By Katherine Schwartz
Demand Generation Specialist
SpaceIQ

One of the best ways to bring law and order to your shared office spaces is through room booking software. But there are some important questions to ask before buying meeting room software. Why? There’s more to it than reserving a room. You’re actually investing in a complete space management ecosystem—a series of checks and balances to ensure maximum utilization of common spaces. It’s worth knowing how different options stack up against your facilities.

Below are five simple, straightforward questions about meeting room booking software meant to provoke greater discussions about how to get the most out of it. These questions are also the simplest way to understand what features and capabilities you need most, as well as how a booking system will streamline your facilities.

1. How will you use the software?

On the surface, conference room software is simple: reserve a specific room at a specific time. In fact, that’s exactly how it should feel to the employees who will use it. For facility managers, there’s more to consider—like how room booking software will change workplace governance. In an ideal situation, it means less work for facility managers and less chaos in shared workspaces. But this is only possible through the right software.

Consider facets of room booking like the reservation and confirmation system, as well as calendar management and meeting information capabilities. Do you need a simple system that keeps a schedule, or a more robust system that manages employees’ experience with the space? Understand your needs before choosing software to ensure your investment meets expectations.

2. What integrations are available?

Meeting room booking software needs integrations to function realistically in the workplace. Employees need the ability to book via email, chat app, through a portal, and through myriad other channels—otherwise, they’re less likely to use it. Look for software that supports multiple booking options and that’s intuitive enough to manage them all through a central queue.

Facility managers should evaluate more than just available integrations, too. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) make it possible to create tailored integrations, so it’s worth looking at products with available APIs as well. More integrations and customizable opportunities paves the way for everything from scalability to turnkey solutions specific to the booking needs of your facilities.

3. What’s the scope of the ecosystem?

Consider whether you need or want your meeting room booking system to extend beyond a straightforward reservation system. Do you want it to appear on touchscreens outside bookable rooms? Extend to visitors as part of a wayfinding system? Establish your vision for a booking ecosystem before investing in software.

Keep in mind that the larger the ecosystem, the more associated costs and the more intense the framework for a buildout. For example, the addition of touchscreens outside of conference rooms drives up costs; however, it might also drive up bookings, improving space utilization and space efficiency. Understand the relationship between your reservation ecosystem and core facility management metrics.

4. What spaces will it encompass?

Think about the shared spaces in your facilities. Which areas need booking governance? For some companies, that only extends to conference rooms. For others, it may include hotel desks. Realistically, any unassigned space qualifies for reservations, but not every space benefits from this system.

Look at the number of spaces that need reservation capabilities, then pair that with cost. Does it make sense to invest in room booking software for four rooms? Forty rooms? Only for your conference spaces? To manage the hundreds of hotel desks at your facilities? Qualify the scope of deployment, right down to the number and type of spaces it includes.

5. How will you define ROI?

Room booking software can pay for itself when deployed effectively. But how will you know when it has? Take time to establish return on investment (ROI) metrics that validate your purchase. Is it time saved by not over-booking rooms? Does ROI correlate to space efficiency?

Delineate what ROI looks like and have a clear roadmap for how to track and measure it against the cost of investing in meeting room software. Keep in mind that this should be an ongoing priority that continues to justify the cost of your software far into the future.

Ask more questions to learn more

In theory, meeting room booking software is simple. In practice, there are numerous options, features, and deployment nuances that make careful consideration essential. The software you choose will define your employees’ experience interacting with shared spaces. It’ll also determine governance for those spaces. Answer the above five questions to gain the insight required to make the right choice about which platform to choose and how to deploy it.

Don’t limit your questioning to these five, either! Look at room booking from both micro and macro stances, to create a system that’s fluid and convenient. Ask as many questions as it takes to develop a clear system for room booking and to find software that supports it.

Keep reading: 5 benefits of a meeting room booking system tablet