Workplace Technology Assessment
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By Devon Maresco
The need for conference room reservations existed long before the rise in flex work. Many companies already have some system for reserving group spaces. Now, as they need to expand the capabilities of existing booking and reservation processes, they’re turning to more robust software. As with all software investments, meeting room booking system ROI is top of mind. Is the cost of new software justified by the value it provides?
Consider the capabilities modern booking solutions offer. Not only do they coordinate in-office space reservations, they also make it easy for off-site employees to find and book space. With workspace sanitization still prevalent, new booking software can also help automate cleaning schedules. Let’s not forget about the insights booking software offers. These features come together in numerous benefits, and it’s up to companies to determine their value.
Here’s a look at some of the factors that affect meeting room booking system ROI and the role they play in justifying its cost.
Integrations and usability
The ability of employees to book rooms is the biggest factor impacting meeting room software ROI. If the software isn’t accessible or easy to use, employees won’t use it. If they don’t use it, ROI potential falls significantly.
Look for software with broad integration capabilities. Beyond a web portal, employees need the ability to find and book spaces in a variety of settings, including on-the-go, through an app. Some key integrations include through a messaging app like Slack or via calendaring software like Outlook or Google Calendar. The more integrations there are, the more accessible and useable booking software is. As it becomes a mainstay in workplace operations, companies will see the ROI they expect from it.
Number of rooms available
ROI for booking software depends on the scale of the rollout. If you’ve got 20 shared spaces that need a centralized booking system, you’ll quickly see ROI from an efficient system. Conversely, if you only have two conference rooms, you might not need a robust booking system, and ROI could take longer to manifest.
The true ROI of a meeting room booking system comes from its ability to turn chaos into order. This tends to happen at-scale. Coordinating dozens of spaces among hundreds of employees comes with instant benefits. It’s easy to gauge the man hours saved by addressing wasted time caused by conference room uncertainties. The more variables at play, the higher the ROI potential for the system that brings order to these variables.
Booking fluidity and ecosystem
The intelligence of room scheduling software has an impact on its ability to generate ROI. For example, does the software simply show an occupied space—or does it recommend a different space? Simple features like this can improve workspace utilization, instead of dead-ending it. Software that provides solutions (options) will generate a higher ROI than software that’s only smart enough to return a static answer.
There’s also the software ecosystem to consider from the back end. Is the system smart enough to recognize booking dynamics, or does it only read-write data? For example, if someone wants to book a room at 3:30pm and there are no available rooms, will it show opportunities for space at 3:45pm when several meetings end? While much of this is programmable, companies need to invest in software that’s smart enough to create ROI.
Broader IoT capabilities
Beyond the room booking software itself, do you have the peripheral components that enable its full ROI potential? For example, are your meeting rooms equipped with occupancy sensors that govern the availability of that room? Are reservations augmented by a CMMS ticketing system, to ensure the space gets sanitized between uses? While not direct features of a meeting room booking system, these adjacent investments drive the ROI of the system.
There are plenty of opportunities to augment room booking software—but not all of them lead to better ROI. Companies need to look at peripheral tech that improves the usability and automation capabilities of booking software. How can you make booking and hosting meetings simpler, and what opportunities are there to streamline the process in cost-efficient ways?
Make the most of smarter booking
Booking system costs can seem high at the outset, but the potential for ROI is great. Facility managers need to identify opportunities to improve the efficiency of finding and booking shared spaces to fully realize returns. To do that, it’s important to look at the factors that could drive (or limit) the efficiency of booking software. Consider the integrations and usability of software, as well as the parameters of your office when establishing ROI benchmarks.
Keep reading: How Does Conference Room Scheduling Software Work?