Today for the first time, Central Bedfordshire Canine Trust Chief Executive, Gary Gregory confirmed that as from 1st January 2012 bookings for the trusts courses, training classes and events would be handled solely online. In addition he revealed that the trust was planning to work with Sage and Moodle to provide an “enhanced virtual online learning experience” for those taking part in the trusts training classes and seminars.
The trust first made the move to online bookings when its new secure website and computer system went live in 2010. Since then the website handles an average of 3000 hits per day and the feature allowing dogs owners to become members, book courses and events online has proven extremely popular. Gary said “Since the website went live, the number of bookings taken via the online stream has steadily grown and for the last two training terms over 95% of places were booked via the website, this clearly showed to us that there was a demand and excellent reason to continue our online strategy”.
At the trusts AGM in May 2011, a key objective was to reduce overheads and administration costs. The trust estimated that back in 2008 for every 1 course place booked, another 20 enrolment packs were sent out by post to enquirers, leading to increased administration, printing and postage costs. However it was released today that in the last two course terms (last 16 weeks) only 3 enrolment packs in total had been sent by post, all other information had been downloaded, viewed and places booked online.
Gary Gregory was asked today, what arrangements were in place for those who did not have access to the internet or a computer, he replied; “We of course want to ensure everyone has access to the information they need and to be able to book onto courses, for those who do not have access we will be offering a telephone booking service. We have spoken to the Big Lottery Fund who fund some of our courses, as well as organisations who represent disabled people and we are happy that suitable alternatives have been implemented.”
The trust also stressed today that this is not solely a cost cutting measure, with Gary adding “When people make bookings online, they are directly entering the information into our systems; this means that as soon as they press enter, their confirmations, joining packs etc., are automatically printed, and sealed for dispatch the following postal day. The average turnaround time for an online booking is 1-3 days, depending on how quickly Royal Mail delivers, as opposed to 1-2 weeks when applications are made by post. We are continuingly striving for excellent customer service, and online bookings are a major leap forward in this direction”
The trust said today that it was looking into “appropriate systems” to allow future entries for the annual Evening Dog Show to be handled online via its own website and we were told that during the Christmas break the website would be “refreshed” with new features and functions added.
Talks are currently ongoing with Moodle the world’s leading online Course Management System, which is a centrally supported “Virtual Learning Environment” and the trust will start piloting the Moodle platform in January 2012 for those which attend the Kennel Club Accredited Instructors Scheme mentoring sessions, hosted by the trust.