• FAQS

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Getting started 

How do I get started?

In addition to our comprehensive website offering you detailed information about the magicbooking solution, we have compiled an introductory video to illustrate some of key components of our system, and how it can save you time and money, reduce inputting errors and improve your organisation's efficiency.


If you would like to progress further, the next step is to have a demo and discussion with our Customer Care team about your requirements. Please book a demo or contact us. 

Pricing is based around what service you require and you can pay for your subscription 
monthly or annually. Go to our pricing for more information.   

You do not need to purchase additional hardware or software as the system is cloud-based. All you need is a web browser and access to the Internet. 

Is your solution suitable for any size of club or school?

We work with organisations and schools of all shapes and sizes. From very small clubs, often 'one-man bands' who find that the time saved on admin tasks covers the cost of the system, and enables them to get on with more productive tasks like growing their business. The good thing is you can start off small and scale your business with us as you grow.


For larger clubs and schools, the system can handle multiple clubs with different locations and different users can be granted  access to different locations.  This provides powerful reporting functionality so you can both access aggregated data and compare and contrast a club's performance against others.  

How much does the solution cost? Are there any additional charges?

We offer individually priced modules that can be combined to meet your organisation's needs. We offer monthly or yearly subscriptions and payments for our services are taken upfront by direct debit.

We also offer bundled discounts for organisations and schools buying more than one of our modules and there are volume discounts for multi-location clubs and schools. 

Additional charges for our service:

  • Set-up Fee - A small one-off fee. Check our pricing page.
  • Training Fee - You can choose between online and onsite training. 
  • School MIS integration - A fee of £250 plus VAT, then £12 plus VAT per month.
  • Card transaction Fee - The platform comes with an integrated payment gateway (Elavon) which allows you to take one-off and recurring card payments. These card payments incur bank charges and each card transaction made through the payment gateway is subject to a fee levied by the bank, which currently is 1.9% plus VAT (15p plus VAT minimum). There is no fee for cheques, cash or childcare vouchers. The funds collected on your behalf are paid into your bank account on a weekly basis by bank transfer. 
  • Website integration (optional) - We can customise magicbooking so that it looks like your website for a seamless end-users experience. There is a one-off fee of £399 plus VAT, this cost may be subject to change if further changes to the design template are required. By default you can choose the theme colour and add your logo free of charge.
How long does it take to go live? Can I import my existing database?

Once you have completed your training and initial setup, you can start advertising your activities. Some clients have taken as little as 48 hours to go live, but typically it takes between one to three weeks depending on your availability and the time you have to allocate to transitioning your organisation over to the magicbooking system.

 

You can import basic parents and children data into magicbooking to create parent accounts, but parents will have to complete the registration process to add any further information, such as consents, medical information, allergies, authorised collectors, emergency contacts etc.


During this process it is possible to create an opening balance on magicbooking and to add a credit or log a debt on an account.


The best time to 'go live' would be before a new invoicing period, for example, before the a new term or half-term, or a holiday period, for those offering holiday play schemes.

Your system is 'cloud-based', what does this mean?

Magicbooking is a 'cloud-based' system, so you do not need to install and manage the software yourself. The service is hosted over the Internet (in the 'cloud') and you subscribe to it on a monthly or yearly basis.  To access the system, all you need is an Internet connection (either via WIFI or a data allowance), and a device with a web browser.  If you do not have access to a device with an Internet connection, you can print or email up-to-date attendance registers (using a time cut-off policy for bookings) to staff.


The 'cloud' technology we use is Microsoft Azure Cloud. Azure Cloud has many data centres around the world and the servers are backed up, hyper-encrypted and easily accessible.  There are many benefits to accessing your application as a 'cloud-based' system. These include:

  • Your information is safe and secure, with multiple back-ups and government-level encryption. 
  • Your information is accessible on any Internet-capable device and load times are low.
  • We can move the data to anywhere in the world to comply with local regulations, for UK operation, data is hosted in the UK and Ireland (London and Dublin).
  • You do not need to install anything or worry about updates. Our development team are constantly upgrading the system making things easier to use and implementing improvements. As soon as these changes are deployed, you get access to the updates.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint. The Azure Cloud has been carbon neutral since 2014 and is moving to 100% renewable energy. It also encourages a paperless office, reducing waste, storage, printing and disposal costs.   

If you would like to discuss more about the intricacies of cloud-based systems or understand how magicbooking works in the cloud, you can contact ushere.

Support and training

Do you offer training?

We strongly recommend that you take the initial training. During the training we take your organisation through a series of setup stages, such as setting-up business rules, creating some admins, creating some activities, and more importantly we give you a comprehensive overview of all elements of the system and how to use the system day-to-day basis (registers, bookings, accessing data, reconciling childcare vouchers, payment plans, etc.).

The idea is that at the end of the training you are as comfortable as possible with the system, it will also ensure that you can use the platform to its full potential.  

You can opt for an online training which is done through screen-sharing sessions, and can be booked in hourly slots, although we do recommend four hours in total, which is split across two sessions.  

Our onsite training is more interactive and hands-on and delves into the system in more detail. It lasts for four hours, followed by a two-hour screen-sharing session, which can be done in 30-minute chunks and booked at your convenience.  Check our pricing page for more information about all our training packages.

What ongoing support do you offer?

After your initial training, our Customer Care team are on-hand to provide assistance with any questions or queries during office hours. Our online help desk enables you to chat with us and raise support tickets, check the current status of any requests and see a record of all previous interactions. In addition, our comprehensive user guide is available online 24/7.

How can I cancel my subscription?

Subscriptions are automatically renewed unless terminated by either party. Either party must give one-month written notice at the end of any invoicing period.

Key benefits of the system

How does the system improve the way I handle payments?

Magicbooking helps you dramatically reduce debt levels and stay on top of your finances by automating and streamlining payment processes.

  • You can accept different payment types such as card, cheques, TFC, childcare vouchers, standing orders, cash and promotional vouchers. But of course, using online card payment is the most efficient payment method to prevent late payments, bad debts and reduce admin time.
  • Online payments 
    Providing online payments and a single place for parents to pay for different activities, means that payments can be processed quickly and reconciled easily. Parents can pay online at the time of booking and via different payment types, including Tax-Free Childcare, single card payment and card instalments.
  • Pay by instalments 
    Parents can book their child in for a series of sessions and choose to pay by instalments. Instalments are calculated by the system based on the duration of the booking. After the first upfront payment has been made, remaining instalments are then automatically taken from the card saved on the system. To reduce the risk of failed payments, due to a lack of funds on the card, reminders are automatically sent to parents prior to a payment being taken. 
  • Upfront payments 
    You can enable deposits or full upfront payments. This eliminates the risk of having places booked but not paid for. It also reduces the need to chase debts.
  • Overdraft thresholds
    You can set-up an overdraft threshold applicable to all parents and editable at the parent's level for increased flexibility. This prevents parents from making further booking if their account is in arrears and above the threshold. It ensures they pay the overdue balance first. This not only avoids financial losses, but also saves an organisation from having awkward discussions with parents.
     
  • Reporting 
    It is easy to retrieve financial reports from a comprehensive reporting system covering all financial data, which is clear, customisable, accurate and can aid tracking and chasing.  
What sort of administrative tasks does the system automate?

Magicbooking automates 85% of the admin tasks your organisation performs:

  • Dealing with booking forms and booking confirmations, as parents can now book online 24/7, based on live availability and confirmations are automatically generated.
  • Calculating parents usage and charges due, applying relevant discounts and generating invoices and credit notes.
  • Generating and distributing registers and keeping track of your sessions' headcount. In addition, you can instantly view a particular child's attendance and record and access important personal and safety information (such as approved collector information, dietary requirements, allergies and medical information and birthdays) without flicking through paper records.  The system generates up-to-date electronic* registers based on the current booking status and flags the register with a child's important information.   
  • Generating a number of different templated documents, such as booking confirmations, invoices and registers. The system also automatically generates parent statements, payment plans and payment reminders.

    * Paper registers can be printed and automatically sent via email to staff or schools, but most settings prefer to use a tablet to view the live registers, which also enables parents to digitally sign their children in and out of your setting.
How does the system make my organisation more efficient?

Here are some of the ways magicbooking streamlines your processes and practices to make your club or setting more efficient:

  • Automation tools
    These tools include document generation and electronic communications, which can save you time and money, as well as allowing you to deploy your resources and efforts on more rewarding tasks, like expanding your organisation or focusing on the children in your care. The system fully automates:

    Registrations - A 24/7 online booking system means parents can register, add and update their children's information. No need to re-key information, chase up parents for contact details or allergies, and it eliminates errors and stores all documentation electronically.

    Bookings - Parents can book online using live availability, the system calculates discounts and enables booking cancellations. No more unnecessary calls either, and increased business opportunities.

  • 24/7 service availability
    Parents can book and pay for services whenever it is convenient. This improves customer satisfaction and builds better relationships, as well as increasing potential revenue streams and reducing the resources you need to run an efficient booking system. You can also accept last minute bookings, while attendance registers are auto-updated. 

  • Electronic documentation
    Save time looking for documents as everything is stored electronically, all in one place. You save room on filing cabinets, save money on paper and printing and of course reduce your carbon footprint. The system automatically builds and updates electronic daily registers and invoices and payment reminders are automatically generated and sent to parents.

  • More financial options and control
    The system offers you financial reporting, giving you more granular insight into your finances, so you can make more informed decisions. It offers flexible payment options including online payment plans while overdraft thresholds reduce debt levels and saves time chasing payments. All card payments are automatically reconciled on the system, and childcare vouchers and tax-free childcare can be tracked.
     
  • Brings many organisational activities and functions into one platform
    Juggling a lot of software platforms and apps can lead to headaches for parents and staff when trying to manage many activities. You can now save money and time as you can take bookings, payments and communicate with parents, within one system. Schools can manage bookings and communication for wraparound care, school clubs, trips, parents evenings and school dinners.
How can the system improve the way I communicate with my customers?

With magicbooking you can communicate with parents and send out your latest newsletter, urgent information and links to resources and offers. 


You can also:

  • Deliver a range of messages using email templates and save them for a later date to resend.
  • Directly communicate with different groups of people (using filters such as newly registered users, school attended, children's age group, classrooms, activity booked etc) or communicate to all parents.
  • Send emails instantly or schedule for a specific time and date of your choice.
  • You can choose to distribute urgent information via SMS rather than using email. This can be to a specific group of parents or  all your contacts.
  • Fully comply with GDPR, offering an opt-out feature for customers that do not want to receive promotional emails. You can override this feature and send out urgent communication to all parents.

GDPR

How do I ensure that I am GDPR compliant?

You will need to make sure your organisation is GDPR compliant as a 'Data Controller' and you are registered with the ICO.  Reviewing your GDPR compliance regularly is a must.  Here is a short checklist to help you assess whether you are GDPR compliant:

  • Legacy data - Do you know where all your information is right now? 
  • Access - Have you considered who has access to your data and what data each person needs access to? 
  • Collecting information - Do you have a legitimate reason to collect and store personal data? Does the information you hold offer the best care and service to your children and their families?
  • Confidentiality - Do you know with whom your information is shared?
  • Security - How do you store your data? You can keep information in paper format, in a spreadsheet or using an online system?  Paper information needs to be kept locked away, spreadsheets should be password protected and online systems must be password protected and encrypted.
  • Retention - Do you know how long you are entitled to store people's information for? All parents and staff have the right to request access to the information you store on them and for their information to be deleted.
  • Privacy - Do you have a Privacy Policy which sets out why you collect data, what you will use it for and inform people when they register for your organisation? To be able to do this, you will need to look at all your processes and document the procedures for the safekeeping of data and who it is shared with, including outside partners like outsourced debt collection, payroll or HR providers.
  • Updating information - Are your members/contacts/customers able to keep their information up-to-date easily?
  • Backups - Do you back-up your contact's information?
  • Does your organisation remove all personal data when a person leaves the club?
  • Do you have a data breach policy?
  • Marketing - If you market your business, how do you store the contact information provided by prospective clients? Is it secure and can they opt out at any time? 

When we work with our clients, we are a 'Data Processor' and under this role we have to fulfil our GDPR obligations. Here is how the magicbooking system can help you comply with GDPR legislation:


  • We use Microsoft Azure as our cloud storage system to make sure your data is secure. In the unlikely event of a data breach, it can be easily identified, and users notified well within the mandated 72-hour period. In addition, all your financial information is fully protected through our partnership with our payment providers. We use SSL throughout the system, meaning all data from the user’s computers (parents or admins) to our servers (on MS Cloud) is encrypted. We do not store card details, these are stored on our Payment Gateway Elavon, which is PCI compliant. 
  • You have the ability to let your parents keep their 'personal information' updated. Parents must register an account and complete details about themselves and their children.  Each parent has their own log-in and password and can update the information when required. 
  • Parents can request the 'right to be forgotten'. There is a dedicated tab for parents to request their right to be forgotten. It will ultimately be your decision to grant their request in line with the Ofsted guidelines. 
  • The data is only available to those who have a legitimate use for it. You can define access levels for different users, for example, you can restrict access to financial data to certain staff or to some locations.
  • The system provides a full audit trail, so you are always able to see the activity on an account and who did what
  • The system allows individuals to opt out of email and SMS communication, however you can override this feature when you need to send out urgent non-promotional content.

    If you would like more information about GDPR compliancy or how our system can help contact us here. You can view our Privacy Policy here.

Safeguarding compliance

How can your system help me with safeguarding compliance?

Magicbooking can assist with your safeguarding procedures and help you improve Ofsted inspections . Here are some ways that our online booking system can help:

  • Registers 
    Registers are automatically generated and updated, so you know who is attending what session, you can ensure correct staffing levels and provide a record for any emergencies. The arrival and departure times of children are time-stamped on the electronic register. When a child is collected you can confirm the collector's name from the authorised collectors' list, enforce a collection password and capture a collector's signature.  
  • Personal data, medical information and SEND 
    This information is digitally stored information and documents such as
    children medical details, allergy information, dietary requirements, doctors’ details or parental consents are easily accessible from the register. 
  • Injury & incident reporting
    Injury and incident forms allow you to capture and monitor events. They are also flagged on the register and can be sent via email to parents. Records are available via the reporting system and provide full transparency for Ofsted if required.

Features

Can I set up cancellation policies for the activities I run?

The system enables you to set-up cancellation rules for each club or activity you host and publicise. You can stop users from cancelling completely, allow them to cancel, but only generate a credit note if the cancellation is made within your cancellation policy, or allow them to cancel without generating a credit note at all. As an admin you can generate credit notes for a booking that was cancelled outside the cancellation period.

How does the system manage client discounts?

You can apply customer discounts with ease. Here are some examples of the discounts our system enables you to offer:

  • Sibling discounts
    You can apply sibling discounts to all your services or just to specific activities.  You can apply sibling discounts in many different ways, such as a second child is entitled to a 50% discount or all children get 10%. If a booking is amended, the system recalculates discounts to ensure parents do not get more discount than they are entitled to.
  • Group discounts
     You can apply different pricing to different groups of people. For example, you may offer discounts for staff members or Pupil         Premium children. Once you have set up a discount for a particular group, the discount will automatically be applied.
  • Promotional Codes
    You can use promotional codes to offer discounts linked to marketing campaigns accessible to all parents or a group, or you can issue a one-of voucher for a specific family as a gesture of goodwill.
  • Weekly Discount
    Encourage parents to block-book so you are also more likely to fill spaces efficiently.
  • FSM and Pupil Premium

    This information is automatically pulled from the school's MIS and the relevant discounts are applied by the system.

Does your system handle Tax-Free Childcare and childcare vouchers?

Magicbooking allows parents to pay by Tax Free Childcare and childcare vouchers. Our unique reconciliation tool allows you to track and fully or partially reconcile Tax-Free Childcare and childcare vouchers effortlessly. This saves you significant amounts of time and effort, by putting all of the information in one placeand you no longer have to spend time manually cross-referencing and checking payments.  

Integrations

Can you integrate with our school's MIS?

Yes, magicbooking integrates with the majority of school management information systems, such as SIMS, Progresso, ScholarPack, SchoolBase, etc. Pupil’s data such as parents details, medical information, allergies and discount entitlement are automatically pulled across.

Do I need a website? If I do have a website, can you integrate to it?

No you don't need to have an existing website, magicbooking is a standalone solution and you will have a specific URL to access your booking system which you need to communicate to parents.  You will be able to personalise your magicbooking system with your logo and colour scheme.


If you have a website, we can also 'skin' magicbooking so that it aligns to your website branding and offers parents a seamless transition when they navigate from your commercial website to your booking system.

Get in touch

To discover how magicbooking can automate your booking processes and admin tasks, book a demo in a few easy steps, call us on 0333 987 4717 or use our enquiry form.

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Tablet with Magicbooking software