Court Booking System FAQ

We hope the following answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the new court booking system answer the majority of your questions. If not, please feel free to contact us individually:

Q When I go to sign-in it says that my e-mail address isn’t recognised

Q When I go to sign-in it says that my e-mail address isn’t recognised

A             This is generally because you are trying to sign-in to the new booking system using your previous booking system credentials.  The first time you use the booking system, a dialogue box will ask you to sign-in.  If you haven’t used this system before, you won’t have an account.  Therefore, before you can sign in, you will need to register for a new account.  You can do this by clicking on ‘register’ near the top of the sign-in box:

Sign in to book your session

Don’t already have an account? register

Q When I go to the site on my phone, it only shows one court, and I have to scroll through all the courts to get to the one I want.

Q When I go to the site on my phone, it only shows one court, and I have to scroll through all the courts to get to the one I want.

A             We recognise that this is a problem, and have contacted the developers to put the same drop down box on the mobile site as you can find on both the desktop site and the Phone App.  We would however, recommend that you use the ‘ClubSpark Booker ‘App available for Android or iPhone.

Q Why can’t I see the names of who has booked a court?

Q Why can’t I see the names of who has booked a court?

A             The Office needs to go into each record to assign a membership role to all Club members who register to book courts. This will allow those members to see other member’s names.  We are currently in the process of doing this and should have it completed very soon.

Q We have never had to pay a booking fee to book courts before. Will this increase the cost of my membership at the Club.

Q We have never had to pay a booking fee to book courts before. Will this increase the cost of my membership at the Club.

A.     Not at all. For floodlit play, the cost of floodlight cards has been reduced by the corresponding booking fee. Members should pay no more than they have for the past five years or so for floodlit play.  Indeed, the point of the booking fee was to actively discourage court bookings other than at the pinch points ie those time when court availability is limited.  If you generally book courts at the 7:45 or 4:45 slots when there is almost never a court availability issue, we would recommend that you don’t book a court and simply purchase floodlight cards for £2 less than you have previously.  The theory is that this will encourage earlier or later play than the 6:15pm peak time since you really don’t need to book and therefore play is cheaper.

Q Why did you introduce a Booking Fee?

Q Why did you introduce a Booking Fee?

A.     There were three reasons why we introduced a booking fee:

Firstly, we wanted to discourage members booking courts then not turning up. There has always been a rule which stated that there would be a £5 fine for members who do not turn up for a booking. The reality is with limited staffing resource, A. Policing it is difficult  B. We need a failsafe method for recording no-shows C. Recovering the penalty manually is contentious and time consuming.   Whilst we occasionally call or e-mail members who we heard did not arrive for a booking, there is not an easy way to record them, and it would not be fair to only penalise some and not others.  We could potentially ask those who have booked to sign-in at the bar, but again, that is based on the premise that the bar or Office is open at all times, (which it currently isn’t) and that we have a credit card on file to penalise those who don’t show up.  We hope the booking fee helps as a deterent.

Secondly, the ability to book at other times during the day is in response to requests from members who are perhaps coming from a distance, trying to arrange a game with others who may also be travelling, wanting to play on specific courts and requesting that they be allowed to reserve those courts. This system now allows members to do this if they really want to, but this will disadvantage those who wish to simply turn up, and therefore there is a premium to pay for this advantage. We sincerely doubt that many (if any) will wish to take advantage of that facility.  With one of the highest court to member ratios in the country, court availability is generally excellent, and the need to book a court is mostly redundant.

Lastly, the booking fee allows us to manipulate court utilisation in an attempt to relieve the bottleneck peak times. It would be virtually impossible to alter the cost of floodlight cards depending on the session booked. With the booking fee we can encourage members to play more at other times other than peak times by not charging a booking fee.

However, the key is that other than a few very short periods of the week, there should generally never be a need to book courts. The Club is and remains an open walk-on Club.

Q Why weren’t members consulted about the proposed new system?

Q Why weren’t members consulted about the proposed new system?

A             We are currently in the consultation period.  Since the cost of floodlit play stays the same or cheaper, and the ability to book at other times is now available but by no means mandatory or indeed encouraged, we did not consider the need for an EGM.  The system was demonstrated to a focus group of members and other similar sized clubs who are using this system were contacted for feedback.  We will trial the system for a period for members to get used to the interface, then at the end of the trial period, which we would anticipate being around six weeks, we will put out a questionnaire to gauge the reaction of the membership. The responses to this questionnaire will be entirely transparent and the system will be amended accordingly dependent upon the response.

Q This new system charges the Club a transaction fee for each booking. Isn’t this expensive?

Q This new system charges the Club a transaction fee for each booking. Isn’t this expensive?

A.     No booking system is free. The closest most user friendly booking system we investigated costs £10 per court per month, plus a per transaction fee.  We could have built a system ourselves, but that would have cost several thousand pounds to develop and incur development costs each time something required a tweek.  ClubSpark is a product which has been developed in association with the LTA specifically for Tennis Clubs and is offered for use as part of our LTA venue registration.  It is used in 7,000 other venues by 50,000 members.  Other than a small per transaction fee, there are no other associated costs.

Q Won’t we have to check the booking sheet now every time we want to play to make sure it isn’t booked out?

Q Won’t we have to check the booking sheet now every time we want to play to make sure it isn’t booked out?

A.    Members do this anyway during floodlit play. During the daytime members should also do this to ensure that the court isn’t booked out for a coaching squad or a league match.  However, there is nothing to suggest that the ability to book a court during the day (particularly if it incurs a booking fee) will encourage members to do so.  It’s business as usual.