fbpx
Reading:
How to Make the Switch to an Online Booking and Payment System

Image

How to Make the Switch to an Online Booking and Payment System

September 29, 2021

 

Making the switch to an online booking and payment system can deliver significant, tangible, benefits for your sports facilities. But, how do you actually make the switch? Well, keep reading and Bookteq will tell you everything you need to know! 👇

Why you should make the switch to an online booking system

Before we go into the ins and outs of switching to an online booking system, we thought we’d just reinforce the benefits of switching to a digital system in the first place.

If you’re currently using a traditional booking system, such as taking bookings over the phone and recording them in ledgers, you may be wondering if it’s worth making the switch. After all, these traditional methods have probably served you well for decades.

But simply because something has been used for decades doesn’t mean it’s the best way of doing it! 

Here are some of the key reasons why you should be switching to an online booking system for your sports facilities:

  • If you don’t, you’ll be left behind. More and more sports facilities, whether they’re run by amateur or semi-professional clubs, local authorities, or schools are moving to online booking systems. If you don’t, you’ll be falling behind your competition and losing out on bookings.
  • Consumer expectations are changing. People want booking a session at a sports facility to be as easy as ordering an Uber or placing an order on Amazon. If you’re not offering a smooth online booking journey, they’ll use sports facilities that are.
  • You’ll increase your revenue and bookings. With an online booking system, you have zero downtime and can therefore take bookings 24/7.
  • It’s easier and more secure to take payment for bookings.

Guide – for more information on why an online booking and payment system could be critical for your facilities, read our guide here.

Are sports facilities already using online booking software?

YES! Online booking software isn’t solely the realm of huge events facilities or stadia anymore. More and more sports facilities, large and small, are getting in on the act.

Local authorities, schools, universities and sports clubs are all using online booking software such as Bookteq to take bookings, payment and effectively optimise the running of their facilities.

“The booking system has reduced the amount of time spent on dealing with availability issues and increased the number of bookings overall.”
– Community Liaison Officer, Beavers Community Primary School.

See how other sports facilities are boosting their revenue and utilisation rates using online booking and payment software here.

So, now that we’ve made the case for switching to an online booking and payment system, what next?

How exactly do you make the switch? Let’s take a look…

How to switch to online booking software for sports facilities

When people bandy about words such as ‘digital transformation’, treasurers and finance managers tend to start feeling a bit twitchy… In reality, however, switching to online booking software such as Bookteq can be surprisingly simple, cost-effective and straightforward.

Here’s our step-by-step guide for switching across to an online booking platform in no time.

Record your current booking processes

Before you can start migrating everything across to a shiny new online system, you need to fully understand how you currently take and manage booking and payments.

Make sure that you involve everyone who could conceivably be involved in the booking process, from receptionists through to facilities managers and then ask the following questions:

  • How are bookings currently taken? By phone? By email? Both? How will this change when you move to an online system?
  • How will an online system affect your payment processes? Will you need to move certain customers from invoicing and debtor lists to up-front payment?
  • Will you want to offer the option of allowing customers to book online, yet make payment on arrival?
  • How will moving to an online payment system impact on your staffing requirements? Will an online system free up staff to work on other parts of your facilities? If so, what will they do?

These are just a few of the questions that you should be asking your team as you document your current booking and payment processes.

We know that there isn’t a one size fits all system when it comes to recording your current processes, but the more diligently you undertake this process, the smoother it will be.

Customer consultation

Before you ‘hit the switch’ and transfer over to an online booking and payment system, it can be helpful to survey your current customers and gauge their appetite for such a system.

You particularly want to talk to your largest, core customers ahead of any potential digital transformation of your booking system.

Be sure to explain the benefits to them, including 24/7 booking, ease of use, ability to easily modify existing bookings and more.

Pricing and payment methods

Before switching to an online payment system, you need to think about what forms of payment you want to take, and which of these payments you will want to be your primary payment solution.

Introducing the option of online payments will not only make life easier for your customers looking to make quick and simple bookings, but it’ll also have significant efficiency benefits for your organisation (you’ll have fewer and fewer invoices to chase for one thing!). You may want to start off gradually, only moving certain customers to online payment and seeing how you get on. Then, over time, you can transition to greater and greater amounts of online payments once your customers and your staff are familiar with the process.

In addition to thinking about payment methods, you’ll also want to give some consideration to pricing.

Quality online booking systems allow you to charge peak and off-peak rates, different rates for different days of the week and more. An online booking system has the flexibility to be adapted to you and your facilities’ needs, making it simple to set up a system that allows you to charge varying prices for your facilities.

Manage existing bookings

When switching across to an online booking system, you’ll want to ensure that your customers with existing bookings are taken care of.

You should communicate clearly to your existing customers that their bookings remain valid. Whether you send an email out to your customers or put a short tutorial video on your site, take some time to introduce them to the new system so they understand how to make further bookings in the future. The more familiar you can make everybody with the system, the more likely customers are to use it to book again in the future… especially after how quick and easy they see it is!

Post-launch checks

Launching your new online booking system is only the start of the story. Post launch you should be fine tuning your system and making sure that you’re making the most of all the extra features you now have at your disposal, such as ‘minimum hours per booking’ or ‘Add-ons’ to help you introduce new revenue streams through equipment hire, catering and more.

You should also be sure to make use of the additional data that you’ll be getting from the online booking system. Quality booking systems yield a surprising amount of data about your customers. So, you can use this data to create new marketing campaigns or address any issues you may not have seen before the system was put in place.

Customer support

Using an online booking and payment system really is straightforward, but with systems such as Bookteq you’ll always have a friendly customer support team on hand to answer any questions you may have.

 

Find out how Bookteq can transform your booking process today

Read more sports facilities advice and information on the Bookteq blog 

 

How to Maximise the Growth of Your Sports Facilities with Online Booking Software | Why Facility Booking Software Is Critical to Your Business | How to Market Your Sports Facility (With Little or No Budget)

Related Stories

Arrow-up