You want to give your members the best experience in your coworking space. For that, you need the right software. Selecting the best management...
Coworking space booking software: 11 functions you need
Members of coworking spaces often say that what they love most is the flexibility and freedom to come and go as they please. But every now and then, they need to plan. They need private space for meetings, presentations, quiet work time, Zoom conferences, or brainstorming workshops.
In makerspaces and entrepreneurship centers, they even need to book equipment and materials for their projects, such as projectors, 3D printers, podcasting microphones. In wet labs and flex medical spaces, that could even include lab equipment and materials.
That’s where your booking software comes in.
Believe it or not, we see many managers juggle reservations for meeting rooms and resources on a simple calendar, coordinating times and needs via email.
Community managers have more important things to do than play email tag. They need to be focused on delivering member experience and cultivating a culture people want to be part of… and they can’t do that if they’re trapped checking emails, spreadsheets, and calendars.
So here we’ve outlined the 11 power functions that Coworks software includes to deliver a booking capability that is robust but also reliable — and really easy to use.
1. Provide an easy way for coworking members to book hot desks, phone booths, conference rooms, and offices.
Yes, this feels like a no-brainer. At the very minimum, your members should be able to book these kinds of rooms in your space, unless all your space has is an open bullpen of tables. But modern coworking spaces boast so much more than worktops, and managing those among your members can easily become an operational nightmare.
The Coworks member app puts the power to make room reservations at your coworking space right on their phones, showing what options are available at the time when they need it. Your inventory is updated in real time, so that eliminates the risk of double booking.
2. Design custom booking reservations and requirements for assets in your space
From monitors to standing desks to rolling whiteboards, coworking space operators add to their inventory with more and more helpful items that members can use in their daily work. But you can’t have one for everyone, so using a booking tool for these physical resources can help you manage who is using which items when — and for how long.
And the coworking model extends to operations and spaces that do more than offer a desk for laptop work.
Flexible wet lab spaces, for example, have resources such as chemical fume hoods, spectrophotometers, incubators, microscopes, digital scales, and centrifuges, just to name a few. Makerspaces may have materials such as power drills, jigsaws, and compound miter saws, plus 3D printers, embroidery machines, and photo booths.
All of these items are not only in limited supply, but they may also require special training or instructions for use. Which means your booking software needs to include permissions for specific members or teams. Once a member has completed the necessary requirements, you can grant them access to the individual equipment, allowing them to book directly in the app.
And if one of those items is damaged or taken offline, how do you make sure your members can’t reserve it and plan their day with the expectation of using that equipment? If your booking platform makes it easy to control availability, as Coworks software does, you don’t have to worry.
3. Create specific booking hour allotments for teams in your coworking space
Your membership plans may include a specific allotment of time in which members or teams can use meeting rooms and resources each month. Managing that without a platform to help is a logistics challenge beyond measure, so be sure to choose booking software that allows you to assign monthly room and resource time limits per plan.
That way, when team members book conference rooms, each hour will count against their monthly room booking allowance.
Even better, make sure your members know that space has been successfully booked, and how much time they have left in their plan for the month. Your booking software should allow you to customize your automated notification emails, as Coworks does.
With Coworks software, members can receive automated email and mobile app push notifications as they hit different threshold levels, approaching their team's room booking allowance each month.
4. Establish set hours of use for resources and rooms
Not only should your platform let you create custom hourly room booking allotments for teams, but your rooms and resources need hours they are available as well.
Maybe your main conference room is off limits after 5pm. Or the 3D printer needs to be booked in 3-hour blocks of time — but not before 8am. These specific requirements are common when you offer a variety of space types and equipment in your coworking or flex operation.
In the Coworks admin dashboard, the room and equipment availability feature allows you to define set days and hours during the week on a rolling basis for when your customers have access. Those resources are automatically blacked out during any time outside of these availability windows. You can apply this on a per-room level.
5. Generate reports of all your space's bookings and occupancy
Is one meeting room in particular going un-booked? Is the projector in high demand? How many people want to use the embroidering machine each week?
Data is the backbone of your growth when you operate a coworking, wet lab, or makerspace space. Getting accurate and regular reports about your reservations across all your rooms and assets is the only way to understand the health and trajectory of your business.
With Coworks management software, the occupancy feature is designed to give you a quick, accurate snapshot of how full your dedicated spaces are every month. The admin dashboard makes it clear and easy to get an at-a-glance sense of your business.
By default, you’ll see all of the vacant (or unoccupied/unassigned) suites at the top of the list, as those are the ones you need to take some kind action on, whether its a marketing campaign to attract new customers or reconfiguring of rooms to better serve your members.
Coworks also automatically calculates important stats for you to track your occupancy:
Occupancy Percentage: The percentage of currently filled or occupied suites in your community. 75% occupancy would mean your space is 75% full with tenants.
Estimated MRR: This is the estimated amount of monthly recurring revenue that you should anticipate from your currently occupied suites. Coworks generates this number by calculating the totals from the attached price plans on each suite. This does not include discounts or add-ons.
Estimated Potential MRR: The estimated amount of total monthly recurring revenue that you could be seeing if you were fully booked. This is essentially the anticipated revenue left on the table from offices and suites you have yet to fill. (You want this number to be 0!)
6. Automatically assign door access for day pass and external reservations
Your space management platform can help you monetize your operation beyond monthly and annual memberships in two ways: day pass users and single-use, external bookings.
Day pass users often want to explore coworking options and use a day pass to test out your space and see if it’s a good fit. Or they might be visiting the area and need temporary office space.
Meanwhile, local organizations or professionals who want to reserve your meeting space for specific needs or events can book the space for themselves right on your web site.
These are fantastic ways to fill your pipeline with prospective members and nurture them with your CRM. Of course, you need to have embedded booking forms for day passes and room reservations, as you do with Coworks software.
So the first step is enabling automatic booking for day passes and external reservations. But then they have to get in the door.
Many coworking spaces have access control systems in place, which can make letting nonmembers into the space more work for your community managers. Fortunately, Coworks integrates with several leading access control systems, including Salto, Brivo, and Kisi. So when a non-member goes to your web site for a day pass or reserves a room, temporary access is granted to that person for the time allotted in the reservation. Details are delivered in their booking confirmation email.
7. Set minimum times in advance that members are allowed to book your space
You want your space to be as useful as possible for members to leverage all the amenities you have. But let’s be real: sometimes you need some guard rails on bookings to make sure the overall experience is optimized for members and staff alike.
Coworks software lets you set a minimum lead time that members are allowed to book rooms and resources in your space.
Suppose you need to make sure that a staff member is available for a conference room to be used. Or perhaps you don't want to offer same day reservations. The booking lead time feature is a great way to enforce a proper lead time that works for you, your members, and your team.
8. See a historic log of all of each team's bookings
You may have configured a set allotment of booking hours for each membership plan, and assigned those plans to various teams within your space. But you still want to have an overview of how many hours a specific team has booked meeting rooms or resources within the month or even the year of their membership.
Rather than manually counting calendar entries or sorting through invoices, your booking software should easily generate a report for you that includes the historical bookings by team. In Coworks, this is the Bookings Usage Report, and is easily downloaded from the admin dashboard.
This data can also be useful for your members to assess their membership plan, adjusting up or down based on their patterns of space usage throughout the year. And by providing that information, you demonstrate your commitment to your members and prove you’re looking out for their overall experience.
9. Enable current capacity or occupancy status of bookable spaces
So… how busy is your space right now?
Members and teams that use your coworking space might want to jump into a conference room quickly, or switch from all-remote meeting to in-person at the last minute. A quick glance at their member app should give a quick, at-a-glance sense of how full the space is.
For example, Coworks software includes an automated green, yellow, and red indicator of capacity, based on real-time booking data. Managers don’t have to field calls and emails asking about a level of activity, because the answer is right there.
10. Allow for automated padding between bookings for cleaning, etc.
Particularly in a post-COVID world, cleaning public spaces is more than a perk to members, it's a public health service. And for busy coworking spaces, you want to allow a staff member time to get into a meeting room or event space to remove trash, refresh seating, reset the room, and last but not least, cleanse it for the next use.
Automating that buffer time is an easy and fast setting within the Coworks platform, but it has a big impact. By configuring a set amount of padding between bookings in your space, you ensure your staff has the time they need, and that the people who have the following reservation have just as an excellent (and clean and safe) experience as those before them.
11. Customize booking notification emails
By using a space booking platform, you should also have the ability to send automated emails that confirm reservations. But generic, canned responses are a missed opportunity to have a branded experience along with communicating important information to people who book day passes at your space or reserve meeting and event spaces.
In Coworks software, the admin dashboard includes the ability to customize all transactional emails, including confirmations of room reservations, day pass purchases, and even event RSVPs. And of course, Coworks can also automatically include the remaining allotted time for the member or team, per their plan.
In your dashboard, you can customize the name that the email is ‘from’ as well as the reply to address. Use the rich text editor to add custom messages or links to additional information or instructions.
The software you choose to run your coworking space can make or break your operation. Everything from a delightful member experience of using an app to easily make reservations to the way staff and managers assess the overall health of your operation happens with the platform on which you run your business. And as you grow, your platform should grow with you.