As anyone who’s ever ever been in the position of managing a company that starts to become really successful, people are pulling at your from all sides. And you just wish you had a tool to help you take some of that load off your shoulders. All of it. Unfortunately, there is no such ONE tool. But there are many software products out there that can come to your rescue when you don’t want your business to fall apart at the take off. One such tool is a meeting room manager.
Meeting room manager explained
The main scope of a meeting room manager is space optimisation. Now, that might not sound glamorous enough at first glance, but optimising the space usage in your company can significantly improve your profits. This happens by ensuring proper room usage, so that there’s little overlap or waste. Another important use of a meeting room manager is the enforcement of hierarchical rules (e.g.: an intern should always have their supervisor’s approval when booking a room).
A meeting room manager is usually employed AFTER a meeting date has been agreed upon. Even though its main purpose is space optimisation, the meeting room manager is also implicitly used to validate a chosen date/time combo or suggest alternatives based on reported room availability.
If you also have troubles in getting everyone together to agree on a meeting date, then maybe you also need a meeting scheduler. In fact, if your company has a small number of employees, then maybe you don’t even need a meeting room manager - but can simply rely on a meeting scheduler. Even though a meeting room manager and a meeting scheduler might appear similar, their ultimate goals are quite distinct - meeting schedulers aid someone organise their time, meeting room managers help a group of people use a resource (the room) more efficiently.
If you want to know more about the differences between the two and whether or not you need one or the other, check out our in-depth blog post on this topic - Do you need a meeting room manager or a meeting scheduler?. And, just in case you decide you do need a meeting scheduler, we’ve also compiled a list of the Best meeting scheduling software in 2017.
Why use a meeting room manager
Now that we have all the information on what a meeting room manager is, let’s see why someone might need it. On our website you can find a number of use cases that exemplify how different types of companies can utilize a meeting room manager such as YAROOMS. Or you can read all about them here - Top 11 uses for a meeting room booking system.
But this time we decided to take a look at something closer to home - a software company. We’ll call it NOrooms and only briefly glance at some of its issues.
As the NOrooms business is taking wing, more and more meetings need to be scheduled. At first, as is always the case, this is not a big issue. There just aren’t that many meetings and the scheduling can be easily handled using spreadsheets or scheduling software. But as the number of employees and meetings increases, there just isn’t a way of coping without a meeting room manager. More and more and meeting rooms become overbooked, which leads to embarrassing situations. Imagine having to take the client out to the nearest coffee shop and improvise a presentation there, amidst espresso machine noises, music and that loud teenager who feels that her personal life is something that everyone wants to know more about.
And what about that colleague who always forgets to let everyone know that his/her meeting was canceled so the company ends up with a ghost meeting room, in which any number of meetings could have been held but weren’t because everyone thought the room was booked. Losing money? Yes.
Now imagine you are the manager of this software company. You will want a report to see which meetings cost you the most money, and who, of the 3 account managers, is the most efficient. You might also want to see if your meeting rooms are used equally and if not, why that might be. Now, compiling a report on this shouldn’t be such of a big issue. Someone just has to gather all this information from your account managers, so you ask them to each send a report. You use a spreadsheet again, but not everyone formats the document the same way. Or they don’t fill in all fields. Now reporting starts to get difficult and it takes more time and money to compile it. You start thinking of that cocktail you could be sipping, wishing you had a magic button to press that would deliver your report.
Unfortunately, magic buttons don’t exist. But smart software for your needs does exist - and its name is meeting room manager. This non-magical tool will help you with your meeting room booking and push you towards that cocktail you keep at the back of your mind.
The NOrooms use case is a very simple one that briefly illustrates some of the most dire problems a small company that suddenly starts growing might run into at one point. But these problems run deeper than this. If you want to know more about all the ways in which not having a meeting room manager can affect your business, you can read about it here - Do You Really Need Room Scheduling Software?.
While looking at NOrooms, we’ve identified three major problems/ issues that are solved/ answered by a meeting room manager:
With a meeting room manager you won’t have to worry that overbooking will pop up its nasty head and lose you important clients. A good meeting room manager should not allow double booking of meeting rooms by any of its users, alerting anyone trying to book that space that it has already been reserved by someone else.
Ghost rooms (Empty rooms where meetings were booked but never held)
The ghost of meetings-never-held will haunt you no more with a meeting room manager. When choosing your meeting room booking software, you have to make sure that it has a function ensuring the automatic vacating of the room if no one checks in for the meeting for a set number of minutes. This will guarantee better use of space and more meetings actually being held.
Room usage and productivity reports
Don’t forget that at the end of the day what you also need are room usage and productivity reports at the click of a button - even though not a magic one. So a good meeting room manager will have to also provide you with these.
These are three essential features of a meeting room manager - avoid overbooking, avoid ghost rooms and obtain reports. But there’s more to a meeting room manager. Let’s take a look at the general features someone might be looking for in a meeting room booking software.
What to look for in a meeting room manager
Ease of access
Nobody wants to learn how to use a new tool. Your employees’ time is a valuable and non-renewable resource. The software product you choose should be as smooth and convenient as possible. But there’s always a trade-off between power and ease of use. Make sure that your meeting room manager tackles this problem well.
You never know just how many meetings you will have to book. What you need is something that can be easily scaled and adapted to a growing number of users (unlike a car, which comes with 5 seats and cannot be modified).
An ultra-specific feature
Companies come in different shapes and sizes and, to respond to their needs, so do meeting room managers. Depending on the size and type of your company, you will have choose the right meeting room booking software. So look for one that has that ultra-specific feature which serves your ultra-specific need.
You can handle all of the above before committing to any specific product. But there are things you might not think of or foresee at the time of buying the software. For that you need good technical support. And what makes or breaks a meeting room manager is the support its producers offer. So take a look at that before making your choice.
If you want to read more on how we got to these four essential features or how our product, YAROOMS answers all these needs, check out our blog post - Choosing meeting room reservation software.
Why you might need YAROOMS
Beyond all the general features that make up a good meeting room manager, there are the fine details - those elements that make the user experience a much better one and strike the right chord when it comes to your specific needs. While not all meeting room managers have these features, YAROOMS does. And, just in case these are exactly what you need, we will present them one by one.
Finely-tuned user permissions
You can set up YAROOMS based on your business’ configuration and mold your staff’s permissions settings around their role in the company and their needs. From view-only rights to limited access to rooms in a secondary location, YAROOMS can handle it all.
Dedicated browser interface
Today’s most ubiquitous computer software, the modern web browser is the easiest way for your staff to use YAROOMS. Log in from anywhere, select the appropriate room and book a room in less than 30 seconds. The DBI is fully compatible with both Desktop and Mobile devices and browsers.
If your organisation’s activities rely heavily on emails, being able to book or request a room without leaving Outlook will undoubtedly bring about a surge in productivity. Our interface is prepared to accommodate most of your booking needs, straight from your Outlook application.
Meeting room digital signage
Modern business environments depend on room signage to inform passers-by regarding the rooms’ live availability and upcoming meetings. Moreover, unforeseen meetings can be booked on the spot from YAROOMS Door, our Room Signage application. YAROOMS Door is compatible with a plethora of hardware setups such as: Ipad, Android or Kindle Fire tablets and IAdea smart signboards.
iCal friendly apps
YAROOMS can be synced to iCal-friendly applications (Mac Calendar/ Outlook/ Google Calendar).
Resource and equipment booking
Few meetings require nothing more than the room in which they take place. You can request resources with all your room bookings, depending on what has been made available to your room of choice - from a video projector to food and coffee.
Depending on your internal procedures, some rooms (if not all) might require booking supervision. You can assign Room Owner roles to users and allow them to manage all and any bookings that are requested in the rooms they control.
Any 2 (or more) rooms in a location can be grouped in a single, bigger room, that can be booked as a separate entity. The compound is only available for booking if all its components are vacant for the desired timeframe.
Also referred to as Room Setups, layouts allow a booker to specify (and request) a predefined way of furniture arrangement that can influence a room’s seat/ person capacity and function.
Multiple time zones
Multiple locations across multiple time zones are supported out of the box in YAROOMS. You can set up rooms in different locations across the globe, each with their own time settings.
So, now that we’ve told you why you need a meeting room manager, it’s time for you to make your informed decision. The quicker you make up your mind, the quicker you can sit back and enjoy your cocktail without worrying about overbooked rooms, ghosts of meetings never held, or difficult-to-obtain reports.