Government approval for the reopening of swimming pools has arrived but, the list of things to consider for operators is long. Endless cleaning and disinfection procedures, social distancing, data privacy concerns for contact tracing information, and the safety of staff and visitors are all important to help your swimming pool reopen.
Introducing new systems at this time may seem counterintuitive but, the automation offered by an online booking system has been the key to unlock the time and resources required for some of our customers.
Read on for the 4 main problem areas that can be solved with help from an investment in online bookings.
Enforcing social distancing
Swim England, the nationally recognised governing body has produced extensive guidance on what is required to help people safely return to the water. One of the key areas that they have identified is ensuring social distancing is enforced throughout visits.
A pool booking system dictates that visitors must select a time slot in advance and therefore you can know exactly how many people will be in attendance at any given time. It’s also simple to set up multiple time slots at staggered periods throughout the day to reduce the risk of people congregating.
An online booking page means you can publicise your reopening (and encourage bookings via social media and email) at the same time as making sure that your visitors are fully aware of what will be expected of them when they arrive. Guidance calls for visitors to turn up ‘beach style’ to limit time changing and you can not only ensure that visitors are aware of this before they arrive, but also require them to mark a checkbox indicating their understanding of the stipulation before attending their swimming pool reservation.
Gathering all the information you need to plan a safe visit
Extra information in advance of arrival can help you to mitigate the many extra factors you have to consider when reopening.
One area where booking automation can make a big difference with a small outlay of effort is in changing rooms. For example, Bookwhen’s, as swimming booking software lets you create different ticket types and set limits on them alongside overall attendance limits.
Let's say you can only accommodate 10 people at a time in each of 2 changing rooms but no more than 15 people in the pool. Ticket limits on each changing room ensure that neither has more than 10 people whilst, at the same time, an overall limit means no more than 15 swimmers in total are booked for that time slot. The time taken to set up this simple automated restriction is significantly lower than the effort required to manually administer the same effect and many different scenarios can usually be accommodated.
You can also account for equipment needs by asking visitors at the point of booking what they will need during their swim. Will swimmers need floats? Noodles? Use of the diving board? You can find all this out in advance and avoid disappointment by making sure that enough disinfected items are available.
Of course, controlling the spread of coronavirus is crucial and you can take steps to ensure the safety of staff and visitors alike by including mandatory questions in the booking form that ask for confirmation that swimmers are symptom-free, as well as ensuring that vulnerable visitors are kept in separate groups.
Reducing the strain on reception areas
Reception staff are likely to have contact with every visitor to your facilities. Reducing the time spent in these areas is crucial to maintaining both their health and that of everyone who subsequently comes into contact with them.
An online booking system can minimise time spent at the reception desk dramatically:
- Bookings are made in advance online so no administration is required on arrival.
- Online payments can be set up to ensure no contact with potentially contaminated cash or payment cards.
- Receptionists can simply log attendances in-app and see any special requirements as visitors arrive.
- Queues are effectively eliminated as visitors should arrive in allotted time periods and pass through reception quickly.
Conforming to data protection regulations
Government guidelines stipulate that steps are taken to collect contact information in any environment where infection could spread. This data must be collected and stored in a manner which conforms to GDPR (data protection regulation).
Rather than further slowing reception procedures and introducing new potential contamination vectors (in pens, tablets etc. used to record information), you can easily ask visitors to record information in advance of arrival and in the safety of their own home with customisable booking forms.
Reputable pool scheduling systems have privacy policies in place and act as a ‘data processor’ securely storing data on their own servers and reducing the risk to your organisation.
Many people are desperate to get back in the water when your swimming pool reopens. However, they may still be concerned about the potential spread of the virus. In the next period of this pandemic demonstrating competence and concern will be critical in rebuilding public trust in the communal activities we once took for granted.
For many, an online booking system is the simplest, most cost-effective way to demonstrate this. By automating processes to free staff resources and in giving transparent, professional, and efficient visiting experiences to returning swimmers.
Bookwhen offers a free 2-week trial which you can sign up for here.
Our trial will give access to all of our features, including:
- Online bookings completed through a customisable booking page which is hosted by us (or embedded on your website).
- Secure online payments that are quick and simple to set up.
- Customisable booking forms that let you ask any questions you need in a variety of formats (and store data in GDPR compliant fashion).
- Multiple ticket types per event with defined ticket and attendee limits.
- On-screen attendance logging to keep track of arrivals and no-shows with important information (i.e. responses to booking form questions) displayed on arrival.
Our friendly support team is happy to discuss how our system can best meet your requirements so get in touch via our website chat or email. if you have any questions at all.