Rendezvous Review Issue 2
- Making best use of space
- Catering for the mobile generation
- The people putting Rendezvous to work
- Let’s hear from you
- Further information
In this latest UK edition of Rendezvous Review, we will talk about something that you can’t see, that’s difficult to measure, but which is all around you and is one of the most important aspects of business today. The subject is space. The challenge is how we manage it.
There are many different types of space: rooms, desks, lockers, even car parks. What we’re discussing here, however, is room space – different types of rooms, the facilities they offer and how to ensure they are being used in the most efficient and cost effective way.
As a user of Rendezvous from NFS Technology Group, you will already be aware of how this powerful yet cost-effective workspace scheduling and event booking software tool can help you make the most of space in your organisation. But are you aware of just how much it can help, and are you putting it to its best use?
Space utilisation is a subject that is very dear to the heart of NFS Managing Director Luis De Souza. Here’s what he has to say.
“With the cost of real estate today, whether the business is a commercial venue, a corporation with its own meeting space, or a conference centre selling space to others, the big need is to get the utilisation right.
“If we are going to utilise space well and manage its cost intelligently, we need to begin thinking about space in a different way. We need to truly understand how space within our organisation is being used. This thinking can be extended to external space. If space is being booked externally, there must be a good reason. Is it because you don’t have the right internal space? Is space unavailable at the right time? Or could it be because someone thinks it would be pleasant to get out of the office and relax for a while in a hotel environment?
“Facilities managers must examine actual versus the theoretical use of rooms, by considering space usage by capacity and the number of hours seats in a meeting room are actually occupied, to identify under-utilisation or over-utilisation of space.
“Space request trends should be examined by meeting types – client meetings, administration meetings, consultation meetings, training meetings, etc. Then align the requirements for each type of meeting with the resources available in specific meeting areas. Investigate space request trends by service types – meetings with catering requirements, meetings with AV requirements, etc. Then organise meetings to make the most of rooms in which those services are available.
“Look at the politics and psychology of user space within your organisation by thinking about the behaviour patterns of staff that drive the metrics of how space is used and measured. Space management is highly dependent on the psychology of human behaviour. Do members of your staff find ways to bypass the true utilisation? Is the so-called project meeting under which the room has been booked actually just an excuse for people to get together for a chat?
“Occupancy level in the average organisation runs at between 40% and 70%. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to see just how much working space is not being used to its full capacity in a working day, and if any of an organisation’s space is vacant at any point during the day, you are paying for unoccupied space. Reduce unoccupied space and you’ll see the impact on your net profit.”
Whilst space utilisation is important to meeting room management in large organisations, Luis fears that it has a sometimes overlooked relevance to commercial venues. Here there is a need to ensure that space is not merely utilised in the right way, but also that the right space is being sold in a way that maximises both revenue and opportunities.
Here too, Luis has strong views:
“Space utilisation within a commercial venue is not just about occupancy, it’s also about yielding. Yield management has long been adopted in the hotel industry, where it is used to assign the best price to a hotel room, depending on the hotel’s occupancy level. The same thinking can be applied to space utilisation in a way that maximises revenue opportunities.
“Take, for example, how you might have taken a booking for your best room for one day in the middle of a week. A few days later, you might get another enquiry that would have better utilised the facilities in that room for three days with a greater revenue potential. Did the first enquiry really need all the facilities the room has to offer? Could the booking have been made for a different room that would have been more revenue efficient? Did you demand sufficient revenue for the room in the first place? Unless you can give the right answers to questions like these, you are missing out.
“The bottom line is to make sure you understand the yielding criteria for your venue. You need to have the right set of rules in place so that space utilisation is driven around not just occupancy, but also around revenue. Only by constantly monitoring the dynamics of your enquires will the right yielding decisions be made.”
Key Points Check List
Whether space utilisation is being applied to corporate or commercial organisations, here are two checklists of five key points each, to help you make the right decisions.
- Make sure you truly understand the demands being made for different type of space.
- Draw up a set of rules that align with the way space is used.
- Design those rules in such a way that politics don’t get in the way of revenue generation.
- Make sure you monitor the key metrics of which rooms are most used, least used, and why.
- Look at your cost structure and encourage utilisation of less attractive rooms.
The chart (right) shows an overview of the five most booked and five least booked rooms in a particular organisation. The values given are the number of bookings for the date range selected with the ability to interact with a report and show space that is never used. From here, further investigation can be done, looking at the room usage in detail to establish reasons for under-utilisation to allow an organisation to make an educated decision on the most effective use for that space.
Catering for the mobile generation If a software solution is to survive it has to evolve, and the designers of Rendezvous have been fast to acknowledge the importance of the mobile generation, increasingly online 24/7. They need booking processes from a range of user interfaces, including Outlook, web, tablet, or smart phone.
The new iPad-based Rendezvous Mobile solution allows staff to quickly check and amend their meeting schedule whilst on the move and book all the attendant resources such as hot desks, food service, and AV. With full integration to Outlook and Exchange email, all attendees and service staff are kept in the loop at all times.
There is also an innovative new technology, called Workspace Smart Monitor, being heralded as a leader in the Smart Client technology arena, deployable to devices mounted outside meeting rooms, such as any touch screen, tablet PC, specialised Room Panel or iPad.
On the way is the Workspace Smart Kiosk, designed for installation at locations with hot desks and/or meeting rooms with flexible booking facilities. With the kiosk, staff can use self-service functions to see room or desk availability via floor-plans and then make bookings for that day or a date in the near future.
As a Rendezvous user, you are undoubtedly aware of its versatility in your own area of business. But are you aware of its other versions? There are three:-
Rendezvous Workspace: Browser-based solution built using the latest Microsoft.Net technology to streamline scheduling processes for rooms and resources, deployed in single sites or in organisations spanning multiple locations and time zones.
Rendezvous Events: Specially designed for commercial and unique venues to offer comprehensive room and resource scheduling capabilities plus extensive task management, client and customer relations management and billing.
Rendezvous Saas (Software as a Service): Providing access to booking software via the Internet in real time as a service on demand without any applications installed on site.
Before she came to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Stephanie Ellrott had many years experience of using Rendezvous, when she worked for The Royal College of Physicians.
“Rendezvous was the prime communications tool for all departments,” says Stephanie. “It proved to be ideal for analysing the business. So when I came to RIBA it was natural to introduce it here.”
The RIBA, based in London’s Portland Place, champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and its members. Stephanie is Head of Venues.
“When I arrived at the RIBA, I inherited a much older, less flexible system,” says Stephanie. “I knew I needed a system that would give more management information in order to make the right business decisions. Integrated with this, we needed the best marketing tool to manage the venues aspect.”
The RIBA offers every kind of venue, including meeting rooms, boardrooms, a banqueting hall and a superbly equipped conference centre, catering for weddings, meetings, training days, corporate functions and more.
“With 26 meeting rooms, including a large lecture theatre, efficient space utilisation is very important to us,” says Stephanie. “It is essential that we match space to needs. I am confident that Rendezvous will not only help us to manage the overall venue, but also make best of use of space within the venue, making it easy for us to sell space externally, without compromising our own needs internally.
“I know from past experience that Rendezvous will help us balance the demands of these two groups in a logical and straightforward manner, allowing us to see at a glance the exact space situation and if we are using it to its best.
“Rendezvous will help us concentrate on the right business at the right time. The flexibility of the software reports function will be particularly useful and its ease of use will free up more time for staff to deal with customers and clients. Once we are up and running, I envisage that the self-service function is also going to be very useful to us.
“From my past experience of using Rendezvous at the Royal College of Physicians, I know that it is absolutely right for the needs of the Royal Institute of British Architects.”
The Lensbury at London’s Teddington Lock is a four-star hotel set in 25 acres of landscaped grounds on the banks of the River Thames, where it offers luxury accommodation, indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, a state of the art health club, award-winning spa and a hi-tech conference centre.
Using NFS’ roomMaster solution for accommodation bookings and IBS for food and beverage point of sale club administration, The Lensbury turned to Rendezvous for conference centre management.
The hotel’s newly refurbished conference centre, staffed by expert event support and technical teams, offers 30 rooms for meetings of anything between two and 225 delegates, The centre offers free wi-fi, video conferencing and all the latest resources needed for successful conferences. Ivor Turner is the Leadership Team General Manager.
Ivor is delighted with the way Rendezvous Events runs scheduling and resources for the conference centre, but he needs more from the software – and that’s another reason why he chose to work with NFS.
“Overall, Rendezvous is more flexible than our previous system, but it is a stand-alone solution in which, at any time, we could have as much as £2.5 million worth of revenue. At the moment we have no way of integrating that into the overall property management system,” says Ivor.
“When I mentioned this to NFS, they immediately took it on board and are now in talks with EasyRMS. A dialogue has been set up to find the best way forward to enable us to pull data from Rendezvous into their system. In this way, we will be able to see total yield over the whole business and carry out accurate forecasting across accommodation, club membership and the conference centre.
“We are a business that never stands still. We change our processes all the time. It’s good to know that as we evolve, so the systems we use will evolve with us.”
West Lodge Park is a four-star family-run country hotel set in 35 acres of parkland in Hertfordshire, just 12 miles from Central London. Its 59 rooms are individually decorated with all modern conveniences, including wireless internet. But it also runs a thriving events side which caters for weddings, meetings, celebrations, Christmas festivities and much more.
Staff already used NFS’ roomMaster property management system to book accommodation, so naturally turned to Rendezvous to handle the events side of the business.
“Before installing Rendezvous, all information was kept in a paper diary with leads, enquiries, etc stored in a series of folders,” says Sharon Blackgrove, Manager of the hotel’s Events Sales Team. “It was sometimes difficult to quickly find the relevant information when a guest called to follow up on a previous enquiry.
“With Rendezvous, we can store everything electronically. It will enable any member of the sales team to access information quickly and easily. The information will also be available to our duty manager.
“The biggest advantage will be to now have everything in one place. Previously, if anyone phoned to enquire about a booking, they might have spoken to any one five people in the team, who would then have had to seek out the appropriate folder with the customer’s details in it.
“With all details in the Rendezvous system, everyone in the team will be able to easily search for and find the necessary information. Anyone will be able to pick up anyone else’s booking and have full knowledge of the details. No longer will information will get mislaid or lost.”
- How are you using Rendezvous Events or Workspace?
- How can your experiences help other users?
- How can the experience of others help you?
- What would you like to know more about?
- Do you have any useful hints and tips on the use of Rendezvous?
Let us have your feedback, and we’ll feature your stories and comments in future issues of this newsletter.
Additional resources on this topic, and many others, are available to download free from the NFS website. They include:
White paper: Is your business making the best of its meeting space?
eBook Part One: Why Space Management is Important to Your Business
Agile Working Component Paper 1: Smart Monitor
Agile Working Component Paper 2: Smart Kiosk
Agile Working Component Paper 3: Smart Phone
Business Intelligence Component Paper 1: Operational Reports
Business Intelligence Component Paper 2: Statistical Reports
Business Intelligence Component Paper 3: Dashboards and Exports