The Buyer’s Guide to Meeting Room Booking Systems helps you learn more about these tools, and determine what you really need from them. Below is the first 3 parts from the guide – we discuss the basics of room booking, the pain of existing meeting systems and what meeting room booking systems can do.
Download the full Buyer’s Guide to Meeting Room Booking Systems to get access to the last two parts – features of meeting room booking systems and the vendor comparison. What’s even better? The Buyer’s Guide is completely free – download today!
Part 1: The Basics
How Are Meeting Rooms Booked In Your Organization Today?
With the average employee attending 16 meetings per week, a lot of time goes into coordinating them.1 Depending on how sophisticated your workplace is, you may be using various methods to manage your meeting room schedules. We’ve seen companies use:
- Admin assistants dedicated to managing meetings
- Meeting room calendaring software such as Google Calendar, Exchange or Outlook
- Paper calendars
Though these methods get the job done, they can be time consuming and frustrating.
What Is Meeting Room Booking/Management Software?
Meeting room booking systems is software that aims to:
- Organize meeting room schedules to properly allocate time and avoid conflicts / errors
- Provide a simple interface to find and book the right meeting room
A good meeting room booking system can improve your workplace and employee productivity.
How Is It Different From Calendaring Systems Like Exchange, Outlook Or Google Calendar?
Basic calendaring systems offer an interface to manage scheduling, but often are insufficient for more advanced needs that come up as an organization grows. These needs include managing amenities, smart processes to reduce scheduling conflicts, meeting room usage information and more.
Meeting room booking systems are designed to improve your room booking experience by fixing some of the problems associated with meeting rooms.
Part 2: Challenges in Meeting Room Booking
Wasted Time & Productivity
Most organizations use a combination of basic calendaring systems and/or administrative assistants to manage meeting room bookings. While these systems cover basic needs, employees often spend lots of time looking for the right room, often struggling to find the proper amenities or following room booking procedures accurately.
According to scheduling company X.ai2, on average, a meeting takes about 8 back and forth emails to book. If each email takes 2 minutes to write, you’re looking at 16 minutes of work to book a meeting. Using a meeting room booking system can help bring that time down significantly.
Scheduling Errors & Conflicts
Using basic calendaring services can often lead to situations of scheduling conflicts or booking errors. Your team might not be properly checking room availability, resulting in double-bookings. They might also book rooms that do not have the amenities they need.
Double bookings are a major problem – it amplifies wasted time. A group of people have to suddenly scramble to find a replacement room that might not be a good fit, or cancel the meeting and rebook it. They also disrupt another meeting, affecting discussion and progress.
Meeting room booking systems help to make sure that the rooms booked are the right fit – the best ones will recommend rooms based on attendee numbers and equipment needs.
Inefficient Use of Resources
There are 2 primary sources of waste: no-shows and meetings booked longer than they should be.
For most organizations, there’s no cost for an employee to book a meeting room. Because of this, there are no incentives to release rooms when meetings are cancelled or rescheduled. These ‘no-shows’ occupy an otherwise empty room, hogging resources and frustrating other team members who need the room.
People also tend to book meetings for longer than is required for buffer time, set-up time etc. This is to ward against double-bookings and being forced to leave the room. However, when the meeting ends early, the room is still booked and unavailable for use.
Long meeting room bookings are also driven by the calendaring software used. Most software defaults to booking for an appointment for 1 hour, but most meetings only run for 30 minutes. This means 50% of time booked is wasted!
Part 3: Benefits of Meeting Room Booking Systems
Save Employee Time & Productivity
Meeting room booking systems can provide time savings in two ways:
- Better interfaces that reduce time to find and
book a room
- Preventing scheduling errors and conflicts
Better interfaces help your team find the right room based on capacity, location, amenities or availability. A good meeting room booking system provides a dedicated interface optimized for room booking. This helps guide your team along the right process for booking a room, reducing time needed and preventing process errors.
The best meeting room booking systems automatically flag and highlight any room scheduling errors and conflicts, and provide recommendations for alternatives.
Meeting room booking systems can also help save time by providing more options for booking rooms. These could include booking rooms through displays, mobile apps, or even through text message and/or chat.
Reporting & Analytics
Few companies truly understand usage patterns of their physical workspace. Meeting usage data can used to make better serve the workplace. Here are a few scenarios of how such data can help improve the workplace:
Understand equipment needs
A set of meeting rooms in your workplace are occupied more frequently than others. Running reports, you realize that these most popular rooms are supplied with Apple TVs rather than traditional screen sharing systems. Using this data, your workplace transitions to using Apple TVs, creating a more functional work environment that also cut costs on AV equipment.
Understand occupancy needs
Pulling reports from your meeting room booking system, you discover that your rooms with 8 to 12 people capacity are often underutilized, with average meetings only having 3 to 4 participants. At the same time, your 3 to 4 people rooms are heavily used. This provides you with evidence to reconfigure some of your larger meeting rooms into smaller spaces that support the real needs of your team.
Identify chronic meeting room abusers
Usage logs indicate that unnecessarily long meetings are occurring. Investigation into these meetings show that a specific department is booking excessively long meetings so their team can work out of a more private and preferred space. With this knowledge, you can stop this practice and improve accessibility of resources to other team members.
Recover Wasted Space
Rent is typically one of the largest fixed expenses for a company. Most traditional workplaces are utilized quite poorly, and meeting rooms are the biggest offender. HOK studied financial companies and found that meeting spaces are utilized, on average, only 29% of the time. 3
Meeting room systems help recover this wasted space in two ways. First, you can more accurately determine actual meeting room needs (length, frequency and utilization rates). You can then construct meeting spaces to better reflect those needs and increase room utilization. Smart meeting room systems can also optimize default meeting room time lengths to better match your meeting and office culture.
Second, sophisticated meeting room systems will offer a check-in system to reduce no shows. A check-in system requires a digital sign-in or confirmation via sensors to confirm a meeting room is actually in use. If the presence system determines the room is not in use, the meeting rooms are released and become available for general use once more. Our data shows that “recovered time” is re-used 20-50% of the time.