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Tough times for baby & toddler groups? Our response to the Early Years Alliance report

You might have already seen the recent ‘Hidden Gems’ report from the Early Years Alliance – in which three quarters of baby and toddler group leaders said their costs had increased in the last year, and one fifth said they were worried about having to close.

These findings won’t come as a surprise to many of us – increased costs, and the challenge of filling classes, have both been big discussion topics in our Provider Community for all of 2023. 

The group leaders surveyed also talked about the growing challenges facing families. This includes mental health, rent and mortgage costs, and energy bills. And we know lots of you have been noticing the same concerns amongst your families, too.

So what does all this mean for providers? How can you navigate these tricky times, continue to provide vital support for parents, enjoy running your business AND make a living from your classes?

Here’s our take:


Reasons to be cheerful

There’s no doubt the past year has raised a whole new set of challenges in our sector. But there are also reasons to feel positive. In that time we’ve seen 1.6m parents and caregivers come to in search of classes. That’s a whopping 300k more than the previous 12 months! 

From this, we know parents are actively seeking activities, and more than ever before. The key to success is reaching the ones who will love what YOU do. (You can find all kinds of support for doing this on our blog, and in the community.)

Secondly, we welcome the EYA’s description of groups as a ‘vital part’ of the early years sector. We support their call for the community, development, and mental health benefits of them to be recognised at government level.

We agree, and the success of our Covid-era campaign to keep classes open proves that the political support is there, too. Awareness around the importance of the sector is growing. And, as always, we’ll do everything we can to push for positive change.

What we’re doing to support you

At Happity, we’ve been 100% dedicated to the under 5’s sector for over six years. We’re here to grow and support the industry as a whole. To make the whole pie bigger, rather than just take our slice! That’s why everything we do is geared towards creating a strong community and a sustainable future.

Here are some things we’re focussed on:

  • Driving higher attendance

We know parents are looking for classes – 1.6m of them came to our site in the last year. But we want to do better at getting them to take the next step.

Over the summer, we’ll be making a whole host of improvements to the parent experience. They will be aimed at persuading those more casual browsers, and on-the-fence mums, dads, grandparents and more, to come along and try a class.

  • Keeping our commission as low as possible.

At 2.5%+VAT, our commissions are some of the lowest in the industry. Because of this, our search and filter tools are focussed on making sure families find the right class for them, rather than just promoting the higher priced classes first.

We also want to make sure term and block bookings are affordable for providers. Because we know that so many of the benefits of classes are multiplied when the same children and parents come week to week.

Remember, the best way to get value from your listing on Happity, and the millions of parents who visit our site, is to switch bookings on, and capture those browsers at the point when their intention is highest. 

  • Supporting our community

We’ve recently produced guides on navigating the cost of living crisis, keeping your business alive as things quiet down for summer, making your listing stand out from the crowd, and a whole range of other topics.

Over in our Facebook Group, our providers are answering questions big and small, cheering each other on, and inspiring us every single day with their commitment to the caregivers, babies and toddlers who attend their classes.

We’re super proud of the community we’ve built. And we hope that being a part of it boosts all our providers, in both good and challenging times.

How is your business doing?

It has never been easy to run a business single-handedly. It wasn’t before the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, and it isn’t now! But it’s undeniable that today’s world is bringing us a unique set of challenges.

If you’re listed on Happity and you need help polishing your listing, setting up your bookings, or with anything else at all, our friendly team are on hand 7 days a week to help. You can contact customer support through your Dashboard.

If you have any thoughts on the EYA report, or want to discuss it further with us, we’d love to hear from you.

Happity: Created with baby class providers in mind!

If you are looking for ease and a listing/booking service that’s catered specifically to you (busy parents and small business owners) then you’ve found the right blog page.

It’s free to list with Happity, and you can offer all sorts of ticket options through our site. Though we also offer cost-effective membership for when your baby class needs an extra boost in its marketing or if you would like access to our provider-catered booking system.

Get your classes seen by thousands of parents today

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