Participants feature is temporarily disabled on your account

The Participants feature is what enables bookers to automatically receive an event on their calendar when they make a booking. This feature is liable to be automatically turned off for a period of time to ensure booking pages can continue to take bookings if Google's Calendar use limits are hit.

This guide explains when this might occur, and why.

Why would Participants be temporarily disabled on a booking page?

When a booking is made and the Participants feature is turned on for your booking page, Google sends a calendar invitation to your booker along with an email. When a large number of bookings are made on a booking page simultaneously, Google's systems recognize the resulting simultaneous batch of email sends to be a potential spam risk. 

Booking pages that take a high number of bookings at the same time and use the Participants feature are, in effect, triggering Google to send a large volume of event emails to bookers at the same time.

When this happens, to protect against what they perceive as an email spam risk (as Google Calendar sends their own email invitations when these events are created), Google temporarily blocks individual Google Calendar accounts from sending any more emails, which can result in your booker seeing an error as we aren't able to send the calendar invitation.

To prevent your booker from seeing this error, instead temporarily disables the Participants feature. This allows the booker to make bookings without an error when Google's limit is hit, but it prevents the booker from automatically receiving an event on their calendar.

Further reading: Avoid Calendar Use Limits (G Suite Admin Help)

If the Participants feature is disabled, how long does it take before it is turned on again?

When the Participants feature is temporarily disabled on a booking page, the feature will remain disabled for a maximum of two hours. 

Bookings will continue to be made without bookers seeing any errors, but the event will not be automatically added to the bookers' calendar. The booker will need to use the Add to Calendar buttons in their confirmation email to add the booking to their own calendar.

How to Prevent Hitting Google's Calendar Use Limits and Causing Participants to become disabled supports thousands of businesses who take large volumes of bookings using our service every day. However, some specific users may hit Google's limits when their own Google accounts reach Google's bookings threshold. The most common cause of this issue is emailing your booking page to a large number of bookers where they might all access your booking link at the same time.

Google's limit is specific to the Google calendar(s) linked to the affected booking page(s). If a Google Calendar is affected by the limit, any booking page it is connected to is liable to see Participants turned off temporarily to ensure the connected booking page can still accept bookings. Booking pages in your account that are not linked to the affected Google Calendar would not necessarily be affected by the limit imposed on the Google Calendar receiving a high volume of simultaneous bookings.

You can prevent hitting Google's limits in the future by taking steps to ensure that not everyone is accessing your booking link simultaneously. For example, if you're sending your booking page to an email list, reduce the size of your recipient list. You may choose to split the list up into smaller groups and send to the groups at different times.

What else can I do?

If you hit Google's limit and are seeing the Participants feature regularly switched off for your booking pages, you may wish to adjust settings on your affected booking pages to ensure your bookers receive additional messages and options to add events to their calendars themselves. Here are three options to accomplish this:

Add a reminder before the event. If the event is not being automatically added to your bookers calendar, you can send additional reminders days, hours or minutes before the event starts to help reduce no-shows. 

To learn how to add a reminder before the event, see this guide: How to send a reminder before a booking.

Customize the Booker calendar event. Edit the calendar event that the booker will manually add to their own calendar with all the details they'll need to join your meeting.

To learn more, see this guide: Customizing the bookers' calendar event

Use "Add to Calendar" links. You can send links that let the booker add the event to their calendar. Adding these links to confirmation emails give the booker a simple way to add the event to their calendar on their own. 

To learn how to use Add to Calendar links, see this guide.

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