Interactive reservations: simplifying booking across multiple touchpoints
FM software is increasingly extending beyond the facility team, allowing other employees to input and receive building data. All too often, however, the user experience is not taken into consideration, and the software interface is cumbersome and complicated. This can be true even of reservations management, where the interface should be designed for usability.
Instead of pouring all the available data straight onto a screen, an interactive approach is much more desirable. An effective reservations system uses a combination of layered information, touchpoint-suitable options and intelligent visual design. This makes booking a room as simple as a human interaction while retaining all the efficiencies of an automated process.
Smooth cross-touchpoint user journey
The Internet of Things has placed a new emphasis on user experience and personalization. Sensors around a building allow for the collection of more data. This data can then be made available in real time to building users. This means that everyday events such as booking a room, signing into the building or adjusting the temperature and humidity are increasingly accessible to the end user.
In terms of making people more comfortable, this is a great thing. But if these technologies aren’t implemented in the correct way, they can fail to achieve the desired results. Technologies from different vendors may not mix well, so think twice before deploying a patchwork of solutions. A lack of integration is likely to disrupt the natural flow and cause issues with user uptake. As a result, the potential efficiency improvements are lost, and user satisfaction decreases.
By opting for a single solution, with different feature sets for each end-user touchpoint, you can cover every angle. As well as catering to different kinds of users with different IT capabilities, these touchpoints also allow for operational flexibility. Regardless of where you are in the building, there will be an option to suit you. Interacting with a chatbot is becoming increasingly popular. In this post, we will look at interactive reservations through touchscreen displays and phones.
Interactive reservations on the go
For journeys to and from the office, a mobile app (Android/iOS/Windows 10) offers extreme flexibility. Such apps are created to distil a large amount of data down to a user-friendly interface. This makes it perfect for use on the go, as well as situations such as being delayed and having to amend a booking to a later time slot.
Colour-coded floorplans show available and occupied rooms or desks at a glance for immediate booking. Users can pinch to zoom in and out, and tap on a room to view further information. A personal assistant feature acts as a quick advanced search, finding rooms with specific features and highlighting them on the map, and an intuitive draggable slider lets users quickly modify the time range they are looking to book in.
This interactive approach to booking offers supreme usability as well as suiting a variety of situations. App users can quickly parse the information and make a booking from anywhere, inside or outside of the complex.
Real-time interactive floorplans
Upon arriving at a facility or floor, your next stop could be a kiosk. This standing unit is designed to be placed in high-traffic zones such as an elevator landing or reception area. It serves several purposes: as well as allowing users to view and book meeting rooms, businesses can also deploy it to automate the signing-in process for visitors.
As well as being visually impressive, a kiosk offers practical benefits. The larger screen allows for bigger, more detailed maps without having to zoom in. And the on-screen keyboard makes it easier to perform searches. This allows for a combination of desktop and touchscreen features, making it a powerful and immediate option for booking.
A touchscreen kiosk is not just convenient for employees entering the building, but also for guests looking to check an existing booking. While a public display may also be used to relay upcoming meetings, the kiosk provides extra information on the room conditions and current occupancy. This makes it ideal for any arrivals to check whether a meeting has started and who has arrived.
On the spot booking
When you reach the meeting room you could be greeted with a meeting room display. This is a touchscreen unit that sits directly outside of each meeting room. By default, it shows a list of upcoming meetings, with slots that are colour-coded to indicate whether they have been booked. Coloured LEDs on the side of the screen show at a glance whether the room is currently free or not.
This screen is designed to provide an immediate point of reference, ideal for short-term bookings. If the meeting host and participants fail to turn up, the system will release the space after 5 minutes (or another configurable time range). By visibly identifying where there is free space, people with ad-hoc purposes can find suitable rooms more easily, avoiding a culture of “overbooking”.
Consistent visual language
The design and colour scheme of floorplan-based bookings are consistent across the displays: red for booked and occupied, orange for booked but empty, and green for free. So what if the room is occupied without having been booked? Occupancy sensors can spot this and indicate it on the floorplan through an additional symbol: a silhouette at the location of the sensor.
This single ethos and blending of features is designed to make the process of swapping touchpoints a natural one. Users who become familiar with using one touchpoint will almost immediately gain competency in a multitude of options, allowing them to book from any location.
The touchscreen is now firmly established as a particularly user-friendly interface, from mobile phones to cash outlets to other everyday tasks. Using it for a reservations system, with a consistent visual language across all touchpoints, will drive fast adoption and help put a stop to meeting conflicts and interruptions. Not only will this improve workplace productivity; the reporting data also gives facilities teams and workplace managers the information they need to better target service delivery and optimize the use of the available space.
Interested in learning more? Please feel free to Contact the MCS Solutions team.