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Bristol 2015 and BookingLive: Booking software for courses

BRISTOL 2015 LTD is the company set up to facilitate Bristol’s year as European Green Capital. As part of the year of celebration, Bristol has embraced its environmentally friendly accolade with open arms to create a healthier, happier city. For the first time in the history of the European Green Capital award there is a schools programme to engage the next generation of the city in sustainability and work together to improve our communities.

With 116 schools in Bristol able to take part in five free sustainability workshops, there was a challenge of sharing availability with schools, as well as minimising the administration work that comes with each individual booking.

The driving force for searching for an online booking system that was fit for purpose was to recognise that teachers have a limited amount of time to make bookings and often will work online after office hours and at weekends. Bristol 2015 needed a powerful management system in place to deal with these bookings in a professional and efficient way.

Jo Taylor, Head of Education, set about looking for a comprehensive booking system for Bristol 2015's sustainability workshops. She came across a few providers, but BookingLive stood out due to being based in Bristol. Not only was BookingLive's local HQ a selling point, but the software itself provided an availability calendar and the ability to split the day. This meant Bristol 2015 could provide both morning and afternoon sessions, as well as offering a degree of flexibility to be able to fine tune the system to work for the company.

Bristol 2015's free sustainability workshops were set up with teachers in mind. Jo explains "as teachers don't have much time, rather than having to phone during office hours and speak through school secretaries, we wanted to provide teachers with the ability to book online."

"Theoretically, teachers can set their class some work, open our website and fill out the short booking form, or do it at the end of the day or weekend when they are planning ahead. This has worked really well and teachers have said they like the flexibility of booking when they want."

Ease of use is not the only positive result Bristol 2015 have seen since implementation of BookingLive. Jo shared that "our launch was a real success and was well received, even the mayor of Bristol was there. In just 3 weeks we'd taken over 60 bookings, with 4,200 kids attending our workshops. We're really happy about this and are confident in the booking system to ensure that everything runs smoothly".

"BookingLive is really great at allowing us to capture as much data as possible at the point of booking. As teachers are often hard to contact, it's great to get as much from them as we can while we have their attention!".

Bristol 2015 use their booking system differently to most other BookingLive clients, as they do not process payments due to providing free workshops. This allowed Bristol 2015's booking system to be set-up in just a week.

Jo was happy with the speed of set-up, adding that "BookingLive were great at hiding all signs of payment from the customer end, so we were not misleading teachers or causing confusion. A survey we sent out to customers came back with responses that the booking process was simple and straightforward".

When asked about their favourite BookingLive software features, Jo responded saying "the customer side of BookingLive is great and the colour-coded booking calendar definitely increases usability".

Looking forwards, Bristol 2015 are aiming to continue the sustainability workshops after the summer holidays. Despite its name, Bristol 2015 is a 3 year programme overall so there will be plenty of opportunities for Bristol 2015 to make full use of BookingLive.


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