The Importance of Meeting Room Booking Software
Meeting room management is just one of the many disciplines under the Facilities Management umbrella. The effectiveness of meeting room management has a direct impact on the overall performance and financial standing of an organisation. From cost savings to service perception, it is important the meeting rooms, conference rooms and other publicly available spaces are managed efficiently. Understanding how a rooms and spaces are used and whether they are used effectively is a key to saving money by maximising spaces. For example, you may find that empty rooms are still consuming electricity and heating. There could be instant cost savings here, by closing down the room for a set period. Or, perhaps a room suitable for 50 people has actually been booked for just a hand full of people. In this scenario it’s quite common for resources to be sourced elsewhere and at a cost to the business. These are just two instances where room booking systems can help by efficiently managing all the rooms and resources and provide a global picture to make informed decisions.
Facilities Managers employ different techniques to manage rooms. Some of the most common methods are listed below.
- Integrated Software (CAFM/IWMS)
- Standalone Room Booking Software
- Bespoke In-house Software
- Excel Spread sheet
- Whiteboard/Post-it Note or Diary
- Outlook Shared Calendar
Depending on the desired outcome it’s important to find a solution that works for with your processes and is within budget. However, as you would expect the low-end or free options may not offer any added value to the organisation to help identify cost saving, improve efficiency and perception.
Managing meeting rooms can be a complex process due to various configurations, rules and limitations. The more complex the process, the more advanced the software needs to be to effectively manage bookings. Integrated and Standalone solutions often provide a wealth of configuration and information that can help Facilities Managers or Service Providers configure systems to monitor trends and performance. The right meeting room booking system can provide you with all the information you need to optimise resources and to save the organisation money. Some of the key questions room booking systems can help answer, include:
- Room Utilisation – What is utilisation percentage of a room?
- Capacity – What is the average number of delegates per booking, per room?
- Trends – Are there any peak times for bookings?
- Cost Control – What is the internal cost of operating a room?
- Satisfaction – How do clients perceive the service you offer?
- Usage – Are meeting rooms being used efficiently?
Some of the common issues faced by Facilities Managers when managing meeting rooms include:
- Double Bookings
- Manual Error
- Over Booking Resources
- Utilisation Visibility
- Client Visibility
- Cross-Department Coordination/Communication
These common issues have a direct impact organisation and can lead to negative perceptions of the services provided by the Facilities Department. Meeting room booking systems are designed to tackle these issues, by providing an efficient and validated software solution.
Many departments still operate on using paper-based, spread sheet or similar ad-hoc methods. It’s highly unlikely that such approaches will provide any real benefit to an organisation. Specialist meeting room booking systems provide a series of advanced tools designed for the industry to help streamline operations and communication between clients and various departments, offering a smooth and constant service.
Web-based client facing room booking systems provide a window into Facilities Management operations, enabling clients to review room availability, instantly preventing double bookings or duplicate booking requests. The whole booking process can be carried out online, thus freeing the resources of back-office staff that would normally manually process bookings. Said resources can then re-focus on other key areas of service.
For complex booking procedures, integrated or standalone room booking software is the perfect partner. Often supporting a vast range of configuration options, you can control booking processes and enforce limitations, ensuring that bookings are made, amended, confirmed or cancelled in a controlled environment.
With a good quality system in place and structured information going in, you can get valuable information out. As you would expect, most room booking systems provide a series of reports that will help to answer the questions provided above and more. This fact based information can help you refine process to streamline operations, maximise room usage and save money.
Meeting room bookings systems can also link with other modules which may be used by other departments or individuals. For example,
- Links with porterage systems for equipment moving or room preparation
- Links with visitor systems to alert reception staff or security of visitor attendance
- Links with catering systems to deliver cater requirements for the day
There are many, many possibilities available with meeting room booking systems. This is only a very brief introduction to the types of processes and functionality you can expect to receive. If you are looking to procure a room booking system, it is highly advised that you have a clear understand of your processes, goals and budget.
Summary of Benefits
- Never loose or double book rooms
- Never over book other resources such as equipment
- Self-service web portals enable clients to review availability and create bookings or requests online
- Streamline Communication between various departments i.e. facilities, catering
- Control and centralise booking processes and procedures
- Generate reports for informed decisions
- Prevent manual errors
- Provide a professional service to both staff and external visitors
- Configurable to your business rules
- Save time and cut costs
- Create repeat bookings with ease
- Issue automatic email notifications
- Automatically link with other modules
- Data can be backed up and restored easily
- Control user permissions
- Easily search and retrieve booking information
- Apply business rules to rooms
- Review room utilisation and trends
- Increase productivity of administration teams
- No need for disparate systems or paper based processes