How to manage a waiting or cancellation list

There's nothing more frustrating than having a last minute cancellation, especially if you have a bunch of clients who are waiting on available appointment times.

Having a waiting list, or cancellation list, is a great way to fill up the calendar, if those last minute changes do occur. 

While there isn't a purpose-built waiting list feature in Timely, we do have couple of suggestions for how you can use Timely to manage a waiting or cancelation list.

You can try the following:

  1. Busy time.
  2. Pencilled in appointments.
  3. A waiting list column.
  4. Create walk in booking slots.

Disclaimer: The features mentioned in this guide are suggestions for how you can use existing Timely features to replicate a waiting list. They are by no means meant to replace a purpose-built solution.


Busy time

Busy time is a super handy feature as it can be used in multiple ways. 
  1. To use this for managing a waitlist, we add a busy time at the beginning of the staff member's day. This should be easily seen at the beginning of the day, but not cut into any of the staff member's bookable time: 

  2. Set the Duration for at least an hour, so that more of the description can be seen in the calendar: 

  3. Add your client's names to the Description, in order of priority. You can break this up into AM or PM if your clients have a preference: 

  4. Click Save to add the busy time to the calendar: 

  5. You can then click on the busy time again to view your waiting list, or to add or remove clients.


Pencilled in appointments

If you're not already using pencilled in bookings, this is one way to keep track of clients who are waiting for appointment slots. This is particularly useful if a client is after a specific appointment time/window, or they are wanting to take the place of an unconfirmed appointment.

Pencilled in bookings aren't yet confirmed in the calendar. Clients won't receive notifications for pencilled in bookings, so you can add, edit or reschedule pencilled in bookings, without notifying the client. Find out more about  How to use the booking status.

Before you start

The first thing you'll want to do is disable reminders for pencilled in bookings. This will make sure that a client doesn't get a reminder for a booking that's been added to your waiting list.

  1. Head to Setup > Customer messages: 
  2. Click Edit next to any SMS or email reminders: 

  3. Uncheck the box next to  Send SMS reminders to customers with pencilled-in appointments

  4. Click Save to apply.

Make a pencilled in appointment

When you want to add a client to the waitlist, you can add the booking outside of the staff member's working hours.

Or, you can double-book the appointment with an existing appointment, if the client is after a specific date/time.

  1. Click on a free slot in the calendar and choose Add appointment (like you would normally): 

  2. If double-booking with an existing booking, adjust the Start time of the appointment to match the time of the existing booking:

  3. You'll get an alert to show that the appointment is double-booked, but you can still place the booking. Add any relevant information to the booking e.g. services and booking notes: 

  4. Make sure the Booking status is set to Pencilled in

  5. Click Save to add the booking to the calendar. This will show up alongside the existing appointment: 

  6. In the event of a cancellation, you can Confirm the booking in the calendar, which sends a notification to the client: 


Add an extra staff column

If you'd like to record a waitlist in the calendar, but don't want busy times and/or pencilled in bookings to clutter up a staff member's column; then you can add an additional staff member to your account.

Add a new staff member

  1. Head to Setup > Staff and click Add staff

    There will be a cost for adding a new staff member. If you're keen to try this approach, reach out to the team on so that we can get you setup with an extra staff member - on us.

  2. You can give the staff member a generic name, like "Waiting list": 

  3. In the Booking options section, make sure the following options are unchecked: 

  4. You can then add either busy time or pencilled in bookings to that column (see above):

Adding busy time

You can include as much relevant information in the Description, including any preferences for other dates/times too. You can add the busy times to match the booking length, or maximise the length of the waiting list by keeping these busy times at a smaller interval (e.g. 15 minutes).

Adding pencilled in bookings

With this approach, you can add the full booking to the calendar in the pencilled in status. You can make any notes about staff preference, or other available dates, in the booking notes.

You would only use this option if you weren't already using pencilled in bookings in your calendar. This allows you to see at a glance which bookings at confirmed and which clients are on the waiting list.

Manage notifications

If you would like to use confirmed bookings for the waiting list clients, then you can manually manage notifications. This will require you to pause any pending messages and delete them, once they are generated:

  1. Make a change to the booking
  2. Head to the Messages tab.
  3. Click the Stop all pending messages button.
  4. Select the message in the list.
  5. Click the Delete icon to remove the message.
  6. Resend any remaining messages that you do want to send (if required).

Our How to pause, delete and resend messages guide steps you through that in more detail.


Create walk-in booking slots

If you would like to offer some walk-in appointment times, or last minute spots, you can build these times into your calendar using a dummy client record. This client can be named anything you like (e.g. "Walk in") and doesn't require any contact details.

Create a walk in client

  1. Open the sidebar - click the [Space] bar on your keyboard, or use the [>] button in the top-left corner of the calendar: 

  2. Click the plus button next to the search field: 

  3. Create a new client with a dummy name that suits you: 

  4. Click Save to create the client.

Add a walk in booking 

  1. From the sidebar, click on the add appointment button in the dummy customer's profile: 

  2. Select a time in the calendar to add the appointment: 

  3. If adding an appointment directly from the calendar, you can select the dummy client like you would normally.
  4. Choose a service and set the Booking status to Pencilled in:

  5. Click Save to create.

Update the appointment

Then when you want to book a specific client in that slot, or you want to create a new client from a walk in booking:

  1. Click on the appointment in the calendar and click Edit

  2. Click the "x" next to the walk in client's name: 

  3. Select an existing client from your list, or create a new one: 

  4. Update the service and duration to match the actual appointment details and set the booking as Confirmed

  5. Click Save to apply your changes. The appointment and client will then be updated.

Contacting clients from your waiting list

When a spot does free up and you need to contact a client to see if they are still available, you can send them a message directly from the calendar:

  1. Open the calendar sidebar - click the [Space] bar on your keyboard, or use the [>] button in the top-left corner of the calendar.
  2. Search for the client and click the Send message button in their profile: 

  3. Choose if you'd like to Send SMS or Send email

  4. Check for any SMS replies in the Messages section. You'll see a notification on that tab if you have any new replies.
  5. Update the appointment in the calendar.
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