We tell our members that if they plan to use a conference room, to always book it in the schedule. People who formally book the rooms online via our system always have priority. We do this for a number of reasons.
One is that our members get 20 free hours of conference room time per month in our small and medium meeting rooms (not the large or XL). So it doesn’t cost them anything to book it formally.
Secondly, if they are using a room and someone happens to have booked it beforehand, and the member didn’t bother to check the schedule, then the member might be in the middle of a meeting with a whiteboard full of notes, snacks on the tables etc, and then in mid meeting they may get interrupted by someone who booked the room online and paid for it. The person that booked the room online has priority, and the member knows it. Bummer that they have to cut their meeting short and scramble out of there, while setting the person who showed up for their booking back a few minutes until the room is cleared. When that happens, it’s kind of a lose lose lose all around — the member loses, the person who booked the room loses (slightly), and we (the space) lose because neither party is as happy as they should’ve been.
However, we do allow our members to use our meeting rooms for short phone calls on an ad hoc basis when the phone booths are full. We tell them to keep it under 15 min, 20 max. If they think it’s longer and they can plan for it, then we tell them to book it online, and several do that regularly. The ones that use the rooms as phone booths on an ad hoc basis are fully aware that a formal online booking may show up in the middle of their call, and they are also cognizant that they have to give up the room to the formal booking.
So communicating your policies to all parties is key. And members have to be ‘‘trained’’ on an ongoing basis.
Alejandro Moreno S.
SEC Marin Organizer