Meeting room Hacks Episode 10 - 3 Room Booking System Alternatives
For when you don’t really need one
You don’t always need something as robust as YArooms. Here’s what you can do when we’re not your most viable option.
First, a bit of context - here at YArooms we’re constantly looking for new ways to improve the professional lives of our potential customers. This forces us to adopt a “listen more, talk less” attitude. We’re askers. We want to know what our current customers think about the platform, what extra features they need and what they don’t. But we don’t limit ourselves to just our clients. Companies still in their trial period are just as important - they come with new hopes and needs, they push us to think of new ways of doing things and come up with the most imaginative of hacks.
Sometimes, though, after a couple of weeks of trying out YArooms and maybe sitting through one of our free demos, they figure out a room booking system isn’t really what they need. And there are plenty of reasons for that - they don’t have that many rooms, they’re short on staff or they rarely hold any meetings. However, they still need to manage the occasional room booking. If you feel like this might be your case, here’s a short list of alternatives to this:
1. A mailing list
If you don’t hold a lot of meetings, a mailing list should serve you just fine. You don’t need a room booking system to tell you your boss from down the hall needs the conference room for tomorrow. He can just send an email to a special address on your domain (like firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell you about it. Or he could tell you about that on Slack.
2. Pen & paper
There’s no shame in going analogue. Better yet, protect the trees and go for a small whiteboard. Use that as a calendar of sorts - as long as it’s in a place everyone can see, you should be rather fine. But do send a mass email about your upcoming meetings anyway (better safe than sorry).
3. Google Spreadsheets
Now this is a bit more difficult to set up, but should still be manageable. Create a calendar in an spreadsheet (design it in any way you wish) and set the permission settings to “anyone with the link can comment). Next, inform your colleagues that when they require to book a room, they should comment on a cell that belongs to that room and the day they need to book. You can emulate our Weekly View look:
If you use Gmail, add your colleagues as collaborators and they will be notified whenever someone books a meeting (aka when they comment). Voila, home-brewed room booking system.
These are not, in any way, your best alternatives. There might be more out there. But they're the easiest to set up, they require next to no maintenance and, best of all, they're free, familiar and uncomplicated.