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An example of a spreadsheet that lists course bookings

  • It is better to encourage course attendees to pre-book and pay in advance rather than offering drop in sessions. This enables you to see how full (or empty!) a course will be, and avoids disappointment for any attendees turning up if the course is already full. If you have to meet the costs of hiring a tutor and using a space then having a minimum number of course attendees is a sensible idea. Work out the minimum cost you will need to make for the course to go ahead and have a cut-off point of 1-2 weeks before the date of the course.
  • Make sure that there is one contact point for booking information so that all the information is stored in one place. Having a single spreadsheet, with a clear number of places and contact details will save confusion or over-booking.
  • When a prospective course attendee first enquires it is good to take a note of their name, email address and phone number in the bookings spreadsheet for reference. You can then email them a course outline and a booking form. They can confirm their place by returning their booking form to you with payment. There is an example of a course booking form in Appendix C
  • Some attendees may not use email so be sure to take their address and put a copy of the outline and booking form in the post.
  • Print out a hard copy of all booking forms and any payments you receive and keep them on file. It might also be useful to note down on the booking form if they have paid, what payment method they used and when the payment was received.
  • Attendees may prefer to pay by cash or cheque but it is good to offer a card payment option, if you can't take card payment at your venue then the easiest way to do this is often online through PayPal or a similar provider.
  • Make sure you have confirmed bookings with attendees 1-2 weeks before the course is due to start. Contact anyone who may have enquired but not paid yet to see if they would still like a place, if you still have places to fill.
  • Contact all attendees a few days before the course starts with a final confirmation including information about the venue, how to get there and where to go when they arrive, as well as details about anything they need to bring with them. Let them know if they need to bring lunch or refreshments, or if there are any establishments or cafes nearby where they can purchase food. You can also re-send them the course outline to remind them of what they will be covering.
  • Some tutors provide hand-outs for the course attendees and you may need to print/copy these out ready for the session. They may also want a copy of the attendance list, and any important notes about attendees that might be relevant (such as special access requirements). You can email this in advance and provide a print-out on the day.
  • At the end of the course it is good practice to provide feedback forms so that attendees can tell you what they liked about the course, or suggestions for how it could be improved. This is also a good way to gather ideas for future courses. It is also useful to have a database of course attendees so you can contact them in the future and keep notes about which courses they've attended. You can then go through the spreadsheet at the end of the course and update the details on your database. Microsoft ACCESS is useful for this as it allows you to search by name, but you could also use a simple spreadsheet in Excel.