Event booking system


The Policy Committe are interested in any problems Member Groups might have if we bring in a rule that  the only event booking system that should be used is the one provided by the BCS. There is no desire to mandate the use of an event booking system.

I'm closing this consultation as we've had a a massive amount of SPAM. I'll try to get a better way of doing this for future consultations.

Event Booking

I am a member of the committee for the Hertfordshire branch and one of my jobs is to prepare attendee badges for people who have booked through the BCS booking system. I have two major problems: 1) there is nothing to prevent one person from booking for the same meeting several times. I regularly have to remove many duplicates from the list before creating the badges and 2) there is no way for users to remove a booking when they realise that they cannot attend after all. This can result in the production of many badges that are not used and gives a false impression of how many attendees to expect at a meeting. I would welcome your ideas on these two points.

BCS Booking System

The issue of events requiring attendees to book is of long standing at our branch.

In the early days, it was a problem of visits to venues of limited capacity, and to deal with it we had an email address set up for us by BCS HQ - herts_bookings@bcs.org.uk

This required a committee member to monitor the email account and if necessary, to reply to would-be attendees telling them that the booking list was full, and dealing with attendee cancellations. During the visit, if there was an entrance charge, non-members would pay the entrance fee and a committee member would write a cheque to cover the member entrance fees and claim the amount back from BCS HQ.

Then the BCS HQ implemented a booking system which is geared towards doing bookings for conferences and similar high status events. Hitherto, the BCS HQ have given no guidance to branches on the use of the booking system beyond providing some spread-sheets for the entry of data concerning the event to the booking system.

Tied in with these spread-sheets is the implied requirement to provide a budget statement of some kind for events for which entrance is not free. In the absence of any guidance from the BCS on the use of the Booking System, I can write no more, except heaven preserve us from having to get budgets approved and multiple committee officers involved whenever we want to use the BCS booking system!

Since those early days, we have started asking members to book for all events whether or not there are capacity constraints or entrance fees to be paid, so, for consistency, we have started using the BCS booking system for all events. For the majority of events, entrance is free to all comers.

However, if we tell the BCS booking system that non-members have to pay an entrance fee, then the booking system will demand payment from non-members (by credit card, presumably) at the time of booking - and this may be many months before the date of the event. For the venue to get this entrance money paid, they have to raise an invoice which they have to send to the BCS. Most of the venues that we have visited do not have the wherewithal to raise invoices, and we have fallen back on the previous strategem of getting non-members to pay "at the door" and a committee member paying for members by cheque.

There is a potential for confusion in this situation which I (as the committee member setting up the booking system) would be delighted to see resolved. I understand that there is a BCS committee which is looking into the operation of the booking system but unfortunately I have not been able to leave comments on their website (http://volunteer.bcs.org/content/event-booking-system).

What we would like is for the Booking System to accept the entrance money can be collected "at the door". The pro forma used by I and others when requesting the Booking System to be set up for our events, would need to distinguish between entrance fees to be paid at the time of booking and entrance fees to be paid on arrival at the event. The Booking System would either display to persons booking that immediate payment was required or display that the entrance fee amount should be paid "at the door" (if not free).

Jeremy Withrington
Hertfordshire Branch Committee

Thanks for the comment Jeremy, I'm sorry you've had trouble posting comments, I've had to close the consultation to stop spam attacks. Peter Buchanan