How to book a meeting room
In Outlook, Google Calendar, on paper or in YArooms
Booking a room can be quick and painless. Or not.
Unless you have 1 employee and 1 desk, chances are you have at least 1 meeting room and hold a moderate amount of meetings each month. If you host a lot of meetings, things can get complicated fast. So you turn to what you have available - most people will share a number of calendars, each representing a room and make their bookings there. It’s the simplest form of booking rooms, and it can be done with digital tools such as Outlook/ GCal or classics like pen and paper (case in which the calendars are pasted on the rooms’ doors). Some of our clients used to use shared spreadsheets, formatted as calendars for the space-management bit and their personal calendars for automated reminders.
By far the “simplest” system is the sheet of paper - one per room, split in hourly intervals. People draw and write on it and then someone pastes it on the door. It’s not the best looking thing, it cannot be easily updated and it doesn’t send out reminders, but it works. Let’s explore how other systems handle this.
How to book a meeting room in Outlook 2007
Outlook is generally split in 2 generations, nowadays. 2007 and 2010/2013/2016.
If you’re on the ‘07 version, make sure your sysadmin has created some rooms for you first. If you’d rather do it yourself, here are some instructions for the 2010 Exchange Server.
Your newly-created rooms are actually mailboxes - the server will then try to interpret your appointments and update a calendar. Outlook is not designed to handle space-management, so this Exchange setup is actually nothing more than a smart workaround. It treats the room as it would a normal person who accepts calendar invites and updates their schedule. The main issue it has is that it relies on a typical calendar app, where 2 appointments can occupy the same timeframe (if you’re not careful). This could cause some of your meetings to overlap, but if you don’t have a lot of them, you should be fine. Most of the time.
Anyway, here’s how you book the room:
Looking at your top-side menu, go to File>New>Meeting Request.
A pop-up will appear and you’ll be able to add a “Subject” to your booking. This is its title. Add at least one person to the meeting. Once you’ve done that, click on “Rooms” (it’s next to the Location box). This will show you the available rooms (and it will not be displayed unless you’ve invited at least 1 other person). Next up, select your “Start time” and “End time”, add some files or a note and head over to the “Meeting” . Look at the Show group and click on Scheduling Assistant, then hit “Add Attendees” - this will allow you to add more people, but also Add resources. You’ll be able to search for the required name here, be it a person’s or a resource’s. Pick the item/person you want, choose whether it is required, Optional, or Resources and confirm with an OK. If you chose a resource, it will appear in the Location box. All others populate the “to” field.
You’re almost done - head over to the Meeting section and click on “Appointment” (it’s in the Show group).
You can safely click on Send now.
It might seem clunky at first, but it’s really not - here’s a short video tutorial:
Microsoft does a good job at explaining this on its own.
If you do not have access to an Exchange Server, you can create 1 email per room and share the rooms calendars with everyone else. This will allow you to invite rooms to appointments, but it’s a lot more prone to double-bookings.
Booking rooms in Outlook 2010 and newer is somewhat different
Just like before, the hack involves inviting the rooms to a meeting and using Scheduling Assistant to figure out what the best option might be. The overall design is slightly changed, but the process is strikingly similar. Have a look:
What about Google Calendar?
If you’d rather use Google Calendar, then you’ll need to create 1 calendar/bookable space. Once that’s done, set it to auto-accept invitations that do not conflict. People in your organisation will be able to subscribe to this calendar and request appointments with it.
How do I book a room in YArooms?
First of all, open your YArooms account (if you do not have one, Sign Up for a free 14day trial). Then, from any of the calendar views (Daily, Weekly or Monthly), click on an empty space and a pop-up will appear.
Fill in your details here or click on Advanced and let YArooms convert your quick request into an advanced booking:
Add all your details there and you’re set. It shouldn’t take you more than 2 minutes. If you need a room that meets specific criteria (it’s available for at least 2 hours, it has a projector and can fit 30 people), you can use the “Search Room” feature.
If you’d rather use Outlook, you can install our dedicated add-in and book from it instead.