Specialist Year Long Training:
Booking System Requirements

Do you run specialist workshops or training courses that take place over an extended period of time? If so, you probably have some quite specific needs for the service you want to offer your clients. This article looks at what they may be, and how Workshop Angel is designed help you meet your client's needs.

Offering Staged Payments

I'm guessing that the courses you offer aren't cheap. A detailed, specialist training course run maybe once a month over 6-12 months will impart a lot of value to the attendees: maybe enough value for them to start a new career in a subject that they love. Your attendees may book onto your training six months or more in advance of the start date, to be sure they have a place and to plan their life around the commitment your course will require.

If those things are true for your clients, you are unlikely to want them to pay the entire course fees when they book. It may be an amount of money they don't have available as a lump sum. It may also feel unreasonable for them to be paying the full price for something that they won't receive in its entirety for another 12-18 months.

Your clients may not be able to pay the entire course fees at the time when they wish to book...

For these reasons, you are likely to want to offer your attendees some kind of staged payment options. This will also enable them to commit to your training as soon as possible, giving you the security of knowing your programme is financially viable. The challenge then becomes finding an event booking system that can smoothly and efficiently handle this scenario. All the systems we have seen on the market require full payment at the time of booking, and are designed for events that are popular to many people and are happening on just one occasion.

... so  offering staged payments can be a very important part of your business.

The reason we created Workshop Angel is to offer a system specifically designed to manage more than one payment for an event. We explain how we do this later in this article!

Managing Refunds

No one likes the idea of refunding money that has already been paid. However, the reality is that people's circumstances change, and sometimes it is impossible for them to attend an event.

Conventional event booking systems use a technique for taking card payments which makes issuing refunds very difficult to do. Users of these systems in recent years have changed their terms and conditions to say that no refund is possible. They could potentially offer the ability to keep a payment made as a credit for another event, but conventional systems have no way of tracking this, so workshop leaders generally don't offer this option either. If a client can't attend, they generally need to either sell their ticket to someone else, or consider their payment a generous donation to the organisers.

If a client has paid a signifcant amount of money to attend your training and then cannot attend for good reasons, you are likely to feel morally compelled to issue them a refund. 

Neither of these options are great customer service, but could be considered acceptable if the event is one that a wide variety of people want to attend such as a yoga class or a popular festival. In this case the ticket can easily be sold, and the client doesn't feel they have lost out financially.

When it comes to a high value specialist training, neither of these options will feel viable for your clients. If a client has paid a significant amount of money to attend your training and then cannot attend because they are in hospital, you are likely to feel morally compelled to issue them a refund. 

The great news is that Workshop Angel can handle this scenario with a few clicks, keeping your financial records up-to-date and making your admin as smooth as can be!

Managing Large Quantities of Emails

Specialist training requires specialist information, and for many leaders running long-term classes, this means sending out a large number of emails with course content to all the attendees. While this can be managed in an existing email system such as gmail, it is potentially much easier to manage in the same system that the attendees themselves are being managed.

Workshop Angel has a built-in system for defining large amounts of email content, including image and attachments. Similar emails which are sent to attendees each time a class runs can be defined as templates, and used as the basis of an email to be sent to the current set of attendees.

Let's Look at Workshop Angel...

Having looked at some of the main challenges you may be facing, let's now turn our attention to how Workshop Angel handles these these issues!

Setting Up Staged Payments in Workshop Angel

Workshop Angel makes it really easy to create and manage staged payments.

Workshop Angel makes it really easy to create and manage staged payments.

You define your training class as what is called an "Activity". The first stage in setting up staged payments is to specify that the activity allows just a deposit to be taken at the time the client books, plus one or more further payments:

Further controls allow you to manage how much the deposit amount is, how soon before the start date that a deposit can no longer be paid, and if there is just one final payment, how many days before the start date that payment becomes due.

An additional option for the activity enables you to allow staged payments, or what we call "payment by monthly instalments":

You then have the option to define the dates each instalment becomes due, and the percentage of the outstanding amount that the instalment will be for. In the example above, let's say the full course fee is 2000 and the deposit paid at the time of booking is 500. Then there is 1500 outstanding, and each of these instalment payments will be for 500.

There is a huge amount of flexibility in how the payment options can be set up.

There is a huge amount of flexibility in how these payment options can be set up. Here are some of the options:

  • The ability for the system itself to work out what each payment amount will be, based on the time left before the start date.
  • The dates of the payments extending into the time that the activity is running.
  • Price options which are based on different payment by instalment timings, and other prices based on full payment at the time of booking.

You can click here to read all the details of how this part of the app works in our documentation.

Payment Reminder Emails

Once a client books, Workshop Angel has an automated system for sending out email reminders when a payment becomes due. These emails are sent out five days before the payment due date. If payment isn't received, they are also sent out one day before the payment date, and two and five days after. Each email contains a simple link where the client can make a card payment, as you can see on the image here. The content of this and all emails sent by the system can be fully customised to meet your needs.

When a payment is made, the financial information for the client is automatically updated and the instalment is marked as paid.

You can click here to read more about how this system works in our documentation.

 Changing The Payment Schedule

In the real world, clients can request to make their payments on a different schedule than that which was defined when they booked. You may want to accommodate those changes when running a more specialist training class. Workshop Angel can handle this situation too!

For each booking, there is a Payment Schedule screen where you can see the payment amounts, and the dates they are due. Each "scheduled payment" can have the date and amount edited, and new scheduled payments added. 

Workshop Angel allows you to make changes to a client's payment schedule as required.

As you can see, there is complete flexibility is available to match the kind of service you may well want to offer your clients.

You can click here to read more about managing scheduled payments in our documentation.

Managing Credits and Refunds

Credits and refunds can be managed directly from the app. Once an attendee has been marked as  cancelled from an activity, any payments they have made are automatically shown as being a credit:

A simple click on the payment item brings the option to issue a refund, less an admin fee.

Credits and refunds are handled with ease and the financial records kept up to date.

Enter the admin fee, click on the [Refund] button and a few seconds later the refund will be issued through the card payment provider. All the financial records within Workshop Angel are be updated. Super simple!

Click here to read more about credits and refunds in our documentation.

Managing Many Detailed Emails

The final feature which is particularly important for year long specialist training courses is to be able to manage and send many detailed emails.

Workshop Angel has the ability to define any number of messages as a type of template, or "Default Message". Below we can see an example of this as the background reading email for module 3 of a year training programme:

These messages can be built up for all the stages of your training program, and stored as default message templates for the next year's class.

Detailed emails containing images and PDF links can be stored as templates and sent to all attendees with a couple of clicks.

When the right time comes in the current class program, the message can be simply copied to the current activity (in this case "Teacher Training 2023"), where it can be edited with any additional information and sent out to all attendees with a single click. Messages can contain images and PDF attachment links, enabling you to send out all the rich and detailed content that your attendees need!

You can click here to read more about creating these messages in our documentation.

Client Testimonial - Sarah Ramsden, Sports Yoga

Sarah used her specialist sports yoga skills for many years working with the football players at Manchester City and Manchester United football clubs. She now focuses on teaching all she has learned to a new generation of sports yoga specialists. Here is what she says about working with Workshop Angel for her year-long training program:

"I run a large sports yoga training business with clients from all over the world, and in order to maximise my attendee numbers I offer a wide variety of pricing and payment options. Workshop Angel allows me to manage every possible option I can imagine with their event booking system."

"I love how the email sending is all automated, so I can focus my energy on growing my business rather than being buried in administration!"

In Conclusion...

The ability to offer staged payments, manage credits and refunds, and work with a large amount of detailed emails are an essential part of managing clients for specialist year long training programs.

We have seen in detail how these features are an integral part of how Workshop Angel works, and how straightforwards they are to use.

If you like the sound of Workshop Angel, click here to get started!

We hope you've found this article useful... if you think Workshop Angel can work for your business, we'd love you to contact us, and for you to get started by attending some of our free on-line training classes!