Although the global pandemic is receding in most parts of the world, the big “How are we going to work now?” question is still as hard as it was a year ago. The future of work is difficult and unclear, and unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet.
If you decide on a hybrid work model, then office hoteling (or desk hoteling) is probably one of the tools that can bring a lot of value. This type of software allows employees to easily book offices, desks, and rooms.
But what is office hoteling software?
Quick Summary: Office hoteling software is a platform that enables employees to reserve workspaces as needed, improving space utilization and flexibility.
Implementing office hoteling software requires careful planning, communication, and employee training.
The benefits of office hoteling software include improved collaboration, optimized use of office space, cost savings, and real-time data on workspace utilization.
Businesses should prioritize employee comfort and safety by incorporating safety features into the hoteling process, allowing for a transition period, and collecting feedback.
By following best practices for the implementation of office hoteling software, businesses can create a more efficient, productive, and comfortable work environment for their employees.
Office hoteling is a means of using shared office space and unassigned seating more efficiently. Workers reserve seats using a hoteling software platform. They choose the office space they want for a desired length of time.
Let’s start by clarifying that there’s no difference between “office hoteling” and “desk hoteling” — it all falls under the blanket term, “hoteling.” In short, it is an alternative approach to the more traditional method of permanently assigned seating.
Hoteling is reservation-based, unassigned seating. Employees reserve a workspace via desk booking software before they come to work in an office. Desk hoteling usually refers to booking desks. Office hoteling may refer to either booking office space or could also be used for desk reservations.
Typically, hoteling is used in a flexible work environment with various types of seating strategies like activity-based working, based on office neighborhoods.
Think of it the same way that you’d book a room at a hotel. Employees can book an available workspace, either a desk or an office, or even a cubicle, in advance. Once they’re over and the workspace is vacant, other employees can reserve it.
You can read more about the benefits of hoteling and how it can improve your workplace engagement and collaboration here, or read more about hoteling vs. hot desking here.
The big question, though, is how do you implement it. The simple and easiest way is to use workplace management software.
Office hoteling software is a type of reservation platform that allows employees to book office spaces, desks, and rooms for a specified period of time, on-demand, to fit their working needs. It is designed to streamline the complexities associated with hybrid work scheduling and provides companies with a smart way to bring order and insight to their flexible desk strategies, thus reducing their office footprint.
The most important element of the office hoteling software is the desk booking system. In most cases, though, it is part of a larger hybrid workplace management platform.
Let’s break these down.
Desk booking software allows employees to easily book workspaces for a day, a week, or repeatedly over a longer period. The most important part of the process is to make the booking experience fully integrated into the technology stack of your organization.
For example, if you’re using Microsoft, then your workplace management software should be available in Teams, Microsoft 365, as well as Outlook. If you’re using Google, then the desk booking platform should be fully integrated with Google Calendar, Google Workspace, and Google Chrome.
Of course, giving your employees access to an easy-to-use web portal and mobile app is a must too. The more choices there are, the better the adoption will be — and therefore, the more benefits you can gain from utilizing office hoteling.
Of course, even with measures like this, there may be some teething problems when you first integrate office hoteling software. Other strategies you can employ to make the transition as smooth as possible include the following:
As mentioned, the office hoteling software, which in essence is a desk booking tool, is part of a larger workplace platform.
Some of the other important elements you can expect from such a solution are:
It’s essential to follow best practices to ensure the successful implementation of your office hoteling software solution. This will help you maximize the benefits of the software and minimize any potential challenges.
Here are some of the best practices to consider when implementing office hoteling software:
To ensure a smooth transition to the new system, you should communicate office hoteling guidelines and etiquette to employees in advance. This can help them understand how the system works, what to expect, and how to use the software effectively.
To cater to your employees’ different needs and preferences, plan to offer a variety of office hoteling furniture and layouts. For example, if some of your workers have disabilities or physical differences, opt for desks and chairs that accommodate the specific needs of these individuals.
More inclusive furniture can help create a comfortable and productive work environment that meets the needs of all your staff.
A proper, functional desk reservation system is essential to the success of office hoteling software. The system should be easy to use, integrate with other workplace technologies, and provide real-time data on workspace utilization.
Interactive floor plans and workspace maps can help employees quickly find available workspaces and resources. This feature can also help you to optimize your company’s use of office space and resources.
Mobile accessibility is crucial for employees who work remotely or travel frequently. Your office hoteling software should be accessible from a mobile device, allowing employees to reserve workspaces and resources on the go.
With many office workers concerned about the potential impact of transmissible diseases nowadays, businesses must prioritize the health and safety of their employees.
Your office hoteling software solution should accommodate social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, and contact tracing to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.
A cloud-based document management system can help employees access documents and files from anywhere, regardless of their physical location. This can help improve productivity and collaboration among employees, particularly when different workers are onsite at different times.
Collecting and analyzing data on workspace utilization will allow you to make the most out of office space and other resources. This data can also provide valuable insights into employee behavior and preferences.
To ensure the success of your approach to office hoteling software, seek employee feedback regularly. It can help you identify potential areas of improvement and make changes to the software or user workflows accordingly.
Implementing office hoteling software requires careful planning and execution. By following best practices, you can maximize the benefits of the software and create a comfortable and productive work environment for your employees.
An easy-to-use desk hoteling app is an essential part of the modern hybrid work software, particularly if your office’s space type makes space management a key priority. In general, the app should allow employees to reserve a workspace in any company office and enable employees to collaborate in person. Some of the key features of such mobile apps are:
Workspace hoteling apps can be integrated with other workplace management tools, such as calendar software, email systems, and facility management systems.
This integration enables businesses to streamline their workspace management processes, track workspace utilization, and make data-driven decisions about office space allocation and resource management.
Workplace hoteling apps are key to improving the overall employee workplace experience because they simplify the management of desk availability in a very collaborative way.
Well-integrated office hoteling solutions can significantly enhance the workplace experience for your teams and so represent a great investment of office resources.
The adoption of hybrid work increases the scheduling complexity. Using a proper system will streamline internal operations by bringing everything office-related into one solution.
Furthermore, by using the desk space reservation and conference room scheduling modules, you can build and rely on data to optimize your workspace utilization and get more out of your office floor plan. In a nutshell, the four most important benefits of using hoteling are:
As a result, you’ll save time, increase your employees’ engagement, and reduce your real estate costs.
Hoteling software has become increasingly popular in the modern workplace due to the enhanced flexibility and more efficient use of office space it offers. Another crucial advantage of hoteling software is the protection it provides to employees in terms of combating the transmission of harmful illnesses.
With hoteling software, employees can quickly and easily see how crowded the office is, who will be sitting where, and when colleagues are scheduled to use shared resources.
This information can help employees feel more comfortable in the workplace, especially those who are particularly nervous about contracting transmissible infections.
In addition, hoteling software allows for more frequent and thorough cleaning of shared workspaces, which is essential to preventing the spread of illnesses.
With the ability to track which employees have used specific workstations or meeting rooms, cleaning staff can focus their efforts on high-traffic areas — thus reducing the risk of exposure to germs and viruses.
Related read: Free Meeting Room Booking Template in Excel 
A New York Times article from March 2022 highlighted the disparity between workers and employers in the context of the return to in-person work since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While bosses and company owners were keen to have as many employees on site as possible, many workers felt apprehensive about returning to the office, particularly where remote options were available and workable.
The report noted the availability of alternative solutions to this problem, such as masks. However, it also noted that masks pose a “psychological barrier” in terms of the social culture of offices.
If, as a company owner, you find yourself in this position, hoteling software could give you the means to strike a balance between these two competing interests.
There are a number of features you should look for when deciding between hoteling software service providers. These include the following:
For example, hybrid work software such as OfficeRnD Hybrid offers all these features and more. This is one of the reasons why it stands out when it comes to hoteling software that’s easy to use and fully integratable.
Watch the short video below to learn more.
If you want to start managing shared office space more efficiently and with less stress, it might be time to consider a hoteling software solution.
By enabling employees to reserve workspaces as needed, you can optimize your use of office space, reduce real estate costs, and provide employees with the flexibility to work from anywhere in the office.
A software solution can enhance collaboration among employees, improve workspace utilization, and provide real-time data on workspace availability, enabling you to make data-driven decisions about office space allocation and resource management.
Implementing office hoteling software requires careful planning and execution, including communicating guidelines and etiquette, offering a variety of workspaces, using an intuitive desk reservation system, and ensuring mobile accessibility.
You should also prioritize employee comfort by providing training, allowing for a transition period, collecting feedback, and addressing concerns.
Considering implementing office hoteling for your hybrid workplace space? Get started for free with OfficeRnD Hybrid or book a live demo with one of our workplace experts.
The terms “hoteling” and “hot desking” are often used interchangeably, but there are important differences between the two.
Hot desking typically involves the sharing of office space and workstations on a temporary or as-needed basis, with spaces distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Hoteling, on the other hand, allows employees to reserve specific workspaces in advance, typically with the aid of hoteling software.
A hoteling model is a flexible office arrangement that allows employees to reserve workspace as needed rather than be assigned a specific workstation. With a hoteling model, employees can reserve desks, offices, or meeting rooms using software, which helps to ensure that they have access to the resources they need.
This type of model is ideal for businesses with a remote or mobile workforce who don’t require fixed desks or offices or for companies that are expanding but are not in a position to buy or rent enough additional office space to meet their needs.
Office hoteling gives businesses a highly effective way to maximize the use of their office space and provide a more flexible working environment for their employees. However, it’s essential to implement a hoteling system that is user-friendly and easy to navigate to ensure that employees can easily reserve the resources they need.
As with everything in the world of business, there are risks to manage when it comes to hot desking. That’s why it’s essential to manage hot desking sensibly and ensure that employees have access to the resources they need to do their jobs effectively.
Looking for actionable office hoteling policy advice? Look no further.
Learn the pros and cons of both approaches and decide what's best for you!
Is using an desk booking template in excel is really the way to go?
These ideas will help you better manage your hot desking
Floorplan clustering can make a big difference in your desk booking. See how.
Everything you need to know about hot desking software