In 2018 we were approached by Dumfries Curling Limited to build an online booking system for the curling rink at Dumfries, Scotland.
Having just taken over the running of the rink from the council, the team at Dumfries Curling were looking to invest in a better system to replace the spreadsheets that were currently being used for tracking bookings. The initial phase of the project included creating an online booking system that enables users to login, create, and edit their own profile, and also allows them to create and manage their bookings online. On creating a booking, notifications would be sent to staff, allowing them to accept, or edit, the booking request.
A further requirement of the system was for it to have the ability to tie in with the rink’s till system. This would enable payments to be logged against each user and each booking, producing an audit trail of which members had paid for their bookings
After holding initial talks with the till supplier and reviewing the options, it was clear to us there was only one practical way forward – ditch the existing system and build them a new one from the ground up! Sure, we could have combined the two by setting up combinations of button presses on the till to identify the user and booking IDs, but this proved cumbersome.
By writing our own, we could create a graphical overview of all bookings similar to the views in the existing booking system, allowing games to be selected with a single tap of the screen. The integrated card reader allowed a quick scan of users’ cards to identify them. The integration of the till in this way also provided instant access to transactions via the booking system, as well as enabling everything to be managed through a single interface, rather than having disjointed systems that would only sync at midnight.
When COVID-19 shut down the rink in 2020, one of the conditions of re-opening was a transition away from cash payments towards card, or even better, online payments. Our system had already been designed with this in mind, with users already able to purchase balance top-ups through the till system and pay for games online. We were soon able to update the system and allow top-ups to be purchased online too – reducing the need for interaction between staff and customers.
Shortly after the launch of the initial system, we began looking at Phase 2 which included the creation of digital scoreboards and the ability to create and manage competitions through the booking system.
With two 32” TVs and a tablet per sheet, we were able to provide a digital scoreboard system that integrated withthe existing booking system to automatically pull down the
details of any games scheduled for that particular sheet. With real-time updating and feedback into the booking system, we were also able to deliver a competition module allowing the various clubs that use the rink to create and manage their own competition schedules easily – with scores and associated tables updating in real time!
Thanks to our new system, we have considerably reduced the workload of the team at Dumfries Curling who would have been required to manually schedule games and keep track of who had paid, and who hasn’t. We have also made things more efficient for the clubs themselves who previously had to log all results, update the tables, and decide the winners of competitions themselves. The new system has received a very warm reception from both our client and the curlers who regularly use the rink and continues to gain great feedback from visiting curlers too!