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Chris Smith, Head of Kajima Community, discusses how its BookingsGuru service can make letting out your school facilities easier in the COVID-19 era…
Many schools have benefitted in the past by opening up their facilities to bookings from clubs and sports groups, building connections with the wider community and creating additional revenue streams that can be invested in new educational resources, buildings and site improvements.
In the wake of COVID-19, the importance of school venues to our communities – not only as a place of learning, but as place to come together – has never been clearer.
But now, more than ever before, managing lettings effectively can be hard work without the right support.
As we all get used to the ‘new normal’ and guidance from UK Government, local authorities and sporting bodies continues to evolve, schools are increasingly turning to lettings management solutions for support, to introduce new efficiencies and free up time for other priorities.
Letting out facilities can be time intensive, especially without a cohesive and efficient bookings and invoicing system in place.
Often, as a result, business managers who are responsible for overseeing lettings are not able to focus on the most important matters to their schools.
But with BookingsPlus from Kajima Community, schools can capitalise on their exceptional facilities without the administrative burden that has come with this in the past.
Particularly in the wake of COVID-19, a complete in-housing lettings management solution has never been more valuable for schools and their hirers.
For example, COVID-19 safety guidelines, terms and conditions of hire and signed a COVID-19 Hirer Code of Conduct can all be uploaded and managed on the system, which can be set to issue reminders when any documents require updating.
The centralised, easy-to-use platform also enables you to share important lettings information with administrators, site teams and hirers to establish an efficient and seamless operation for all parties.
Especially following changing UK Government guidance on the use of inside facilities [in September], the ability to quickly manage bookings and communications with hirers has never been more important and can play a vital part in building confidence amongst both schools and their clients in a time of wider uncertainty.
BookingsPlus is perfectly placed to power these efficiencies and important communication between everyone involved in the lettings process – from Business managers and financial directors, to site teams on the ground and sports clubs in the community.
And for schools who are understandably apprehensive about exactly how to prepare their lettings for reopening, such as updating their cleaning protocols or terms and conditions of hire, Kajima Community can help with its range of helpful and free resources – including our sample COVID-19 Risk Assessment and COVID cleaning protocol, which are all available online.
At the Grange School in Cheshire, BookingsPlus played an important part in supporting the school to prepare for a soft launch and subsequent full reopening of its facilities, with its easy tools for contacting and communicating with hirers on new precautions and systems in place and managing bookings safely, such as blocking out time between bookings for safe access, egress and cleaning.
The system offers a simple way to centralise bookings management, streamlining the booking and payment process for both the school and clients through its accessible online portal.
For The Grange School, this has freed up between 15 and 20 hours of the week that can now be dedicated to other important areas of focus, including health and safety planning, marketing and business development following lockdown.
Automation is key to easing the burden for schools through BookingsPlus, with invoicing, credits, marketing and communication all integrated, automatic functions within the software.
In fact, an easy-to-use system not only benefits schools, but also those hiring the facilities — who themselves are navigating the impacts of COVID-19.
BookingsPlus’s customer support team have also been on hand throughout lockdown, helping The Grange School as it navigates the new and unique challenges of COVID-19 for its lettings business.
The recent introduction of the ‘Rule of Six’ for inside sports was, understandably, a disheartening blow for a number of schools and their lettings business.
But it is not the end. By introducing new efficiencies with BookingsPlus, schools can maximise their lettings operation, safely enhancing revenue streams so that they can truly invest in the best outcomes for pupils following the pandemic.
Lettings businesses will also play a vital part in reuniting our communities as the pandemic continues to pass – and it will.
For those looking to reactivate their lettings in the most streamlined, safe and centralised way possible, BookingsPlus is here to help: providing the management solution and resources for schools to reopen with confidence.
To find out more about Kajima’s lettings solutions call 01604 677 764, visit kajima.co.uk/community or search ‘Kajima Community’ on LinkedIn.