One of the difficulties Outlook users face when they are scheduling a meeting request is finding an available meeting room. Some people work around this by adding a bunch of rooms to the meeting invite so that they can see the free/busy information for them, and then remove all of them except for the one they want to keep.
That might work fine for some people but others would find it too cumbersome. Fortunately Exchange Server 2010 and Outlook 2010 make it possible for people to easily find available rooms when they are setting up a meeting invite.
In Outlook 2010 the new meeting window has a section called the Room Finder.
The Room Finder has a drop down menu to “Show a room list”. A room list is a special type of Exchange 2010 distribution group that contains room mailboxes.
When the distribution group is created using the New-DistributionGroup command an optional switch of -roomlist is used to designated it as a room list.
New-DistributionGroup "Head Office Meeting Rooms" -RoomList
After creating a room list you then add room mailboxes as members of the distribution group.
Add-DistributionGroupMember -Identity "Head Office Meeting Rooms" -Member meetingroom1 Add-DistributionGroupMember -Identity "Head Office Meeting Rooms" -Member meetingroom2
In my testing of this feature it took around 24 hours for the room list to start appearing properly in Outlook, so if you don’t see immediate results you might just need to wait a while.
After it is working properly you’ll now see the room list in the Room Finder in Outlook. It will also suggest times based on which attendees you’ve invited, and show you how many rooms in that room list are available at that time.
The Scheduling Assistant view will also show you the rooms that are members of the chosen room list, all without you having to add them individually to the meeting request. And once you have picked which room you want you simply select it in the Room Finder and it becomes the room for the meeting invite.
As you can see this makes it very simple for your users to quickly find available rooms in Outlook 2010 when they are scheduling meetings.