Calendly vs Acuity: Which Scheduling Software is Best for You?

Finding a meeting time shouldn‘t require a dozen email exchanges playing calendar tag. Yet for many professionals and business owners, scheduling calls, meetings, and appointments with clients still means tedious and time-consuming back-and-forth communication.

Thankfully, appointment scheduling software radically simplifies the process. With tools like Calendly and Acuity Scheduling, you can share availability online for others to book on their own time. No more phone calls, long email threads or double-booked mixups.

But how do you determine whether Calendly or Acuity better meets your business‘s scheduling needs? With so many overlapping capabilities, it can be difficult to decipher which platform has the right blend of features and ease of use for your use case.

In this 2800+ word guide, we’ll demystify the key differences between Calendly and Acuity Scheduling across critical functionality, integrations, customization options and more. I’ll provide actionable recommendations tailored to professionals and teams of all types so you can determine which solution best fits your requirements.

Let’s kick things off by investigating the core scheduling challenges these platforms solve and sizing up the appointment-scheduling software market.

Why Businesses Are Adopting Online Scheduling Platforms

Before analyzing Calendly and Acuity’s specific capabilities, it’s helpful to understand the root scheduling frustrations they address and why adoption of these tools is accelerating across countless industries.

The scheduling status quo wastes incredible amounts of time. Setting up meetings and appointments via email or phone calls involves significant back and forth communication. Employees and business owners constantly play an inefficient game of email or voicemail tag just to find a mutually available 30 minute or 1 hour calendar slot.

According to Doodle’s 2019 State of Scheduling report, employees spend over 4 hours per week just coordinating meetings with colleagues. That translates to a staggering 200+ hours per year wasted simply trying to align calendars. Even more time goes towards booking client consultations, sales calls, candidate interviews and the many other external meetings essential for operating a business.

Customers expect fast and flexible booking options. Today’s buyers have come to expect seamless digital experiences and on demand service. Yet when setting appointments with many businesses, customers face frustrating delays for even simple scheduling needs. Whether researching their issues beforehand or reading online reviews afterwards, people are quick to voice their displeasure at poor scheduling experiences.

Inflexible booking processes hamper sales productivity. Without modern scheduling capabilities, sales and marketing teams must manually coordinate demos, consultations and meetings one lead at a time. These repetitive tasks significantly limit outbound calling and follow up capacity. According to research by HubSpot, sales reps spend just 36% of their time actually selling, with the rest wasted coordinating meetings or performing administrative work.

In this context, it’s no surprise that appointment scheduling software adoption has skyrocketed. Solutions like Calendly and Acuity provide the flexibility and efficiency needed to keep businesses running smoothly.

Appointment scheduling software adoption rates

62% of businesses rely on scheduling apps to coordinate meetings according to Software Advice

Let’s now dive into the key distinctions between Calendly and Acuity Scheduling when it comes to solving these booking headaches.

Calendly vs. Acuity: Feature Comparison

Calendly and Acuity Scheduling share the same core purpose: Making it simple to display availability and have others book appointments directly on your calendar. But the platforms approach these capabilities in somewhat different ways.

Below we’ll analyze how each solution stacks up across critical categories of scheduling functionality so you can determine the best fit for your business.

Scheduling Workflows: Calendly Keeps it Simple

Both Calendly and Acuity aim to minimize unnecessary back and forth communication when coordinating meetings. But Calendly provides an even simpler and more streamlined booking experience for your customers.

With Calendly, recipients of your scheduling link can immediately view availability and book an appointment in just a few clicks without creating an account. Customers provide just their name and email address upon booking for streamlined meeting set up.

Acuity also displays availability right on your personalized scheduling page. But getting set up requires customers create an account first before they have booking access. Depending on your business, this extra friction could limit adoption.

For teams that want a dead simple scheduling flow to share availability with clients, Calendly makes meeting booking seamless. Acuity offers greater long term tracking and customer history capabilities, at the cost of some initial complexity.

Calendly Acuity
Customer account required? No Yes
Availability display Instant via public link Instant via public link
Typical booking steps 2 clicks Account creation + 2 clicks

Customization and Branding: Acuity Is King

Having your scheduling page, booking forms and notifications match your brand lends a professional appearance and promotes consistency across touchpoints.

In this regard, Acuity far outpaces Calendly for tailoring the look, feel and functionality to your business. With deep configuration options, white labeled dashboards and user interfaces, Acuity keeps branding seamless from initial outreach to booked appointment.

Conversely, Calendly skips the bells as whistles, mainly allowing lightweight branding via logo insertion and color changes. For many solo entrepreneurs and smaller teams, this simplicity gets the job done. But client facing enterprises may miss Acuity’s robust styling capabilities.

Calendly Acuity
White labeled dashboard
Custom CSS
Tailored forms and pages
Custom intake questions
Logo insertion

Integrations & Connections: Calendly Plays Nicely With Others

Given appointment scheduling touches everything from your calendar and email to video calls and payments, platform connections are crucial for smooth operations.

This is an area where Calendly particularly shines with over 100 total integrations across tools like Office 365, G Suite, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Salesforce, Stripe and dozens more. Acuity covers the scheduling basics well but supports less than 40 total platform and payment connections by comparison.

For growing teams adopting more software across domains like sales, marketing and operations, Calendly integrates seamlessly to unite workflows. Acuity still offers core calendar and meeting integrations along with popular payment processors.

Calendly Acuity
Native calendar integrations Google Calendar
Office 365
Google Calendar
Office 365
Video conferencing integrations Zoom
WebEx by Cisco
Microsoft Teams
Payment integrations Stripe
Marketing integrations MailChimp
CRM (Salesforce)

Group Scheduling Options

For many businesses, meetings involve multiple attendees beyond a simple 1:1 session. Accommodating group scheduling requests can create added complexity companies must manage.

Thankfully, both tools provide options to allow customers to select appointment slots that work across attendees’ schedules with minimal fuss:

  • Calendly leverages round robin and pooled availability across specified teammates to expose shared openings to booking customers
  • Acuity enables designated group capacity slots along with customer facing class and event scheduling to reserve spots for groups and teams

So whether you need to coordinate meetings across several representatives or book appointments for large teams, groups or workshops, Calendly and Acuity have you covered. Acuity once again provides added flexibility tailored to class and workshop businesses, while Calendly optimizes for more ad hoc group scheduling needs.

Evaluating Ease of Use: Setup vs Ongoing Management

Appointment scheduling software needs to be simple and intuitive both during initial configuration and ongoing management of bookings. How do Calendly and Acuity compare when it comes to user friendliness?

For the most basic scheduling needs, Calendly provides faster time to value thanks to an extremely simple setup process. Even scheduling novices can create an account, connect their calendar, configure event types and share their booking link in just minutes. Ongoing management through Calendly’s interface also stays user friendly.

However, customers that want to deeply tailor the scheduling experience around packages, classes or appointments may achieve greater long term ease of use with Acuity. The platform delivers more scheduling flexibility tailored to appointment-driven businesses at the cost of a more involved configuration process. Branded with custom forms and fields for capturing client details, Acuity makes repeat bookings feel seamless.

So while Calendly makes launching scheduling capabilities instantly accessible, Acuity edges ahead in the long run for appointment heavy use cases thanks to robust configuration options and less ongoing manual intervention. But for ad hoc booking of calls and meetings, Calendly remains simpler to pick up and use.

Best Calendly & Acuity Scheduling Use Cases

Now that we’ve broken down key differences in features and capabilities, which types of professionals and businesses make ideal users for Calendly vs Acuity?

Calendly Works Best for:

  • Freelancers and solopreneurs – Thanks to generous free tier and dead simple interface, Calendly provides an instant bridge for independent consultants to book calls and meetings with clients.
  • Project teams selling services – The array of video chat, doc sharing and payment integrations optimize Calendly for creative agencies and software firms to demo offerings and run sales calls.
  • Enterprise sales teams – For larger outbound sales teams wanting to post availability for demos and customer meetings, Calendly allows volume scheduling while keeping availability constantly updated.

Acuity Excels At:

  • Appointment-driven service businesses – Custom packages and appointment types make Acuity a natural fit for salons, clinics, fitness studios and other services that rely on bookings.
  • Boutique retail & personal services – Extensive branding and style customization allows small shops and professional services to maintain their visual identity throughout the scheduling flow.
  • Virtual & in-person classes – Group scheduling and waitlist capabilities suit Acuity for private lesson instructors, workshop leaders and coaches running classes across modalities.

Which Solution Is Right For You?

As this guide has illustrated, Calendly and Acuity serve similar core purposes, helping professionals and teams across industries eliminate scheduling headaches.

But depending on your use case, one solution likely better aligns with the types of meetings you host, integrations relied upon, branding needs and overall ease of use preferences.

As a solopreneur or freelancer prioritizing simplicity above all, Calendly allows you to skip setup complexity without sacrificing critical features. For consultants and creatives, moving fast with a frictionless scheduling flow for clients is crucial.

Client facing enterprises that hinge on professional presentation should consider Acuity first. Extensive configuration options, tailored booking forms and robust branding capabilities make client interactions impressively seamless while capturing key details for your records.

For anyone overwhelmed by the sea of scheduling software choices, consider starting with 2 week free trials for both Calendly and Acuity. Gathering hands on experience remains the best evaluation method to determine day to day usability.

Just be sure to carefully map out must have features and workflows ahead of time so you can validate whether Calendly or Acuity better suits your team. Goal setting and requirements documentation upfront prevent analysis paralysis down the line.

Whichever solution you land on, bringing your scheduling process online promises huge time savings and revenue growth potential compared to manual meeting coordination. Give one of these user friendly platforms a shot and say goodbye to calendar tag hassles for good!