Communication between all relevant departments is essential for the success of the more complex meetings, namely conferences. It is often conference services managers who play that vital role in organizing and coordinating functions, including keeping track of catering, IT services, clients, meeting participants, and facility services.
Managing conference rooms can be harder than expected
An effective meeting is not easily achieved, there are several factors playing into the equation. It is dependent on many stakeholders. For example, the booked room of choice needs to be directly in line with the meeting function and fit the characteristics of the meeting. Seeing that the usage of video conference rooms has doubled in 2022 compared to the year before, a common scenario could be:
For a board meeting where some participants are joining online, an optimal space would be one where the chairs are placed in a horseshoe facing a large screen where online participants can join and feel as much part of the meeting as others. So, you need Facility Management to help place the seats. Additionally, having the proper screen sharing technology, sound equipment, or other functions useful for video conferencing, are essential for hybrid meetings as such. So, you need the technician or IT service to start the meeting. Board meetings further tend to be lengthy, so often beverages and food service is also needed, so you need to involve the canteen. That is why conference service managers are increasingly hired to make sure all this happens because only when the requirements and the meeting environment are met by all stakeholders, the attendees are able to focus on what is essential for them.
These bigger events with many stakeholders like in this scenario are also sometimes rescheduled so it can cause challenges with coordination and notification of participants and services orders connected to the meeting. Seeing, lawyers spend a large amount of their workweek in meetings, and they subsequently use up to 20% of the workweek on calendar adjustments, changing the date or time for a meeting and all its connected services need to be hassle-free. Much can go wrong in this process and poor conference room management can lead to disruptions and frustration for attendees and all parties involved in the meeting. To empower the conference services managers to make sure they can assist lawyers in holding successful meetings, here are 11 essential tips to ensure successful gatherings:
1. Avoid double bookings with conference room scheduling
When a room is double booked, it is not just an annoyance for the attendees, it is also a costly affair, that slows the workflow. It is becoming increasingly difficult to manage meetings and prevent double bookings as the number of meetings held increases every year, which amounts to around 55 million meetings held in the US alone in one week in 2022.
Our own research further shows, that 40% of workers waste up to 30 minutes looking for a room for their meeting, and 37% of meetings further start late, which will naturally amount to money and time wasted. Double bookings are often guilty as charged here, but with the use of some simple tools, the problem can be eliminated. We have listed several options for you to try in our guide to preventing meeting mix-ups and double booking in Microsoft Outlook.
Furthermore, a conference booking system can completely eliminate double bookings, by helping you keep track of rooms booked, and knowing when a room is free, as well as giving everybody an overview of all available rooms, so 0% conflict occurs.
2. Increase room availability and utilization with conference room management
When a conference services manager manages several conferences and meeting rooms, it is important to keep track of their usage. Is there one room that is never being used? Are meetings often held in rooms that do not fit the number of participants attending? Do you have enough rooms available? A survey from 2020 found that more than 40% of workspaces are underutilized, which wastes funds. In 2022 meeting rooms have only been booked for 15% of the room’s opening time. If you start optimizing that number, you could potentially cut down on your lease and improve the bottom line.
That is why it is of the highest importance to have effective conference room management. An effective conference room booking system can also be of significant help with insights and give a clear overview of which equipment is always needed, which rooms are never used, and which rooms need a remodel to better fit the users' needs. Insights offer quantifiable data that shows how your workspace performs when it comes to meetings and meeting rooms. With workplace analytics, you can see your office and meeting rooms in full context with all available data about utilization so you can optimize available spaces across the entire organization.
3. Have the essential overview in your conference room booking system
With a conference room booking system, the conference services manager can organize, create reports on rooms and services, and keep track of what happens where and when in the different rooms. This is one of the most effective tools on the market today that greatly helps any conference services manager with their daily tasks. A conference room management system will give an easy overview of occurring meetings and service orders as well as access to data on utilization of rooms, desks, and work areas.
If you want these reports and data information you need meeting bookers to ensure they all book rooms from the same system. From their point of view, the conference room booking system of choice needs to be intuitive to use and not require them to be tech-savvy to utilize it. If it is intuitive to use and if booking meetings and services become a seamless process, it will help avoid confusion, instead of spending excessive amounts of time looking for a fitting meeting room or always having to ask receptionists, booking admins, or conference services managers for help.
In a case study with Burns & Levinson their training manager states: “We strive to support our users in every conceivable way. With AskCody we have a system based on Outlook which everyone is already familiar with, so training of the end user is painless. The system can be explained in a clear, logical, and relevant way, and assist even computer-phobic partners in feeling comfortable with handling meeting bookings.” Explains Jennie DePhillips, Training Manager, Burns & Levinson. “All workflows are now managed through one central system which makes it much easier”.
AskCody Bookings add-in in Outlook
4. Comply with the budget and tie the client matter number with service orders
One of the biggest challenges faced when managing conferences is having an overview of the budget, and not overspending as the list of service orders can easily become long and difficult to oversee.
A conference booking system, with inbuild services, can be of utmost importance to keep track of the spending and costs of the services you add to the meeting. It can create the base for an organized and orderly budgeting system when everything is easily tied to the client matter number. It is also easier to gather reports from former similar events, realize the cost of these, and make sure that the meeting attendees or bookers know what the cost of different services is. When the meeting host has a better overview of the price, they can stick to a budget and help keep the spending in check when managing both conference rooms, and events.
In the back end, it can further be customized so that prices appear with or without tax in the reporting, and groupings can be made so that people can have access to different services. Hiding out-of-season services from end users can help to reduce the environmental impact and control the budget by avoiding higher prices for off-season goods.
5. Have an overview of room features in your conference booking system
When you pick a room for a meeting, the choice is normally based not only on the location of the room but also on a variety of factors such as: How many participants are in the meeting? What is the purpose of the meeting? Is it with internal or external attendees? Do you need specific electronics or services? Many factors make up the choice of a meeting room. But if meeting holders do not have a clear overview of the distinctive features and specs of a room, it can be difficult to choose the most suitable one.
If your meeting rooms and their meeting purposes are not defined, people can easily end up having a one-on-one meeting in a 12-person conference room and that is definitely not the best utilization of that exact room. With a conference room booking system, it becomes easier to keep this overview by adding the specs and features to the room identity. This helps the meeting host choose the right space from the start. It is also adding a level of security as you have what you need in the room. With strong conference room management, it is also indisputable that the rooms have a better chance of being used for their original and ideal purpose.
6. Consider your meeting room names
What should we name a meeting room? And why does it matter?
“Companies that name their conference and meeting rooms according to themes are doing so to communicate their values and organizational culture to their employees, customers, clients, and all who enter,” says Sarah Brazaitis, an organizational psychologist and senior lecturer at Columbia’s Teachers College.
So why not use the opportunity to be creative with conference room names in a way that says something about your workplace? Ultimately, a friction-free booking experience has nothing to do with the meeting room name, since the names or locations should not be the primary reason for picking a meeting room. If your goal is to ensure the best utilization of a room you need a conference room booking system, that will ask the booker to book based on what room is fitting the purpose of the meeting, and then you can let the names be exactly what they are meant to be: Something to communicate values.
7. Use digital displays to display the conferences room’s scheduling
With a conference room display, you move into another sphere and help bring the office into a new league. Having a room display in front of every room holds several benefits to improve the utilization rate and management of the rooms. You can:
- Reserve a room on the spot
- Get information about room availability
- See the meeting in progress and the upcoming booking for that room
- Create a visually streamlined and modern look at the office
- ‘End’ the booking and free the room as soon as your meeting ends
- Extend the length of the meeting if it runs overtime
- Report missing or broken tech equipment to IT
Room displays help make the office more efficient, as well as give the vibe of a modern and digitalized company. It is also beneficial for the lawyer or legal assistants in need of a room ad-hoc. By setting the display screen up to the needs of the office, a lawyer can book a room for a specific time interval, for example, the next half an hour, and the room will then be booked across the system, without further interference.
AskCody software on a meeting room display
8. Create sanitation schedules when making conference room scheduling
It is important to sanitize and maintain the employees' health and safety. With a conference room booking system, conference services managers can ensure that the cleaning staff has allocated time in between meetings to clean the conference room and make it ready for the next board meeting. By adding cleaning services, you make sure you can easily connect the meeting to what services are needed. And if you end up changing the location or cancel the meeting the cleaning staff will be notified automatically.
Likewise, it is easy to keep up with the cleaning protocols and make sure that the meeting attendees always come to a sanitized and clean room. This minimizes the chance of sickness spreading, offers a better work environment, and further ensures external clients always get a good impression of the meeting rooms.
9. Combine all service orders with the meeting booking
Do you need a cleaning service, IT services, catering, or any other service for the meeting you are booking? Conference room scheduling that combines all the services involved in a meeting makes conference room management significantly more effective and lessens the room for error. It creates thorough reports on all the various stages of a meeting and gives the full picture of the meeting requirements. It is also beneficial for the meeting booker, to be able to handle the meeting in one platform, instead of going through a variety of softwares to finalize a meeting. Furthermore, rescheduling any meeting is no hassle because as soon as you reschedule the meeting all service providers added to the meeting will automatically be notified.
10. The conference service manager must ensure collaboration
Effective teamwork between the various departments involved in organizing a meeting is essential to its success. Each department brings unique skills and expertise to the table, and it is important to ensure that everyone is informed and able to contribute their best efforts. A well-functioning conference room management system can help streamline communication and coordination between departments, making the process more efficient and structured.
In a case study, global law firm Eversheds Sutherland found that using a comprehensive conference room booking system like AskCody greatly improved alignment between departments. "The fact that admins can manage each reservation for a room and each request that is needed for that event or meeting all under one roof, really helped a lot with organizing and it's much better for our attorneys as well," said Dale Pollock, Conference Services Manager, Eversheds Sutherland, Washington DC. "Everyone gets it, and we don't have to have five or six different emails going back and forth for each meeting."
11. How can AskCody help unlock your conference room scheduling potential?
AskCody has one of the most robust conference room booking systems on the market, and offers a variety of services and customizations, to best benefit the individual office and structure. We have spent the last decade becoming experts in how to make a meeting run as smoothly as possible and with the best possible benefits for all parties involved in making the meeting a success. It empowers legal assistants, attorneys, Conference service managers, and all meeting service providers to work smarter. With AskCody, your legal services team can take control of conference room scheduling and catering, AV equipment, and room setup through one strategic law firm meeting management software.
AskCody provides software for all stages of the meeting:
- Booking the room
- All service orders
- Visitor management
- Conference room displays
- Insights into locations and meetings
We are your partner when it comes to better utilization of the meeting space, and workplace optimization.