How Booking Systems Can Improve Student Experience Post-Covid
Creating a positive student experience has long been a vital factor for the success, sustainability and reputation of any university or similar institution. And it’s going to be one of the many challenges that needs to be faced in the wake of the 2020 global pandemic. In this article we take a look at the role that booking systems can play in helping deliver an experience that will meet student expectations over the coming year and how this may shape best practice in the years that follow.
Universities pride themselves on providing a life-shaping student experience based on quality of teaching, facilities and social environment.
Like almost every other sector of society, the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic has meant a major rethink, not only on how to deliver quality education programmes, but also how to reshape day-to-day campus life in a way that minimises the impact on the student experience.
And while this may entail introducing a range of short-term measures, it’s a moment that also presents an opportunity to make changes to benefit the student and the university in the long-term.
Safe Access to Facilities and Resources
While restrictions may be in place for some time to come, it’s clear that students will want and, in many cases, need access to facilities, resources or locations.
It’s therefore on the universities to provide this access in a way that’s in compliance with safety regulations, but also quick, easy and convenient for the student.
Consider, for instance, study areas across the typical campus.
It may have been typical for universities to allow students to simply ‘rock up’ to one of the many study zones, find a free desk and get to work. Well, the pandemic will likely have put paid to that scenario.
Introducing a process that allows students to book a space for a set period of time will almost certainly be a mandatory requirement in the short-term, to ensure social distancing, occupancy control and track and trace requirements.
But how do you manage this process?
Doing it manually (by phone, text or email) is impractical and inconvenient.
A typical university could have upwards of 1000 study spaces (perhaps more). Managing booking slots for each is time-consuming and admin heavy for staff; slow and a something of a hassle for the student.
Consider instead an online system that manages availability of all resources in real-time; that offers a fast, convenient way for a student to find and book a slot. And which sends the student confirmation and reminder emails and text messages.
A booking system that removes all admin burdens from staff, and makes it easy for the student.
A booking system for different facilities, services and time-slots
Of course, booking study space is just one of many applications that would benefit from a versatile, user-friendly booking system.
- Appointments with student councellors or other members of staff
- Room bookings
- Equipment hire
- Sports facilities
- Time-slots for practical sessions
- Events and Open Days
- Courses and training sessions
The danger, when there are so many things that may suddenly require a more rigorous booking process, is that you get a different system for every different service. While this may be costly, it’s also disjointed and potentially confusing to the student, and fraught with inefficiency for the university.
Bringing these services onto the same platform can provide a consistency that makes life easier for all, and demonstrates to the student that their needs are being placed front and centre.
Automated services will be an expectation of good student experience
Demand for booking systems has risen in recent months, with organisations such as universities exploring them as a means of getting back to business in the pandemic.
And, while they absolutely provide a solution for the current circumstances, their true value when it comes to student experience should be viewed in the long-term.
Students arriving at universities will almost certainly come with an expectation that services should be available at their fingertips.
After all, why wouldn’t they?
They can book food delivery, taxis, travel, gym classes, football pitches, events and just about anything else you care to imagine on their phone.
Does it not stand to reason that they would expect the same of the facilities and services at their university?
If you’d like to find out more about the thinkBooker booking system and how its versatile platform can be applied to enhance student experience at your university, please get in touch via our contact form.