An Online Court Booking System
Craig Bewley and Andrew Flood
A Platform for Booking or Renting Out a Sports Pitch
Bookapitch is an online court and pitch booking system that gives schools, colleges, universities, sports clubs, and public sector organizations a powerful tool to advertise, manage, and rent out their facilities without needing to spend time speaking to each and every person making a booking. The platform enables sports lovers and event organizers to choose and book sports facilities online in a few clicks anytime and anywhere.
Craig Bewley is the father of several successful startups in the sports industry. He has been working in this sphere for years. Based on his own experience, he noticed that the majority of sports clubs and academic institutions in Ireland, the UK, and many other countries are still using Excel spreadsheets and Google Calendar to manage their bookings. All bookings are taken via phone calls or email. Customers have to contact clubs or schools in advance to find out the availability of a space and only then book it. At night, bookings are impossible.
Craig and his partner Andrew Flood also discovered that despite having excellent facilities, pitch owners often have no idea how to advertise them to the public. Pitch owners also prefer cash payments and rarely take cards. This leads to inconveniences for bookers and complicates accounting for facility owners.
When Craig and Andrew contacted RubyGarage, they already had the first version of Bookapitch developed by another team. But the product had a weak architecture, stability concerns, and scalability issues. After examining the existing product, Craig, Andrew, and our team decided to start over and build the platform from scratch.
In a short time, we needed to
- Conduct a code audit of the existing product
- Create a new product development roadmap
- Choose a new technology stack
- Create a simple and intuitive interface for venue providers and bookers
Sports Facilities Search
The page features a convenient catalog with plenty of filters for exhaustive search.
Venue Owner Overview
Venue owner overview page features a detailed venue owner description, location, different facility to book, and reviews.
Sports Facility Overview
Users are able to view a detailed facility description, see a schedule of a certain facility, and book that facility when it’s available.
Venue owners are able to track important data as month's sales and occupancy, week's bookings etc.
The page provides a convenient search of customers with their detailed contact information.
The venue owners are able to track detailed information about all debtors.
Our code audit revealed that the first version of Bookapitch had security vulnerabilities and was difficult to scale and maintain. Taking into account the needs of our clients, the RubyGarage team started the project from scratch and used Ruby on Rails as the core technology because of its reliability and simple maintenance. To build a high-level business architecture for this web app and make it consistent, structured, and ready for future improvements, we used the Trailblazer framework.
To help venue providers quickly penetrate the market, our team developed a go-to-market strategy so providers can start renting out their facilities immediately. We created an embeddable widget that can be integrated into providers’ websites or websites of their partners. This widget directs end users to the booking page of a venue owner and enables pitch bookings with just a few clicks.
Our priority was usability and comfort of all users. That’s why we implemented a simple booking system and integrated the Stripe and PayPal payment systems. Bookers can also choose to be invoiced and pay by cash, share payments with all team members, and set scheduled payments for regular bookings.
Our team wanted customers to be able to use the web app on the go via mobile devices too, which is why we made it mobile friendly.
We took the following steps:
- Implemented responsive design to improve the user experience and make the online court booking system easily accessible from all devices
- Designed a simple user journey to streamline the registration process. As a result, venue providers need an average of just 15 to 30 minutes to start renting out their facilities
- Integrated Stripe and PayPal to provide bookers with secure and simple payments. We also added support for invoices, shared payments, and scheduled payments
- Developed booking functionality to enable customers to book sports facilities 24/7
- Created a widget that venues can use to promote their facilities on their websites and on partners’ websites
- Integrated analytics to provide pitch owners with insights on sales and their audience and help them optimize sales processes
Ruby on Rails
Today, Bookapitch is used by organizations to manage all aspects of online bookings and payments. Maynooth University, the Dublin Institute of Technology, Trinity College, Wesley College, and other schools and sports clubs have already begun using it.
RubyGarage helped Craig Bewley and Andrew Flood bring their vision to reality and create a versatile software solution for sports facilities that helps both pitch owners and sports lovers in so many ways.