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Conference Room Usage Reports: What, Why & How

employees in meeting room, image of workplace data, meeting room analytics
Chuck Leddy
Published on

Meeting spaces are mission-critical investments for any company because collaboration is how business value gets created in any modern workplace. When you make it easy for your people to come together in the right meeting places at the right times, you’re helping them do their best work.

Meeting spaces need to be built in different ways to serve different purposes.

Your organization might have multiple smaller meeting rooms for two people, in order to facilitate manager-employee meetings, check-ins or job interviews. You might also have conference rooms that accommodate groups of anywhere from 6 to 12 people, as well as board rooms for larger meetings or online meetings and auditorium-style meeting spaces for various events and scheduled events.

Different rooms, different purposes.

How can you be sure that you’re getting the most return on your conference room investments? How can you measure whether your people are actually using your meeting rooms? How can you determine whether you need to add or subtract meeting rooms to better support your people? 

As Robin’s The Office Space Report 2023, explains it:

You can’t fix what you can’t measure. That’s why data around office space usage will be critical for businesses moving forward. By understanding how office spaces' physical locations are being occupied and used with workplace analytics, leaders will be better able to forecast future demand and real estate needs, minimizing wasted space. Office space reports tailored to your organization will be crucial.

What is a Conference Room Usage Report? 

In every area of every business, measurement is the starting point for ongoing performance improvement and optimization efforts. If you don’t know how your people and your business assets are performing against pre-defined expectations, you won’t be able to improve business outcomes. That’s where reporting comes in, as a prime driver of performance improvement.

At its most basic, a meeting room utilization report tracks key metrics and statistics related to the utilization of your meeting spaces, allowing you to measure your actual usage rates against expected or benchmarked rates so you can evaluate whether (and what) changes are needed.

You might leverage any number of available tech tools to measure conference room utilization and create reports. For example, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets were commonly used in the past for meeting room bookings but didn’t typically show users real-time data and weren’t easily integrated with other tools or platforms that supported business intelligence or analytics and reporting. 

Nearly all companies today use some kind of conference room search or booking software/platform, like Robin, which generates and shares data about usage. Having a technological infrastructure in place to collect and report on meeting room usage is foundational for both reporting and ongoing optimization efforts.

Meeting rooms are the heart of any office space.

An Example of Reporting's Business Value

Let’s explore a simple example illustrating why meeting room usage reports would be valuable. What if you had a conference room (#15) and you didn’t even track how often it was being used? If it was being used only 2 hours per week, and you didn’t know it, you also wouldn’t know that you’re largely wasting your CRE investment in conference room #15 (furnishing it, heating it, and paying the related overhead costs). 

Assuming a 40-hour work week, conference room #15 has a 5% usage rate (40 divided by 2) – and you wouldn’t even know that because you don’t actually track usage statistics. If you did create usage statistics and reports, the next question would be, ‘What would be the mark of a good meeting room usage rate (8 hours/week or 20%; 32 hours/week or 80%)?’ It turns out that the target usage rate for meeting spaces is between 40-60%, according to The Changing Workplace, so you should be using your conference room for a period of 16 to 24 hours/week.

With statistics on the actual floor usage rate in hand and a benchmark for comparison available, you can not only evaluate the performance of meeting room #15 but also take relevant action, perhaps by converting the underutilized floor space to another, more value-adding purpose. These insights gained from usage reporting enable proactive decision-making, facilitating adjustments and adaptations to address evolving business needs.

Through a comprehensive understanding of usage patterns and benchmarks, which reporting provides, organizations can unlock opportunities for optimization and innovation, driving continuous improvement and sustainable growth.

Robin is the only workplace management platform that surfaces insights on how to better use your space based on your own data.

The Right Infrastructure to Support Reporting

The oldest saying within the realm of data science and usage reports is “garbage in equals garbage out.” Good reporting is built upon a firm foundation of accurate, reliable, and real-time data. In order to ensure good data and good reporting, your organization will need a workplace tech platform that:

1. Offers visibility into available spaces

Any platform should enable people to view your full menu and mix of meeting rooms (small, midsized, and large), including the availability of relevant equipment within each room. It should also allow people to see the real-time availability of each meeting room so they can book said rooms according to their needs,

2. Automatically updates changes to bookings

If someone cancels a booking, the booked room should immediately be made visible and available to others using the platform, so double bookings are avoided.

3. Share relevant usage data to support decision-making

Workplace analytics and reporting KPIs related to meeting room usage should be easily accessible and shared with workplace leaders, ideally via a dashboard or report, so leaders can make better decisions about the mix and makeup of meeting rooms and office event space. Filter these types of data by end date, department or even location.

4. Integrates seamlessly with other tools

The seemingly minor details around exporting and sharing usage data and reporting can have oversized impacts. It should be easy, for example, to export data from one tool or platform to another in order to support accurate, timely reporting. When tools don't work together, data gets lost in silos, and reporting suffers.

Connect your meeting room management platform to the tools your teams already know and love.

The Roots of Good Reporting: A Tech Infrastructure Required

For instance, if you’re exporting your booking data with Microsoft Office 360 and Excel spreadsheets, you’ll have to export a CSV file and then upload it to a business intelligence/analytics tool in order to generate statistics and facilitate reporting. That could potentially create a bottleneck if your BI and reporting tools have difficulty uploading statistics from a CSV file. And manually handling and exporting data is an absolute (and error-prone) nightmare.

With Robin, on the other hand, you can see all your booking details/usage data within the platform itself and easily export it elsewhere. This seemingly small issue around the ease of viewing and exporting relevant data could represent the difference between having a bad report created after much frustration or a good report created quickly and easily.

Are You Measuring Your Meeting Room Usage Correctly?

When your organization lacks a seamless and integrated workplace platform that supports effective, efficient conference room booking, workplace analytics, and reporting, you will confront countless problems in creating timely and accurate reports. The bottom line here is that you probably won’t have the timely, reliable data you need to optimize your conference room usage. 

Let’s say your organization uses Microsoft Excel spreadsheets as its conference room booking system. After asking why you’re stuck in the 1990s, your workplace leaders will want to know how they can export the data from Excel into a business intelligence (BI) tool or platform that can convert the raw data into reporting.

And even if you can move your booking data and convert it into analytics, reporting, and KPIs, how much time and frustration will that process cause for your stakeholders, and how many different tech tools will you need to buy to get what you need?

A simple, seamless, and single-platform solution is better, one that integrates booking data and automatically converts it into workplace analytics that enables you to measure and report on conference room usage, so you can continuously optimize it. 

A multi-layered and cobbled together “booking software and workplace analytics solution” that looks like a Frankenstein monster of disparate, bolted-on parts that require a Ph.D. data scientist to comprehend and navigate simply won’t address your needs. When you need to generate reports and report back on space usage, the KISS principle works best: “Keep it simple, silly!”

Keep track of how floors, rooms, offices and desks are being used for a more accurate understanding of your office space.

How to Collect and Use Meeting Room Utilization and Occupancy Metrics

Occupancy refers to the number of people in a meeting space, while utilization is how often a meeting space is being used. Measuring and reporting on both concepts involves asking (and having relevant data to answer) a number of key questions, including:

  • How often is a meeting room being used?
  • Who is using a meeting room?
  • What is the average number of people in a meeting?
  • What is the target occupancy of each meeting room?
  • Does actual occupancy match intended occupancy?
  • What is the number and frequency of meetings in a fixed timeframe (daily, weekly, etc..)
  • Do teams favor particular meeting rooms containing specific office technology (a projector and giant screen, for example)?
  • How many bookings are unfulfilled, canceled or ghosted?
  • How much time has been reclaimed, meaning a booking gets canceled, gets released, and gets booked again by another host for the same time?

Capturing these relevant metrics on meeting room occupancy and utilization optimally from a single, integrated workplace platform enables your workplace leadership team to identify trends/patterns and benchmark your actual performance against expected/desired performance. Reporting on these key occupancy and utilization metrics/data will enable intelligent evaluation and support data-informed adjustments, either in the form of:

  • Behavioral changes amongst meeting space users, and/or 
  • Hard changes like introducing new meeting space types and in-demand meeting room equipment.

Measuring and reviewing these conference room occupancy and usage metrics and user demographics will enable your workplace leadership to make a deep-dive analysis that supports better decision-making, enabling you to improve how your people use meeting rooms to collaborate and create business value.

To get accurate office activity data, you need to have a reliable data source. Meeting room booking data, in particular.

Meeting Space Optimization Starts Here

Meeting spaces are crucial for fostering productivity and should be tailored to various needs, from smaller rooms for individual meetings to larger spaces for company-wide events. However, ensuring optimal CRE usage and ROI requires accurate measurement and reporting.

A Conference Room Usage Report, a/k/a a meeting room utilization report, serves as an essential tool for evaluating the effectiveness of meeting spaces by tracking key metrics such as occupancy rates as well as frequency and meeting duration, as we’ve described above. This data provides valuable insights for optimizing resource allocation and improving overall productivity.

It also enables informed decision-making regarding space utilization strategies and future facility planning.

In sum, leveraging technology platforms like Robin helps organizations like yours to access and report on relevant, real-time data and space utilization metrics, helping you identify problems and support a better decision-making and planning process.

Want to learn even more about how to generate and leverage conference room usage reporting? Reach out to us today.

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