When trying to schedule meetings, it's easy to find yourself in an excessively long email chain trying to pinpoint the best time and date for everyone. It's much less of a hassle if you use a dedicated meeting scheduler app to streamline the process.
Meeting scheduling software allows you to define your availability, remove the risk of double booking a time slot, and eliminate the back-and-forths. There are various types of meeting schedulers out there, from email plugins to mobile apps to web-based solutions that can be used anonymously. We tested dozens of options, and these are the 8 best online meeting scheduler tools.
The 8 best meeting schedulers
MeetingBird for a free meeting scheduler
Calendar for tracking your meetings
Calendly for letting others schedule meetings with you
Doodle for scheduling meetings on mobile
Rallly for scheduling meetings anonymously
x.ai for an AI assistant meeting scheduler
Woven for scheduling meetings from a desktop app
Google Calendar for the best meeting scheduler you already own
Once you pick your app, make the most of it by automating your meeting scheduling. Here are 4 scheduling automation workflows to make meetings easy, including things like getting meeting notifications in your app of choice, getting all new meeting attendees into your CRM, or automatically sending follow-up emails after a meeting.
What makes a great meeting scheduler?
As we tested meeting scheduler apps, we narrowed down our recommendations according to some key criteria. Here's a look at what's important:
Ease of use. The whole point of a meeting scheduler is that it saves you the time that you would spend exchanging numerous emails to narrow down a time and date. If an app is awkward to use, it takes up that time, which defeats the purpose. All of the included apps take seconds or minutes to figure out.
Integration with other apps/services. When organizing meetings, you're also likely to be juggling other services. That could be a matter of keeping one eye on your Google Calendar, wanting a smooth integration with Zoom or other video conferencing software, or integrating more advanced options like Salesforce. Depending on your needs, it might not be essential to have such integrations within the meeting scheduler app, but we've prioritized solutions that streamline the whole thing for you—natively or through Zapier.
Extra features. You may just want to poll your colleagues about the best time for a meeting, but extra features allow for more flexibility. The majority of the recommended apps include additional features that can make your life simpler, whether that's through recurring meeting options, helping you get to your meeting destination, or anything in between.
Value for money. All of these apps have a free option, and none of the paid plans are excessively expensive for the job they need to do.
Best free meeting scheduler
Meetingbird (Web, Chrome extension)
Meetingbird has gone from strength to strength over the years. It started out as a meeting scheduler app for users of the email app Front, but it's now the ideal one-stop shop for most scenarios. It's incredibly simple to set up and use, and the only requirement is either a Google or Office 365 account.
Once you log in, creating a meeting is a matter of clicking Create my first scheduling link—then you're given clear and concise options for getting started. To poll people to find the best time for everyone to meet, you can choose as many time and date options as you want. Once you've created the poll, simply copy the link and send it to the relevant parties.
If you use Gmail, you can use the Meetingbird Chrome extension to insert meeting times directly into your emails. A list of available times will be included in the email, and all the recipient has to do is click the best slot for them. It's a far more attractive way of doing things than most other interfaces.
Now entirely free with unlimited meetings at your disposal, it's hard to fault Meetingbird. Do keep an eye on its permissions, though. Upon signing in, it asks for permission to be able to permanently delete your Google contacts. That feels heavy-handed, if very unlikely to ever occur.
If you connect Meetingbird to Zapier, you can do things like get notifications in your chat app whenever a meeting is scheduled or automatically add new Meetingbird meetings to your video conference app.
See more ways to automate Meetingbird with Meetingbird's Zapier integrations.
Meetingbird Pricing: Free
Best meeting scheduler for tracking meetings
Calendar (Web, iOS, Android)
As straightforward as its name, Calendar has all the features you'd expect from a meeting scheduler app. It offers web and mobile versions, with the whole interface feeling very reminiscent of Google Calendar. Not a bad thing.
Where Calendar stands out from the crowd is its extensive statistics section. It tracks every one of your meetings, spotting where trends develop. Besides obvious stats like how long you've spent in meetings over the past day, week, month, or even year, it also spots attendance records, noting what percentage of people rejected or missed a meeting. It even highlights who you're most likely to have meetings with. It's the kind of thing that could be immensely useful when trying to work toward better engagement. And it's all bundled up in a neat overview section that's attractive and informative.
You only get a limited number of meetings with the free version of Calendar, so it's highly likely that you'll need to upgrade to the paid plan. Still, if you want to analyze your meetings in depth, this is the place to go.
Calendar pricing: Free; from $10 per month for unlimited meetings and other features
Best meeting scheduler for letting others schedule meetings with you
Calendly lets other people schedule meetings with you by showing them your availability and offering them different types of meetings they can book with you. It's an ideal app for anyone who gets a lot of meeting requests and needs a simple but clear reply.
You start by giving Calendly insight into when you're free by connecting it to your calendar (Google Calendar, iCal, Microsoft Office 365, or Outlook). Then you create different meeting options for the types of meetings you offer, such as "30-minute phone interview" or "initial client intake meeting." Calendly has a slew of details you can add to each meeting type you offer. Finally, you send a link to people who need to schedule meetings with you so that they can see when you're available and request the meetings they need.
Calendly syncs all the confirmed appointments to your calendar and offers to create an event on your invitees' calendars as well. There are tools for setting up an automatic reminder email to attendees, too.
While Calendly works well for scheduling meetings with individuals or team members within an organization, its custom events and outgoing links make it ideal for connecting with external clients, customers, and colleagues. Calendly has extensive integration options, including Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Zapier, but you do need to subscribe to a paid plan to get the full benefits here.
By connecting Calendly to Zapier, you can do things like create new Zoom meetings whenever a new meeting is scheduled or add new meeting attendees to your email marketing list. Here are some examples to get started with, but you can customize the workflow to use your favorite apps.
To get even more out of Calendly, take a look at these 4 automated workflows to help you be a Calendly pro.
Calendly Pricing: Free with limited features; paid plans from $8/month
Best meeting scheduler app for scheduling meetings on mobile
Doodle (Android, iOS, Web)
Doodle works well for picking a time and date for both professional and personal events, and for sharing your availability with others. Whether you're organizing a family dinner or an all-hands meeting, Doodle has a friendly interface and the right options to make planning simple for everyone. It's also one of the few meeting schedulers with mobile apps for both Android and iOS. While the website isn't the clearest, the mobile app is straightforward and intuitive, making this an ideal candidate for on-the-go meeting scheduling.
At its core, Doodle is a polling app, but it's specifically for choosing times and dates. When you set up a poll, you don't have to limit people to replying to each suggestion with only a yes or no: you can add "if need be" for instances when the timing isn't ideal but could work. You can also limit the number of yes votes each respondent gives. Additionally, you can invite people to your poll by email, or generate a link to a public URL and share it however you like.
Doodle also lets you create a unique URL where you can permanently display your availability based on a connected calendar, known as your MeetMe page. Google Calendar, Microsoft Office 365, and Outlook are supported, with an option to add other calendars via ICS feed. People who visit your MeetMe page can request a meeting by marking out a free time slot that works for them. Slack and Zoom integrations are also included.
With a paid Doodle membership, you get advanced meeting scheduling features, such as the ability to quickly see who hasn't answered a poll yet, based on those you've invited, as well as custom branding for MeetMe pages.
By connecting Doodle to Zapier, you can let people know whenever you create a new Doodle, or you can share the results of your Doodles with recipients or other folks.
See more ways to automate Doodle with Doodle's Zapier integrations.
Doodle Pricing: Free with limited features; paid plans from $53/year
Best free meeting scheduler for anonymous use
Show of hands: Who's available Monday? How about Tuesday? That's the concept behind the very simple web app Rallly—yes, with three L's—which helps you and your associates find an agreeable date to get together.
The real secret sauce for this tool is that the person who creates the poll and everyone who answers it can be completely anonymous. You enter a few suggestions for when you'd like to meet and invite people to answer your poll by either entering their email addresses or sending them a link. For every poll you create, a discussion box appears below it where anyone can leave comments.
The main drawback to Rallly is it only lets you suggest dates, not times. It doesn't have any management tools or advanced scheduling features, either, much less offer connectivity with your calendar. But it does offer anonymity, and in certain circles, that's a critical component. It's free and open source, too.
Rallly Pricing: Free
Best AI assistant meeting scheduler app
x.ai is an unusual meeting scheduler app that works by acting as your personal AI assistant when you use email to create meetings. First, you create an account and give x.ai access to your calendar, phone number, Skype ID, and other information. Then, whenever you need to schedule a meeting by email, you CC a unique x.ai email address that corresponds to an AI bot. You get two bots, called Amy and Andrew, to start. The bots become your personal assistants.
In the email body, you give your bots instructions by starting a fresh paragraph with their name. For example, you can write, "Amy, set up a 30-minute phone call with Jill. I'll call her." Your assistant will make sure the event gets onto your calendar with all the correct details.
You can also kick off an email thread by asking one of your bots to set something up with another person on the chain. After that first message, your bot takes over and replies to the meeting attendees suggesting dates and times that work for you based on your current calendar. As people reply, your bot locks in the details and eventually sends a calendar invite to all the meeting attendees.
It's possible to also set up a meeting in a more conventional way, but that's not where x.ai shines. The main attraction here is the AI assistance. x.ai is the meeting scheduler app to choose if you just can't shake your colleagues from scheduling via email. Note that you'll need to sign in with Google, Outlook, or Okta, even if you create an account using an email address and password.
x.ai is also smart enough to have a Zapier integration. You can use it to do things like automatically send an SMS notification or Slack message whenever a new meeting is scheduled. These are just examples, though—Zapier will connect x.ai to all your favorite apps.
See more ways to automate x.ai with x.ai's Zapier integrations.
x.ai Pricing: Free; from $8/month for extra features such as unlimited calendars and Zapier integration
Best desktop app for meeting scheduling
Woven (Web, Windows, MacOS, iOS)
For those times when you feel more comfortable with a dedicated desktop app solution, there's Woven. Its interface is a little busy at first, but that's because it offers a lot, despite being entirely free. A setup wizard and useful tooltips make things smoother.
Setting up a meeting is quick, and you can create a template for any regular meetings you have, picking the available times, a location (like a recurring meeting through your video conferencing app of choice), and even the same group of people. It's a real time saver if you find yourself arranging meetings with the same folks over and over.
Keen to see how your meetings actually break down? An analytics section shows how long you spend in meetings or video calls. It also takes into account your travel time if your meeting is in-person. That ties in well with the Google Maps integration, which shows the location of the meeting within the app just like if you were looking on Google Maps itself. You can even use Street View to see what the road or venue looks like. Alternatively, you can opt for Woven's video conferencing integrations with Zoom and Google Hangouts if your meeting is virtual.
If you're wary about how much you share with Woven, you can choose to create a scheduling link that can be copied and pasted elsewhere instead of entering contact details for each meeting. The feature is also useful when you're meeting with someone you don't plan to meet with more than once.
One thing to note: Woven is currently in an open beta phase, but it may switch to a paid version later in 2020.
Woven pricing: Free
Best meeting scheduling solution you already own
Google Calendar (Web, iOS, Android)
If you already have a Google account like everyone else on the planet, that gives you access to one of the most straightforward meeting schedulers out there: Google Calendar. When you create an event, add your guests and click Find a time—then Google does all the hard work. It will show you each person's calendar side-by-side and even offer suggested times, letting you know how many people in the group can make each time slot. It's the only solution you need if you're trying to schedule meetings with people within your organization.
Google Calendar isn't quite as feature rich as other dedicated solutions (although there are some great settings), but it integrates tightly with all other Google apps, and because Google probably already has all your contacts and valuable information stored anyway, there's no added security risk. But the best part is that you won't need a new app—Google Calendar is already there.
When you use Google Calendar with Zapier, you can do things like automatically create to-do list items whenever you have a new meeting, or get notifications in your chat app when a meeting is about to start.
See more ways to automate Google Calendar with Google Calendar's Zapier integrations.
Google Calendar pricing: Free
Make meetings better
The right meeting scheduler helps you get meetings onto your calendar quickly and efficiently. You can keep the productivity going by automating your scheduling workflows and even automating meeting action items. That way, it's not just the scheduling that's a breeze, but the entire process that follows.
This article was originally published in January 2019 by Jill Duffy.