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5 tips to take your booking waitlist to the next level

Some of our courts, pools or other facilities quickly become fully booked as soon as they’re available for booking.  A structured and fair waitlist for cancelled timeslots is a key feature to optimize bookings.

How can we improve our court & facility waitlist and take it to the next level?   Here are 5 tips:

Waitlist Tip #1:  Have a waitlist

OK… so this may seem obvious, but you need a waitlist to begin with!  Roger should be able to join a waitlist and be inserted automatically onto a court when there’s a cancellation.  This is different than an “Availability” list or bulletin board feature, where he can post his general availability and rankings to find similar players.

Waitlist Tip #2:  Don’t ignore the Rules

The waitlist is handled on a “first joined, first served” basis AND enforces all rules & quotas.  Just as Naomi is prevented from booking a court if it exceeds her quotas or violates rules, the waitlist prevents her from being awarded a cancelled timeslot if she is not eligible for it.  

Waitlist Tip #3:  Increase the likelihood of attendance

Courts may become available with little notice, so it’s important to award timeslots to people who are most likely to attend.  Ways to increase likelihood of attendance include:

    • Set minimum players to join:  When Novac joins the waitlist, he is required to provide at least two names for the booking.  That way he’s not scrambling to find someone to join him when the timeslot is awarded to him.
    • Set advance joining restrictions:  People’s schedules are less reliable past one week in the future (things are likely to come up) so Novac can only join the waitlist for the next 7 days.  He and his partner are not likely to have things come up that would impact their likelihood to attend.
    • Option of advance notice:  Novac indicates how much notice he would require to get to the club and play.  That way the waitlist isn’t adding him to last-minute timeslots that could be given to players that might live closer and require less notice.

Waitlist Tip #4:  Increase fairness

Making waitlist fair is tricky, but there are some things that can help:

    • See Waitlist Tips #1, 2 and 3 above: 
      • Have a waitlist!  The “unfair” alternative:  Only people who have thetime to closely monitor for cancellations get timeslots.
      • Check the rules!  The “unfair” alternative:  People at or over quota get even more timeslots, over those who are not over quotas. 
      • Increase the likelihood of attendance!  The “unfair” alternative:  Timeslots are given to people who end up being “no-show” for the booking.
    • Maximum of one waitlist entry:
      Johnis only allowed to have one waitlist at any given time.  Waitlist should not be a lottery where you can “buy” more tickets to increase your likelihood of winning!
    • Prioritize Flexibity:  Prevent people from using their knowledge of booking patterns or systems to get specific courts at specifictimes using the waitlist.  Forexample, Rafael has to pick “Any Outdoor Court 1-10” or “Any Indoor Court 11-25”, and he has to specify chunked ranges of time per day such as “From 9am – noon” or “Any time after 5pm”.

Waitlist Tip #5:  Automate your waitlist

Wait, what?!?  I don’t have to do all of the above manually with sign up sheets, spreadsheetsand staff time?  It’s true!  You can automate your waitlist in your booking system.  Be sure to look for this in any Court / Facility booking system that you consider.

GameTime Online Member Booking & Reservations