Office Hoteling

Office Hoteling for Your Dynamic Office

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Before the pandemic of 2020, flexible work was already a key workplace strategy for many organizations. Now that more employees were forced to work from home, and proved they could do it well, more companies are implementing increased flexibility for when and where employees can work.

The 9-to-5 office life may soon be retired.

According to a recent survey, 75% of employees would like to work from home at least one day a week. And companies have seen the benefits of employees’ ability to work from anywhere, including home, office or some other off-site location. Businesses can be more resilient, employees have more flexibility, and both can save money.

Global Workplace Analytics reports that:

We also know that many employees work away from the office on a regular basis, whether for an off-site meeting, work travel, or a contracting role. That leaves those desk empty about 60% of the time, on average.

graphs and two piggy banks illustrating the statistics mentioned in the above paragraph
A flexible workplace means offering a way for employees to work when and where it’s best for them on a given day. And, if managed properly, employees can actually be more productive, and a company can save money by downsizing their office space while still offering the workspaces their employees need. Read on to learn more about what office hoteling is and its benefits, the features to look for when researching desk booking systems for your company, and the best practices to take when implementing and managing your office hoteling program.

Table of Contents

What is Office Hoteling?

Office hoteling is a flexible workplace practice that allows employees to use a reservation system to find and claim a workspace or resources, on-demand and for a specified period of time, to fit their working needs. In a dynamic workplace, it is often used alongside, or as an alternative to traditional permanent seating.

Hoteling allows employees to choose where they work best, depending on their needs for the day. It also gives them the opportunity to work in collaborative areas or near their teammates, making it easy to be productive and engaged.

Businesses that implement an agile office hoteling program can see benefits for both themselves and their employees.

What Are the Benefits of Office Hoteling?

a girl at her desk smiling

For Employees

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For the Company

How to Create an Effective Office Hoteling Program

Implementing a new workplace strategy can feel interruptive for your employees and workplace operations, so it is imperative to have a plan in place to make the transition smooth.

  1. Communicate changes quickly and clearly.
    Shifting to hoteling requires new ways of thinking about both work and the office. Employees comfortable with dedicated workspaces need to understand hoteling’s benefits. An ongoing communication effort – including success stories, best practices, and innovative applications – will help various employee audiences successfully embrace the system. 
  2. Develop hoteling standards. Avoid confusion and instill habits by creating a consistent experience for users. Set standards such as terminology, business rules for users and reservable workspaces, and processes for how hotelers can find space for the day or seek support and assistance. 
  3. Create a consistent experience, but offer choices. When employees need to be in the office, their ability to quickly find the right place to work should be the same, whether they have access to one or multiple facilities. They should be able to expect several seating options to meet their different workstyles and be able to claim those spaces from one system. They should also know exactly how to use the booking system, no matter the interface they’re using. Mobile Apps for on-the-go bookings, browser access for ahead of time planning, or on-site Kiosk bookings are all easy ways for your employees to find the best place to work.
  4. Support your hoteling program with innovative, yet easy-to-use, technology. Effective hoteling programs depend on a capable workplace booking system that provides features employees can rely on to find the workspaces and office resources they need. The booking software should be quick to implement and use and should offer a variety of interfaces and integrations to create a seamless workplace experience for your employees. 

What You Should Look for When Researching Desk Booking Systems

Your Office Hoteling program needs a desk booking software that makes employees’ and administrators’ lives easier.

Employee Ease-of-Use

Employees can easily claim and reserve workspaces, conference rooms and resources from their mobile devices, desktops, or by using well-known integrations like Microsoft Outlook, and more.

Enhanced Admin Tools & Analytics

Admins get to sit back and relax because all office resources (workspaces, meeting rooms, parking, lockers, wellness rooms, and equipment, etc.) are now managed on one platform. You also get a platform that collects and provides data and analytics to help make important, and sometimes difficult decisions.

desk with a laptop that shows the front page of Forum, AgilQuest's office hoteling system

Fast Implementation and User Adoption

The desk booking system you get should make it easy for your company to implement and use. It’s there to help your company create a flexible, agile workplace, track office usage, and manage workspaces and conference rooms effortlessly in the short-term. And in the long-term, can help you save money on real estate and reduce your company’s environmental footprint.

So, let’s look into the features of your ideal desk booking software!

5 Interface Options for Your Office Hoteling Program

With your desk booking software, there are several ways to easily reserve your workspace in advance, find your teammates, see if a workspace is being used, or claim a space instantly when you’re walking through the office.

someone working on their laptop that shows the front page of Forum, AgilQuest's office hoteling system


The desktop platform feels familiar and looks a lot like websites you’re already used to (think AirBnB or Kayak). It is easy to use and lets you quickly create a reservation, find a particular office location, or search for a room with a certain amenity. You can also locate your teammates and let them know what you are up to with status updates.

someone using their mobile app to access Forum, AgilQuest's Office Hoteling System

Mobile App

With a mobile app, you can find and reserve workspaces on the go. Whether you want to reserve your favorite space for the week, on the train heading into work, or visiting an out of town office, the mobile app makes it convenient to find the best place to work and collaborate from anywhere.

Two people working with a desk sign showing that workspace is in use

Desk Signs

Desk Signs can be interactive or non-interactive, and are a reasonably-priced hardware option that syncs with the platform to indicate space availability, who booked the space, and any other necessary information, such as if the space has been cleaned between use.

someone on their phone using the QR code feature of Forum, AgilQuest's Office Hoteling System, to reserve a workspace

QR Codes

QR Codes are a non-interactive, free hardware option that can be placed outside each desk, office, collaboration space or conference room. Using your software’s mobile app, you’re able to scan the QR Code to see if the room is available, then claim it for however long you need.

someone using a lobby kiosk to see the office floorplan and reserve a workspace


A centralized option for reception areas, lobbies, and other common areas, kiosks allow employees to quickly find available workspace, locate a coworker, view a floorplan, or manage current reservations as soon as they enter a building or floor.

Easy User Experience

Top Features for the End User

Find a room using your favorite view option.
View and create a reservation using any of the three view options: Interactive Floorplan, Calendar view, and List view. See when the room is available with calendar view. Make it easy to find the perfect workspace or conference room location with the Floorplan view. And search the list of rooms that have a certain amenity or attribute with the List view.

laptop on desk showing a floorplan view on Forum, AgilQuest's Office Hoteling System.
three people working at a whiteboard together

Find a teammate or colleague for quick collaboration or just to stay connected.
Choose your favorite coworkers so you can know where they’re sitting and what they’re up to the second you log on to your workplace management platform.
Or search for a certain coworker when you need to quickly find where they are sitting, their status, and any upcoming reservations they may have.
Keep your boss and coworkers in-the-know. Update your status to let everyone know if you’re on vacation, working from home, or in a meeting.  Plus, it’s easy to see what everyone else is doing when they, too, update their statuses.

Easily locate a space or building without wandering aimlessly.
Live Google Maps provides an exact location, Street View, and live directions to help you find a new or unfamiliar location.  This is great for organizations with many locations.
Live floorplan views show the location of a space on its floor, surrounding space and amenities, availability, and if the space is reserved and by whom.


Easy Administration - API & Integrations

Top Features for Admin

access control system icon

Hoteling systems only work when there is some confirmation of presence.  Just like checking-in to a hotel room, employees need to check in to their workspace bookings. Asking employees to check-in to every booking can be met with resistance, but an integration with an access control system provides the perfect solution. Upon badging into a building, bookings can be automatically checked-in and the employee can go about their day with no further action.

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Create a seamless workplace experience by integrating with other systems used by your organization, such as HR Management systems, smart buildings and other building systems, Exchange/Outlook, and others. 

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Easy Data management that includes automated and bulk uploads and changes

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Easy implementation, minimal training required

icon of restful api

Open RESTful API allows organization to create any number of integrations that may be required

Business & Configuration Rules

Top Features for Admin

Create and Manage User and Asset Groups

Apply rules to groups of people and to groups of assets (workspaces, equipment, services, amenities)

If IT has their own “neighborhood” of workspaces, grant access to only those IT users to reserve that space.  Even set specific times in which groups of employees can book to maintain occupancy levels.   

three employees walking through the office

Physical distance & Staggered Schedule options

Incorporate the“new normal.” Your office hoteling program can work to make a floorplan that includes physically distanced desks, staggered employee schedules, bookings that remove neighboring spaces from availability, and more. With your software, you can create a contact-less workplace, measure presence and utilization, trace and verify who comes in and out of the office, and work to comply with the new OSHA guidelines.

two employees at distanced desks with masks on

Ensure people are using the rooms they have reserved.

With features like auto-cancel and grace periods, reser­vations must be checked-in to or they’ll be removed so that others can reserve and use the space. This feature not only prevents space from sitting unused, but also gives the most accurate presence and utilization data for organizations to make those strategic space decisions.

employee at whiteboard talking to two other employees who are sitting down


Top Features for Admin

You can’t have an effective office hoteling program without real-time, actionable data to help the organization continue to make improvements to the hoteling/workplace program, space utilization and ultimately overall employee and organizational productivity and efficiency.

Use your desk booking software to answer questions like,

1. What is the average use of workspaces each day?
2. What kind of workspaces are used most often?
3. Where is Kathy sitting at the moment?
4. Which location was Brian in most last month?

The measurement of actual utilization of your space, as well as the actual presence and location of your people over time, is collected consistently, continuously, and systematically to produce an accurate and actionable data set. Then that raw data is turned into valuable answers for corporate real estate executives, space planners, workplace strategists, facility management, and human resources strategists.

Whether you are deciding if you need new office space, want to add more collaborative areas, or want to see which employees would benefit from part- or full-time remote work, the data from your software will help with those decisions.

Office Hoteling Best Practices

Once you’ve chosen your desk booking software, implementing it is easy. It should require only minimal IT support, training the end users should be practically unnecessary and, although the admins jobs should be straightforward, your software provider can offer admin training to help them excel at using it.

With your software implemented, there are some best practices you can follow to make the switch seamless.

Get employees excited before the switch.

Set communication standards and document the policy.

Offer a variety of spaces.

Provide attractive, efficient workspaces.

Make cleaning workspaces a breeze.

Utilize cloud filing and storage.

Enable Auto-Bumping.

Prepare for short/impromptu visits.

Go through each of the above practices in detail in our blog post: Office Hoteling Best Practices.

Want to Take this Hoteling Information With you?

We bundled all of this office hoteling information into a 15 page guide just for you! Fill out the form below to grab your copy now. And if you want to see our desk booking system in action, set up a demo here.

a gif of a look inside the office hoteling guide