In the past year I have probably looked at demos of about two dozen of
these packages at the less expensive end of the price range, and I would
say I tossed out 3/4 of them within a few minutes because they lacked one
or both of two capabilities we considered critical: 1. When a room or
service is scheduled, or a reservation is cancelled or otherwise changed,
the system must notify the appropriate parties via email. 2. You must be
able to schedule multiple services for the same event at once--for example,
reserve a room, an overhead projector, and a speaker phone.
We just purchased Meeting Room Manager from Forgent.
(http://www.netsimplicity.com/). We are still in the roll-out phase, but
obviously, we liked it enough to buy it.
We also looked very carefully at Resource Scheduler from Meeting Maker
(www.meetingmaker.com). I think this is also an excellent product, in fact
if I had to put it head to head with Meeting Room Manager I would give a
small edge to Resource Scheduler. However we passed on it because the
pricing structure was simply not supportable for us. (It was priced
according to the number of resources available for scheduling, and while a
basic package for our meeting rooms was doable, things quickly got out of
hand if we considered adding classrooms, ancillary services and equipment,
I will give a qualified nod to EMS. We formerly used it primarily to
coordinate scheduling of student housing between the business office,
security, and housekeeping. We considered their Virtual EMS web-based
product when we were ready to look at a more general campus calendar, but
we passed on it because it would not notify people when rooms or other
resources they were responsible for had been scheduled, or when the
schedule changed. They have "ticklers" for when particular items get
done.. but it doesn't notify you about your ticklers, you have to go find
out if you have any.
Having said that, if you are looking for a "back office" system to be
primarily used by events/hospitality staff, and the web-based access is
less important for you, EMS may be the package for you. In particular I
thought the invoicing capabilities were superior to any other system we
looked at. And I will also second the opinion that their technical support
is very good.
Kyle Barger Manager of Computing & Telecom Services
[log in to unmask] The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
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