Making the most of facilities
Charlie Gothold, co-founder/director of SchoolHire, explains how schools can increase revenue whilst making efficiency savings through advertising their facilities online
Although schools, especially independent schools, have excellent facilities, which they are happy to rent out to community groups and the general public, for the most part unless you know the school well, you may not know they benefit from these wonderful facilities, let alone hire them out.
And even if you did come across their lettings page, it is often hard to get information as the person dealing with lettings is often juggling numerous other responsibilities.
This was the problem I faced a few years ago when managing an amateur football team. We wanted to find an artificial pitch to play our league games on, as well as a sports hall for midweek training, but it proved extremely difficult to find these facilities, let alone book them. Why should booking school facilities be so painful?
Surely it should be a frictionless process, the same way one would book a cinema ticket or a flight?
It led me to co-found SchoolHire, which is now the market-leading school lettings booking platform – allowing schools to increase revenue whilst making efficiency savings.
The system allows both existing and potential customers to see information about the school’s facilities, such as pricing, opening hours and features, as well as live availability. Users send through booking requests directly to the school, having gone through the process of uploading required documentation, answering any questions set by the school and then agreeing to the school’s terms and conditions/policies.
Benefits of SchoolHire
● Lettings website: A bespoke lettings website is provided free of charge, offering greater online visibility.
● Live availability: Live facility availability negates the requirement for constant back and forth between venues and their customers.
● Online payments: Payments are received securely online in advance. No more chasing bad debts.
● Modifications: Any required cancellations or amendments are processed through the system. Refunds and revised invoices are generated automatically.
● Enhanced user experience: Simplifying the process has been proven to increase utility and generate more revenue.
● Reporting: A large range of financial and operational reports are accessible, offering greater insight and visibility.
The school can then either accept, reject or modify the booking. This is key as it means the school retains control as to who is using their facilities. If accepted, payment will automatically be taken and an invoice generated. All further fund flows, such as refunds, are done through the system at the click of a button. At the end of the month we send through one lump sum payment along with a monthly remittance report, which includes a journal for the finance team to input straight into their financial package.
Our platform is used to manage lettings at about 500 secondary schools nationally, including independents such as AKS, Chigwell School, Kingsley School, Mill Hill School, St Augustine’s Priory, Surbiton High School, and many schools within the Girls’ Day School Trust.
We posed three statements to schools:
● The SchoolHire system is easy to use.
● The SchoolHire team provides excellent customer service.
● I would be happy to recommend SchoolHire to another school.
97% of respondents agreed with statement one, 95% with statement two and 99% with statement three.
We have been working with Mill Hill School since March 2018. Adele Greaves, director of commercial operations, said: “SchoolHire fits our needs very well and I am still impressed with how quickly SchoolHire got us up and running! I have found the reporting function so useful, as it enables me to see facility trends and dips, allowing me to promote spaces that are not doing as well as the previous month/year. It also allows me to report more accurately to governors, as I can filter out what I don’t need.”
She was also quick to praise SchoolHire for increasing revenue at the school, noting that since joining SchoolHire their revenue from lettings has increased by 15% to 20% and that the system has saved her team 20 hours+ on a monthly basis.
To find out more, contact Charlie Gothold:
T: 0203 857 8426
M: 07742 506 406