Plymouth University

Plymouth University Case Study

The decision to move to a real time online booking system came at the same time as we went through a complete overhaul of the sports centre department. The need to move to an online booking system was there from when the building was opened in 2008 however it was not until 2013 that the Sports Booker online system was purchased and implemented.

Our old booking system was made up of several excel spreadsheets updated manually by the staff at the sports centre. This meant that customers of the sports centre either had to personally call into the sports centre to book a court or class or try to telephone.

As a result there were many challenges, the old system was extremely time consuming. It was fraught with errors and given the numbers of customers we had, it was completely impracticable for daily use. It really did not serve the need of the sports centre and gave a bad image to the service we were providing.

We carefully identified our requirements, with the overriding aim of providing a booking system that would reduce the administration undertaken by staff, particularly when trying to manage and book people onto courses or activities, and give our customers a good experience.

We finally decided that by providing a real time online booking system we could “overnight” improve the way that people could access the sports facilities and as a result provide a much improved customer service and customer experience to all users.

I had previously evaluated other booking systems with “online Modules” during my time at the University of Plymouth, including Gladstone and the Scuba booking systems. However we were introduced to Sports Booker by our Commercial Manager, who in conjunction with Fidelity Systems sought new operating systems which could be implemented after the transfer of the sports department to the Students Union in 2012.

We started to evaluate Sports Booker and found it was a completely cloud based system, however it fully integrated with the Fidelity tills. This meant that through using Sports Booker and Fidelity Systems, we could provide a retail EPOS till solution and Online Booking system which would fully support the needs of the service. We also found the costs of Sports Booker was significantly less than other systems and the decision to purchase was made.

Having implemented and run the system for a couple of years we have found that Sports Booker has a number of advantages not least the simplicity of the layout of Sports Booker which makes it easy for users and operators to follow.
We have also found the traffic light use for classes that are nearly full, works really well and is easy to spot if and when there are spaces on any of our classes.
The real-time booking system gives all users the ability to open an account and book and use our facilities with very little fuss and that is crucial as I’m very keen that our core market (students) can utilise and use the system simply and easily.

A couple of years on and as a result of using Sports Booker we have managed to reduce the burden on staff and reduced costs, as well as improve customer satisfaction and increase our business – In fact massively!!
Sports booker has released the pressure on our front reception desk which was a real bottle neck for people using the sports centre. Also by allowing users to book classes/courts themselves we have saved an enormous amount of manpower which I have been able to utilise within different areas of the Sports Centre.

There are always challenges when moving to a new system, not least the switch from using excels spreadsheets to a real time online booking system, proved to be a steep learning curve for me and all the staff.

As a cloud based booking system Sports Booker provides some real benefits as we know we are always on the latest software platform and it continues to evolve which is great, however this can occasionally be demanding. What we have found is that Sports Booker does provide a brilliant support service answering most questions within the day no matter what they are!

Statistically we are able to provide clear and accurate analysis on all our activities and members very quickly whereas in the past this has been a laborious task.

Most important is that feedback from users has been very good. We often received compliments of how accessible the site is and how easy it is to use and the development and launch of the mobile App by Sports Booker will only enhance this.

Financially we have over achieved in the last two years with more members, more classes and more people using our facilities. Sports Booker makes our job easier which in turn lets our member’s access and uses our facilities to their maximum potential.

In all Sports Booker has made an enormous difference and improved the quality of business and our service, It’s been a real success story.

Dave Furniss - Sports Centre Manager - UPSU

Sports Booker Features

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