To tell it sweet and short
Acuity Scheduling is the most versatile scheduling tool in the market. They have the depth and breadth in features to address the needs of various functions and different industries.
While that is definitely a plus, Acuity’s UI is not able to present these features in a user-friendly way. There are pop-ups, long pages, hidden sub menus… some times discovering features is a task.
Who will find Acuity useful?
Anyone who wants to automate their schedule, from sales teams to small businesses in the service industry will find Acuity useful.
Who will find Acuity limiting?
While Acuity is definitely useful for the service industry, you may find it limiting if you are into specific verticals like salons. There are dedicated software for that industry and if your operations are fairly large you will find Acuity limiting. Acuity does not have payment terminal integration or an inventory module.
Acuity’s pricing structure can be discouraging for some people. They follow a slab-wise pricing. The Emerging plan allows one staff, the Growing plan allows 6 and the Powerhouse allows 36. If you 7 staff, you have to upgrade from Growing to Powerhouse.
What is their business model?
The health and wellness industry that they try to serve is huge. By remaining to stay generic and not focusing on a particular vertical like salons, they can capture the market of small to mid tier businesses.
Their merger with Squarespace will help them to develop their online store capabilities further cementing their position in the service industry.
Viability of the company
Acuity Scheduling is a profitable company, and is loved by its customers because they pay attention their needs.In 2019, they got acquired by Squarespace a respected player in the SMB market. Acuity might be heading towards becoming a services store under Squarespace.These are good developments. If you have Acuity on your shortlist, you can jump right in.
How do they fare on the basic features of a scheduler?
- Calendar sync – Acuity integrates with all popular calendars from Google, Microsoft and Apple. The sync is two-way by default. However, you can also opt for a one-way subscription. When you have multiple calendars to sync with Acuity you share all calendars with a designated primary calendar of yours. Acuity will sync with that primary calendar. You can select options to read all of these or one of these calendars and reflect your availability in Acuity’s calendar. Acuity also allows you to sync with Holidays calendar of the respective country. You can set calendar invites for Acuity events. Event titles can be labelled just as ‘busy’ to ensure privacy on shared calendars.
- Availability – In Acuity you can create multiple availability templates (calendars) based on your pricing plan. After creating a few such calendars, you can map them to event types. Acuity has done a smart thing by decoupling availability from staff or event type. This way, any type of availability can be created. It could be open hours just for a date, or a few days a week or for a set number of days into the future. Even if you set regular hours for next 60 days, you can edit one or a few days in those sixty. Acuity has options for you to limit the last minute bookings, advance bookings, appointments you take. It also gives you the flexibility to accept more than one appointment per time slot.
- Appointment types – There are two types: services, groups and classes. The main parameters of a service or class are its duration and the pricing. If you want more than one person to attend a service, go for group/classes. For each appointment type, you have to map one of more calendars. If need be, you can map a resource as well. A resource is a physical object you need for delivering a service or class. By default, all appointment types will have booking forms with Name, Email and Phone number. You can add more fields to the booking form if needed.
- Sharing – Acuity offers a default scheduling page. You can change the page URL to reflect your business’s name or identity. Acuity has different embed codes to embed the page in your website, use as a booking button, a bar or as a page in Acuity client app. There are dedicated pages for appointment types, calendars and categories and all can be customized or embedded as described above. Also, Acuity allows you to customize the page’s appearance using CSS.
- Post-appointment actions – You can set up confirmation and reminder emails along with an online meeting link if needed. Depending on the integrations that you have opted for, appointments might be added to a CRM or an email campaign can be started.
- Online meeting – Acuity has integrations with Zoom, Google Meet, GoToMeeting, and JoinMe
What are the differentiating features?
Acuity is feature-rich. They have many features that make them stand out from other appointment schedulers.
- Scheduling page customization with CSS
- Highest number of integrations
- Wide range of calendars that can be synced with it
- Flexibility in setting up availability
- Resource mapping for meetings
- Extensive reporting module
- Different time zones for calendars/staff/location
Acuity is usually compared with Calendly. While Calendly has gone in depth with thefeatures meant for their target audience, Acuity has covered scheduling features wider to address a large audience and use cases.
What are the niche features?
Acuity is an appointment scheduler meant for anyone who is trying to automate their booking process.They have developed features for health and wellness industry.
- Packages, gift certificates and subscriptions
- Make me look busy and minimize gaps
- Partial payment and deposit
- Vaulting credit cards
Though there are apps dedicated to health and wellness industry, , Acuity can woo some clients from that industry with these features.
Mobile app (Android)
- Client App – This app is straightforward. It has a dashboard listing the businesses that the client works with. The client can check past and upcoming appointments, and also book new ones. If they have certificates and subscriptions with the businesses, they can see them under the Orders tab.
- Admin app – The app is not native and does not offer a great experience. It opens into a calendar view which is a replica of the web view. You have to scroll vertically and horizontally for a full view. There is a left pane with menus manage account, clients, availability, appointment types and a link to the scheduling page. The app can be used as a back up option when you do not have your system nearby.
I did not check the iOS app
Acuity has APIs to work with the following modules
- Blocking time
They have Webhooks, SDK and CSS customization for the scheduling page. Learn more about Acuity Scheduling API.
Ease of use
Acuity’s UI tries to pack too many things in the window. The crowded feeling overwhelms rather than empowers a new user.
There are pop-ups for additional settings which interfere with the experience.
Some settings appear only when we edit them and not when we set them up.. For ex. When I was configuring the scheduling page, the color options appeared only when I visited the settings again. Acuity might be having it by design, but it confused me. You just need more patience with Acuity compared to simpler schedulers.
How will your customer’s scheduling experience be with Acuity Scheduling?
A scheduler should be flexible and feature rich for you and your team. It should also provide an awesome customer experience.That experience will be defined by the scheduling page, where they book appointments ,and the emails that you send them from Acuity. Both the page and the emails are highly customizable in Acuity.
You have three levels of customizing the appearance of the booking page for the customer.
The first way is to upload your logo, change the booking page URL to match your brand, and by editing the content on the page.
The next level is to set up colors that resonate with you for the background, header, buttons, and scheduler area. If your plan allows, it you can remove the ‘Powered by Acuity’ text also.
There is another level where you can play with CSS and further customize the appearance. With these options you have great flexibility in setting up the appearance of your page.
You can set the calendar to follow a daily or monthly layout. Also, depending on the geography you serve, you can set the starting day of the week, the timezone, language and time format.
Customers can cancel, reschedule and add their appointment to calendar from the confirmation page. If you are meeting online or in a physical location, the link to join the meeting or address to the location will be shown here…
If you have enabled client log in, customers can log in to the portal and see their appointments.
Help and support
Acuity has elaborate help documentation. SInce the product UI is sprinkled with contextual help links, you will not have to hop on to the help docs frequently.
Acuity supports customers via email. There is no telephone support which is pointed out as a shortcoming by many customers.
I contacted them by email when I had doubts during the evaluation. Their turnaround time was faster than many of their competitors. They also have live training webinars with Q&A sessions. If you need one-on-one assistance they have Acuity Certified Experts who are third party consultants.
I found some issues during my evaluation. Also, it took more time than usual to navigate between pages.
Acuity tries to go after larger businesses in the service industry. Their slab-wise pricing model supports such businesses. The cost per calendar goes down from $14 in the base plan to just $1.25 in the highest plan.
Total cost of ownership
Acuity’s total cost ownership goes down significantly as you grow because the higher plans charge less per calendar. You also need to accommodate the subscription cost of any other app, like Zapier, that you want to integrate with Acuity.
What will you get for FREE, for $15, for $50?
The usual starting point for appointment scheduler is around $15 per user per month. The highest pricing point is around $50 per user per month. Let us see what Acuity offers around these price points. That way, you can keep $15 as a base line for comparing it with other schedulers in your shortlist. Is Acuity offering more at your budget of $15 or is it one of the competition.
|Number of staff/locations||1||1||36|
|Confirmation, reminder, and follow-up emails||No||Yes||Yes|
|Text message reminders||No||No||Yes|
|Offer appointment packages (including payment plans)||No||No||Yes|
|Sell subscriptions, memberships, and gift certificates||No||No||Yes|
|Automatic time zone conversion for clients||No||Yes||Yes|
|Multiple time zones for your different staff/locations||No||No||Yes|
|Offer classes, workshops, or group events||No||Yes||Yes|
|Sync with Google Calendar, iCloud, Outlook.com, Exchange, and Office 365||No||Yes||Yes|
|Zoom, Google Meet, GoToMeeting integrations for online meetings||No||Yes||Yes|
|Advanced reporting about appointments, no shows, & performance||No||Yes||Yes|
When pitted against the segment leader – comparison page and table
Acuity plays in two segments: appointment schedulers and salon management software. In appointment scheduling, Acuity is the leader. Calendly is the closest competitor. Here is our comparison of the apps.
However, in salon management space, Mindbodyonline is the leader. Here is a comparison of Acuity Scheduling vs Mindbodyonline.
Summary of other reviews
Customers have reviewed Acuity at many places.
The positives always revolve around the how Acuity automates scheduling, its large feature set, unlimited SMS reminders, and customizability.
Customers need telephone support besides email. However, Acuity does not offer that even on the paid plans. They have stated reasons for not giving telephone support. However, their email replies are quick and is able to solve problems.
A few customers have complained that the product is too complex for them to figure out on their own.
Acuity Scheduling scores well on all counts as a scheduling platform. Go for Acuity Scheduling if you find it ideal for you in the free trial.
Long term review
Often, you will find that the product that you started using a few years ago with full conviction is not the one you needed. The reasons could be many: the product is not able to scale; the total cost of ownership goes higher; the support is bad,there are no useful updates.
Our long term review is a way to observe how a product performed in the last year. This is an important read if you are buying the product for a longer term. Read our long term review about Acuity Scheduling.