'Airbnb for hiring school facilities' invests £500k in tech
A company that allows schools and colleges to hire out their facilities when they’re not in use has made a £500,000 investment into its tech offer.
Scott Warrington and Paul Andrews launched School Lettings Solutions in 2012 and employ 960 people. The company has a turnover of £13.2m.
The company rents out the assets of schools, academies and colleges like sports pitches and meeting rooms on evenings, weekends and school holidays.
The business has just invested in a package of technology improvements, including an online booking platform, which will enable the public to search, book and pay for leisure facilities via the internet.
The company currently work with 260 schools and 36-year-old Warrington that the investment would enable them to scale to over 1,000.
He told BusinessCloud his company turns schools into community leisure centres and provide a focal point to the local community.
“Schools are under pressure financially and they have assets that they’re not maximising because they’re too busy running the school,” he said.
“It’s also a great facility for the community to use and we bring them both together and put the assets to use. We’ve given £10m back to the schools since we started.”
The entrepreneur said it was a great opportunity for grassroots sports and community groups to make use of first class facilities at an affordable price.
Warrington said the vast majority of bookings were sport-related but not exclusively.
“A TV series of Alan Partridge was filmed in one of our schools as was an episode of Coronation Street,” he said.
“We work with 260 schools across the country but want to increase that to 1,000 inside three-five years.
“The way we operate is we put between three and six of our staff in the schools after 5pm during the week and at weekends.
“To be scalable we want to work with thousands of schools so tech has to underpin everything we do.
“Our new online book platform will be like the Airbnb for booking school facilities. People will be able to search, book and pay for facilities.”
Warrington said the tech investment followed a decision to relocate the business from Bolton to the new WeWork in John Dalton Street, Manchester.
School Lettings Solutions employs 960 staff, of which 120 are full time and 40 are based in their Manchester head office. Their website currently gets 10 million site visits a year.
Warrington said: “As well as the new online booking platform we’ve invested heavily in all aspects of tech.
“Instead of manual paper forms staff log on using tablets, everyone works in the cloud, which enables people to work remotely and we use a piece of data software called Tableau.”