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Should I Take Bookings For My Baby & Toddler Classes?

If you’ve just started running your baby and toddler classes, you might not be thinking about using a booking system. Maybe you ask families to reserve a spot via DMs or emails, or maybe you just let people turn up and pay on the door.

This is fine in the early days, but as you progress to running two, three or more classes a week, a proper system for managing your capacities and taking payments will probably become more and more important to you! If you’re spending valuable evenings trawling through messages and emails, scribbling down attendees on paper, or worrying about whether anyone is going to turn up tomorrow, it may well be time to let a class booking system do the legwork for you.

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons:


What are the benefits of taking bookings for my baby and toddler classes?

Online bookings give parents the confidence they need to come along


We all have that friend or family member who wouldn’t dream of visiting a restaurant without a booked table, and it’s no different with classes. While some parents are totally happy with just turning up, others will feel nervous about the class not running, or being turned away because it is full.

As a class provider, one of the most effective ways to expand beyond your existing audience is by thinking about how you can build up confidence when parents come across your classes online. First time mums and dads are new to classes, and worries about there being enough space, or not knowing exactly what happens during the session, can be enough to put them off trying out something new.

A clear description, an image or two, links to your social media, and taking bookings online are great ways to inspire confidence, and open up your classes to a much wider audience.


Building your community and turning customers into fans

Some booking systems (like Happity!) will allow you to download the email addresses of customers who book your class – so long as they have opted-in – which you can then use to build your mailing list. A customer’s email address is known in marketing speak as ‘first-party data’, and it’s one of the most powerful tools you have for nurturing loyalty and turning your one-off bookers into fans.

Related post : 7 Easy Steps To Build A Click-Worthy Newsletter For Your Baby Classes

Social media is another great way to build community, but ultimately the platforms you’re on (i.e. Instagram, TikTok and/or Facebook) are in control of when and how you reach your followers. When you’re reliant on social media, even small changes to the algorithm can have a big impact on your business.

With a mailing list, you can build much closer relationships with your customers. A regular newsletter, pre-sales before term starts, and reminders when new classes go on sale, are all great ways to stay top of mind for parents as they’re planning their weeks.


Growing your online presence and reaching more families

Happity is different to many other online platforms, in that you can list your classes without taking bookings on the site. It’s really important to us that parents are able to find everything going on for babies and toddlers in their local areas – including drop-in breastfeeding cafes, church stay-and-plays and children’s centres – and the non-bookable listings make sure we’re providing the best possible coverage (and helping more families to fall in love with classes!)

Nevertheless, our bookable pages get up to 4 times more visits than those which are listed without the option to book there-and-then. Bookable classes also feature in our What’s On newsletter to parents every Sunday, and parents can filter by ‘Book Now’ in our search results.

Every platform is different, but – wherever you choose to promote your classes – it’s likely that making bookings available on the site will really improve your findability, and get the most value out of your listing.


Online bookings make your business more stable

Piggy banks


Whether you choose to make your classes bookings-only, or still have a mix of drop-ins and pre-booked parents (and it’s worth experimenting with both!), as you start to build loyalty and have a good number of families booking every week, you will see a real impact on your cash flow.

Offering small discounts for block and term bookings can also be incredibly valuable for helping you plan your classes – secure in the knowledge that even quieter sessions will cover your venue hire and other costs.


What are the downsides to taking bookings for my baby and toddler classes?

There are no booking systems that are completely free to use (that we know of!) and so the most obvious downside to taking bookings online will be the fees.

At Happity we work hard to keep our commission as low as possible, charging 2.5% per booking (VAT and Stripe fee also apply). Check the Pricing page of the platforms you are considering, which should transparently list the commission and fees you will pay, as well as any monthly/annual subscriptions to use the service. (You can see ours here)

What you will want to see is that your extra revenue every month in bookings is greater than the amount you’re paying in fees. This may not happen overnight, but within a few months of setting up bookings and welcoming your first new customers through the door, you should be seeing a positive return.

Also worth bearing in mind is the time you will need to set-up your booking system and the new processes around it – such as checking the register at the beginning of every class. If you’re launching bookings for the first time, you might want to put aside an hour or two at the weekend, or during a half-term break, to get everything working as it should. Don’t worry, though, because once bookings are integrated into your business, you’ll get that time back every week!

NB: If you’re on Happity and you’re having trouble setting up your bookings, you can book a free call with our lovely Support team, who will walk you through the whole process step-by-step.


Happity: The only booking system designed specifically for baby and toddler class providers


We might be biased, but we happen to think our booking system is one of the best in the business! If you’re ready to try out online bookings for your business, head over to our Bookings page to find out more and get started.

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