Making your facility space available for community meetings and programs won’t only increase the usage of your facility, it will also expose additional community members to new activities and experiences. As you open your space to these gatherings, it’s important to provide a variety of options and a fair process for creating reservations, to offer the best experience for community groups.
Allocating facility space for external bookings requires some work, so here are a few tips on how you can smoothly transition to including these new booking types at your facility.
Research the Programs
The purpose of any community center is to, of course, serve the community. That means making decisions that benefit those in the area and adding programs that are of direct interest to your members. Do a bit of research to determine what to add to your programming and take advantage of public data, such as censuses. Another way to gage interest is through surveys, which you can share using your social media channels or your newsletter.
For external programs, it’s important to weigh potential bookings for community activities against those that you already offer. For example, if your facility offers a yoga program, it would be counterproductive for you to host a competing yoga class run by an external company. It’s essential for booking staff to remain up-to-date with your programming, so they can ensure that conflicts don’t arise.
Allocate the Space
Once you have an idea of what activities or bookings you’ll be introducing to your facility internally, you’ll be able to purposefully allocate space for the new programs. For example, the needs of a Chinese calligraphy class differ from those of a martial arts class. If your community has shown an interest in Chinese calligraphy, you’ll need to find a classroom or a space that will hold multiple tables and chairs for students. In comparison, a martial arts class would require a larger space and mats to line the floor. Make sure the space you allocate for your new programs are appropriate, in terms of size and usage.
Implement a first-come, first-serve basis for community gatherings. Start small by reserving a couple rooms for external bookings, then based on the usage recorded over the course of the first few months, add or reduce the number of rooms you’ve set aside. Routinely reviewing and re-evaluating their usage will lessen the chances of underutilizing your facility’s spaces.
Make it Easy to Use
Executing meticulous, ongoing organization of your newly introduced programs, meeting spaces, and space allocations is vital to the smooth operation of your facility. Many organizations have benefitted from implementing an online system, which allows individuals to easily register for programs and reserve meeting spaces on their website. Providing a calendar view of upcoming events is useful for both your community and your organization’s staff, with activities and bookings made transparent and easily accessible.
PerfectMind’s management software can help you manage your facility’s new programs and community meetings, through its advanced facility booking, scheduling, and activity registration features. Community members can register and pay for programs, drop-ins, and more, using any device. Learn more about the powerful, user-friendly platform here.