It is surprising how many libraries tell us that they do not need or allow public-facing room reservations. For one reason or another, room bookings stay internal or in some cases, are not reserved ahead of time at all (first come, first served). This means that their patrons are then forced to call or come into the library to inquire about booking a room. Whatever your reason may be, here are six reasons why we think you should let your patrons start booking their rooms and spaces.
Without the front desk staff fielding questions about rooms, availability, and doing all the data entry involved, they are free to assist more library patrons face-to-face. Patron facing room reservation does not only have to be for a patron at home on their computer or phone, it includes access to booking spaces on library computers. You let your patron check out their books without staff, why not let them book a room too?
We have all played the game of telephone where information gets lost the more people that have to relay it. You mistype an email address or fat-finger a phone number, it happens to all of us. When a patron can provide their information directly into the system it is not only more accurate, but it removes more liability from your library staff.
Control and convenience, two of the things that make people very, very happy. Reserving or scheduling over the phone always means taking the risk that the person on the other end will incorrectly enter information, whether it be the contact information, or worse, the wrong date or time. When booking online, it allows patrons to take their time, review their data, and see additional options that they might not have been presented with over the phone, such as the room layout or adding a coffee machine.
Already have an internal room reservation system and don’t what to pay extra? You don’t have to! You pay by the number of available rooms; it doesn’t matter how the reservations are made.
From limited reservations to administrator approvals of online bookings, you control who can book your spaces and how often. Discounted prices for non-profits or other groups provide another layer of automation to the booking process. So, rest assured that your patrons and the community will have an easy, enjoyable user experience, and your room reservation software will adhere to your library’s policies.
Terms & Conditions and payments can all be collected during the patron room reserving process. All critical contact information is required to book spaces. This information will be accessible at any time to approved administrators and staff. If patrons do not provide you with the correct information or do not meet your requirements, you can cancel the reservation and refund their money.
We understand that some libraries do not have rooms that are open to the public or may not have room reservation software in the budget, there may be others struggling with the how’s and why’s of implementing room reservation. We hope that some of the reasons above provide you with some answers. As a library vendor, our job is to make your job easier and help keep your patrons happy. Let us know some reasons you might not want or be able to use public-facing room reservations and together we can find the solution.