10 Keys to Choosing an Effective Meeting Room Booking System
You’re having a great morning. Things are all going well, and you’re on your way to a team meeting you’ve organized for an important discussion.
But when you arrive at the conference room, an unpleasant surprise is waiting for you. Another team is already in the room, the door is closed, and a meeting is clearly already in progress.
“Are we in the right place?” your colleague asks. You respond with a feeble, “I thought so, but clearly there’s been some sort of hiccup…”
Last minute changes of plan create confusion and upset the emotional equilibrium people need for clear-headed decision making. In double-booking situations, time is wasted not only in finding an alternate space, but also figuring out what happened.
The good news is that finding the right meeting room booking system should eliminate problems like this in the future.
Here are a few things to consider when looking for a system for your organization.
1. Does the system allow for all your meeting rooms at all your locations?
For multi-facility organizations, the ability to list all of your meeting rooms no matter where they are is essential.
2. Can the system easily handle recurring meetings?
Being able to book meetings on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis in a few easy steps will save time and errors.
3. Can the system be accessed on mobile?
Being able to view room locations on a highlighted floor plan can help people arrive on time, especially if they’ve never been to a location before. This is especially important for multiple-facility organizations and those that make use of coworking spaces.
Being able to book follow-up meetings immediately while everyone is in the same room to coordinate schedules can save endless back-and-forth via email.
4. Can the system connect to a kiosk outside the meeting room?
A kiosk that shows the meeting schedule can be extremely useful, allowing organizers to check in (confirming that the meeting is actually taking place). It also allows them to report issues with equipment or the room itself on the fly.
Being able to see how the room is being used for the day can help people who need to organize a discussion in a hurry.
A “kiosk” doesn’t have to be a major expense – it can be as simple as a tablet mounted on a wall outside the room.
5. Does the meeting room schedule synch with personal calendar and email software?
Meeting invitations and calendar synch will help team members allocate appropriate time to meetings and plan their day effectively.
6. Does the system list amenities and equipment available to connect to outside participants?
Double bookings aren’t the only gotcha that can plague meeting organizers. Making sure the room is large enough for the group and has the right equipment to connect to remote workers is also important.
For organizations that are still working on accessibility, ensuring the room works for guests with disabilities can help avoid frustration, embarrassment, and even human rights complaints.
For higher-stakes meetings, factors like décor or facilities for catering can be important to set the right tone for guests.
7. Does the system allow facility managers to control who has the ability to book the rooms?
The Verdantix Green Quadrant Integrated Workplace Management Systems 2019 report noted that, “In particular, facilities managers are looking to deploy solutions that enable them to control meeting room bookings much more tightly.”
Some organizations find that meeting rooms are a highly sought-after resource. This can make repeated no-shows, booking larger than necessary rooms, and unnecessary meetings a big drain on resources.
The ability to allow managers to approve meetings in advance can ensure meeting rooms are being used responsibly.
8. Does the system provide analytics?
Access to data about meeting room use can help managers get a real picture of how spaces are being used – and how well.
9. Does the room reservation system integrate with your facilities management system?
Your team’s meetings can become part of a bigger picture of how space is being used and where efficiencies can be found.
Another key benefit of a fully integrated system is that meeting room use can become a chargeback to individual departments. This encourages responsible use of rooms and amenities and wise use of staff time.
10. Can you take your system to the next level with IoT sensors?
To get full value from reservation and facility management systems, they should be collecting and aggregating data from IoT devices deployed in your facility.
Even simple motion detectors can help complete decision making cycles about meeting rooms, relaying data about meeting room use in detail.
IoT integration goes way beyond energy savings, and can play a large role in improving employee experience.
Making a Decision
For larger organizations, it’s important to take the time so the right decision is made and rolled out effectively. Collecting requirements from stakeholders can be a great way to avoid future problems, but ensure the list clearly separates the necessities from the nice-to-haves.
Once you choose the system, it’s important to have a plan to roll out the system to your team.
It needs to go well beyond an email announcement – there should be appropriate hands-on training to help speed up adoption. A designated in-house expert should be available in case of questions or problems.
Talk to the Solutions Experts
Horizant specializes in integrated workplace management solutions for large public and private organizations. We’ve helped over a hundred public departments and companies across North America save time and reduce costs.
Find out how Horizant can help you spend more time planning improvements, and less time putting out fires.