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5 Challenges of Meeting Room Management and How to Solve Them

meeting room, conference room utilization
by
Chuck Leddy
Published on

People coming together to solve challenges is what business is all about, and the office is an essential component of that. Both facilities managers and IT leaders focus significant time and energy on figuring out how best to support meetings.

Hybrid work has made meeting management more complex because some meeting attendees are in the office while others connect remotely, but all need to be provided with a positive meeting experience and equal opportunities to contribute. 

The stakes for meeting room management could not be higher, and include “hard” measures like productivity and employee engagement along with harder-to-quantify measures like company culture, collaboration, and a sense of community. All of these metrics are mission-critical and deeply impacted by your approach to meeting room management.  

What is Meeting Room Management, Anyway?

Meeting rooms are important company investments, expensive assets that must be optimized. Office space is, after all, typically your second highest expense after employee compensation.

Meeting room management, or conference room management, is therefore all about how your meeting spaces get deployed and allocated to create value – it encompasses the people, processes, and technology involved in how meeting rooms get booked and used, what meeting rooms look like in terms of size and equipment, how meeting room utilization gets measured, and more. 

Business executives say that 67% of meetings fail to meet their intended goals, according to the eye-opening infographic, “The Ugly Truth About Meetings.” So help is needed to optimize the value of meetings, especially when you consider the following challenges.

Meeting room management software enables more streamlined room booking processes.

5 Common Challenges with Meeting Room Management

1. Double Bookings

The marketing team shows up for a 2pm brainstorming meeting in Room G, only to find the finance team already in the middle of its monthly budget meeting. This all-too-common meeting mishap occurs because a (bad) meeting room booking system doesn’t update immediately to show real-time availability, so it looks like Room G is still available (and is booked by a second team) when it’s already been booked. 

The loser in a double booking snafu is the entire company because one meeting has to be canceled and a bunch of frustrated marketing people roam the hallways muttering about the company’s (ahem) “inadequate” meeting room booking system and/or how their manager can’t even manage to book a room. 

2. Abandoned Meetings

When a meeting gets canceled or when the location of the meeting changes to another room, but that cancellation or change isn’t reflected in your meeting room management system, you have an “abandoned meeting” (also known as a “ghost meeting” or “no-show meeting”), meaning an expensive resource that other people might have used gets utterly wasted. Abandoned meetings cost you money because you’re still paying for the empty, unused meeting room and its related overhead.

3. Lack of Visibility and Insights

If you’re paying for meeting rooms that are going unused, you’re wasting money on rent and overhead (and getting zero ROI). When meetings go wrong, the costs are staggering: $37 billion is wasted on unproductive meetings each year in the US, according to The Ugly Truth About Meetings. You can’t optimize what you don’t track and measure.

Understanding how your spaces are being used is critical to creating an effective workplace.

4. Ineffective or Insufficient Meeting Rooms

When it comes to investing in and managing meeting room infrastructure in today’s hybrid workplace, the goal is to have the right mix of meeting rooms (small, mid-sized, and conference rooms for larger gatherings) and to create room layouts that support a specific purpose with the right meeting room equipment and technology features.

5. Bad Connections and Technology Snafus 

Bad wi-fi and broken projectors/equipment are meeting killers. It’s downright embarrassing for everybody when meeting presenters struggle with HDMI cables and confront other “technical difficulties” that stop the flow of information (which is what meetings are for, right?). 

What is Meeting Room Management Software?

The challenges mentioned above are not only frustrating, they can waste valuable time and resources. That's why investing in the right room scheduling technology is so critical. Meeting room management software enables organizations to optimize their use of meeting rooms by allowing people to: 

  • Search their meeting space needs by number of expected attendees, by equipment/tech needed, etc.
  • View a menu of up-to-date, available conference/meeting rooms that meet the searcher’s criteria, 
  • Make relevant bookings in a seamless, convenient manner, and 
  • Have the system and all relevant stakeholders updated as needed. 
Meeting room management software can integrate with things like room displays for frictionless booking processes.

How Room Scheduling Software Can Solve Your Challenges

With the right meeting room management system in your hybrid workplace, you can make it easier for teams to access room availability, book conference rooms and find the resources they need for better collaboration.

Avoid Double Bookings

If you want to optimize your meeting rooms, you need a meeting room booking system that’s unified and updates immediately. So if Brianne reserves a meeting room for 2pm, she gets an automated confirmation email. When Chris looks up the available meeting rooms at 2:04pm, he sees Brianne’s booking and thus books another (available) meeting room. Good meeting room management software kills double bookings and makes for a better employee experience.

Limit Abandoned Meetings

You avoid abandoned meetings and scheduling conflicts by having effective meeting room management software. This technology enables someone to cancel a room booking, or change the meeting location, then have the system immediately update so the “abandoned” room becomes instantly visible and available.

Increase Space Utilization

With a meeting room management system, you can instantly identify “resource wastage” through reports on space utilization, and then make relevant changes to better allocate your resources. Workplace analytics, a key feature of meeting room management software, can thus drive better decision-making based on data around space usage.

Identify What Rooms are Needed

Getting the mix of rooms “just right” is an iterative, Goldilocks proposition: too many conference rooms or too few means you are wasting your expensive real estate. With the right meeting room management platform you can survey your people, monitor room utilization, and be ready to course correct to keep the mix “just right.” By identifying unused space or heavily trafficked rooms you can better understand what types of collaborative spaces your teams need.

Provide teams with technology, like room displays, that helps them more easily locate and book meeting spaces.

Equip Teams with the Right Resources

Ensure that your meeting rooms are properly equipped with the right resources, things like: microphones, cameras, screens, digital signage, room displays and beyond. You'll also want to ensure any conference room equipment can support multiple devices like laptops, smartphones, and tablets. With a meeting room management platform, employees can report when rooms are missing equipment or when technology for the rooms aren't working correctly. This helps ensure you can adequately outfit the room with the necessary tools for effective, collaborative meetings.

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Robin can help you solve each and every meeting room challenge. Get started with Robin today.

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The Office Space Report 2023