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How to Prevent Double Bookings in Microsoft Outlook

BLOG__How-to-Prevent-Double-Bookings-in-Microsoft-Outlook
Double bookings are frustrating, but some simple fixes can eliminate the problem.

If you use Microsoft Outlook® to book meeting rooms, you’ve undoubtedly encountered the frustrating experience of double bookings. Not only can double bookings leave you without a meeting room when you need it, you could also end up with equipment, catering, and other extra services that you will no longer be able to use. Additionally, double bookings create a poor impression among clients or business partners who have come to meet with you at your facility. Productivity is lost as you shuffle to find an available meeting room at the last minute due to a double booking.

Imagine settling into a meeting room because you’re about to initiate a huddle with your team and then someone else steps in, asking if you had also booked the meeting room. It’s no one’s fault that this happened, and it’s a common issue in busy work environments. When trying to find a solution to the problem of double bookings, it’s important to understand and consider the root of the problem. Some of the following issues could be contributing to double bookings: 

  • Too few rooms
  • Underutilized or over-utilized conference rooms
  • Some rooms aren’t equipped with important conferencing and presentation tools
  • People don’t know which conference room is which because the rooms aren’t labeled properly 

 

Some simple fixes that could help to eliminate the problem of double bookings, if you haven’t already implemented them, include naming and labeling your conference rooms and keeping the technology in each meeting room consistent. Another really helpful addition is the implementation of digital meeting room signs in front of each meeting room so that users can determine at a glance whether the meeting room is available and then tap the screen to book, extend, or cancel a meeting. A digital meeting room sign also displays information like who booked the meeting room and for how long.

 

Using the Right Scheduling Tool

Microsoft Outlook® is the preferred software for meeting room booking because it’s simple, easy-to-use, and accessible. For most organizations, however, using Outlook alone for meeting room and resource booking isn’t sufficient. It’s important to use a meeting room booking system that directly integrates with the Microsoft Exchange server.  This ensures that touchscreens in front of meeting rooms and Outlook are linked directly to the Exchange Server and that all bookings are fully up-to-date.

Meeting room booking systems that have their own database synchronize with the Microsoft Exchange server at certain intervals, such as every 10 minutes, for example. This delay means that the meeting room booking system isn’t always fully in sync with the Exchange server, and this often leads to double bookings. Add-On Products’ Resource Central software directly integrates with Office 365 and Microsoft Outlook and Exchange, so meeting room availability and bookings are updated in real-time, whether you book from a computer, mobile device, or digital meeting room sign.

While Outlook is an excellent meeting room booking system for some small businesses and startups, it’s often not enough if you have more than a handful of meeting rooms at your facility. Resource Central enhances and simplifies the meeting room booking process for organizations from small to large by displaying detailed information about each meeting room as you’re making a booking. You can also easily order extra services like catering, and service providers will automatically be notified and receive order forms. They will have the ability to view and print the order forms created by the meeting organizer. All changes and cancelations are also handled automatically, so the meeting organizer doesn’t have to update service providers. 

Resource Central provides a quick, visual overview of all available meeting rooms at a glance, so you don’t have to look up meeting rooms one at a time to check if they’re available. All of these features help to make the room booking process fast, efficient, and effortless. You can also generate reports to understand which meeting rooms are being used by whom and when, so you can identify trends and determine whether meeting rooms are being under- or over-utilized. This enables you to make business decisions based on actionable data and maximize the use of your space.

To learn more about how Add-On Products can make the meeting room booking process at your organization more simple and effective, please contact us today to schedule a free online demo or free trial!

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Saturday, 20 January 2018