When providing this information, you should keep in mind that your customers will have a wide range of knowledge about your facilities. The new employee that needs to schedule a meeting may not even know where the meeting rooms are let alone what equipment is built into them.
Your scheduling system should communicate these two things to your customers:
1. Room Availability
This means letting your customers know upfront what rooms are available for the date and times they’re looking for. If a room is not available, the system should allow them to see alternative selections for their event.
The simplest way to display room availability is to publish a calendar or list of events that people can use to determine what rooms are booked. This is also the most time-consuming approach both for customers and your staff, since customers are forced to study the calendar to find what they need and your team must continually keep the calendar up to date in order for it to be useful.
This method also has the drawback of having to show all events. If you have events that you choose not to display to the public, that defeats the purpose of showing room availability. Also, someone viewing the calendar may not see room setup or teardown time if only event times are displayed.
A better alternative is to use a scheduling system that has a built-in request form that automatically provides room availability for the user and doesn’t allow them to choose rooms for their events that are not available. These systems can also be configured to apply setup and teardown time automatically, plus they prevent conflicts with private events that may not be displayed on the calendar.
2. Room Details
Providing information about each space in a clear, accessible format goes a long way in reducing the amount of time your staff spends tied up with customers. This can be accomplished through a dedicated webpage for facilities information or by using a room scheduling software system that includes this information in its request forms.
Whatever method you use, you should make the following information available:
Description of the space. This is also a good area to include the types of events or activities that are best suited for the space.
Where a room is located. A short description is generally sufficient. For large facilities, you could show a floor map that displays the location of the space.
What the room looks like. One or more photos of the space is helpful to give the requester a sense of the rooms and the types of events that may be appropriate.
Room attributes or equipment that’s included in the room. Wi-Fi access and built-in AV equipment are nice things for requesters to know about.
Room capacity. If people can choose a style of seating for the room, it’s also a good idea remind them that the maximum capacity of the room may change depending on the seating arrangement. Some software systems will allow you to base the capacity on the type of setup.
Seating configurations for the room (if appropriate). Will the room allow more than one style of seating? Is the furniture movable.? If so, indicating the types of seating appropriate for the space can be helpful.
Event Services available in that space. Some rooms may not allow food or beverage, for example.
Policies governing use of the space. Are only specific types of events allowed there? Do certain organizations or entities have priority when it comes to request for the space?