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Easy Booking: How Conference Room Reservation Systems Make Booking Meetings a Breeze

16 December, 2019

Middle managers spend about 35% of their time in meetings of one sort or another. As you rise through the corporate ranks the amount of time you spend in meetings increases to as much as 50% of your time. That's a significant amount of corporate time and so it's important to make it as productive as possible.

Booking conference rooms is a big problem for many growing businesses. Discover how conference room reservation systems can make bookings much easier.

Conference Room Booking Nightmares

You probably already have a meeting room reservation process. It might be a paper calendar maintained by a secretary or a piece of paper on the door of a meeting room. These archaic systems are often fraught with problems.

People abuse the system, erase names and ignore bookings. Reservations get made and then not changed when the meeting gets canceled. People pull rank and bump more junior people out of the conference room.

It's common to turn up for a scheduled meeting to find the conference room occupied. Wasted effort is then spent trying to identify who is booked into the room, who made the booking and whether there is somebody to blame. It's a source of conflict, low productivity, and low morale.

Conference Room Reservation Systems

With the advent of the integrated calendar and email systems such as Google and Exchange, came the capability to share conference room reservations. This has provided people with visibility of the available conference rooms. It's also a means of inviting people to a specific meeting in a specific place.

The conference room assets such as projector, screen, and numbers of chairs are also visible making booking the most appropriate room easier. If a meeting is canceled or moved through the system, the conference room is automatically made available to others to book.

There are also systems available with even more powerful functionality. Not only does the meeting room booking system interface with email and calendars but it also connects with hardware at the room location. This makes it possible to book and change bookings on a tablet at the room itself.

They provide much more in the way of analytics regarding conference room utilization. If meetings are such a big part of the life of your business, wouldn't you want to better understand this part of your business's activity? It's an insight into the effective use of office space and the utilization of your human capital.

Make it Mandatory

Having a single method for booking conference rooms reduces conflict. Often the conflicts are not just about the booking but about the legitimacy of the booking method. One system means there is only one right way of booking.

This needs top-down leadership and is another great example, if you need one, of the importance of top managers setting the standard. Even an automated conference reservation system can be undermined if it is not used by senior managers. Make it mandatory for everyone and you can unleash the real benefits of a meeting room booking system.  

Communicate Expectations

If everybody understands what to do to reserve a conference room that's half the battle. A conference room reservation system is simple and clear. After this, you still need to motivate everybody to use it.

The benefits of the system can be a great motivator. Let people know it is simple, reflects the way they work and reduces conflict. This helps them understand what's in it for them and why they should engage with it.

Lastly, include in your communication that everybody is expected to use it. Setting the expectation at the start is much easier than trying to impose it after bad habits have developed later.

Onboarding

A great time to engage people in using the conference room reservation system is during onboarding. Onboarding of new people helps them learn what the expectations are about how to behave in their new workplace. 

All new people should have some basic training about how the system works and why they should use it. Include guidance on meeting etiquette, how to get the most out of meetings and any conventions used in the company for circulating agendas, taking minutes, and chairing meetings.

Private Space

You can make booking conference rooms so much easier if you remove one the of the biggest problems for conference room booking. Conference rooms can get clogged up by people making a booking to secure a private space to work or have a one-to-one meeting. In these days of open-plan offices, shared workspaces, and hot-desking, private space is at a premium.

The abuse of conference rooms to secure private space demonstrates a real problem that should be addressed. On the one hand you can ban the reservation of conference rooms for one or two people. On the other, it is sensible to reduce the demand for one or two-person conference room bookings.

Consider creating places in the open-plan office where people can meet with some privacy. Use screens, office plants, and comfortable seating areas to help with this. The result is a better working environment and more conference room availability.

More simplicity, less complexity

A centralized online system reduces duplication, human error, and provides all the information you need to book the right conference room. Room capacities, equipment, and availability are all immediately accessible.

Reduce Administration

Booking a meeting room alongside inviting attendees makes booking easy. All the administration can take place at the same time and doesn't need separate administrators. There's less administration so you don't need an administrator to manage it all.

It's How People Work

Conference room reservation systems mirror the way people work. It's normal to invite people to a meeting by email so why not book the venue at the same time and in the same way.

If you are working remotely, from abroad or at home, you always have access to email, so why not to the conference booking system. If you are working in the evening, you don't want to have to wait until the morning so you can talk to a conference room administrator to secure a venue. Just do it when you want to.

Make Booking a Breeze

Better conference room reservation systems can improve productivity. Meetings are a big part of all our working lives. It's worth investigating how to improve the return on this investment.

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