeing the availability you expected, please get in touch with support and we’ll help you get it sorted out. Right within Simply Schedule Appointments, navigate to the support tab and use the Contact Support Team button to send us a message. This is really helpful for us as you can send over all your appointment type settings so we can identify where the issue might be, which is a huge timesaver and lets us cut down on asking you lots of questions before we can solve the issue. Otherwise, you can contact support with the chat bubble at the lower right (be sure to leave a way to get in touch if we’re not available just now) or email us at support@simplyscheduleappointments.com.