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Scheduling Software Survey: People Reserve by Phone as Much as Web

Although room scheduling software in use at colleges and universities typically provides the ability for people to reserve space for their events on campus, only a third of them use a Web-based service to do so, the same percentage as those who call in their reservations. The average number of rooms these institutions define in their scheduling systems is 155, but only two-thirds of those can be requested through a Web site.

Yet, according to a recent survey by a vendor that sells room scheduling software, 93 percent of schools report that the use of room scheduling software has improved the event-related communications they have with their external customers.

Dean Evans & Associates' "Facilities and Services Benchmark Survey" polled organizations in multiple sectors and provided a cut of the data to Campus Technology based specifically on responses from customers in higher education. The company's product, Event Management Systems (EMS), automates scheduling of space for classes and events. The survey compared individual organizations' metrics in such areas as bookings-to-staff ratios and overall space usage.

In 2009, an average of 4,747 reservations were made, encompassing bookings for three times as many rooms. Respondents reported that the use of their current scheduling software has reduced the time for making a reservation from 19 minutes to six minutes. Non-academic classes and training made up the majority of the reservations, followed by meetings. Those event spaces were used an average of 37 percent of the time, but facilities organizations would like to raise that to 61 percent.

The most popular Web-based features selected for use by scheduling software customers were the ability to browse events (100 percent), browse for space (87 percent), browse the facilities (83 percent), and handle room requests (78 percent).

Digital signage is integrated with room scheduling software at three out of four facilities. Only a fifth of them do videoconferencing.

The biggest challenge for scheduling staff: last minute changes in the bookings, specified by 59 percent of respondents. That explains the most common integration request among higher ed customers too: the ability to use mobile devices to edit bookings.

A summary of the results is available on the company site (with registration) here.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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