It’s the holiday season and many people are making plans to see loved ones. Flights and seats are limited and once they’re gone, you have to find another time to fly home. The process of booking a seat on a flight has evolved over the years. Before we had to call the airline directly or contact a third party travel agent who would find us a flight. Now we have websites and apps that let us see what flights are available and we can book our own ticket. Thanks to technology, it’s become a much more simple process to make travel reservations.
Technology has made reserving anything easier. We can book a car, a massage, and even a restaurant reservation from our phone. There’s a record of the booking and it prevents awkward encounters when two people show up for the same reservation. Booking a conference room is no different and technology has made the process of making a conference room reservation easier as well.
The need for a conference room reservation system is limited when your team consists of couple co-founders, a designer, a developer, and a dog. But as your business expands and you move into a new office space with multiple conference rooms and meeting rooms, spanning two floors, a meeting room plan is vital.
Like any other software purchase, choosing the best conference room reservation system requires you to do your research. What makes a good system vs. a bad system? What features should you be looking for? What’s a reasonable price? These are all important questions to get answered before you make a decision.
If this is your first time choosing a conference room solution, here are 5 factors you need to consider before pulling the trigger and finalizing your purchase.
Does It Sync With Your Calendar?
As much as we’d prefer it, there is no universal calendar system for every company. Each company has its own preference, based on the technology they use internally. The best conference room reservation system will integrate with your existing calendar. There’s no need to change your entire calendar system to fit your booking reservation system. Syncing existing calendars to your booking software should take a few clicks at maximum.
What Are Your Display Options?
Effective conference room reservation systems offer clear display options. It should be obvious to anyone walking in the conference room, where they can check to see the conference room reservation calendar.
Your conference room booking display will vary depending on the solution you decide on. Large companies like Microsoft have the budget to install elaborate systems, directly into the walls of the buildings they own. But if you’re like the majority of companies renting office space, such an installation plan won’t be cost efficient.
By choosing a conference room reservation system that uses existing consumer hardware, like an iPad, your team can cut down on costs while offering an equally impressive display. An iPad is large enough that it’s easy for anyone to take a peek at the schedule and see future availability of the conference room with a quick glance.
An iPad display is also small enough that it’s easy to move. Perhaps you find that your original location isn’t positioned correctly and team members aren’t using the system religiously. It’s a simple fix to move the iPad to somewhere more visible to your team.
Is the User Experience Friendly?
Fluid user experience (UX) is expected from any software company these days. The UX extends beyond the look of the meeting room booking system app or colors of buttons. It encompasses how your team will actually use the app.
Is the conference room solution easy enough that your 80 year old grandmother can use it? A fancy reservation system that’s so convoluted is useless if every team member can’t figure out how to use it.
Features like roles and permissions are valuable parts of the user experience that not every option offers. Are some conference rooms only available to certain team members (i.e. executives, or technicians working specific technical equipment)?
Is there a friendly mobile option for the reservation system? Even if the program doesn’t have a dedicated app, a mobile accessible option should be available. You never know when you’ll want to book a conference room. A conference room reservation system should make life easier, not more difficult.
What Analytics Are Available?
Analytics for your conference room? Sounds a bit weird right? But we live in a world full of data, where water bottles are now being designed to analyze your water intake. So of course analytics are necessary for your conference reservations system.
Conference room analytics offers extremely useful data that office managers and executives can use to improve meeting and conference room efficiency. Understand what conference rooms are being used the most and what the peak booking times are. How many occupants are in each meeting and in what meeting room?
Information like this can help alleviate any bottlenecks your conference room might be experiencing. For example, are large conference rooms being misused by smaller teams, forcing other teams to cram into a smaller meeting room? Companies can nip problems like this in the bud with better conference room analytics.
How Secure Is the Best Conference Reservation System?
With more data comes more responsibility. Especially if you’re connecting with third-party calendars. Ask what security protocols your conference reservation system uses. Does it have SSL encryption? Is your meeting data backed up automatically? If so, what type of information are they storing and how is it stored? Is the payment gateway PCI-Compliant? As we read more stories like Target’s security breach, it’s always assuring to know how your data will be secured.
The final decision ultimately depends on your team’s taste and budget. When you’re shopping for the best conference room reservation system, reference this guide and get these five questions answered. By doing so, you’ll have a conference room booking system that works for everyone.