Beginner's Guide to Upgrading Your Conference Room Booking System

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Walk around your office and you’re bound to find at least one disaster area. One desk that looks like it was the backdrop to a Michael Bay action movie. Paper is everywhere. You can barely see the keyboard of the computer. There’s four days worth of Starbucks coffee cups and what could possibly be the remnants of yesterday’s lunch under an unpaid invoice. To you, this looks like an unrecognizable mess.

If you were to casually suggest to the desk’s owner that they should clear up their work area and hint at how much more productive they could be if they could see the surface of their desk, you’ll likely be met with great defiance.

“Don’t touch anything!” your co-worker will say. “I know where everything is. This is my organized mess, it only makes sense to me. It works for me.”

Your co-worker’s statement has some truth in it. Although your co-worker will concede that it’s not the most efficient system, it works for them, so they keep going with it.

It’s this logic that handcuffs so many businesses when it comes to optimizing their processes. A formal project management system might be more efficient for your development team, but they’re too used to email and Hipchat to change. It’s a conundrum that we face in every facet of business, including your office’s conference room.

Functional Chaos

Far too many offices don’t have a formal communication process for booking the conference room. Most resort to the eyeball check; peek your head around the corner to see if someone is in the conference room or not. Other offices might put the burden of scheduling conference room meetings on one person’s shoulders, like the office manager.

The booking process might be to email the office manager with your meeting time and ask if there is an opening. The office manager will then have to respond in a timely manner with the availability of the conference room. This will happen a few more times, before a time is scheduled.

Some companies are so behind that they’re still using pen and paper. In order to book a conference room, someone has to physically walk to the conference room, check the piece of paper to see if anyone has signed up for the desired meeting time. Then they sign their name to book the conference room and walk back to their desk.

Each one of these scenarios is an example of a crude conference room booking system. It’s a semi-formal system that technically works. The conference room gets booked. But it’s far from the most efficient way to book a conference room. If one of these systems sounds too familiar, it’s time for your company to upgrade how they book conference rooms.

Signs You Need a Conference Room Booking System

Perhaps you’re not convinced you need a conference booking system and that your system, even if it’s “old school,” still works.

If you can answer “no” to each of these three questions, then maybe your system, no matter how antiquated it is, works well enough...for now. If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, it might be time to consider a switch.

  1. Has your conference room ever been double booked? 
  2. Do you see small teams occupy large conference rooms?
  3. Does anyone on your team work out of the conference room for extended periods of times, alone?
  4. Does booking your conference room require more than two minutes of effort?
  5. Do you need more than one person involved in the process to book a conference room? 

Options for a Meeting Room Reservation System

If you answered “yes” to any of the five questions above, don’t worry. You have options!

Dedicated Calendar

One option available to your team is to set up a dedicated, cloud-based calendar for your conference room. Give everyone on your team access to it. This can include options like Google Calendar or Microsoft’s Outlook Calendar.

Either option is simple and doesn’t require downloading additional software or buying hardware. If you have just one small conference room, this could be a good stop-gap solution for your team as it continues to grow.

As attractive as this option sounds, at some point, you’ll outgrow this solution. It’s a completely viable solution when you have one conference room. But when you expand into an office that has five conference rooms and six meeting rooms, you’ll need something more robust. This is when it’s time to look into a cloud-based conference reservation system.

Simple Conference Room Booking System

The next step in your conference room reservation system evolution is finding a software program that fits your needs. Conference room reservation software helps you easily organize the demand for your conference rooms.

A conference room reservation system, like Roomzilla, helps manage your conference rooms by providing your team a central location to view conference room availability. Anyone can log into the system, pick a conference room, and quickly see when the room is booked. If there is an open time slot, they can reserve their preferred time. Now that time slot is closed to everyone else.

Unlike using a free option like Google Calendar, conference room reservation software has a beautiful interface that works well with different hardware, like an iPad.

By mounting iPads outside of your conference rooms, anyone can check to see what the schedule of that particular room is. Attendees can sign in so your team can get data on your conference room usage, or clear that time slot if someone fails to show up for their meeting.

If you think your company is ready for meeting room software, here’s five questions you should ask yourself before making your final decision.

  1. Does It Sync With Your Calendar?
  2. Is the User Experience Friendly? 
  3. What Analytics Are Available? 
  4. How Secure Is the Best Conference Reservation System?
  5. What Are Your Display Options? 

Your job is hard enough. Between juggling your boss’ demands and managing your team, you need relief somewhere. Don’t spend anymore time than you have to booking a conference room. Your “organized chaos” might seem like it’s working for you, but you’re hurting yourself in the long-run. Invest in a conference room booking system now and as your company continues to scale up, it will be one less issue you have to deal with.