Ready to regain control over your facility’s meeting spaces?
A conference room booking solution can help you avoid common pitfalls like double-booked rooms, meetings booked in areas that don’t have the right resources, and spaces that still appear to be booked after the meeting scheduled for them is cancelled.
How to Know Which Booking Features You Need
Ask vendors about the features on this checklist to make sure you end up with a conference room booking solution that works for you.
1. Easy to book and update
You shouldn’t have to be an expert to update calendars or book meetings. Ask about systems that are preloaded with company holidays and let organizers choose from a variety of meeting formats, including hourly, multi-day and recurring meetings.
For larger facilities, consider linking your booking solution to catering orders or resource requests. That way, organizers can book a meeting, order coffee and arrange for a projector all at once. Systems with digital displays should make it simple to upload PowerPoint slides and do other administrative tasks.
Nearly everyone using your booking solution will have a smartphone. Make sure they can respond to invites and manage bookings on their phones and tablets.
3. Real-time updates
If someone cancels a meeting, the booking solution should free up that room for use immediately.
4. Advanced search capabilities
It’s irritating to have to scroll through a full list of rooms by name, especially for a campus or large facility that has many meeting rooms. Make it easier for meeting organizers by implementing a solution that can filter available spaces by room size, location, resources and other important considerations.
5. Ability to communicate with your building management system
Conference room booking that can interface with the software you use to manage other aspects of your facility benefits both the facility staff and the meeting attendees. For example, sensors can alert the booking solution when someone is using a room without a formal meeting, and the same alert can also trigger the HVAC system to condition that room for occupants.
Conversely, if no one shows up to a scheduled meeting, the system should be able to detect that and let everyone know that the space is now available to rebook.
6. Compatibility with your current email and calendar
You should be able to use one single sign-on for both room booking and your regular email and calendar. The system should allow you to generate meeting invites at the same time you’re booking a room, then drop the booking information into the invite so everyone knows where to go.
7. Digital display options
Small tablet-sized screens outside each conference room can show availability, daily schedules or automatic updates for each meeting space. People who just need to touch base on work tasks in a private space, but don’t need a formal meeting, can make sure they’re not ducking into a meeting space that’s about to be used.
Customize them to your organization with custom greetings or company information if there’s no news to display that day.
8. Visitor management functionality
Conference room booking solutions should communicate with the security and access control systems you have in place already.
Depending on your security practices, you might have the booking solution include QR codes in calendar invites for external attendees, then have those people use the QR codes to check in when they arrive at your building. When the code is scanned in your reception area, the conference room booking solution can alert you that your guest has arrived.
Conference room solutions with digital displays can play an important role in helping people navigate your facility. Displays can show a welcome message that’s customized to a certain visitor or group or provide directions to the meeting location.
10. Data you can actually use
The best systems don’t just book rooms for you—they give you transparency into your facility that helps you make better decisions.
Look for booking solutions that track which rooms are used the most, which tools and resources are requested most often, and even which meetings consistently end earlier or later than scheduled. Use that data to find places where you need to upgrade resource offerings and identify underutilized rooms that could be reconfigured to make them more appealing.
How to Choose Features
Note that you may not need all 10 of these features. The conference room booking solution that fits your facility best depends heavily on your organization’s unique needs.
Theresa Park, senior manager and lead of solution services at Samsung SDS, recommends understanding your existing usage trends first. Picking the right booking solution is all about knowing your pain points and identifying how to relieve that pain.
“If rotation of conference rooms is an issue, advanced room configuration features would be helpful,” Park suggests. “It can set policies on how long in advance you can make reservations. Some solutions now offer configurations where you can automatically set 5 minutes in between the meetings so that end users have time to settle into the meeting room.”
Figure out what your facility needs by asking people who book meetings frequently about the features that would make their lives easier. This will help you prioritize which options to discuss with vendors.
Learn more about implementing better conference room booking by watching: How Intelligent Facilities are Enabling Productivity Through Conference Reservation Software.