On the face of it, it may not seem like there are many budget-friendly ways of growing the use of your sports facilities.
Unless you invest in costly advertising campaigns or expanding your facilities, that’s about all you can do right? Wrong!
There’s actually a surprisingly simple, cost-effective way of maximising the growth of your sports facilities – the use of online booking software.
What is online booking software?
That may seem like a question with an obvious answer – but what exactly does online booking software look like in the context of a sports facility?
Well, in short, online booking software, such as Bookteq, is a system which allows you to take bookings directly through your website (say goodbye to that constantly ringing phone!), take payments, reduce admin and workload, help you manage the allocation of your facilities and more.
The more effective the online booking software, the more time you can dedicate to growing your business.
Do sports facilities already use online booking software?
The answer is a firm yes. All kinds of organisations that run sports facilities have made the decision to boost their growth and success by investing in online booking software.
Some of the types of organisations already using online booking software include:
- Professional, semi-professional and amateur sports clubs.
- Schools, Multi Academy Trusts and Universities.
- Local authorities.
- Community centres.
You can read how the use of online booking software has
How can online booking software grow your sports facilities?
Facility usage, equipment maintenance and replacement, payment processes, cash flow, advertising, customer service; all of these things have an impact on the bottom line of your organisation – and online booking software can have a positive impact on each one.
Below we’ve set out the main ways in which online booking software can help you take your sports facilities to the next level.
Manually taking bookings, dealing with enquiries and phone calls, managing payments, can all take up a considerable amount of time – time that your employees could be spending more profitably elsewhere.
Online booking systems automate a considerable part of the booking process – customers can go to your website, check when their preferred facility is available, and book it; all without needing to interact with your staff.
Collect valuable customer data and insights
How much do you know about your customers? Using online booking software allows you to gather useful customer data, from demographic details such as age and gender, through to information about which facilities are most popular amongst certain customers.
All of this data can be used to make more informed business decisions. With a solid base of data, you’ll be able to add that extra five-a-side pitch with confidence! With accurate data, you’ll know whether those rowing machines really are worth replacing!
Data gathered from online booking software can also be used to make intelligent forecasts. For example, if the data shows that you have a core of customers that visit all-year-round, and customers that visit on a seasonal basis, you can forecast your cash flow, staffing and other requirements around these insights.
Back in the day, once your reception or customer service team had gone home – you wouldn’t receive any further bookings until the next day.
With an online booking system, customers can book your facilities 24/7. As you can imagine, this can significantly increase the number of bookings your facilities can receive, boosting your revenue and throughput.
Convenience is the name of the game here. Thanks to apps such as Deliveroo, Uber and Just Eat, people are accustomed to being able to use their phone to make a booking or to place an order instantly. They don’t want to hang around until the phone lines are open the next day or wait for someone to answer an email.
Using an online booking system will bring your sports facilities into this digital ecosystem and make your customers’ booking experience as seamless as possible.
If your booking process is easy, straightforward and available 24/7, then the chances are you’ll gain more bookings – boosting your revenue. However, that’s not all. Using an online booking system reduces human error, meaning that your booking process also becomes more efficient.
Quality booking systems such as Bookteq can not only take bookings but can manage changes too. Gone are the days of editing paper ledgers and multiple phone calls to update a booking. With an online booking system, the whole process becomes much easier and more profitable.
Using an online booking system will also give your sports facilities a competitive advantage.
Well, look at it this way. If a potential customer has to choose between making a booking online in a matter of minutes, or continually trying to get through on a busy phone line – which option do you think they’ll choose?!
It’s the online booking system that wins every time.
If you’re trying to grow your sports facilities, but are competing against other local facilities, then using a system such as Bookteq can help attract and retain customers.
Secure online payments
There’s no doubt that we’re moving towards a cashless society. At the time of writing 98% of the UK population holds a debit card and by 2024 half of all payments are expected to be made by card.
So, having a booking system that can securely take online payments is not merely an optional extra, but will soon be an essential piece of kit for sports facilities.
As we pointed out earlier, people expect to be able to easily make payments for things online. The idea of having to turn up and pay cash on arrival for a booking is likely to put many people off, so using a system like Bookteq not only makes your life easier, but will increase the likelihood that people will choose to book with you in the first place.
Grow your sports facilities with Bookteq
We hope you’ve found this guide to growing your sports facilities useful. At this point, it’s hopefully clear how much of a difference online booking software could make to your sports facilities. However, if you have any questions that haven’t been answered here, please get in contact! Use our handy live chat or contact us directly.
Find out how Bookteq could give your sports facilities a boost today
Read more sports facilities advice and information on the Bookteq blog…