This article was written on 16 Dec 2013, and is filed under Alpine Bookings Newsletter.

Newsletter 16/12/2013

Sort your members

Your admin page to list all members can now be sorted by name, or number, or member class, or date modified.  Just click on the column header to sort.  Works along with searches too.

Got interrupted? No problems

While you are entering a new booking (and this includes members making their own bookings, or the public, if your site allows this), the rooms or beds are held for the time period you specify in your Site Config – usually set to between 15 up to 30 minutes.  If you get interrupted, move away to a different page or close the tab in your browser, when you start that booking again you may have to wait for the rooms/beds to be released after the time is up.

We have improved this so that the abandoned booking is cancelled if you return to step 1, the matrix page.  This won’t happen if you closed your browser completely, because your “session” is closed and the server doesn’t know it’s your booking any longer.  But so long as the browser remains open, an interrupted booking will disappear when you go back to step 1 to start again.

Also, when logged in as admin, if other people are making bookings, you already see these as TENTATIVE on the matrix.  We have improved the mouse-over information for these so you know they are actually INPROGRESS bookings, and the expiry time is shown too.

Next steps

This update also completes the under-the-hood changes which we have been working on for a few months, to streamline future maintenance and make it easier to add new features.  The next feature to be added will improve the “priority period” bookings.  Some clubs allow members to make booking requests for a period before bookings generally open.  Members make their requests for the Winter season, and at the end of the “Priority period” the booking officer or committee sorts out the clashes and bumps bookings in or out to make a fair allocation.  This year one of our clubs used the “waitlist” capability to allow the booking requests to be made online.  During the “priority period”, members made bookings including waitlist bookings to express their preferences.  At the end of the period, all the booking officer had to do was modify those bookings that needed to be changed.  It worked well, so we will release some improvements to make it work even better, and possibly other clubs will decide to use this system as well.

Each “season” edit page will have an additional date, to define the end of your priority period, if applicable.  Any bookings made before this date will be regarded as priority period bookings.  If you use this feature, you will most likely set this date to a few days or a week prior to the opening date for bookings by members, to give yourself time to sort out the clashes before members can make immediate bookings.

Priority period bookings will receive a different email response than normal.  Also, online payment won’t be offered for these bookings, although invoices will be generated in the system, these won’t be sent to members.  Members could still jump the gun by paying their outstanding balance but they aren’t encouraged to do so.

We hope these changes will make it easier to use the system for your priority period bookings, and save a lot of paperwork.  if you have any suggestions for how this new feature should work, please get in touch as soon as possible.

Once this is in place, we will turn our full attention to building the mobile phone app for accepting bookings, which we expect to have ready in time for winter bookings next year.