How often do members ask you for meeting room booking? Every half an hour or maybe every 10-15 minutes? Anyway, it happens very often as meeting room booking is one of the most common routines when you manage a coworking space. The same is true for flexible workspaces and office centers.
If you don't have specific usable meeting room booking software that automates the process, you probably schedule all bookings in Google Calendar. You share it with members or sometimes make reservations yourself.
May I ask you if your members are happy with this meeting room booking solution? And what about you? Are you happy with it?
The future belongs to coworking spaces prioritizing members' experience, relying on cutting-edge technologies, and building a solid brand. This article is aimed to help you with all these aspects.
Consider the points below highlighting the issues with Google Calendar for meeting room booking. Are they true for your coworking space?
The takeaway here is that Google Calendar is great and we all love the tool but it is an awful solution to manage bookings at your flexible workspace.
If you want to optimize meeting room bookings at your space, you need to automate them. You can do it by implementing a self-service meeting room booking system as a part of your main coworking space management platform.
As a rule, meeting room booking systems come with several configurations. Let’s take a look at what you get on andcards’ example and learn how to tweak the system to fit your needs better.
A meeting room booking system allows setting the range of time when people can make meeting room reservations. You can keep it from 00:00 to 24:00 as it is by default on andcards, but I recommend setting more realistic values. You don't want members to call you at night complaining that the door is closed, do you? In addition, it is just more convenient to see reservations on the calendar view.
Limit the period of meeting room booking if you don't want people to make room reservations, say, for the next year. Here you can set up the maximum time people can book ahead of today.
There are days when your space is closed. Turn off the meeting room booking system for weekends or other days when you need a time out. It helps you to make sure people never book when you are closed and there are no complaints about not informing them.
Want to know why people book rooms? This is essential if you want to improve the user experience. You can use this information to analyze the usage and install additional equipment, e.g. whiteboard when you notice members use the room for open team discussions.
It is important to provide limited access to meeting rooms even if it is unlimited in your space. People often make reservations and don't use them because they take the perk for granted. Why should they care for something free and unlimited? Once you give them credits, members realize it's not unlimited, start to value free hours more and use credits carefully only when they actually need it.
What coworking space software with a meeting room scheduling solution does and Google Calendar does not, is an automated distribution of credits, which takes a huge amount of work off managers’ shoulders.
Using workspace management software, you can sell your services such as meeting rooms to teams more efficiently. For instance, andcards’ Company Invoice payment option allows tenants to enjoy the services now and pay for them later.
Let me elaborate on this a bit. If a team member needs to reserve a meeting room but there are no credits in the corporate account, they just choose the Company Invoice payment option and complete the reservation without distracting the team leader and asking the community manager to fix the issue. At the end of the month, the company manager will receive the statement with all extra bookings and pay the bill with a credit card or bank transfer. The process is similar for individual members.
Implementation of a meeting room booking system inside the main coworking space app opens up new revenue streams for coworking space owners. You can make some of your rooms visible to the general public and start selling them externally to customers that are not signed up for your membership. To book a room at your flexible workspace and pay for it will be as easy as downloading your app and opening it on a smartphone any time at any place on Earth. If customers have questions about their bookings, they can send you an instant message via Chats in the same app.
I have already mentioned above that the abandoned bookings problem can be partially addressed with the help of credits. A meeting room display with a check-in feature will let you completely forget about it.
If you are using a meeting room display, you can activate an auto-release feature. When the option is turned on, all free bookings will require a check-in. If a member does not check-in, the system automatically cancels the reservation which makes your meeting room available for another booking and prevents money/hour loss.
Sometimes workspaces have an agreement with tenants that only certain teams will have access to particular meeting rooms. You can indicate specific meeting rooms as private and they will become invisible (unavailable) for the rest of your members.
This is especially important in the COVID-19 pandemic environment. You need to clean and disinfect a meeting room before/after every usage to protect members' health. Meeting room booking software will give you some time for room preparation and service by reserving 15 minutes between bookings.
Well, these were 10 features of a professional meeting room booking system Google Calendar fails to provide. Now, let’s dig a little deeper and tackle some room-specific settings that will make your entire booking platform even more user-friendly.
People like to see what they buy. It's natural that they may want to see if the room is suitable for them or not, especially if they are new in your space. Adding a room image helps members make a well-grounded decision to book your space.
Give meeting rooms unique names so people can identify them easier. Be creative and give some cool names like Mars, Venus, etc. Very soon you'll make sure that stylized rooms are more attractive for the visitors.
The description helps to better understand the purpose of the room. You can also list available equipment.
You can identify the number of seats available in a meeting room.
It's always good to indicate seat count so that one person doesn't book a 20-seat conference room for a one-on-one meeting.
Your rooms may be free or cost money to use. Set an hourly price and start making money right away. Members will see an option to pay with a debit or credit card on the booking page. This is very useful because customers want to know how much coworking will cost to plan their budget accordingly.
Indicate the number of credits needed to make a room reservation, and members will be able to pay with individual or team credit balances. I have already mentioned above what credits are, meeting room price set in credits will help members to use them wisely.
This is an extra feature that helps utilize rooms fairly. Minimum time ensures nobody books a 100-seat conference hall for 15 minutes. Maximum time allows preventing free meeting room overbooking. Of course, the meeting room booking system makes sure there are no two meetings at the same time in the same room. No fights with "I booked first"-like arguments anymore! 🥊
Do you follow me so far? Great! Here is the bonus info on the meeting room booking system for you.
When members book meeting rooms, an access control system like Kisi, or SALTO KS can allow access to the room within a booking time by means of integration. Some workspaces are concerned about preventing unauthorized use of meeting rooms, if you are one of them, please find more info on the topic here: Big Guide on Touchless Automated 24/7 Access to Your Coworking Space.
Many people want to use a single calendar in order to see the schedule of the day. Want to see your bookings in your favorite calendar (Apple, Google, Microsoft)? Here’s how to sync calendars on andcards:
It's important to analyze all processes that take place at your workspace if you want to improve business performance. If you use a meeting room booking system, comprehensive information on space usage is always at hand through Analytics solution that collects essential data and visualizes it on simple dashboards. Knowing the numbers will help you reveal all bottlenecks n time and increase productivity.
That's it about booking meeting rooms at a coworking space for now. Do you still use Google Calendar? Hope the above info made you consider the more advanced and convenient option. Take advantage of modern technology, free your manager, improve members' experience by making the meeting room booking process at your coworking center a matter of a few taps.
Think about how many customers you lose due to hairy old-school meeting room booking? Give andcards a try and see the difference in your growth of revenue and customers' happiness.
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