The FSI logo. UK

The Advantages of Meeting Room Booking Systems and Software

Facilities Management

02/12/21 | Rebecca Drewett

Explore the numerous ways that booking systems and software ensure efficient, effective meetings across your facilities.

If you are reading this, you have likely felt the frustration of your meeting conflicting with one that your colleague arranged at the same time. The dread of walking into a conference room without the right equipment in place. The annoyance of all desks being occupied in your office.

Meetings are an important process in any organisation. But, they can often eat away at productivity, efficiency and resources when not managed effectively.

  • 40% of employees waste 30 minutes per day searching for meeting space (Steelcase)

  • Employees spend 31 hours a month in unproductive meetings (Atlassian)

  • Inefficient meetings cost between £1,500 and £3,000 in poor communication per employee annually (Atlassian)

Why do meeting rooms and spaces need to be managed?

These statistics are just the tip of the iceberg. Double bookings, unprepared meeting spaces and impromptu cancellations are all sources of irritation, and a lack of meeting room management can have several unfortunate consequences:

  • Meetings take longer to organise and get started, wasting attendees’ time

  • Employee morale can be damaged, and lead to arguments between coworkers

  • Reputation with clients and visitors can suffer if meetings are double-booked

  • Available meeting rooms are left vacant, while others are overcrowded

  • Large rooms are unnecessarily booked out by small groups

In short, without a solution in place to manage your meetings, they can quickly become a drain on time, costs and performance. Below, we will illustrate the difference meeting room booking systems and software can make to improve organisation across your company.

What is a meeting room booking system?

First, we would like to distinguish what we mean by a meeting room booking system. These are the processes that an organisation can introduce to improve the management of its meeting spaces. Practices that can make this process more structured and less chaotic.

Below we have outlined a few examples of good meeting etiquette that could enhance the way you handle room and desk bookings:

  • Create a booking calendar that tracks all upcoming meeting times and locations

  • Set rules for how much notice must be given for cancelling meetings

  • Leave meeting rooms in the same condition as you found them

  • Prioritise appropriate-sized rooms for the number of attendees

  • Attempt to book meetings well in advance where possible, and keep unplanned meetings minimal

  • Set times for arriving at the meeting several minutes before the ‘start’ time

These systems and processes can be very helpful in structuring your meetings, especially when hot desks and hybrid working are becoming more prevalent. Yet systems like this place a lot of responsibility on the individuals managing them.

Unfortunately, we are all prone to human error. So if meeting room booking systems remain too manual, it is likely mistakes and problems will occur. However, pairing good systems with solid software can eliminate these potential issues.

What is meeting room booking software?

Meeting room booking software automates and elevates the above systems, making it infinitely simpler and more reliable to organise meeting space across your facilities. Rather than rely on convoluted email chains or physical calendars, this web-based solution keeps everything required in one place.

Our powerful Facilities Booking Suite is a strong example of this management software. Offering a range of tools designed to maximise the use of shared space throughout your properties, be it a meeting room, hot desk or parking space, our facility booking software enables your team to coordinate everything through an entirely customisable interface.

  • Efficiently manage bookings, catering, inventory, visitors and more in a single space

  • Filter locations by date, time, number of people, room features and more

  • Display information as a calendar, map or floor plans

  • Fully integrated with Microsoft Office Appointments

  • Set recurring bookings and permissions over who can book what

  • Connect to interactive room signage and in-meeting displays

With the right facility booking systems and software in place, your company is well placed to make meeting inefficiencies a thing of the past, and unlock benefits to both company performance and user experiences.

12 benefits of using software to manage meeting room booking systems

1. No clashes or double bookings

Users will see a clear display of when meeting spaces are available and when they have been booked out. This will prevent them from arranging meetings at occupied locations, so there is no risk of double bookings or meetings overlapping with each other.

In addition, they will be in a better position to schedule meetings with colleagues, clients and visitors. They can book out their preferred room immediately, and automatically send out invites to intended attendees.

2. Find appropriate meeting rooms

There are few things more frustrating than discovering a large boardroom or auditorium is being used for a small meeting. This prevents larger groups that need this space from using it, causing their meeting to be avoidably delayed.

Meeting room booking software can prevent this by locking out specific rooms and spaces for only a certain number of people. It eliminates the possibility of small teams occupying larger spaces, ensuring your valuable space is used as intended.

3. Maintain social distancing

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are more conscious about their wellbeing during in-person meetings. Room booking software can provide reassurance here by setting “safe” attendee numbers for each room. This will prevent overcrowding, and make sure all attendees can be seated at a safe, comfortable distance.

4. Coordinated room preparation

Meeting room booking systems can make it much easier for facility management teams to organise each space prior to a meeting taking place. Once a room is booked, an automatic notification can be sent to your FM team to ensure it is cleaned and set up with the correct equipment beforehand.

This removes any risk that an unkempt meeting space can have on the quality of your meetings or your reputation among clients. Furthermore, any catering requirements and other services can all be arranged through the same reservation system.

5. Self-service for team members

Placing the burden of scheduling and tracking all meetings on your helpdesk or office managers can be deeply taxing, and lead to unfortunate errors. With the right booking software, each team member can take responsibility for their own bookings.

This not only eases the strain on your helpdesk, but improves your employees’ ability to set up ‘spur of the moment’ meetings without risk of stepping on another colleague’s toes.

6. Less admin or paperwork

Speaking of your helpdesk, the introduction of web-based booking software will greatly reduce the amount of admin and paperwork linked to arranging meetings. No extensive email chains, packed calendars or stacks of post-it notes. All information is digitally available, making the whole process of organising meetings significantly more streamlined.

7. User-friendly visitor management

Poor visitor experiences can badly impact your company’s reputation. Professionalism is all-important, and effective booking software can ensure this by making visitor management that much more straightforward.

Whether it is sending automatic invites and reminders to attendees, or delivering floor plans and instructions to help them find their way to the room in question, this helps visitors feel right at home as soon as they arrive.

8. Better understanding of space needs

As well as facilitating better-managed meetings across your properties, this software also generates a lot of data relating to the usage of rooms and coworking spaces. It can identify which areas are used most frequently, and which are typically ignored.

This information can inform space management across your facilities, whether that is repurposing often unused meeting spaces or determining ways to better direct employees to these overlooked areas.

9. Flexibility when booking a room

A big advantage of room booking software is extending the ways people can set up their meetings. These various avenues can simplify the booking process and encourage people to arrange their meetings in the way that best suits them, be that through their desktop, smartphone, tablet or a wall-mounted panel.

10. Established accessibility rights

There may be some rooms or areas of your building that are designated for particular employees or types of meeting. To ensure that this remains the case, your booking software can alter users’ permissions so they can only book out particular rooms.

This added layer of privacy guarantees that certain team members always have access to the meeting spaces they require, with no risk of them being occupied by people who shouldn’t be there.

11. Real-time room availability

If a meeting is cancelled at the last minute or rearranged for another time, it is important employees are made aware in case they might want to use this freshly available room. Otherwise, it is just sitting there offering no benefit to your team.

By providing a real-time display of available and unavailable rooms, staff can be immediately informed when a vacancy appears, so they can potentially push forward their own meeting or arrange another for that time slot.

12. Integration with additional apps

Finally, good-quality room booking software will integrate with a range of other software and devices to improve your meetings further, including:

  • Interactive light-up displays and room signage (such as Qubi)

  • RFID cards or tags to sign in when a meeting starts

  • Smart building sensors to automate room lighting, climate control, etc.

  • Digital calendars and scheduling tools like Microsoft Office Appointments

This will help emphasise when meetings are in progress, improve scheduling and ensure that rooms are perfectly set up for attendees, so that meetings can be as productive and beneficial as possible.

Start benefiting from better managed meetings

With meetings a fundamental process in any company, finding ways to make these more organised, efficient and effective can be a massive time and cost saver.

We hope that this article has demonstrated the difference that can be made by investing in trusted meeting room booking systems and software. Employees are empowered to control their own schedules. Clashes over available rooms disappear. Chaos is substituted for structure.

For more details on our Facility Booking Suite and our wider selection of FM software at FSI, get in touch and speak to our team today.