Technology leads to Tennis Club Success and Expansion

September 30, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Sports News
Running a small tennis club efficiently can be quite difficult because the expectations of members are that tournaments and coaching will “just happen”. In reality there are a surprising number of things that need to be kept on top of, such as managing and planning Maintenance and Repair, collecting subscriptions, negotiating rent and organising Court Bookings and Reservations etc, for a Club to run smoothly and efficiently. The key functions are nearly always carried out by a limited number of volunteers and inevitably things sometimes get forgotten. The result is that members get annoyed and officials disheartened.

With just one tennis court but a strong active membership of nearly 60 different families, the managing of court bookings and reservations had indeed become a real nightmare for the operators of the Telephone Booking System at Charfield Tennis Club, a small privately run tennis club situated in the South West of the United Kingdom in heart of the English Country side. Each evening and during the day members called to the chairman or the booking secretary, who tried to coordinate the booking of the courts, coaching sessions, special dedicated sessions for ladies tennis and mens tennis as well as arranging tournaments.

Pat Parfitt, Chairman and Club Coach of Charfield Tennis Club, said “There is nothing much more annoying for keen players than to get fired up for a good game only to find when getting to the Court that it has been double booked. The problems of inefficient Court Booking were definitely preventing the expansion of the Club in the way that the keenness of the young members demanded that it should. The Committee decided that something just had to be done.”

The Club’s committee wanted a web site to promote and provide information about their club to their members as well as an automatic Booking System. Although many options were considered, in almost every case the cost was prohibitive for the club and there were concerns about having to learn how to build web sites, maintain computers, perform backups etc in addition to the existing tasks required to run the club.

In the Spring of 2006, Charfield Tennis Club signed up for a free trial of an ibooka online booking system. The ibooka company configured the system for them, helped set up their court and tournaments in the system and as the system is hosted by ibooka, there was no need to learn any new skills, worry about backups or buying any new computers or software. In fact, very soon Charfield Tennis Club was using their ibooka online booking system to provide them a public internet presence and also a small members only website. “it was incredible, we did not have to pay anything or learn how websites are built and our booking problems disappeared overnight” said Mr Parfitt.

When Charfield Tennis Club went live with their ibooka online booking system all of their members were able to use the system to check the availability of the court and make bookings, online, 24 hours a day and it only cost Charfield Tennis Club 25p per booking (which is often less than the cost of the telephone calls that used to go to and from people to arrange the bookings). Mr Parfitt continued “The improvement was fantastic. I was now able to concentrate fully on Coaching without any worry and inconvenience. More importantly court usage grew substantially. I receive an email whenever a member makes a booking (as they do) and there are never any problems with who should be on the court and when.”

The Club is now embarking on fundraising to build a 2nd Court. Mr Parfitt said that the Club had been wanting to push forward with this project for some 3 years but now felt able to go forward with confidence and enthusiasm and the success of ibooka was a very important factor in producing this required level of confidence needed to push the project forward.

Tennis Clubs, large and small, all around the world are now benefiting from the unique ibooka “pennies per booking” pricing scheme that means the only costs are a few pennies for each actual booking. The lack of monthly fees, software licenses, maintenance and support fees, etc means that club chairman and secretaries can now concentrate on becoming or coaching the next Wimbledon champion rather than sitting on the telephone trying to organise court bookings.

Mr Parfitt concluded with “We have already recommended ibooka to our local LTA [Lawn Tennis Association] Club Development Officer and to the Sports Development Department of South Gloucestershire Council, who have many contacts with Sports Clubs in the area in the hope that other clubs will benefit from ibooka as much as we have at Charfield Tennis Club”. Further information about ibooka may be found at or ibooka can be contacted at

ibooka, Garden House, Lumley Thicks, Chester-le-Street, Durham, DH3 4HF, United Kingdom Tel +44 (0)191 385 7400 Email: Web site:

Mr. Pat Parfit, Chairman and Club Coach, Charfield Tennis Club,adjacent to Little Bristol Lane, Charfield email: Web site: