The prevailing economic climate has forced businesses to make significant changes and scrutinise costs more closely than ever before. Many organisations have been forced to reduce headcount or make spending cuts. Despite this, one area which is often overlooked is that of resource utilisation. Whilst many organisations occupy more space than they need for the size of their workforce, the typical business faces day-to-day issues of double booked meeting rooms, often resulting in meetings being postponed or held at external meeting facilities. Clearly this has an impact on both efficiency and expenditure, at a time when all businesses are striving to improve operational efficiency.
This is where Room Booking Software comes into play. This allows staff to book, cancel or reschedule meeting or conference room facilities, allocate catering or equipment and automatically cross charge for these services to the relevant department. Room Booking Software can provide automated electronic booking confirmations, and in the event of a meeting being cancelled, can notify the relevant parties, cancel both the room reservation and all associated services, making the space available for others to use and eliminating the problem (and cost) of unwanted catering.
Many organisations have typically seen a 30% increase in their room utilisation rates as a result of implementing Room Booking Software. This has enabled them to identify how their buildings can be used more effectively, and in some cases, has allowed them to capitalise on surplus space by offering facilities for hire.
In addition, our space requirements are changing; whereas a six-man meeting room with a flip chart used to suit all occasions, now people require small pods for quiet working or phone calls, two-person rooms for confidential chats or space for 50 people for a monthly sales meeting. Technology needs have advanced with interactive whiteboards, video conference calling facilities and internet access often mandatory. And catering requests are often more sophisticated. These changes have led many businesses to choose more sophisticated room booking software, which allow customers to book meeting rooms online, or at point of use on electronic signage, and log in when they arrive. If there is a no show after 15 minutes, then the system releases the room and puts the availability back into the system – avoiding the need to search through diaries to find out who booked it. This also provides cost savings, where booked rooms are often left unused as a result of cancelled meetings, forcing other office workers to seek room availability off-site, therefore incurring additional costs.
Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly commonplace for Room Booking Software to be linked to building management systems (BMS) to support energy efficient strategies. Real time information from Room Booking Software allows the BMS to automatically identify when meeting facilities are in use. Triggers and alarms within the BMS in turn ensure that heating, air conditioning and lighting are switched off when meeting rooms are empty, delivering significant cost and energy savings.
By using comprehensive Room Booking Software, the FM team can have visibility of the most popular meeting rooms, most frequent bookers, together with trends in catering and can use the reports to target key bookers and communicate information or changes to meeting rooms without blanket mailing staff. Having visibility of important management information also means that the facilities manager can optimise meeting room usage to ensure that the right room is used for the right purpose – no more two-person meetings in a room which fits 10 people.