With COVID-19 continuing to affect how many members of your congregation can attend in-person services at least into the next year, reservation software is becoming increasingly essential to managing attendance. An online booking system allows congregants to register online and know there will be space for them when they arrive.
The additional benefit of the booking system is that it allows places of worship to adhere to the government guidelines on test and trace. When you get set up for online booking, you’ll want to find a tool that allows you to set capacity limits for each service and send instant notifications to registered users.
Here’s a few reasons why online booking systems are effective for your church.
Online Booking Systems Make Registration Convenient
A major benefit of online booking is your parishioners can register for your events at a time that is most convenient for them. If you keep your events easy to find on your website or social media, potential visitors and regular congregants can sign up to attend either your in-person or online events when it is convenient for them. Places of worship can register then create ‘events’ in just one minute, allowing members to sign up to say they’re attending a particular service.
Prepare for an Accurate Head Count
Even when doors are open to all, knowing how many guests and attendees to expect can be an enormous benefit for planning your space and refreshments. For now, as you follow the current guidelines, you can actually use booking tools to better manage your space. For instance, move and assign seats for registered attendees who may come alone, or as a family. Knowing the group size can help with spacing out and even labelling your seating.
Save Time, Energy, and Money
Automation is a real benefit for how you spend your time. There is little joy in worrying with the paperwork and attendee admin. An automated process will allow you to focus on what really matters to you and your congregation.
Get Better Contact Information
If you’ve been using the church registrar to sign in guests, you may not have accurate online contact information for some of your parishioners. Switching to digital gives you access to the email addresses and phone numbers of each attendee. Using this information, you can immediately contact members of your congregation either with regular updates or invite them to subscribe to your online bulletin. Just make sure you are following GDPR guidelines.
Better Booking with Faith Online
Understanding the importance of both attendance tracking and following NHS Test and Trace measures, Faith Online offers a booking system that is a completely free add-on for the platform.
Benefits for the Parishioner
- Easy to find upcoming events for your church from your public calendar
- Members and visitors can reserve their space from a phone, tablet, or computer
- Simple online booking offers a guaranteed place at the church on a specific dates and times
- The option to reserve a maximum number of places for the family
- The option to check in upon arrival
Benefits for the Church
- Set the total number of places available at any event
- Users can register as a group, which helps you better track who you approve as attendees for the event
- Set registration deadlines or allow registration to remain open
- Record in-person attendance without hassle
- Customise the confirmation message sent to each person reserving online
- Schedule and send reminder emails prior to the service
- Administrators can setup additional user logins to cancel reservations, check -in at the door, or update attendance
From One-on-One to Small Group Bookings
With Faith Online, when you book an event, you can set the guest threshold as small as one. This would be an opportunity to offer multiple individuals a chance to grab individual time with your church leaders for prayer, confession, or more informal meetings.
Create private small groups and use the URL generated in Faith Online to invite the small groups who will come in-person as well as sync them with an option to join a private live stream or conference call.
While the appeal of an online booking system now is tied to the current crisis, you may find that it helps you stay more organised and have a greater impact in the long run.