FACILITIES BOOKING

OPTIMISES UTILISATION OF FACILITIES AND OTHER SHARED RESOURCES VIA AN ONLINE BOOKING SYSTEM

Do your students complain about the complexity and bureaucracy involved in booking a laboratory? Or a groupwork room? Or even a soccer pitch?

Do facilities and equipment managers become frustrated at the lack of precise and systematic information concerning the use of these resources?

What does it do?

Our specialized uBooking software enables students and teachers

o view all of the shared resources offered by their educational institution and book them for use. This includes everything from auditoriums, workshops, and software with limited numbers of licenses, to swimming pools, amplification equipment, and other resources.

Users can make and check the status of bookings by accessing uBooking

via a website or mobile application. They can also receive notifications of approval or changes to their bookings via email, SMS, or the uExperience platform. Bookings can also be displayed on special information screens in key locations around campus, similar to flight information displayed at airports.

Those within the institution in charge of these shared resources can apply specific rules

of use and booking allocation systems to each item. For example, they can define whether a certain resource can be booked immediately online or requires confirmation, whether its use is restricted to certain users (e.g., staff), whether bookings must be made in advance, etc.

Benefits

uBooking simplifies booking management significantly for users of facilities and other shared resources, particularly in comparison to booking management via informal, in-person, or email-based requests.

uBooking offers a number of other major benefits to users:

Provides information on resource availability:

surprisingly, it is fairly common for students and staff to be unaware of the existence of resources
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within their institution, and the latter often remain unused as a result.

Offers alternatives

of which the user may be unaware. For example, if a student is attempting to book a groupwork room in the library
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but none are available, uBooking can suggest rooms in another building within their department that they did not know about.

Ensures fair treatment

of all students, as bookings are granted in accordance with established rules that apply equally to all.
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This avoids the risk of conflict, which can be all too common, especially in relation to resources that are in high demand.

All of the above increase utilization of the institution’s available resources, which in turn improves student and staff experience and satisfaction. At the institutional level, uBooking:

Improves management of infrastructure and equipment

by providing key information concerning usage of existing
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resources that in turn guide future investment towards areas with the greatest level of user demand. Essentially, it enables the institution to make decisions based on the data rather than on subjective perceptions.

How does it work?

uBooking has two separate sets of features. On one side are all the functions for use by the educational institution, specifically by staff responsible for management of shared resources. On the other are those functions designed for users of these resources, typically students and teaching staff.

As a first step, the institution must create a list of facilities, equipment and other resources to be made available to its students and teachers via the booking system. The next steps may vary according to each institution’s specific requirements, but will typically include the following:

Information regarding each of the shared resources is entered into uBooking, including capacity (maximum number of simultaneous users), available time slots, etc. If required, relationships between certain resources can also be defined; for example, a classroom may be associated with a projector, but the two can be made available for booking either separately or together.

Classrooms, laboratories and other academic spaces must be input initially with allocations corresponding to the courses that will be taught during the coming academic period, leaving only certain time slots available to accommodate other users. If the institution has conducted its academic planning using uPlanning, these data can be imported automatically.

For each resource entered into the system, criteria can be defined for regulation of their use and allocation of bookings. For example:

  • Permitted user types (e.g., only first-year students, only teachers from a certain faculty, etc.). 
  • User type hierarchies or prioritization (e.g., bookings requested by teachers will be given preference over bookings requested by students).  
  • Maximum permitted number of bookings for each user during a certain period of time (e.g., a student can only use a given resource twice per month).  
  • Minimum advance booking time. 
  • Maximum use time. 

Any approved user can access uBooking via the website or mobile application and search for the resource they need for a given date and time. Once the booking request has been made, it can be approved immediately or held for review and later approval by the relevant responsible party, as defined by the institution.

If required, uBooking permits costs and cost centers to be associated with each resource, as well as the use of this information to manage and/or monitor resource usage.

Shortly before an event, uBooking can be configured to send an event reminder to all potential users or attendees, along with an invitation to register in advance (check-in). Although advance registration may not be a prerequisite for attendance of the event, it has been found to be a highly efficient tool for maximizing attendance (especially of extracurricular events) and for gathering information about the users of each resource.

Once a booking has been made, uBooking can communicate with the user to confirm it, send them an advance reminder, or notify them of a change (e.g., room, time slot, etc.). These notifications can be configured by the institution and individual users to arrive via email, SMS, or the uExperience platform (if used by the institution). Bookings can also be scheduled in the user’s Google Calendar or other scheduling applications.

In addition, information about resources and bookings can be displayed on special information screens in key locations around campus, similar to flight information displayed at airports. Each screen can be configured to display only information specific to its location, and booking information can be complemented with images, videos and other relevant content.

Facilities and equipment managers are able to monitor resource availability and approved bookings in real time. They can also continuously update the available resources database, incorporating new resources, modifying availability and features, removing decommissioned resources, etc. In addition, they are able to analyze usage data for each resource and modify rules of use (e.g., restrict user type for resources in high demand).

uBooking continuously generates data regarding the effective use of facilities, equipment and other shared resources, reporting usage percentages, user types and other information, which together provide insights to guide the institution in future investment in infrastructure and equipment.

Our Clients

More than 70 educational institutions trust u-planner solutions, ranging from small and medium institutions up to the most prestigious and highly ranked universities.