Briq Bookings brings leisure businesses an innovative booking scheduler. The scheduler uses an algorithm that enables multi-activity bookings. It calculates the optimal program based on custom configurations, such as the break time in between the activities and group size. The scheduler then automatically presents the customer the ideal day out.
After making their first appearance at family entertainment center (FEC) the Kartfabrique Briq Bookings now helps FECs all over the world reach new audiences and get more online bookings. Their secret? A smart online booking scheduler.
Thijs Megens is a husband, father of a 3-year-old and co-founder and Head of Product of Briq Bookings. Together with CEO Eugene Lubbers, he once started Briq in the hidden attic of the Kartfabrique. “No window could be opened and our decor was a recycled carpet from a beer party.” That’s how in 2017, Briq Bookings arised.
As a child he was intrigued by packaging designs that were simple but effective. The kick he got from those designs took him to efficiently design the innovative booking scheduler for FECs.
Today, he gives insights into the unique technology behind Briq’s booking scheduler. "Briq’s booking scheduler uses a scheduling algorithm. It helps the customer to book their outing, a combination of multiple activities, in just a couple of clicks. That’s the essence of it."
Briq’s booking scheduler started in the city of Utrecht where the Kartfabrique is located. Here, Thijs and Eugene quickly found out that selling one go-karting heat is easy. Selling multiple activities in one booking, on the other hand, is a whole different story.
"You don’t want to lay this complexity in the hands of the customers and make them select different time slots. We removed the complexity by making the booking flow as simple as possible. The technology is solving the challenges, instead of the employees at the venue."
There are many tools that offer single booking activities, but multi-activity schedulers aren’t common. "The multi-activity bookings and the possibility to adapt to different scheduling scenarios is really what makes Briq stand out."
So what makes this multi-activity booking process complicated? That depends on the type of activities that an FEC offers. "There can be quite some business rules for the scheduling part."
"You have to take into account the capacity for each segment, for example go-karting for kids or adults. What makes it even more complex are the breaks in between the activities. We enable the merchant to configure all their capacities, business rules and ideal break time in terms of number of minutes. The scheduler takes that into consideration when creating a program for each individual customer. It will create the ideal program, based on the configurations that the merchant has set up."
So, imagine a customer at my venue wants to book a day of go-karting and laser tagging. Let’s say go-karting is available at two o’clock that day and laser tagging only at 4 o’clock. But… I set up the break time to be less than 30 minutes between the activities. How would the scheduler solve this?
"In that case the scheduler will try to change the order of the activities. In a split second, it will calculate all the different scenarios. Maybe if laser tagging is the first activity, there are available spots for go-karting within 30 minutes after. Then that program will be presented to the customer."
So with its algorithm Briq’s booking scheduler will try all possible combinations until it has found the most ideal one for the venue and the customer, based on the configuration set up by the venue.
The merchant can decide how "heavy" each rule is. "For example, you can select a short break to be more important than the order of the activities. The scheduler will then make that business rule extra important when calculating the best program."
"Briq’s booking scheduler will create the ideal program in a split second, based on the activities, time, capacity and other configurations that the merchant has set up."
The booking scheduler doesn’t just calculate the ideal day out for the venue and the customer, it also saves venues a huge amount of time.
Thijs has experience with the challenges venues face when they’re not bookable online. "If a customer wanted to book a combination of activities, they would have to call or send an email. This would take a lot of effort and you’re not even guaranteed to find the best experience."
The scheduling algorithm helps the merchant to improve their capacity as well. "The scheduler will first try to fill in the popular spots, instead of letting the customer book any heat. We’re trying to cluster them. This gives the merchant the possibility to be booked in the most efficient way."
Briq’s booking scheduler also enables you to make certain activities or combinations that are only available on certain times or dates.
"This allows you to distribute the customers over the right segment or moment. You can make use of promo codes to make it more interesting for the customer to book a certain moment. Our team also supports leisure businesses in implementing this type of marketing strategies.”
Over the past years, Briq has built meaningful relationships with many leisure businesses. Briq works very closely with their clients and tries to take their feedback to heart to keep improving their booking scheduler. "That’s one of our core values.”
Thijs is excited to share a powerful partnership with R1 Indoor Karting. “R1 indoor karting is definitely a great example of a successful partnership. They offer axe throwing as an activity, on multiple lanes. You can compare it to bowling, where you have multiple bowling lanes. Being able to divide groups over multiple lanes, that was something that wasn’t possible before. We’ve now added this feature.
They have a different duration of the activity, depending on the amount of people in the group. For example, with two people you’d play for 30 minutes and with 5 people you’d play 45 minutes. So the duration is dependent on how many people will do the activity. With their feedback, we improved our booking scheduler. They're now able to have that flexible duration for group bookings, while being bookable online."
After each new feature, Briq keeps monitoring the data and the performances of the booking scheduler.
"We continuously ask ourselves if we are able to present the perfect program to each customer. Or is a new feature reducing the conversion, for example? Every feature needs to enable the customer to book the perfect outing. So we’re always analyzing the data behind the scenes."
"Every feature needs to enable the customer to book the perfect outing. So we’re always analyzing the data behind the scenes."
This month's most exciting update for Briq’s booking scheduler is online multi-activity bookings for groups. Before, a venue would receive a notification by email and they would have to make the booking manually by contacting the customer. This process is now automated for groups of all sizes.
What kind of challenges would group bookings usually bring about for family entertainment centers?
"Let’s say I come with a group of 30 people, but the go-karting track can only handle a group of 20 persons per heat. Usually the customer would then have to call or email the venue, but Briq makes this type of booking online bookable as well. The scheduler can now split the group and divide it over multiple heats or bowling lanes, while taking into account the capacity of each lane."
Another awesome feature that Briq is working on is variable pricing in the booking scheduler.
"We're working towards being able to distinguish the prices of an experience, depending on when you do the activity. For example, you can make go-karting cheaper in the morning or on Thursday compared to the evening or a Wednesday. In the booking scheduler we can see which days or which part of the day you have the most capacity.”
“Imagine you’re always fully booked on Saturday. We would first try to tweak the booking a bit, by changing the schedule. But if the day is really fully booked already, then we’ll try to convince the customer to book a Friday afternoon instead. That’s something we would like to enable by having variable pricing. So the merchant is able to make specific periods cheaper."
Next year, Briq aims to further improve the occupancy rate of each venue.
‘’In 2022, we’d like to manage more complex scheduling, such as booking multiple resources for one activity. The focus will be on further optimizing the occupancy rate. We want to offer the merchant the highest occupancy rate possible, to really maximize their capacity.’’
Briq’s Product Team is constantly working on the further development of the booking scheduler.
We’re looking forward to exploring what we can do for you.