Published: Jul 13 2021

Meeting Room Booking Software for Outlook & Office 365

The most popular application used for meeting room booking has historically been Microsoft Outlook ( or in some cases, Office 365 solutions like Microsoft Booking). Whether you work in a business or within the education system, Outlook is a familiar solution.

However, there are many limitations to what Microsoft room scheduling software can do. Because of its broad customer base, Outlook’s capabilities are not as in-depth as other, more specific room booking tools.

Accruent’s EMS meeting room scheduling software is one of these tools. EMS makes room booking easy for employees and visitors, giving them an avenue to find the ideal place to meet or work, regardless of it's a conference room, board room, huddle room or studio.

EMS software solution helps organizations to cuts costs, streamline bookings and create a flexible, activity-based workplace or campus.

EMS – Meeting Room Booking Software Made Easy

Booking rooms can be difficult or confusing, but it doesn't have to be that way. With EMS room booking software, users can easily reserve or request spaces and services in the way they prefer, whether that’s using a mobile device, a calendar tool such as Microsoft® Outlook, or an on-location touchscreen kiosk or digital sign.

This will help users:

  • Connect with your favorite apps and tools
  • Easily schedule in an in-office and at-home hybrid work environment
  • Optimize space utilization
  • Get your real estate costs under control
  • Schedule on-the-go with mobile devices
  • Avoid overcrowding and facilitate social distancing
  • Gain access to real-time employee data

What is Meeting Room Booking Software for Outlook?

The first question that needs to be answered: What exactly is meeting room booking software?

Meeting room booking software solutions are systems that allow users to simply and effectively reserve spaces. An ideal meeting room booking solution will replace outdated or disparate meeting systems, ultimately increasing efficiency, lowering costs, maximizing space utilization and allowing for increased employee productivity.

A meeting room booking software solution reduces costly inefficiencies while increasing your utilization and employee productivity. With manual processes, users can spend an inordinate amount of time booking spaces, communicating details and confirming attendance and room details. This negatively impacts overall productivity while wasting valuable time and money.

A meeting room booking solution can automate the entire room booking process, automatically notify attendees, and ensuring that spaces are being used effectively. This will allow attendees to focus on the meetings themselves and on their most pressing tasks – rather than on the booking details.

What Should I Look for In a Room Booking System?

There are my features to looking for when deciding on a meeting room booking software solution, including:

  • Room Utilization
  • Analytics Options
  • Mobile Capabilities
  • Comprehensive Integrations

A solution like EMS that has all of these features and more can make room booking friction-free and user-friendly, even as a company scales and its needs change.

Outlook Conference Room Scheduling Software

Accruent's EMS solution comes with Outlook conference room scheduling software capabilities. Conference room scheduling software can help organizations easily book the right space for their needs, communicate with attendees and even use data to maximize room and space utilization.

The capabilities of EMS conference room scheduling include:

  • Space Usage Analytics
  • Check-Ins
  • Admin Alerts
  • Mobile Bookings
  • Invitation Management
  • Sophisticated Reporting
  • Security Features
  • Digital Signage
  • Comprehensive Integration

EMS ensures that your conference rooms, meeting rooms and other meeting spaces are flexible, agile and safe for employees and visitors.

Optimization

Optimizing room scheduling and space utilization is a significant goal for any organization. By using EMS, you can:

  • Gain insight into exactly room status, room usage and how spaces are being generally utilized
  • Automate reports and analytics
  • Gain deeper insight into cancellation information
  • Generate customized reports
  • Create invoices and process payments

EMS Microsoft Room Booking Integrations

EMS can integrate into many web-based tools and applications, including Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft 365.

EMS for Outlook Add-In

EMS for Outlook is an add-in that integrates the EMS room reservation process directly with Microsoft Outlook. This room scheduling software Outlook integration allows users to view room availability and attendee free/busy information simultaneously and book/manage their meetings directly within Outlook.

The following are the steps you must take to install and configure EMS for Outlook.

Prerequisites

To install EMS for Outlook:

  1. Uninstall older versions of EMS for Outlook.
  2. The EMS Integration to Exchange Web Service must be installed and operational. For information on how to install and configure this component, see Integration to Microsoft® Exchange.
  3. Install Platform Services. You can quickly verify if the service has been installed by opening a browser and entering the following: http://[ServerName]/EMSPlatform/ (replace [ServerName] with the name of your web server) The Platform Services Address will be required when running the EMSForOutlook.msi (see also: Exchange Server URL and EMS for Outlook Version Number).
  4. EMS must be configured properly in order to activate the EMS for Outlook for each Outlook® user.
  5. Verify that the required software is installed on your users’ workstations.

Installation

  1. Verify that the Requirements and Prerequisites have been met.
  2. Download the EMSForOutlook.msi file onto the user’s desktopClose Outlook.
  3. Run EMSForOutlook.msi.
  4. The first screen welcomes you to the EMS Outlook Add-in Setup Wizard.
  5. Click the Next button to begin the installation process. The Destination Folder screen will appear.
  6. Specify the Installation Folder. Click the Next button. The EMS Platform Services screen will appear.
  7. Enter the address your organization uses (e.g., http://[ServerName]/EMSPlatform).
  8. Click the Next button. The Ready to install EMS for Outlook screen will appear.
  9. Click the Install button to complete the installation. Click the Close button to exit.
  10. Launch Outlook. The EMS button should display on the user’s Outlook toolbar on the Calendar as online.

EMS for Microsoft 365

EMS for Outlook – Microsoft 365 is a Web add-in. It is different from EMS for Outlook, which is a COM add-in.

What does that mean?

A Web add-in can be run on any operating system. It is not exclusively for Outlook on the Web and does not need to be installed separately for each Outlook client (Windows/Mac/Web). A Web add-in is enabled on the user account itself and runs on a side task pane on the right of the application.

Use Cases and Features

The following use cases and features are currently supported:

  • Single date and recurring bookings for request and reserve rooms.
  • Optimal for simple self-serve spaces.
  • Groups and contacts
  • Room details
  • Setup types
  • Self-serve video conferencing
  • Intents (process template groupings)

The following use cases and features not supported currently:

  • Billing Reference and PO Numbers
  • Services
  • User-Defined Fields
  • Delegation

Installation and Activation

To install EMS for Outlook – Microsoft 365:

  1. From the downloads portal, download Ems.Web.Addin.msi.
  2. Run the .msi file on your application server.
  3. Enter the physical path for the installation.
  4. Click Next. Enter your environment's Platform Services URL and the virtual directory name you want. Click Next.
  5. Click Install.

EMS vs. Native Outlook

So why should organizations use the EMS add-ins instead of the native Outlook or Microsoft 365 solutions? What benefits are there?

1. Room Booking

For large or complex organizations, finding rooms within Outlook can be a chore because of a lack of filtering options and a cumbersome interface.

With EMS, advanced filtering mechanisms allows users to locate and reserve optimal locations based on any specific criteria. Users can also expand any space or room to show details like capacity and photos.

2. Attendee Management

The scheduling needs of organizations have begun to surpass the capabilities of Outlook. This is especially true when it comes to attendees. Because of an unintuitive user interface, it can be difficult to select individual attendees or even view their availability.

EMS addresses these issues in multiple ways by offering specified support for attendee management. Users can simultaneously view rooms and attendee availability, and then book rooms and meetings directly. An enhanced view allows you to do all of this via a user-friendly interface.

3. One-stop Shop

Outlook can handle a simple scheduling system – anything beyond that will tax its capabilities. Within Outlook, managing and booking things such as A/V equipment, catering and other services can be overly cumbersome.

The EMS add-in allows users to reserve, track, and modify enhanced services, for both individual and recurring meetings. It supports complex series orders, allowing users to perform tasks such as order meals for a workshop in advance.

4. Simple, Organized Interface

Unlike Outlook, which still uses an outdated, often difficult to use interface, EMS uses a modern, simplified solution that streamlines meeting book and scheduling. The easy-to-use interface makes workflows simple to parse through and a breeze to master.

With a minimal number of clicks, you can accomplish in minutes tasks that could drag on indefinitely with the native Outlook.

5. Enhanced Outlook

Ultimately, the EMS solution is an add-in for the native Outlook. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, EMS takes the foundation built by Outlook and expands upon it. For those who have a reluctance to leave the familiar territory of Outlook, EMS provides an easy transition.

EMS for Outlook allows organizations to streamline scheduling and in the process, transforms Outlook into the software tool that you need.

A Meeting Room Booking Solution for the Future

Accruent’s EMS is the market-leading meeting room booking system. It can turn the basic capabilities of native Outlook into a rich, simple tool for meeting room service and managed bookings. Thousands of leading companies and universities around the world rely on EMS as their comprehensive, enterprise-class resource and space management software to power their work and learning environments.

See what EMS can do with your own eyes – contact us today.