A local council was operating a diverse number of private hire facilities and community spaces with a mixture of manual systems and multiple management teams. It needed an accessible online system to accommodate everyone and provide digital access to services for residents.
Implementing Switch’s online event management system has made it easier for the local community to use the assets owned by the council and for the different in-house teams to manage their own facilities in one place.
From meeting rooms and wedding venues to sports facilities like football pitches, tennis courts and croquet lawns, the council offered a broad range of services within the community. Each of these were managed by several different departments, using a simple enquiry form which required manual liaison to finalise details and arrange payments.
There were different rules associated with the hire and use of facilities, which the client believed would prevent them from using an online system with live availability. For example, the space at the council headquarters was only available for public hire if it wasn’t required by the council members or associated bodies and the artificial football pitches had a variety of hire terms and different prices.
The system needed to offer priority access to the council and release spaces for live booking as the booking date became closer, yet still capture detailed enquiries for future dates. For the football pitches it meant limiting the live availability window for certain bookings, such as the whole pitch, until closer to a given date, to allow for part pitch bookings for as long as possible.
After a series of sessions to fully understand the individual assets available, the client worked with Switch to introduce instant online booking and advance payment options for all facilities and community spaces. With its fully configurable availability and pricing rules, Switch was able to capture all the different scenarios associated with each booking type and improve overall customer and team experience.
In addition, the solution needed to accommodate a number of existing long term booking commitments to ensure block or repeat bookings were honoured.
The booking revenue for the council headquarters prior to the implementation of Switch was very low as they weren’t effectively promoting the space due to council prioritisation. Revenue has now increased for this building alone by over 200% since Switch was implemented.
Other benefits have included lowering the cost to provide services by simplifying processes and providing online payment tools. Through taking payments of deposits and balances online at the time of booking, rather than invoicing and chasing after the event, bad debt levels have fallen almost 80% and also reduced the time required for credit control.
Facilities Manager, County Council
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