Sports facilities are complicated businesses. It’s not easy to start one, let alone run and grow it over a period of years & decades.
One of the main reasons why it’s hard to figure out how to start a sports facility is the number of services and pricing options that exist. Any given facility might offer:
Each facility tends to price these services differently (some might charge based on duration, others might charge based on time-of-day). You might also want to consider offering packages or memberships to more serious athletes & teams.
Plus, instructors for these services are usually on contract - so you’ll have to juggle customer requests alongside availability schedules for instructors.
To make matters worse, camps and classes usually cater to kids, which makes running the camp much tougher and opens up all sorts of liability risks.
And to top it all off, renting a space big enough is a super large expense - and since the sports business is seasonal, you really need to track your revenue and profits properly to make sure you’re actually making money.
This is why software (like Swift) exists.
Until not too long ago, most sport facility owners tried to manage all of this by hand, usually scribbling a schedule on a notebook and hoping for the best. Doing things this way is not only stressful, but also leads to a poor customer experience and lost revenue for the facility!
The goal of the management software is to help automate your sports facility - by providing you the ability to schedule your staff, view their schedules, manage their availability, make bookings for customers, accept payments online, provide online booking for your athletes, etc.
Let’s take a look at the 5 surprising benefits of having a modern, state-of-the-art scheduling & online booking system like Swift to help run your business.
One of the hardest parts of running a sports facility is the amount of time you have to spend on the phone. It seems like almost every few minutes, a customer calls or messages to inquire whether an instructor, cage, court, or field is available.
This can take away massive amounts of your mental and physical energy - which could’ve been used on actually growing your business. Sure, you can hire front desk staff to take these calls, but that eats into your profit margins. And it’s a whole new person to manage.
This is where the software shines. Assuming you have a tool with a really easy online booking flow, you’ll start seeing a huge drop in phone calls because athletes will be able to book your services themselves. Plus, the payment for these services will be handled online - meaning you won’t have to fiddle around with cash or worry about missing receipts during tax season.
It’s important that you pick your tool carefully for this reason - a lot of folks are unhappy with “common” suggestions like eSoft Planner because they’re missing things like an easy online booking flow (for more information - check out our full review of eSoft Planner).
When you’re handling payments manually, there are only two options. Either deal with the payment in cash, or pay a large % to your point-of-sale (POS) provider to accept credit card payments.
When working with cash, things often get missed. If you have memberships, you might forget to collect cash from athletes one month and miss a whole bunch of revenue as a result.
Good sports facility management software will give you the ability to handle payments online - and it’ll also provide you with reporting so you know exactly where each dollar is coming from.
When you’ve been operating your business for years, it’s easy to get comfortable with a fixed set of options and offerings. A facility might be offering the same types of lessons and camps for years, without really changing or experimenting.
But remember that just like the sport, your market is constantly changing. There are always new ways to train, new types of services to offer. And a good sports facility scheduling software will be able to open you up to these opportunities because you’ll benefit from the data of the hundreds or thousands of other facility owners that use the software.
With Swift’s intelligence and capabilities, you’ll be able to do exactly that. A simple example is a facility that didn’t want to offer memberships earlier because of the hassle of handling cash. Using a tool like Swift, they are now able to charge their customers automatically - and open up a whole new source of monthly recurring revenue.
At the end of the day, time is the most important thing in our lives. And this is especially true in the sports facility business. The less time you spend on the phone, the more time you can spend on things you enjoy - that might be helping instruct kids, looking into new ways to grow, or relaxing on a beach.
A great online booking system for your facility will let you automate your business, and free up time to focus on what really matters.
Finally, another major (& surprising) benefit of using a modern booking tool is that you may actually see an increase in bookings at your facility - just based on how easy it was for them to book a service.
This reveals all the customers that might be interested, but weren’t motivated enough to call or visit in person to be able to book. When using Swift, we’ve seen some facilities get upto 30% more bookings per month just because of how easy the tool is to use (both for the athletes, and for the facility staff).
Of course, with all these benefits - the choice of software matters a lot. Choosing the wrong software will mean you’ll end up with a new set of problems, and you won’t actually be able to free up time and energy.
That’s why we built Swift.
We noticed that a lot of the existing software solutions are archaic, clunky, and downright hard to use. Facility owners & staff have to get trained for weeks before being able to use it. Athletes and customers end up calling anyway, because of how complex the online booking system is.
Swift is the exact opposite of this. It’s the easiest way to run your sports facility - with an incredibly fast checkout for your customers, and a really simple interface for you and your staff. Facilities can get set up in minutes, without any training.
If you’d like to experience all the benefits of a modern, sleek scheduling tool for your sports facility, book a free demo with one of our founders today!