New site to let church halls online

24 August 2012

A NEW online booking service for community facilities, including church and school halls, is to go live in London next month. The operators of hirespace.com seek to put hirers in touch with potential venues that have displayed their attractions on a page on their site.

One of the founders of the site, Ed Poland, said: "It was set up to help increase public access to community facilities, particularly those with limited marketing budgets, and which tend to be difficult to contact on the phone.

"People don't pick up the Yellow Pages or look in their local newspaper to find somewhere to hire any more. They Google what they are looking for, and remember what they saw their friends use on Facebook or Twitter. They don't want then to spend the next week to-ing and fro-ing with half-a-dozen venues - they want to know a few details, compare prices, check availability, and make a booking."

Hirers tell the website where and what they want, and the site offers a series of matching locations. The hirer's details will then be passed to the venue, and if the rental is approved, the site completes the booking. Afterwards, both sides can leave feedback so that future hirers and venues can check each other.

Hirespace will take a ten-per-cent commission from the hiring fee, with discounts for good feedback.

So far, the site is limited to 450 venues inside the M25, but there are plans to go nationwide, Mr Poland said. "It's well suited to community spaces because it is free to join."

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