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When we’re working on a new booking system for our clients, not only do we need to take into consideration their specific needs, but also, we must consider the needs of their customers. After all, these are the people who will be using the front end of the system; the people who’ll be accessing the booking form and placing their order.
What’s important to them, therefore, needs to be important to the company. And important to us.
Considerations such as wraparound care.
It’s a term you’ll predominantly find used in relation to childcare facilities; be that a school, nursery, playgroup, or a club providing activities or coaching outside of school hours. Where such a facility is responsible for the care of your child between certain set hours (8:30 – 3:00, for instance), the wraparound care would be a service provided by the facility to provide additional care time outside of these hours – before and / or after the official times.
In a school, this is typically provided in the form of a breakfast club, or after-school club activities; meaning a child can arrive at school an hour or so earlier than the start time, or remain in school for a similar time afterwards, affording parents the peace of mind that their children are safe, and being well-cared for.
It can be a big deal for many family dynamics where the parents are in full-time employment and have limited or no other additional care support (from a grandparent or similar).
And, while this is a facility we’ve come to expect from the school system, it’s a service that can be extended into the private sector, as well – providing a useful selling point for sports clubs, drama groups, or activity centres offering different experiences for specific interests outside of school hours. Particularly during the holiday periods.
Most towns and cities across the UK will tend to have a facility or company that offers 5-a-side football courts; usually outdoor centres comprising multiple 3G pitches. During the weeks (after normal working hours) the courts will be used to host various adult football leagues.
However, an additional revenue stream will more often than not come from putting on daytime coaching and fun sessions for school kids during the holidays. Great for all those budding Neymars or Steph Houghtons. And really great for their parents, as it solves a childcare problem.
Typically, the sessions will be either a morning (9-12) or an afternoon (1-4) with the option perhaps to book one or both sessions.
But what if the parent needs care from 8:30 until 5pm?
This is where the provision of wraparound care becomes a key selling point and value-adding service to the client.
Of course, it’s not an issue exclusive to football clubs. Take a look around the internet at the raft of different activities available to kids during the holidays and you might find arts, acting, dance, singing, science and technology, or specialist groups for online gaming, computer skills, or rock climbing.
However, when you do look at many of the websites for these clubs and groups, it’s not uncommon to find little to no mention of any wraparound care provision.
It may be something that’s offered on request, but it’s not something that’s brought to public attention.
And rarely is it incorporated into the online booking process.
But given that this is a service that many parents place great stock and value in, doesn’t it make sense to incorporate it into their booking journey when they come onto your site?
At thinkBooker we try to place as much emphasis on the think as we do on the booker; trying to think like the end-user customer. What they want, what’s of value to them. It’s why we try to make a system that’s fast, and simple to use on remote devices – to make life easier for the customer.
And it’s why we think about the added value provisions as part of the process, not as a well-kept secret, only revealed upon asking.
Such as wraparound care.
If it’s a service you provide, and something that your customers value, then look to place this within the booking journey. If you can accommodate an early drop-off or late pick-up, don’t wait to be asked, offer it as an option or extra service.
Your booking system should be more than just a functional service. It’s a powerful marketing tool, a means to promote your organisation and your brand, providing value-adding services, and demonstrating that you know the things that matter to your customers.
Posted by Craig Delonnette on
7 August 2017 at 12:00 AM
booking systems for childcare, online booking, wraparound care
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