School holidays can bring with them weeks of exciting free time for school children and for some parents, weeks of activity planning and booking. Many parents are keen to get their child’s place on holiday clubs and activities confirmed with their local authority well in advance to help plan ahead.

In the past, booking places would have involved council staff manually answering queries, taking bookings and making amendments from often hundreds of families hoping to secure their child’s place.

This is a timely and costly process, with bookings mostly being made over the phone or face-to-face. This practice prevents office staff from carrying out their regular daily tasks as they become preoccupied confirming or amending holiday activity bookings. Relying on such an haphazard and inflexible way of booking could be losing councils money by keeping parents on hold or in a queue, unable to confirm available spaces. Without a sufficient booking system in place, the risk of human error is increased and the number of bookings that can be manually processed in one day is limited.

Incorporating an online booking system into a council website specifically for holiday activities and play scheme groups, allows real-time reporting and accurate, up-to-date information on available courses. It creates a user-friendly experience for both parents and council staff, and helps to streamline back office functions.

Elmbridge Council go live with ‘Shout!’

As part of a push to improve council services and reduce costs, Elmbridge Borough Council has purchased and recently gone live with Stopford’s full suite of booking systems. This includes: Stopford’s ‘agenda’ Appointment Booking; Facility Booking and Course & Event Booking systems.

With Stopford’s Course & Event system, Elmbridge focussed on their summer play scheme ‘Shout!’ and wanted information regarding all upcoming holiday activities, play groups and events to be available on their website and places able to be booked by parents. Through implementing the system, the council are now able to accept holiday activity bookings in advance online.

The booking system’s design is identical to the council’s website, creating a seamless transition, and has been relentlessly tested by Stopford developers and our in-house UX/UI Designer to ensure it is user-friendly. Parents are able to browse for an upcoming club or course by searching for a keyword, course code, club location or specific dates.  Available courses will appear displaying an activity summary, the number of available spaces, duration of course and the price for attending. Using the Course and Events booking system, Elmbridge can now allow parents to secure spaces on their Shout! holiday activities such as quad biking, kayaking and tennis clubs along with their play days such as teddy bears picnic and sports camps.

How it works:

Create and manage courses and events – Stopford’s system allows organisers to create an upcoming course, event, club or activity within a division

Manage divisions – Users can set required accreditations, key stages and advertising flags, including a full description of the course or activity

Manage attendees – including min/max numbers and ticket sales, the system has automatic correspondence generation with SMS and emails for booking confirmation or payment reminders

Key Benefits:

  • Reduce face-to-face interactions
  • Reduce telephone calls
  • Efficiency savings through automation
  • Reduce wasted time & over-booking
  • Reduce human error
  • Accurate reporting with built-in reporting services & customer insight
  • Improved advertising & reach
  • Increase customer engagement
  • Increased availability for customers
  • Automatic correspondence generation
  • Increase managerial insight
  • Meet digital transformation goals

For more information on our Course and Events system, or to arrange a FREE demo please contact Stopford.