A Brief History of the thinkBooker Online Booking System
The past three years has seen a dramatic and exciting evolution in the thinkBooker online booking system, providing new and innovative solutions to help save time, boost productivity and generate more profitable sales.
It’s a system that has come a long way since its inception in 2012, ever innovating to meet changing business needs, and moving into new sectors with some amazing customers along the way.
Here’s a quick whistle-stop tour from that first system, to where we are today.
Genesis (Not that one!): In the beginning
- The idea that would eventually become the thinkBooker system was born within the original development team (a number of whom still work on the product today), who had spent ten years working on booking solutions within the holiday travel industry.
2012: The First Steps into Online Booking Systems
- thinkBooker is developed as a project for sports-based learning provider, CMT Learning, delivering bespoke online booking software for selling spaces on the Manchester United Residential Soccer Schools.
- By generating a year on year increase of 100%, the system was a huge success, and the launchpad for its future development
2012 – 2013: The International Debut
- Continuing the successful work with CMT Learning, the thinkBooker system for the Manchester United residential camps was fully translated into Russian, marking its first full foray onto the international scene
- This was further enhanced with the development of a multi-lingual booking system designed and developed for UK-based residential camps, run for Italian giants Juventus by CMT Learning.
2014 -2015: Sports Booking Specialists
- On the back of the huge success with the football camps system, thinkBooker established a reputation within the sport sector for delivering course and camps booking systems that delivered exceptional time-savings through the growing admin tools in the back-end dashboard and increased uptake in online bookings.
- Launch of a new booking system for Fulham Football Club Community Trust, for school holiday football camps resulting in more than 90% of all bookings being taken online
- Launch of new booking system for England Sports Group (ESG), with the system taking more than £2m revenue via its booking system and back-end application.
2015-16: Improved Features for Greater User Experience
- thinkBooker introduces season passes for ESG customers, allowing busy parents a quick and easy way to select and book their children onto any ESG run activity
- Wraparound Care, a huge factor for parents who have work commitments, and an additional source of revenue for activities providers, was introduced as an extra feature
- Launch of a new booking system for members of the exclusive Aston Martin Owners Club (AMOC), allowing members to book onto social events, and enter their cars into the prestigious AMOC Concours
- Work begins on the first phase of a new staff scheduling system (Flex) with Retail Merchandising Services (RMS)
- Launch of a new booking system for NFL franchise, Jacksonville Jaguars, helping them to increase their UK fanbase and participation through coaching academies and tournament entries
- The success of the Jacksonville Jaguars programme led to extended features, including waiting lists for events the following year and subscriber video content.
2017 – New Booking Systems and Industry Recognition
- Building on the legacy of its events and sports booking systems, thinkBooker launch a new rugby camps booking system for the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), trebling return on investment in the first few weeks after Go Live
- A new booking system is developed to help improve customer experience and operational efficiency, and provide a new, effective solution for managing capacity in the executive lounge at Cardiff Airport
- The thinkBooker online booking system wins first prize in the Best Emerging Technology category at the WalesOnline Awards
2017 (Again): thinkBooker and the Retail Sector
- Working in collaboration with RMS, the Flex system is fully launched into the business, and continues to develop through a series of agile sprints.
- thinkBooker is commissioned by global luxury fashion giant, Farfetch, to deliver a booking and scheduling system for personal shopping services at iconic London boutique, Browns.
2018: More Booking Systems, More Sectors, More Awards
- Launch of a new room booking system and website for London Meeting Rooms (LMR), providing an online and multichannel booking journey that allows customers to search, book and pay for meeting rooms across central London, as well as adding extras such as catering and equipment to a single transaction. The system helped LMR achieve a 65% reduction in manual admin in the first year.
- Launch of a new website and booking system for Pro Shot Golf Club, combining a facility booking system with a new membership feature, allowing clients to book virtual golf bays as well as sign up as a club member.
- thinkBooker is appointed by the FAW Trust to develop a booking and facilities management system for football pitches and rooms at the Dragon Park training centre in South Wales.
- For the second year running, thinkBooker claims a prize at the WalesOnline Digital Awards, claiming top honours as Best Ecommerce System 2018.
- Cardiff Airport Executive Lounge is further developed to integrate with CRM solution thinkCRM, Holiday Extras and Frequent Flyer Schemes
2018 (Again): The Cloud and Compliance
- Continuing the development roadmap and feature enhancement, thinkBooker moves to Azure cloud, introducing high availability and massive scalability for business critical clients.
- thinkBooker also introduces a new GDPR tool to assist client requests for data anonymisation, portability, or erasure.
2019: Education and Innovation
- The advantages and versatility of the modern and ever-developing thinkBooker booking system lends itself naturally to the multi-faceted needs of the education sector. A new booking system and MIS integration project was introduced to leading online independent school InterHigh, for their learning on demand services. This has been followed up with new commissions for room and resource booking systems for FE & HE establishments in South Wales, due to go live later in 2019.
- The continued evolution of the Flex staff scheduling system with RMS has continued, becoming an integral and marketing-leading software solution in retail merchandising. The system has helped RMS dramatically improve resource efficiency and has played a pivotal role in helping to retain and win contracts with major retailers. Flex has also been short-listed for two prizes at the 2019 Retail Systems Awards.
A think for the Future
The thinkBooker proposition has come a long way since its early inception as a camps booking system’ although much of the underlying philosophy remains from those initial developments.
A philosophy underpinned by listening to the customer’s requirements, and adapting the core features of thinkBooker beyond a generic booking solution to become a critical component of a business, helping improve efficiencies in operations and generate better, more profitable engagements with customers.
From function-rich, tailor-made booking systems for courses, events, rooms or resources, to appointments, consultations or full blown staff and resource management, thinkBooker continues to evolve, working with our clients to continually provide solutions to the changing challenges faced, regardless of size or sector.
Find out more by signing up to receive a copy of our white paper: 5 Steps to a Better Booking System, here