Capitals Rundown- 3 Game Series

The Washington Capitals were heading into their series with the Florida Panthers as the biggest underdogs next to the Nashville Predators. Nobody really thought the Caps could get out of this series, some didn’t even see the Caps getting a win. Despite only seeing about a minute of game time from Tom Wilson this series as well as a goaltending change, the Capitals have the series tied at 2-2 going back to the Sunshine State.

How can the Capitals close this series?

A series tied 2-2 with the President’s Trophy-winning Panthers is nothing short of incredible. On paper, the Panthers are very reminiscent of the Capitals of yesteryear. A painfully strong, young core. Veteran Leadership, star-studded goaltending, and very fast, physical play. The Caps have managed to handle that pretty well, despite being one of the oldest teams in the league.

Perhaps one of the biggest points of success the Capitals are finding is by playing some of their best defense all year. Going into the series, Coach Peter Laviolette knew how to weather that dangerous Florida attack. By sitting back and sitting in a 1-3-1 defensive shape, the Caps are limiting clean zone entries and causing turnovers in the neutral zone. Along with strong, even strength play, the Cap’s penalty kill remains perfect among one of the deadliest power plays in the league this year.

To continue giving themselves a chance, the Cap’s are going to need to continue to be strong in a few areas:

  • Physical Play- Even without Tom Wilson, the Caps have matched the intense and forbearing physical play by the Panthers. If they allow them to begin to dictate physicality, the Caps are going to slip down a slope they don’t want to go down.
  • Solid Goaltending- Ilya Samsonov relieved Vitek Vanecek of his duties after the 5-1 loss in game 2. Since then, Samsonov has been playing his most consistent hockey of the year and seems to be playing with a lot of confidence.
  • Continue to limit the rush- The Caps Blue Liners have done outstanding to limit odd-man rushes this series so far. If they slip up on that front or start getting caught up too much, the Panthers will attack with pace and punish them.
  • Finish the chances- there have been several times throughout this series now, either through lack of focus or bad luck, that the Caps have missed fantastic, high danger chances. If they can bury goals on Bobrovsky, they’ll continue to run away with it.
  • Stay Calm and Focused- Perhaps the biggest point here is to just keep playing Capitals Hockey. It’s a 2-2 series and the Capitals have shown they have all the power to knock out Florida. Game 4’s Overtime loss could have been avoided, but it’s happened and now they need to move on. Everyone on that roster knows their talents and if they remain calm and confident, they can knock out the Cats.

The Capitals are heading back to Miami to face the Panthers in what’s sure to be a loud game 5 away from home. If the Capitals can steal a win in this next game, they set themselves up in a fantastic position to close out on home ice.

Our Game 5 Predictions:

Jamie- 4-2 Capitals Victory

Zac- 3-2 Capitals Victory

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The importance of budgeting and managing finances in youth-sports programs

All league administrators should have a budget in place before taking a single registration. The budget should estimate revenue and expenses and separate them as individual line items. Estimate revenue low and expenses high in order to provide for some margin of error. Once the budget is set, keep the spending within the budget unless there is additional revenue that might justify additional spending.

A budget serves as all of the following:

  • Operations guide: A budget will dictate how to operate a league based on anticipated revenue and expenses. It will explain how the organization is divided by roles and how they operate.
  • Financial plan: Sound budgeting will keep finances in order and identify any areas where you can fine-tune spending or save money. It should show sources of revenue and allocated expenses.
  • Communications device: A budget provides an understanding for others in a league or the overall organization as to the forecasted revenue and the plan to allocate funds for expenses. It helps stakeholders understand why only certain funds are used for certain expenses.

The purpose of a budget is to allocate resources to achieve financial goals and objectives. If a league or organization is large enough to be separated into departments, each department will have its own budget with the total contributions to the organization’s annual operating budget. A budget should be divided into line items that reflect every aspect of an operation:

  • Staffing and referees
  • Rent/lease/ownership expenses
  • Operating supplies
  • Jerseys and uniforms
  • Equipment
  • Awards
  • Concessions
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Marketing/promotion
  • Background screening
  • Facility improvements
  • Training
  • Insurance.

Budget categories are based on the league’s operation and should be flexible and monitored regularly. Here are five ways to manage a budget and finances:

Breakeven: Find the breakeven point to determine how much revenue you have to bring in to sustain the league. If the only source of revenue is participant registrations, then simply figure out how many participants are needed to run the program. If you have significant revenue in sponsorships, concession sales, etc., include that so you are not dependent on participation alone.

Cost recovery: Similar to the breakeven, cost recovery goes one step further and shows exactly how the total expenses were recovered, based on the revenue brought in. To determine cost recovery, separate all revenue and all expenses. Then divide the total revenue by the total expenses. Hundred-percent cost recovery means you broke even. Anything higher than that means the league made money. Anything less means it lost money and will need to subsidize losses with additional revenue sources.

Expense tracker: Track every league expense to the penny. It can be as simple as entering items onto a spreadsheet. This will help keep track of all funds and ensure you stay within the budget. If you control the league’s bank account, you can reconcile expenses to the account. Tracking expenses will also force you to fine-tune spending and identify places to save money when needed.

Cash-handling: Anytime you are taking in cash, or managing any finances for that matter, more than one person should be involved for accountability and for checks and balances. Decide who is allowed to take cash, determine how it is to be counted, and decide where it goes. If possible, consider going “cash free,” or work toward it.

Contingency: Contingency is more for those who have complete control over league funds, such as a non-profit Little League or Pop Warner team. A larger organization, such as a government agency or larger YMCA association, generally will not have control of this at the league level as they have their own finance departments. If yours is a smaller operation, always have some type of contingency or savings fund. Take a small portion of each registration and put it in a contingency. If things go south or there’s an unexpected expense, it can be handled without being detrimental to the program. As this fund increases, you can also use it for items like scholarships or capital improvements.

All youth sports programs, regardless of the size of the organization, should have some level of budgeting and financial management. Having a plan to manage finances will ensure you can run a viable program.

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Understanding Youth Sports: Risk Management

Risk Management is never fun. It can be long, time-consuming, and tedious. But, it is 100% essential. Risk Management is something that can save lives and is a key part of preventing serious injuries. Risk Management also plays a key role in league and team operations. Failure to complete these steps can result in serious financial loss and even shut down entire leagues. While at the time it may not seem all that important when you’re trying to card players, get rosters and schedules set, etc. Having you and your staff complete Risk Management is essential.

There are several key steps and tips to assure your Risk Management and help mitigate risks.

1.     Have the proper insurances and liability waivers in place to protect staff members, volunteers, the facility, and the participants.

2.     Have all other administrative aspects of a program in order, including managing finances, forms, contracts, etc., and ensure that these documents are handled and reviewed by multiple people in the organization for proper accountability and “checks and balances.”

3.     Do routine, documented facility and equipment inspections to identify liabilities and hazards. For example, inspect and survey a play space to make sure it is safe before participants arrive, and make sure it stays safe while participants are in the area. If a potential liability or hazard is found, fix it immediately. If you cannot fix it, secure the area with proper signage so no one can approach it.

4.     Ensure all equipment provided (to teams and participants) is safe. Provide safety equipment when needed and inspect equipment before all games.

5.     Train staff members, coaches, managers, and volunteers properly on all aspects of a league, and provide applicable training and certifications, such as concussion training, first aid, and CPR.

6.     Promote and monitor hydration and healthy eating. Information can be included in parent packets, orientations, and coaches’ meetings. On game days, look for signs of dehydration and fatigue.

7.     Have a contingency plan. What can go wrong will go wrong, so always have a backup plan.

8.     Have an emergency-action plan. Train for risk scenarios so staff members are prepared to handle any situation.

9.     Have adequate adult supervision on game days that includes staff members or league volunteers.

10.   Have written policies in place to strictly prohibit drugs, alcohol, tobacco, excessive weight loss or weight gain, and any illegal substances. Monitor signs of substance abuse by any coach, parent, or participant throughout the season, and have a process in place to report such abuse.

A common practice is to follow the 10 Ps of risk management.  

1.     Policy. Have proper policies in place to protect the safety of staff members, volunteers, participants, and facilities, and know what to do when an incident occurs.

2.     Planning. Training for incidents will better prepare staff members when an incident occurs. Have emergency-action plans in place for any type of league or program.

3.     Product or service. Understand the potential risks that may occur, based on the service offered. Knowing and understanding the types of risks that can occur helps to be more prepared to prevent an incident or handle an incident when it occurs.

4.     Process. Make sure controls are in place to reduce risk and ensure staff members are trained or qualified to handle them.

5.     Premises. Consider the size and layout of facilities and the risks that may occur. Know how much it costs to repair and maintain the facilities.

7.     Protection. This is much broader than merely protecting people from health and safety risks; it includes identifying risks associated with protecting people, premises, equipment, and the surrounding environment. Once the associated risks are identified, it is imperative to have the proper insurance coverages and waivers in place to protect your most valuable assets.

8.     Procedures. Be sure to have proper procedures in place if an incident does occur.

9.     Purchasing. Have policies in place to control costs, create contingency funds, and purchase quality equipment that will not pose a hazard to participants.

10.   Performance. Evaluate a league regularly to ensure you are following the risk-management guidelines that are in place. If incidents do occur, evaluate them and devise a plan to prevent future incidents.

Remember, don’t lack in your Risk Management. It’s not just about your club’s financials, but the health and safety of families.


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How To Perfect Your Registration Setup

Setting up a registration can be a daunting task. There needs to be a lot of information collected, waivers signed, payments, and more. Many times, there are details left out of registrations that just make your job harder in the future. To some, a simple registration that collects payment and the name of a player will be all they need. But, every registration is different. Here are a few tips on how to perfect your registration setup!

1. Take your time.

Building a good registration doesn’t need to be a one-and-done task. Stretch out the building process over a few days, give yourself time to think of new data points and information that you’ll need to collect. This can also ease the stress of rushing and trying to quickly build a half-fledged registration. Setting some time aside and using the Sports Office 365 Registration Checklist is a great way to stay on top of your job!

2. Think of past mistakes and missing information.

It’s very easy to build what seems like a perfect registration that can be used over and over again; until the time comes to order uniforms and you realized you didn’t collect sizes. Look at past forms you’ve built and learn from what you’ve done in the past. Another option is reaching out to others or consulting online help to see what some of the most simple yet important information is that you may be missing.

3. Marketing your registration

Building a good registration is more than just adding in a few forms and then letting it sit. Registration is a constantly active program. Marketing your registration is going to be more in-depth than building the actual form; and arguably, more important. Marketing, whether it be social media, email, or any other preferred method: is an easy way to boost up your exposure. The more people you market to, the more registrants you’ll get. Be sure to set a good amount of time aside and plan to market far in advance.

4. Keep it simple

A well-designed registration is simple. There is no need for elaborate steps or forms that take more than 10 minutes to complete. The more user-friendly, the better!

5. Run Tests!

Perhaps one of the most forgotten about steps in this process is testing the actual process. The last thing you want is to go into your registration platform a week after it opened only to see nothing has been working the whole time. Set time aside to run through it yourself, have friends, and others test it for you. The more testing and tweaking you do, the easier it’ll be on you in the end.

Building a good registration doesn’t need to be hard. Set some time aside market, run tests. The more time and attention you set aside to building a good form, the easier it’ll be on your parents, and your future self!

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The 7 Day Registration Checklist

Building a registration form can be difficult, especially if you’re doing so by yourself. Check out our 7-Day checklist inspired by TeamSnap!

1. Find a Good Platform

Finding a good platform to set up your registration is the most important step in staying organized. A good platform will allow you to collect as many data points as you need, collect a payment, and track all the happenings of who is registering and when. Getting a good system in place will save you a lot of time and effort in the end!

2. Find out what needs to be recorded

Data is the quintessential piece to your registration setup. Without the appropriate information, you’ll get disorganized and things will start to fall apart. It’s important to take some time to think about what you may need to do with the data in the future and set out some of the major data points you need to be recorded.

3-4. Begin building your form

Once you have found a good foundation and set some time aside to take notes on your registration fields, it’s time to get to work building it out. Take some extra time to really make sure that you hit every point when building this out. Incomplete or difficult registration will only make the lives harder for yourself, coaches, volunteers, players, and parents. Building something simple and easy for parents to complete is the ideal goal when formatting. There is no need for anything too flashy on the registration side of things.

5. Run Through Tests

Now that your registration form is complete, have yourself and a few others run some tests. You may find you missed a data point or find you want to add or remove certain items. You also want to make sure someone other than yourself can run through these tests to get a good outside perspective on the ease of the process.

6. Begin Marketing

After the registration building process is complete, you aren’t done yet. Marketing your program is just as important as the initial setup. Marketing your program can be done either through social media, email marketing, flyers, or whatever your preferred method may be. The more your program is marketed, the more traction it’s going to get.

7. Launch, Promote, and Track

You’ve built out your registration, marketed it, and now it’s time to launch. Once your registration is active, it’s not time to slow down. You’ll want to keep active on things, especially in the first few days to make sure everything is running smoothly. Keeping a watchful eye on things as time passes will help you prepare for the actual program you run. This will also give you a good idea of things you may want to change in the future the next time you set up your registration!

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Club Announcement- Goodyear Soccer Club

Sports Office 365 is excited to announce our most recent partnership with Goodyear Soccer Club. Based out of Arizona, Goodyear brings a wide variety of programs to their area! Club, Academy, and Competitive; Goodyear provides kids many great options to grow with the sport and have fun!

We are excited to be working with Goodyear Soccer Club moving forward!

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Marketing Your Club and Why Online Presence Matters

Some food for thought.

Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time – Henry Ford

“Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” – Joe Chernov

“Less is more. Keeping it simple takes time and effort.” – Jeff Bullas

In the world of youth sports, there is always a program being marketed and planned. Many are run by extremely qualified coaches and staff and provide invaluable knowledge, experience, and fun! You could have the best-run recreation program in the nation but without some strong and aggressive marketing, how will anyone find you? The obvious answer is great marketing. The simple answer is great marketing. The time-consuming answer is great marketing. The point is, marketing in person and online takes a large number of resources, manpower, and persistence to reach as many people as possible.

We here at Sports Office understand the marketing world of youth sports very well. Our goal is to bring what we’ve seen around the country to your virtual doorsteps.

Why does this matter?

You are not the only youth sports organization trying to spread the word about your various programs. There are over 10,000 soccer organizations (USYS) fighting to attract members. 100’s of new youth sports organizations start up every year to further increase that competition. If you are looking to stand out from the competition, you need to make your marketing as aggressive and simple for families to understand as possible. Less is more.

Can I just do this myself?

Yes, you can. You and any volunteers or staff you have on hand can do this for the club. However, do you have the bandwidth to market as aggressively as you’d like? Can you do this every season? Do you want to? Of course you want to but unless this is your full-time job to market and interact with your customers, you may struggle to do this consistently every season.

Now imagine watching as a team of full-time graphic designers and social media marketers working around the clock to create all of your content and push it out through every channel possible. Not only for online marketing either. Posters, business cards, and banners too. While we cannot physically market for you in person, we provide you with all the resources to do it yourself.

You focus on running your club. Let us focus on spreading the word.

Our team has made a promise to make your life easier. Are you ready to save time and increase your marketing presence? Get in touch with us today and lets get started. It’s never too late, or early, to get the word out!

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The Growing Issue in Youth Sports: Longevity

Longevity in youth sports is a growing problem. At Sports Office 365, we eliminate that problem and save you and your staff time and frustration!

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The Benefits of Having an Active Social Media Presence

Social Media is a brilliant tool to use at your club. Most of the time it’s free, it allows you to reach new people and stay in touch with the ones you already know. Having an active social media presence is more than just writing a post every now and then. Being active on major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can help you drastically improve your club!

Grow and Develop

For organizations big or small, growth is always important. Either numerical growth of players and teams, or growing and enhancing your club’s inner and outer workings. Social media allows you to market yourselves to a grandiose audience. With the many different platforms of social media, you’re able to take a different approach to how you want to market yourself!

Connect

Social media is great for allowing many different people to connect, and it’s no different when it comes to your club or team. Having a quality and consistent social media schedule allows you to connect with those interested in the organization. Whether that be new or returning parents and players, tournaments, or even local media. It gives your organization the ability to engage with the audience. With this also comes quick access to posting news and happenings within your organization. Team success, cancellations, or field updates; social media is one of the fastest ways to update your audience!

At Sports Office 365, we have a fantastic Social Media Manager to help aid your club. She’s added some examples below on the many benefits of an active social media profile!

A Virtual Support System

It’s common to be a part of an organization that groups by age and skill level. This automatically minimizes the number of exposure members have to interact with others outside of their immediate groupings. Social media allows for additional support systems outside of physical interactions.

For example, John goes to school with his friend Emma and is in the same club, Club A. They both had weekend games but are on separate teams. After a weekend of matches and victories, Club A posts a bunch of new photos and videos on Facebook and Instagram highlighting memorable moments. John sees Emma score a goal in a video post and comments, “Way to go, Emma!! Great focus!!” Emma likes and shares the photo of John in action on the field. These moments between friends would have otherwise been missed out on if it were not for their Club A’s engaging social media practices.

Increased Website Traffic

Social media channels are supplemental to your club’s website. Social platforms can reach different audiences in a personable, useful, and entertaining way to potentially interested community members who may not have otherwise been able to reach the website organically.

A proud Aunt Susan shares a photo of her nephew scoring a goal, from Club B’s Facebook page. A friend of Aunt Susan, new to the area, sees her shared post and tells her two kids about Club B that they are now very excited to join, after viewing the photos and videos of the members of Club B having a blast!

Reduced Barriers to Participation

Club C is aware that trying something new can be difficult. Their presence on social platforms helped Mark find their club. Mark stumbled upon a highlight reel of Club C’s game while he was looking for something unrelated on Instagram. From here he is scrolling Club C’s Instagram of team photos and action shots. Feeling a level of engagement to the members in the photos, he is interested in finding a team to play within Club C. Mark is now on their website in just 3 quick clicks. Thanks to social media, Club C made it a little easier to get newcomer Mark to step through that door.

There are many positive benefits to having an active social media account for your club. We pride ourselves on being able to confidently manage your social media accounts. Reach out to us today to see how we can help boost your club’s social media presence!

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The Importance of a Good Platform

When it comes to running a sports organization, one of the best investments you can make is in a solid foundation. Whether starting a new club or making adjustments, a good platform is the backbone of your operation.

What is a Platform?

A platform is a tool that connects and organizes all of your essential features into one. Think of websites like Teamsnap, SportsEngine, and League Apps. These are just a few of the key sites when it comes to running an organization. They each offer different tools but they are all similar in what they can accomplish overall. Registration, financials, rostering, communication, website building, and more. A good platform will provide you with a solid base to keep track of what matters most in your organization.

What Platform is Best for Me?

Every club is unique and built differently based on the sport they play, the philosophy of the club, the team running the operations, and the platform on which they build their workflow. It is important to take the time to research the platform that best suits the needs of your club, the trouble is – it is difficult to find the time to do the research. Even if you do, many clubs don’t identify massive issues with how their platforms run until months into the season.

One of the major factors that come into play when selecting a platform is the ease of usage and the learning curve attached to it. There are several good websites that offer extremely easy-to-use systems with very basic tool kits. Nobody wants to work tirelessly trying to build a simple website or constantly monitor your registrations on an hourly basis. Find a platform that works for you and saves you time and keeps you stress-free!

No matter what platform you decide works for you, our staff is expertly trained to take charge of your platform. Whether you want to improve financial reporting or make registrar duties more simple, we have the knowledge to guide you in the right direction!

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Gulf Coast Futsal Partners with Sports Office 365!

Sports Office 365 is excited to announce our recent partnership with Gulf Coast Futsal! Based in Pensacola, Florida; Gulf Coast Futsal is an organization helping to grow the game of futsal in the United States. GCF provides kids a chance to play soccer year-round and to become better athletes!

Sports Office 365 is excited to work with Gulf Coast Futsal moving forward!

Sign with Soccer Office Today!

Sports Office 365 owns and operates Soccer Office. Furthermore, both companies function as virtual assistant services and virtual administration services. Soccer Office offers a full-time call center, marketing services, Full-Time sports registrar, sports websites, business development, accounts receivable collections which we provide to SAVE YOU TIME, MONEY, and EFFORT. For a complete list of our services please visit https://sportsoffice365.com/services/. If your club has an interest in our services please click this link to set up an appointment to speak with our Director of Business Development, Sam https://calendly.com/samc8

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Club Announcement- Cardinal Elite Lacrosse

Sports Office 365 is very excited to announce our most recent partnership, Cardinal Elite Lacrosse!

Cardinal Elite Lacrosse Club is based out of Louisville KY. A newer club consisting of middle school and high school students offers kids an opportunity to develop as lacrosse players and as individuals.

We’re excited to work with Cardinal Elite and their staff!

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How to Efficiently Manage Hotel Bookings

Booking and managing all of the hotel rooms for your team or club may seem like a terrifying and pressure-filled process. As long as you keep on top of everything, it’s a fairly easy process!

Timing

One of the most important aspects of this entire process may not be something you would have thought of; it’s all about timing. Timing plays a huge factor throughout this entire process, and once you understand that, the easier your job will be. Booking hotels for tournaments is not something you want to do one month or a few weeks before an event. This needs to be handled and planned out months ahead of time. Booking agencies tend to coordinate with tournaments long in advance to prepare their hotels for the event. Waiting until months after they are released will leave you with little to no options. Preparing months in advance and getting your dates straight is even more important for lacrosse clubs participating in Stay-to-Play events.

Organization

Keeping everything organized and filed correctly will save you a lot of headaches and frustration. An up-to-date spreadsheet outlining events, dates, locations, teams, and everything else will help you easily identify and stay on top of everything. Take an ample amount of time weeks before the season starts to get as much information as possible laid out in front of you. Once you have everything set up and organized, it’s on to the next step.

Finding a Plan

Going into the hotel booking process blind or without a plan will lead to failure. When trying to get a large number of rooms or blocks, you need to know dates, timelines, and how everything works. Take time before the season to learn who will be the hotel booking agency, find out release dates, and know when you need to book. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the booking agencies directly. A lot of times they can provide you with the information you’re looking for, including release dates.

Managing and Tracking

Once you got everything straight, blocks reserved, and deadlines marked; you aren’t in the clear yet. There are two more big steps to ensure you, and your parents have the easiest process.

First, be sure to track those expiration deadlines. When using a booking agency, block reservations are only held for a short time. After about 1-2 weeks, most blocks will be released back to the public. This is not always the case, some tournaments and agencies give you a long window. But, be sure to note when that deadline is. You can always reach out and attempt to get extensions, but this is not always guaranteed. Some agencies have restrictions on their extensions or don’t offer them at all. Tracking those dates as well as how many rooms your parent’s book is important for moving forward in the process.

Secondly, is distributing those booking links and information. Once you reserve a block, you’ll receive a confirmation with all the necessary information for parents to book. Getting this information out to them can vary based on the club. Some prefer to post on their team pages like Teamsnap or LeagueApps. Others would prefer to post it on the website. Whichever option you chose, be sure to fully post all relevant information and have parents book as soon as possible.

Coach Rooms

When it comes to reserving coach’s rooms, most clubs like to give their staff a different option so they aren’t staying with all the teams and players. That’s not something required, you can always have coaches pull rooms from the reserved blocks. If you decide to have them stay elsewhere, the best thing to do is make sure you reserve with free cancellation. Booking months out and getting the cheaper non-flexible rate may seem great at the time, but you never know what could come up in the future. Booking the flex rate is going to be your best option, just be sure to set reminders to cancel ahead of time if needed.

As the season approaches and parents are all booked up, your job should be relatively complete. It will then just turn into a maintenance role. Helping parents with one-off rooms, and troubleshooting issues as they appear. The whole process may seem very daunting, but as long as you keep everything organized and marked, it’s a fairly easy process!

If you still feel that your hotel booking procedures are too much, Sports Office 365 are experts on the hotel booking process and can take that task off your hands!

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