Toby Lester
3 minutes length
Posted: 31st May 2019

Coming soon… Advance Bookings

You asked, and we listened! We’re very excited to share with you that our new Advance Bookings functionality is soon to be released. The update includes a number of helpful benefits to drive efficiency, protect school budgets and make life easier for parents.

What to expect

We’ve listened to your feedback to understand the challenges schools face when it comes to dinner and club selections, parent responses and payments. From this summer, parents will be able to select and pay for items in advance. This means you can better plan and cater for school dinner choices, breakfast and after-school clubs, vastly reducing unnecessary waste and parent debt.

Support suppliers and diminish debt

Advance Bookings help both schools and parents to plan ahead and manage payments in plenty of time. New payment and menu items are entirely flexible, so schools can determine specific options, including date ranges, meal choices and item prices. The new functionality enables schools to set deadlines and request payments and selections in advance to manage supplier costs and budgets.

Grab and go menus and prompting parents

Custom templates can be saved for later use, cutting out the need to build recurring menus. Customised notifications can be configured to notify parents of new items, ensuring schools receive selections and payments quickly and efficiently – all online!

Schools also have the choice to make particular options mandatory; no more missing options, paper dinner registers or clunky spreadsheets to manually update and check.

Multiple payment options

To help schools manage parent debt, schools can choose to offer a pre-pay option or a pay-as-you-go option.

For pre-pay, the parent ‘pre-loads’ their account balance. They can then select their menu or club bookings, and the school uses the pre-loaded account balance as payment for their selection. This option allows for a debt threshold to be applied to accounts, and administrators can configure and manage the debt amounts on an account-by-account basis.

The pay-as-you-go option also lets parents select meals or book clubs in advance; as the selections are made, the system totals the amount due, and payment is made immediately in the +Pay checkout.

Selections on-the-go

For busy parents, the free ParentMail app makes managing their child’s accounts quick and convenient.

Menus and payments are concise and clear, so parents can see exactly how much they have paid, for what items and over what period of time. Parents can see what they owe, and where their money has been spent, without fear of their account balance running out or accidentally falling into debt.

Automated reminders notify parents who still need to make their selections, without schools needing to manually send alerts. For parents who are not online, manual payments can be added to the system in the school office to keep all money in the appropriate account and all children using the same system.

Responsive, flexible functionality

This innovative new functionality enables flexible club and event management, too. For clubs with limited spaces, for example, the system updates automatically when parents book their child’s attendance and pay for their selected items. This ensures no awkward overbookings. However, for parents who want their child to attend just part of a session, the system takes this into account and ensures spaces remain available for the corresponding part of the club.

Advance Bookings functionality is expected for release this summer – keep an eye out for more information!

Do you want to streamline and improve payments in your school? If it’s a flexible and accessible parental engagement system you’re looking for, we’ve got the answer! Get in touch to arrange a free demo or to register your interest in our Advance Bookings release.