Conference room mailboxes are a useful way to book conference rooms (or other conference-room like resources - shared conference call numbers, for example) for meetings and other events. This guide builds on Microsoft's technical article on how to create room mailboxes with a couple of best-practice approaches.
It's best to agree on a naming convention for your resource mailboxes up-front. Here's what i use across my Exchange Online configurations:
|Alias||res-[resource type]-[geolocation]-[short name]||res-confrm-phl-visitors1||No spaces or special characters allowed. This will become your conf-room's email address (not that you'll ever actually use it)|
|Name||Conf Room: - [geolocation] - [longer name]||Conf Room - PHL: 1st Floor Visitors Large||This will be displayed in the address book and Outlook. It can be longer than the alias, but don't make it too long as the right side of the name will be cut off in Outlook (just because of practical display sizes and widths). Microsoft recommends adding important information (such as size) into the name as that's what is shown in the Address book. Yes, there's a Location and Capacity field, too, but those aren't immediately visible.|
It's readable, scriptable, findable, et cetera. Some people like to add a special character as the first character in the display name (for grouping purposes, for example). I tend to avoid doing so as that may cause unknown issues down the road if your special character isn't supported by Microsoft or a 3rd party tool. Besides, if you always start your conference room names with Conf Room - they'll all be grouped together anyway. If you only have one office and never ever plan on having another one, you can skip geolocation. If you're not sure, use one anyway - 3 or 4 characters is enough to differentiate between most locations. By locations here i don't mean office buildings, i mean states or cities or other locales. You can embed building name or number in the [short name] placeholder, or add one more placeholder if you like.
Steps to create the room mailbox
- Sign in to the Microsoft Online Portal
- Click on the Manage link under Exchange on the Admin Home Page (this opens up the Exchange Control Panel, or ECP)
- In the Exchange Control Panel, select Manage My Organization > Users & Groups > Mailboxes.
- Click New and in the drop-down list, select Room Mailbox.
- In the * Room name field, enter res-confrm-[geolocation]-[short name]. Don't worry, you'll change it to the more readable version later.
- Fill out the Location, Phone, Capacity fields
- Choose the Booking requests options.
- Automatically accept or decline booking requests
- A valid meeting request automatically reserves the room. If there's a scheduling conflict with an existing reservation, or if the booking request violates the scheduling limits of the room, for example, the meeting duration is too long, the meeting request is automatically denied.
- Select delegates to accept or decline booking requests
- The delegates are responsible for accepting or declining meeting requests that are sent to the room mailbox. If you assign more than one resource delegate, only one of them has to act on a specific meeting request. To add a delegate, click Add. In the Select Delegates page, select a user, click Add, and then click OK to return to the Room Mailbox page. To remove a delegate, select the user and then click Remove.
- When you are finished, click Save.
Note Sometimes, when creating a new mailbox, step 7.2 will not work until Exchange Online has had time to actually create the mailbox. If you get error messages about delegates or delegates aren't added, wait a day or so and try again. If it still doesn't work - submit a helpdesk ticket and we'll try to figure out what's going on!