Accelo is a powerful tool for managing your client work, and with the launch of our Bookings feature last year, a lot more of our users are scheduling events for their colleagues. Whether it is to help close a sale, have a regular meeting for a project, or book people to work on client tickets, our newest feature makes this process smooth and seamless.
One of the biggest challenges for users of this feature occurred when they booked meetings they weren't personally an attendee at. Due to the limitations of the APIs for platforms like Google and Office 365, there was no way for the organizer to create a meeting but not have it viewed as time blocked off of their own calendar. As a result, the person doing the scheduling for their whole team would have their calendar jam-packed with appointments and events that they weren't actually going to be present at, confusing them no end.
Our initial approach to overcome this was to ensure that the meeting was pushed across into the calendar of the first attendee. The good thing about this approach is that we stopped filling the creator's calendar, but the downside is that someone who wasn't actually the organizer - and was just an attendee - was now the one sending invites, getting acceptance or decline emails, and having to field questions from colleagues and clients as to why they had called this meeting when in fact they'd done no such thing.
Yeah, pretty painful and irritating all around, especially since the APIs for these services provide "creator" and "organizer" fields in their documentation, which they then go on to completely ignore.
Today, we're excited to announce a new approach to this scheduling challenge which has gone live for all of our Google Calendar users. In this approach, the person who created the meeting is the one sending the invites, but the meeting is being created in a special, separate and hidden calendar for the creator so that they don't end up getting their main calendar overloaded.
For the situations where the organizer/creator in Accelo is an attendee, nothing will change, but for these specific examples - often used in dispatch and scheduling situations - we'll now be using this new shadow calendar for the event and to send out the invites.
To minimize confusion, the hidden calendar will use the name of the organizer appended with "Booking (Accelo)" - for example Dave Smith - Booking (Accelo). However, to ensure those events don't start appearing in your normal calendar view, we've set this calendar to be hidden by default - but if a user wants to see it - and manipulate/change meetings for attendees by dragging and dropping - they'll be able to make it visible from their Google Calendar settings.
Additionally, because it starts life as a hidden calendar, the creator won't receive any email notifications when attendees Accept or Decline those meetings - but again this can be easily adjusted in the calendar settings in Google.