After some time in development we’re excited to announce that our refreshingly new website is now live. As with everything we do, our main goal with this new website is to make things easier for you.
Amongst the new features (which are listed below) the most notable change is the absence of a login/register button. We’ve made the decision to completely remove the user accounts section of the site. The aim in doing this is to reduce the amount of obstacles that get in the way of the important thing – booking your place on one of our singles events.
If you had an account on our old site you may want to read this article.
Why rebuild the website?
Although there was nothing fundamentally wrong with our old website we felt that it was beginning to be outgrown by our ever expanding audience and the new ventures we wanted to undertake. As well as a fresher look and feel we also wanted to provide the opportunity for our users to get involved with the things we do. The new website contains areas where people can suggest different types of events we should run and more importantly where to run them (you can have your say here by the way).
Some of our new features…
Multiple ticket booking
A common question we’ve always had is ‘can I book for me and a friend?’. Until now the answer has been no. Due to having a user account based website we could only accept one booking per logged in user. There were good reasons for this – mainly to do with the way in which we released the event results. They would be accessible by a user logging in and having them there on their profile. This obviously meant that if someone were to book multiple tickets on one account we could only release the results of the person that the account belonged to. Sound confusing? It no longer matters, the important thing is that now you can book as many tickets as are available at one time. We do however still need to collect information about each person attending (name, email and mobile), so keep that in mind before booking.
No user registration
Previously, in order to attend any of our events we required you to register on our site by filling in a form that probably took a good few minutes, providing information that we actually rarely made use of. As helpful to us as it was to have our users’ information in front of us and a guest list automatically generated once a booking had been made this came with quite a few unnecessary problems:
- Passwords – The most common would arise from a user forgetting their password. It’s totally understandable that you’d forget a password you set up a year ago and only used once! The next step would be to click the ‘forgotten password’ link on the login page, after which you’d expect to receive an email with instructions on resetting your password. However, due to the nature of our business and email clients assuming we were spamming people, these emails often wouldn’t be received. This would then either result in a phone call where we would manually reset a password and hope for the best or the user in question getting understandably frustrated and give up even trying to book a place.
- Duplicate Accounts – Occasionally people would forget that they’ve signed up before (as it was some time ago) and attempt to create an account using the same email address. This would either lead to them going through the ‘forgotten password’ scenario or creating a new account using a different email address.
- One ticket per user – With a user based website we’d only allow one booking per signed in user. This meant you weren’t able to book for yourself and a friend, which is what a lot of people wanted to do. We go into more detail about this later.
Email subscription service
We often get asked if we can let people know when certain events are coming up by email. When this happened we would add their email address to a spreadsheet we kept and send weekly notifications. But we’d also get asked if we could remove people from the spreadsheet as well. With the increased amount of interest we’ve experienced lately this method became a bit too much so we decided to use an opt in email subscription service (MailChimp) to handle the maintenance and delivery of these emails. With the new website we can offer the option of subscribing to this list without needing to create an account first. You can also opt out of receiving these emails at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of all of our emails. To learn more visit our subscribe page.
Now this feature might not sound that exciting but it’s a useful thing to have and here’s why – occasionally, when someone would want to book on more than one event they’d have to pay for each one separately. That would mean selecting the event, going through to the booking page, selecting a payment method, entering their details and paying. Then repeating that process for the second (or third) event. With the new shopping cart function you can simply add all the events you want to book for to your cart and then, when you’re done, proceeding to the checkout page to pay. Once.
Event and area suggestions
As well as venue owners getting in touch with us we do our best to search for great local venues to hold our events at each week, but inevitably they’ll be some that we miss. We’ve set up a page where people can let us know of any venues they think will be ideal for our events. Not only that, you can also let us know of different types of events you’d like to attend. Predominantly we just run Speed Dating events (hey, it’s in the name) but occasionally we organise singles parties and mix & mingle events. As we’ve said before, our main goal is to provide single people the opportunity to meet one another, and if that means organising events away from the typical Speed Dating format we’re all for it. We’ve had suggestions that include ‘book lovers gatherings’, ‘comic con style speed dating’ and many others. Anytime we hear an idea we think will work we’ll let our users know and try and gauge the interest. If there’s enough there we’ll go ahead and arrange it. And as a thank you, if we do organise an event that you’ve suggested we’ll give you free entry to that event.
Share your ideas on our suggestions page.
A place for venues to reach out
Venue owners will often get contact with us about co-hosting Speed Dating events on weekdays in a way to branch out. It benefits both of us as they’ll have customers on an otherwise empty evening and we’ll have a different venue to run an event. Until now there’s been no sign that we’re event interested in hearing from these venues and they’ve used their initiative to email us directly. Now we’ve set up a dedicated page to help give venues an idea of how our events run and offers them a place to get in touch to arrange a meeting.
Photo galleries of our events (in progress)
One of the things that was always missing from our old site was the ability to share pictures of various types. We realise that it’s quite daunting for someone to book onto an event without actually knowing how it works or if people enjoy themselves. As the saying goes(ish) ‘a picture says a thousand words’. We’ve certainly missed some opportunities to get people excited about our events by using pictures of them.
Please note: Any pictures we upload that include attendees will have faces blurred out so individuals aren’t recognised.
Advice and guidance
It’s not rare that we’ll get phone calls from people that are interested in booking onto an event but have no idea of how it all works and what happens. We’re fine with this and quite enjoy talking to people about our events whenever we can. But we do think about the people that don’t take that step of calling us and just decide not to book instead. We thought that we should have a dedicated page to explaining exactly what to expect at an event right through to receiving the results the following day.
Going beyond just wanting to know about an event before booking, there’s also the time between having booked an event and actually turning up to take part. People wonder what they should wear, what to talk about, how much money they should bring and other things that might cross the mind. This is why we now include links in the booking confirmation emails to a page that (hopefully) answers these questions. We want everyone that comes to our events to be totally relaxed and not worry about the little details.
Thanks for listening
So that’s why we’ve built our new site and the new features available. We just hope it’s easier for people to use as well as being as informational as possible without being too boring. If you’ve got any questions, comments, suggestions or just want to say hi we’d love to hear from you. You’ll be able to do all of those at our contact page. Hopefully we’ll see you soon and remember… Five Minutes Could Change Everything 🙂