Hi Lisa Anne,
Unlike the other responses so far, we use Google Calendar for our two meeting rooms (a separate calendar for each meeting room) and I think it works great (given that–like you–we also have a Google Group just for members). We do not have to add each member separately to the calendar, and their ability to reserve the meeting room is enabled through the normal process of setting up and canceling their membership.
Here’s how we do it:
(1) Both meeting room calendars have already been shared with the email address for our members’-only Google Group with “editing” access. (You share the the calendar with a Google Group the same way you’d share the calendar with a person, just using the Group’s email address rather than a an individual’s.) For example, if I wanted to share a Google Calendar with everyone in this Google Group, I’d just share the calendar with [email protected] and choose the “Make changes to events” option. When a calendar is shared with a Google Group email address (as opposed to an individual’s email address), EVERY PERSON in that group has the potential to access that calendar at whatever level the calendar was shared with the Google Group. As such, every person in our members’-only Google Group has the potential to see and edit our meeting room calendars using their own personal Google account calendar. [Note: the member does need to manually add the calendar, too, though; I’ll get to that below.]
(2) Everyone who joins our coworking space must give us a Google account email address when they join (or whenever they want to start taking advantage of some of our different Internet-based services/information: being in our Google Group, being able to reserve the meeting rooms, and being able to see members’-only pages on our website).
(3) When we set up their memberships, we add that member’s Gmail (or other Google account) email address to the members’-only Google Group, and they automatically gain the ability to add our meeting room calendars to their Google Calendar, and thus the ability to reserve the meeting rooms.
(4) When a member leaves Locus, we remove them from the Google Group and they automatically lose the ability to reserve the meeting room.
(5) One technical issue: The calendars are NOT automatically added to the members’ Google Calendar. The member has to add the calendar address/I.D. (You can find the calendar I.D. in the calendar settings, in the form of a long email address.) In my opinion, this default is preferable, since it’s easy for members to add the meeting room calendars and most members don’t use both meeting room calendars and don’t want them taking up space in their Google Calendar.
(6) When we add members to the Google Group, we send them a template “Welcome” message that–among other things–recommends they add the meeting room calendars and provides a link to a page on our website with instructions for how to do it. Here are the instructions we provide (which have worked well):
- Log in to your Google Calendar: calendar.google.com.
- Expand the “Other Calendars” area in the left
- In the “Add a coworker’s calendar” field, enter
the appropriate calendar ID for each calendar you would like to add.
- The “KRAKOVSKÁ Meeting Room Reservations” calendar
allows you to see, edit, or add reservations for the meeting room on the 3rd
floor at Krakovská. The calendar ID is: [email protected]
- The “SLEZSKÁ Meeting Room Reservations” calendar
allows you to see, edit, or add reservations for the meeting room at Slezská.
The calendar ID is: [email protected]
(7) In the rare case a member has problems following these instructions, we just sit down with them for a minute and show them how to add the calendar.
(8) Managers have the calendars set to send them an automatic email whenever someone adds or changes a meeting room reservation (this is another option in the Google calendar settings), which we can use to reconstruct or check the calendar in the rare case it’s needed. For example, two members might create an “event” at the same time in the same calendar. The email record provides a time stamp of who made the reservation first, and in turn of who made the mistake of reserving it when it wasn’t available.
The one (minor) problem we’ve had with this system is that very occasionally–a couple times over a couple years–a member not familiar with Google Calendar deletes meeting room reservations made by other members, thinking they’re just deleting items irrelevant to them from their own Calendar view. But since we have a record from the automatic emails, this hasn’t been a meaningful issue.
In my opinion, this system has worked GREAT (but only because we also have a member-dedicated Google Group). Most members have an easy time figuring it out (of course many use Google Calendar already). We’re had amazingly few problems with it. It’s free. And we can easily embed the meeting room calendars (view only) into our website (see it here) so non-members who may want to reserve one of the meeting rooms can see when it is available.
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On Sunday, July 20, 2014 8:40:03 PM UTC+2, Lisa Anne Logan wrote:
We’ve been using the ol’ “write your name on the door” method for booking conference rooms, and I’d like to implement a Google Calendar system instead. And, of course, by tomorrow
Ideally, everyone on a specific Google Groups distro (e.g. [email protected]) would have access to all our conference room resource calendars for booking. I would add and remove people from that group as they join or leave Hattery, and that would update their calendar access. Access would always by synched between that group and the resource list.
It seems like this should just work as described, but it doesn’t. The kicker may be that our members use dozens of different domain names, so the typical “share with everyone in my domain” choices don’t apply.
Looking for a Google Calendar whiz who might be able to lend some ideas…
Lisa Anne Logan
Director of Marketing and Operations