Hot Desking & Desk Booking

What is office hoteling software and how does it benefit the hybrid workplace?

Karina Wright
July 14th, 2021

Office hoteling software is providing companies with a smart way to bring order and insight to their flexible desk strategies. 

Essentially a reservation system for the office, the right hoteling software helps companies streamline their hybrid workplace models. Additionally, office hoteling (also known as “hotelling”) collects real-time data for facility managers (FMs) to understand how and when their space is used.

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How does office hoteling work?

The process for booking a space at the office is similar to booking a hotel room. Employees use hotel booking software or an office hoteling app to browse and choose a workspace. They make their reservation and receive a confirmation. As with a regular hotel booking, they check-in to the office space on arrival and check-out when finished. 

Depending on the type of reservation software—and the preferences of the facility manager—bookings can be fully automated or reviewed and approved as they come in. They can include the option to make special requests, and integrate with other tech in the workplace to create a seamless and user-friendly experience.

desk booking

Office hoteling vs. hot desking

When considering your flexible workplace model, it’s important to understand the difference between hot desking and hoteling. Although they’re similar concepts and the terms are often interchangeable, they’re actually distinct strategies for managing flexible space. 

So what is hot desking and how does it differ? Hot desking allows employees to spontaneously choose a workspace that’s available once they’re in the office. It’s basically a first come, first-served system. By contrast, hoteling offers employees the chance to select and reserve their workspace in advance.

When it comes to hot desking vs. office hoteling, implementing a hoteling desk reservation system takes all the existing benefits of hot desking and pairs them with the added benefits of technology to help track, plan and manage the hybrid workspace.

Particularly in a post-pandemic workspace, more companies are turning to the hybrid model for the modern workplace. And office hoteling is playing a big part in their return-to-the-office plans.

hoteling vs. hot desking

Benefits of office hoteling and office hoteling software

Office hoteling with an effective hoteling software offers a host of benefits for employees and the companies they work for. The best office hoteling software is one that makes the reservation process easy and attractive for employees, and delivers insightful analytics to the facilities manager.

Here’s a look at why desk hoteling and hoteling software have such appeal:

Improved security, stability, and productivity for employees

Unlike hot desking, where employees have to make do with what’s available once they arrive, the hoteling desk reservation system offers peace of mind they’ll have a space when they show up with no surprises thrown in.

And depending on the type of work they’re doing, employees can reserve the space that’s most conducive to getting the job done. Whether that involves uninterrupted quiet time or the need to get collaborative with colleagues, they can choose the most appropriate option.

This ability to choose the appropriate workspace to suit their needs means employees can be at their most productive, and hit the ground running as soon as they’re in the office.

Increased employee engagement

It’s increasingly clear that when it comes to the employee experience in the hybrid workspace, choice matters. Hoteling office seating gives employees greater autonomy and empowerment to decide how and where they work.

This autonomy and choice can be particularly attractive for potential employees eyeing up your company for their next move. And when the time comes to onboard those new hires to a flexible work environment with hot desking and desk booking, having an effective hotel booking software helps them navigate and assimilate more easily.

Seamless, integrated tech—particularly on mobile devices—also adds to the overall workplace appeal and employee experience.

reservable office hoteling desks

Increased collaboration

In addition to the increased engagement and productivity that comes with hoteling desks, the ability for employees to select a space that best suits their needs can also give collaboration a big boost.

Employees seeking to exchange ideas, invite diverse perspectives, or connect with team members on a shared project can select the workspace that best facilitates this type of collaborative work. And not just a desk in an open plan zone. The reservation system extends to meeting rooms and conference rooms as well.

Even better, if the workplace has introduced office neighborhoods, the space itself is prime to optimize collaboration. Neighborhoods provide booking availability grouped around particular departments or functions. Employees can easily select and reserve a space in the “community” or “zone” that offers them the best opportunities to engage and collaborate.

Effective resources and space management

Hoteling software allows companies to effectively manage their space, with visibility to where everyone is sitting or scheduled to sit.

For facility managers, this improved visibility of their floor plans means they know exactly how the space is being used and have the insights to adapt it accordingly. Importantly, it gives them accurate, up-to-the-minute occupancy data to share with decision-makers when the time comes to plan for the future.

This effective management of the hybrid workplace extends to office resources too. With everything bookable in the system, management knows exactly how people are using the space and how often. It also creates an equitable system where everyone has fair access to reserve whatever they need.

hoteling and the hybrid office

Enhanced workspace safety through targeted cleaning and sanitizing

If the pandemic has highlighted one thing about shared office space, it’s the need to keep it squeaky clean for everybody’s health and safety.

The hoteling system enhances safety in the workplace. Proper cleaning and sanitizing can be top priority for each bookable workstation or room ahead of a scheduled reservation.

Employees will also have increased confidence knowing a space is clean and ready for them to check-in.

Financial savings for companies

With real-time data about how employees use the space, companies can make evidence-based decisions concerning space utilization. Further, they can reduce their real estate costs if not all employees are working at the office all the time.

Particularly for those companies taking a real-estate-first approach to the hybrid office model, hoteling software allows them to put the necessary structure around it. This way, they can rotate and cap their occupancy numbers in a reduced square footage.

So what office hoteling best practices should you know about? There are a variety of hoteling hacks for facility managers—including preparing the space, preparing your employees, and considering your booking system—that can help you successfully implement hoteling in your workplace. 

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Office hoteling software brings structure to the hybrid workplace model

Office hoteling (or “office hotelling”, as some searches indicate alternate spellings) helps the hybrid workplace function efficiently and effectively for companies and their employees. The successful implementation of office hoteling hinges on having the right reservation system to manage the process.

Implementing an easy and effective office hoteling software takes the guesswork and hard work out of managing flexible space. Moreover, office hoteling puts reliable data at the facility manager’s fingertips.

Photos: Raj Rana, Annie Spratt, Christina @, ThisisEngineering RAEng, Dan Gold