As Universities and similar institutes look to find new streams from which to generate the revenue they need, we take a look at the ways in which a robust course booking system can offer sustainable value.
Like many sectors across the UK, the past decade has presented Higher Education (HE) and Universities with a number of challenges around finance, facilities and resource management.
The volatile political landscape that we’ve seen post the 2016 EU Referendum has led to uncertainty over future funding. This is set against the increasing demand for campuses to invest in and modernise their facilities; with high student fees increasing the expectation for quality that students (and their parents) have.
It means a growing challenge for Universities to seek new commercial initiatives as a means to generate ongoing and sustainable income streams. One such channel that has long been a staple for HE income generation is, unsurprisingly, in the provision of professional training and educational courses to the private and public sectors.
This is where the utilisation of technology solutions such as digital and online booking systems come to the fore. Indeed, universities represent one of the largest players when it comes to commercial training courses.
But the market is dense and the competition can be fierce. Meaning that institutions such as universities need to be maximising their offering, in the most customer friendly and cost-efficient way.
Which is where a powerful, tailored booking system can help save time, improve the experience and increase the flow of profitable income.
A Simple Booking Journey
First and foremost, with any booking system, the value comes in the simplicity it provides the user. Providing long-winded booking processes that remain heavy on the admin and the hoops that need to be jumped through can be a frustration sufficient enough to put potential customers off and ultimately not taking a place on your course.
Similarly, the journey needs to work for the customer, on the device they want to use, at a time that suits them.
Professional courses you may be offering, but we are moving away from a 9-5 working world and your booking system needs to reflect this.
A booking system, available 24/7, that offers a simple and fast means to finding a place on the course not only helps to increase the bookings but also encourages customers to return for future courses.
Don’t Neglect Your University Brand
Universities across the world take a pride in their personal culture and philosophies – all of which will be reflected in the messages they convey and, importantly in the brand identity.
This cannot be stressed enough for universities selling training in a non-academic market.
If you are a reputed institution of learning then your brand needs to be reinforced at every turning; including your booking system and associated communications.
Don’t send your customers to a non-descript booking platform that’s not reflective of your brand. It’s the pathway to drop-outs and lost revenue.
Saving Your Staff Time
Business development can be a major challenge for a commercial services team at a university, where all too often the staff are not only tasked with generating the business and the new delegates but also with the administration of courses as well.
How have you got time to create new business and revenue if you are spending huge portions of your week compiling course registers, posting invoices or sending emails to confirm or remind delegates of their places.
These are all the ‘heavy-lifting’ tasks that your course booking system should be taking care of, so that your team are focused on delivering the best courses, generating the right kind of engagement and fostering relationships with clients.
Future Course Bookings
Successful revenue streams like professional training can’t rely on the one-off booking, but rather the returning client and repeat business that can scale upwards in the long-term.
Automating processes such as course registers, booking confirmations and payments all free up your staff’s time to put more energy into business development and relationship building. Making it quick and easy to create new courses in the system through simple cloning can further add to this effective use of time.
Add to this the inclusion of a secure CRM database, and your booking system should be providing you with a source of data that fuels your future marketing efforts, helping you to deliver personalised offers to those who have been on your courses previously. Keeping your customers satisfied, engaged and disinclined to go anywhere else for their training.
At thinkBooker, we specialise in online booking systems for training courses, classes, activities and events – optimised for efficiency, growth and ongoing client satisfaction.
Read more about how bookings can positively impact Universities and educational settings below: