A Serious Process
President of Topdesk USA Nancy Van Elsacker Louisnord explains how software is used to manage corporate room reservations and deliver related soft facilities management workflows.
Organizations often regard reserving and renting out rooms as an easy process. Somebody needs a room, reserves it in a system and uses the room on the day of the reservation. It’s that easy, isn’t it?
How often does it happen that a room is double-booked? Or that the ordered coffee and tea is not there, or that too much is delivered? Even though you are a facilities manager, you don’t always have an overview of the occupancy of meeting rooms and other reservable spaces.
An easy process?
Although organizing meetings or appointments between colleagues may appear straightforward to internal customers, an entire process must be satisfied before meeting venues and services which have been reserved can be used. The facilities market still uses a variety of solutions to support this process, from Microsoft Excel and Outlook to paper calendars. However, more is often required of facilities management – for example, when meetings occupy several rooms on different sites, extensive soft FM (catering, cleaning, security, participant notification, audio-visual, ICT) support is needed, or performances must be measured.
The world behind a reservation
Although booking rooms is generally a straightforward process, decisions need to be made by internal customers about specific products and services that are required for successful meeting outcomes, and then communicated to facilities managers for delivery in conjunction with other departments - these will typically relate to room and furniture arrangements, ICT (computer, audio-visual) equipment, and the provision of snacks and beverages.
The conclusion of a meeting also triggers additional processes, from cleaning to re-stocking supplies, and inspecting furniture or equipment for damage.
Automating your reservations can ensure all processes run smoothly. It is advisable to include the entire process in a supporting tool as the right set-up can automatically place tasks in someone’s task list. This way, service desk staff, the IT department, Technical Services, catering staff, and cleaners always know when and where a reservation takes place, and what they need to do. A properly designed and configured system also measures meeting room occupancy rates and service costs, and provides for automatic notifications of bookings, cancellations, or changes to meeting schedules.
Clear communication with the customer
Although many organizations continue to make their internal meeting arrangements by utilising a combination of emails, phone calls, paper lists and message board postings, modern meeting reservation and management systems centralize and standardize all communications to eliminate the potential for mistakes.