Meeting Room Booking: Coworking Software vs Google Calendar
How often do members ask you for meeting room booking? Every half an hour, 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 workspaces and office centers.
If you don't have specific usable coworking 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 creating a solid brand image. 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?
- Two members make a reservation at the same time. The usage of Google Calendar does not prevent meeting room booking conflicts.
- As all members use the same calendar anyone can accidentally remove any event and reservation disappears.
- Marking reservations in Google Calendar can hardly be called an intuitive meeting room booking process which leads to lower usage, so the next issue is the low utilization rate.
- There are no stated meeting room booking rules in Google Calendar, which leads to unfair use. For instance, any room can be booked for a too long period by the same person.
- There is no meeting space use statistics, which is not very good for management, you don't see the numbers and have to make additional efforts to figure out what's going on in your space.
- With Google Calendar you handle each reservation request manually, which is time-consuming, especially if your coworking space gives free hours to members.
The takeaway here is that if you want to optimize meeting room booking at your space, you need to automate it. andcards provides a simple tool to automate the meeting room booking system. It is available for all members on all popular platforms such as web, Android, and iOS. Members book meeting rooms with mobile apps on their smartphones and you don't need to get distracted by your clients asking for a room reservation every 30 min🤯.
It comes with several configurations for your convenience.
In this section, you will learn how to tweak a meeting room booking system to fit your needs better.
You can set 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, 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 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.
Do you have free hours at your workspace? Do your members have free hours to book meeting space? This is what "credits" are for. Credits are the virtual currency to book space at your coworking. Instead of just giving hours to members for free, you give them booking credits (as a reward, once a month, when they sign up, when they continue the subscription, as an additional argument to seal the deal.) Members can use available credits whenever they wish.
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 it for granted. Why should they care for something free and unlimited? Once you give them credits, members realize it's not unlimited, value-free hours more, and use credits carefully only when they actually need.
Members can have an individual, as well as team shared credit balances. You can add a touch of gamification and select a custom emoji symbol for your credits, for example: ⭐️, 💎, 💰 or any other.
This feature works really great with membership plans. Once you assign a plan to your customer, they automatically receive credits with their plan. If a membership plan is purchased for a long time, say a year, this option becomes very useful to retain and reward customers on a monthly basis. When on, andcards will give credits every month instead of giving them all at once.
For instance, if a team member needs to reserve a meeting room but there are no credits in the corporate account, they just choose the Charge Card 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.
I have already mentioned above that abandoned bookings problem can be partially addressed with the help of credits. Meeting Room Display with Check-in feature will let you forget about it.
If you are using a meeting room display, you can activate an auto release. 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 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 COVID-19 pandemic environment. You need to clean and desinfect a meeting room before/after every usage to protect members' health. Coworking software will give you some time for room preparation and service by reserving 15 minutes between bookings.
Here are some simple room-specific settings that will help you make a coworking meeting room booking system 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.
- WiFi password, as well as write specific booking rules and regulations.
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 debit or credit card on the booking page. This is very usable 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 to prevent free meeting room overbooking. Of course, andcards 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, SALTO KS, or Proxy can allow access to the room within a booking time (all of them integrate with andcards). Some workspaces are concerned about preventing unauthorized use of meeting rooms, however, the method has its downsides and you should be aware of them.
Many people want to use a single calendar in order to see a schedule of the day. Want to see your bookings in your favorite calendar (Apple, Google, Microsoft)?
- Open the andcards app.
- Go to a "Profile" tab.
- Click on a "Calendar Sync" button.
- Follow the instructions.
It's important to analyze all processes that take place at your workspace. You can get comprehensive information on meeting room usage through actionable andcards integration with Google Data Studio. This will help you reveal all bottlenecks and improve 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 your advantage from modern technology, free your manager, improve members' experience through making meeting room booking process at your coworking center a matter of 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.
Please don't forget to share this article with friends on social media and come again soon. More cool stuff is getting ready for publication!