It’s fair to say that meeting rooms are on average empty for about 75% of the time. While hardly news for our sector, this still is shocking. Especially considering the ever-growing focus on mobile working and collaborative spaces, both furthering the overall need for meeting rooms. On the plus side, workspace operators should recognise a fantastic revenue opportunity here from meeting room bookings. In this article, I’d like to share some simple, practical tips on turning under-utilised space into an invaluable source of revenue.
Make it easy to book your meeting rooms… at any time
Operators tend to devote considerable attention and budget to drive inbound online traffic via website optimisation and paid search advertising. However, similarly to the hotel industry, the drop-out rates are massive unless people can instantly check availability and book rooms online in real time. Unlike booking a venue for an event, meeting rooms for up to 20 people are often a short-term need, so it is absolutely crucial to make it effortless to search and book one’s preferred time slot and type of room.
Furthermore, a serviced office is typically open from 08.30 to 17.30 but what if I need to book a meeting room for tomorrow morning and it’s now 9pm at night?
A huge portion of operators could really benefit from building a booking engine into their website. This also helps to derive invaluable insight on customer requirements, enabling operators to fine-tune the sales strategy and manage the workplace more effectively.
In this article:
Get rid of your paper booking diary!
Time to move into the digital age and offer your customers a sexier booking process! Quite simply, paper booking diaries in workspaces need to be consigned to museums. They prevent real-time searching of availability and it’s impossible to drive meeting room revenue if you’re still using them to manage your inventory.
From a tenant perspective, consulting reception to determine availability may not sound difficult but busy executives and the next generation of customers are increasingly mobile and demand instant customer service. On the operator side, having full background knowledge of the customer readily available in a simple-to-use CRM system ensures you can deliver a much superior service.
Make the physical experience truly memorable
And for the right reasons! I visit my fair share of workspaces and for instance, in the last few weeks alone, I’ve encountered an alarming number of meeting rooms where the AV system was playing up or the WiFi didn’t connect.
Remember, a meeting room booking is essentially a tour. It is a taste of your full-service offering and every meeting room user is a potential full-blown rental customer. According to &Meetings data, a significant percentage of all new customers booking through their website ultimately move into one of their buildings.
That first experience is key. Make it consistently first-class. At the very least, always welcome guests professionally by offering tea and coffee and having all tech facilities available, ready and working!
Fill quiet periods
Once you have the booking tools in place on your website, you can now ramp up marketing activities for your meeting rooms, especially via social media channels which are perfect platforms for promoting these last-minute deals when bookings are a bit slow.
Drawing more parallels with the hotel industry, savvy workspace operators can use yield management pricing strategy to maximise the revenue potential of their meeting room bookings. This simply means fluctuating prices based on the demand. When a room is empty, every tick of a clock is evaporated revenue so it really pays to incentivise meeting room bookings during the quietest time slots.
Once armed with real-time info on the least popular periods as well as the customer history, operators can, for example, issue and advertise promotional codes offering time-based deals. Extending the length of an existing booking with a discounted rate is another efficient tactic – even better if the promo code is automatically sent to the customer and can be redeemed there and then.
All of the above examples are easy to set up and manage your meeting room bookings with the right piece of coworking management software.
Make the most of aggregators
Third-party meeting room booking aggregators such as Davinci, Liquidspace and Meetingrooms.com spend a fortune driving web traffic to their websites. While it may be a no-brainer to make use of them, simply doing so isn’t enough. You also need to always optimise your listing. Think of it as a shop window; the content needs to be of the highest quality, up-to-date, and the photos as attractive as possible if you want to stand out on the page.
Meeting Room Widget wizardry
Smart use of booking widgets can transform the impact of your email campaigns. When using email marketing software such as Constant Contact or MailChimp to send out targeted communications, you can embed a booking widget within your email to enable recipients to take instant action. In a similar way that social media icons or hyperlinked words are displayed in an email, clicking on the call-to-action would direct people straight to the meeting room booking section of your website. Nothing should stand in the way of a potential customer.
Increasing share of wallet should be a key priority for all workspace operators and selling meeting rooms online is a sure-fire way of reaching this goal and boosting revenue. Those operators who can provide their customers and prospects with the seamless, smart and instant experience that workers nowadays expect on a 24/7 basis will be the most successful.
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