As more and more institutes of higher learning are quickly discovering, the most effective way to administer this oftentimes tedious and time-consuming process is through online room-scheduling software.
HOW IT WORKS
Also known as online appointment-
Instead of making a reservation over the phone or in-person, a student accesses an online scheduling page that shows the type of rooms, spaces or facilities available; the times they're available; and any additional information that may be necessary when making a reservation. The student navigates to the online room-scheduling page through a "Book Now" button that administrator or staffer places on a Web page or simply through a unique URL that the college, department or facility provides to its students.
Once the student selects the date and time of his or her choice, the room-scheduling system automatically reserves the slot, without any additional action required by either the student or the administrator. That time slot on that specific date will no longer be available to other students looking to reserve the space, and the administer can instantly view the reservation schedule and see what spaces and time slots are reserved and which ones are open.
In addition to the ease of reserving a facility or space, some online room-scheduling software applications also help reduce the "no-show" rate by automatically sending out e-mail and/or text message reminders to students prior to their room reservation time. This helps ensure that the space will be utilized as planned and not go unused when other students could have reserved it.
Room-scheduling software is one of those unique technologies that benefits both the administrator and the end-user.
The benefit to students is very apparent: it's a much easier way to reserve a room or facility than having to make a phone call or physically travel to the facility to book in-person. Almost all of today's college students are connected to the Internet 24/7, thanks to smartphones, tablets and laptops. They're accustomed to conducting most of their daily and routine transactions online... and that includes reserving rooms or meeting spaces. Additionally, they can reserve their dates and times when it's most convenient for them, not just during normal office or facility hours.
Online room-scheduling software also benefits on-campus departments and facilities that utilize it, as managing room and space reservation can require a significant amount of staff time and resources. While it may only take a few minutes to answer a student phone call or view availability in a paper appointment book or calendar, multiple that by dozens of reservation requests and this seemingly simple task quickly turns into a time-draining process for staff.
By completely automating the process, department/facility administrators and staff can free up their schedules and devote their valuable time to more pressing and urgent tasks. In some instances, as many as several hours daily can be saved and better utilized by implementing an online room-scheduling program.
Managing room, space and facility reservations is not rocket science. However, it can be a burdensome process when done manually. Fortunately, online room-scheduling solution can be the answer in improving this important operational task.
Eric Richard is the senior public relations specialist for Appointment-