Facilitron released the ability to “suspend” a reservation to assist facility owners with tracking data on scheduled events disrupted by the SARS CoV-2 health crisis. It raised several legitimate questions from facility managers such as, what’s the difference between canceling and suspending a reservation?

We have the answers.

Why should facility owners like school districts "suspend" a reservation rather than simply canceling or declining it?

Canceling a reservation cancels the event and removes the data from district reports. While acceptable in most cases, during a state of emergency tracking all response related costs and lost revenue is critical. The coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the U.S. in March and most organizations had their fiscal years come to an end in June, yet the pandemic has continued. For budgeting purposes, accounting for lost revenue in the new fiscal year is important. Data on suspended reservations can also be used by any organization with “business interruption insurance” to recoup lost revenue. Once restrictions have loosened, suspended reservations can be reactivated in order to repurpose and reschedule events where possible.

What is the benefit of suspending rather than canceling reservations?

By suspending reservation requests, facility owners preserve the integrity of their data, establish a priority order for repurposing events at a later date, and allow for comprehensive reporting on the interruption of business and financial impact from COVID-19. When it comes to updating your budget, applying for reimbursement, and planning for the return to normal, it’s all about data!

How can Facilitron help?

Facilitron will continue to post information on district rental sites regarding district policy as dictated by emergency response to the coronavirus. We will also continue to monitor incoming reservation requests and will automatically suspend any reservation request received if access is restricted. Facilitron will provide training on suspend reports, share best practices from our network of districts, and keep renters in the loop. Once restrictions on group activities are lifted, Facilitron will reach out to all renters and work to reschedule affected events.

Why should a school district keep availability open when we know we don't want groups on our sites?

Keeping availability open benefits the school district in two ways. First, when planning future budget reports, the district can share a list of suspended reservations that may be repurposed in the future. This list not only portrays lost revenue, but also provides a comprehensive group of renters and events desired in your community. Once the facilities are available for rent again, Facilitron can reach out to renters with suspended reservations and work to reinstate much of those revenue producing events. Second, during the pandemic, there may be the need for Red Cross shelters, Points of Dispensing, testing sites, or other emergency endeavors. By keeping availability open, emergency response teams can apply for site use (much of which is spelled out in comprehensive school safety plans or joint use agreements) which in turn tracks all response related costs endured by the district. In many cases, county offices of emergency services can provide some form of reimbursement, as can FEMA and other emergency grants.

How can Facilitron help?

Facilitron will continue to monitor incoming reservation requests and will work with emergency management requests and school districts on providing what the community needs in a safely managed way. Everything will be recorded and tracked for future reporting.

Why is it important for facility owners to track all expenses and revenue loss due to the coronavirus?

Best practices evolve from data that is collected and analyzed in order to better handle situations in the future. During a worldwide pandemic, it will be critical to understand the fiscal impact on school districts—including loss of revenue as well as expenses generated by the use of facilities during a crisis. Following a state of emergency, there are sometimes opportunities to recoup some of those funds but only if the documentation is accurate and accessible.

How can Facilitron help?

Facilitron has developed two features to track all COVID-related expenses and revenue loss: entity tags and the suspend status. Internal events such as meal distribution or testing sites can be tagged with an entity tag such as "COVID Response" to give districts the ability to track hours of utilization and the expense associated with each activity. With Facilitron's suspend status for external reservations, districts will be able to easily pull data on events that have been affected by the coronavirus and monitor the financial impact of the interruption of community use of facilities.