In the ecovillage Sieben Linden we are evaluating how to make our lives easy (na, okay: easier) with a better workshop venue management system. A post about this can be found around the campfire, and @hugi proposed that I could go more into detail here (Participio).
The awesome list compile by matthias doesnt hit the nail yet.
Our association offers workshops (or seminars, never sure about the correct wording) usually of multiple days length, in a complete package (with accommodation and food).
Participants register online but usually the whole process involves mails or other communication (e.g. because too many people want a double-bed room, but we only have X) until the registration is settled.
Multiple teams provide the respective services (managing the offer, seminars and hosts, preparing the rooms for accomodation, taking care of the camping ground, cooking, answering general inquiries, bookkeeping …).
Besides that, we also rent out our infrastructure and have groups e.g. coming for an educational offer (like a guided tour with the focus on building strawbale houses or permaculture) with a meal included. The case of a single visitor staying over night like in a hotel is very rare, we usually do not want to accomodate that use case (don’t ask here - but there is some good reasons for why we usually don’t do that).
For the numbers: I would say we have around 50 public seminars and 7000 guest-nights per year.
So far we use a self-built inhouse solution that totally uses the wrong tooling (a document-based database: couchdb and a embeddable scripting language: lua). It is a web-based solution, picks up the registrations from our public webserver, allows the teams to specify and publish new seminars, rearrange accommodation rooms, show overview calender etc. Some tools around it also allow for specific views (for the most part, they just read the database) or the proposal of new events.
Btw, we need to have this inhouse because of a traditionally unstable internet-connection.
However it does not integrate with the book-keeping software at all and is also not able to print receipts for the visitors or stuff like that. Besides, its not really technically multi-user and has some other issues.
Still, all in all for what it is it works great and does this since 7 years. But its time for a change, where some issues are properly adressed (like semi-automatic participant-data- anonymization according to the GDPR, proper event room calendars, proper “Team-” views, a history of changes done to the data, a proper User- and authorization concept, better synchronisation to our website, …).
And now, and you?
We will evaluate different possibilities and offers.
My personal, favorite solution would be to build a small business to host and develop that kind of (obviously Free) software (in Ruby on Rails), but 1) it ain’t easy and 2) it is not really only me to decide what path “we” (the ecovillage Sieben Linden) will take.
If you have experience with any tools, know somebody with similar problems or solutions, got a clever funding idea or want to help or visit an ecovillage and know some tech (preferably Ruby on Rails), post here or write me a private message.