What a Week And The Things We’ve Learnt

What a Week!

Well…what can we say other than ‘Thank you’. The faces on every little person (and grown up) who have visited us this week has filled us to the brim with complete joy.  Tuesday the 3rd April has been etched onto our minds as a very special day for us and our anxiety about whether we would be well received by all of you who have waited soooo long for us to open dissipated in seconds.  It’s been nothing but a joy to watch families and friends explore and play together in the different role play areas. Thank you to all those who have come along and given us a whirl and we’re excited to meet all of you who are due to visit over the forthcoming weeks and months.

We still have a lot to learn and tweak…

The testing events and time spent with our staff during their induction have most certainly been time well spent. The planning and time we had before we opened has prepared us well for welcoming families. Like all new ventures, the first weeks and months of opening are a very important time to learn, take on your feedback and make changes where we can, or explain why things are as they are with particular queries. The reviews and positive responses have been wonderful and whilst we seem to be getting many things right there are always things that we could improve upon or explain further that may be useful to share.

Why we are using a booking system…

We have always seen the value in a booking system for many, many reasons. The most important being that it helps us manage the number of families coming along in any one play session so we can always, no matter when you visit, ensure we are always offering the best play experience we can. Technology notoriously comes with it’s challenges and in all honesty the main issue being us getting comfortable with how to get the best out of it so booking is as easy a possible for you. We have more to learn as you pose us real questions and queries so thank you to all those who have given us grace where there have been one or two hick ups and allowing us the time to sort out.

Finding us has been a bit of a challenge for some…

For some families finding us has proved to be a mission that quite frankly any parent could do without with little ones in the back of the car.  We’ve all been there and it’s no fun at all and it’s something we are working on to make easier for you. The main issue appears to be our postcode.  Unfortunately, for a number of customers, our postcode has taken visitors along the A46 for Coventry – usually to the BP garage! This road runs parallel with The Play Village but frustratingly for you there is no direct access from here to reach us.

We have updated the ‘Finding Us’ section on our website to share more helpful information on how to find us more easily and the booking confirmation now has a link to this page too.

Our roadside signage…

Another fair issue raised flagged to us this week is about our roadside signage and the need for this to be more obvious.  Unfortunately, the size and location of the road signs are not within our gift to change as we need to stay within the parameters for signage set by Warwick District Council.  We had applied for 100 metre signage to give you early indication of our entrance along Hampton Road, however we have not been granted permission to erect this. We were disappointed that the council did not support our application but as solution we hope to change our existing roadside signs to be more obvious with a larger font and we plan to apply for brown signs which we hope will help you find us more easily in the future. Please do take a look at our ‘Finding Us’ page with what we hope are a few helpful tips for finding us.

Staying for food after your play session…

Many parents have requested to extend their stay and eat in our Bistro after their play session ends, and it has been an understandable frustration for a number of parents that our kitchen needs to take last orders for hot food approximately 45 minutes before the end of each session.  The first thing to say is that we recognise we needed to have informed those better who have attended this week that this was the case and will be updating our booking confirmation email with more information.

The main reason for this is so that we can ensure the play session ends on time so we can protect the 30 minutes we have in between each play session to clean the kitchen and Bistro, tidy up the play areas and put all of the toys back from where they came and of course clean and restock the toilet area. The whole team works hard to do this so that the experience for visitors in the next play session is the same as those in the previous play session.  We would very much like to be able to offer extended stays in the future, however, for the moment we would like ensure we settle into our routine of high standards of both play experience and cleanliness & hygiene as we know these are extremely important to you too.

Refund policy and transferring bookings…

Throughout the week and each day we receive several requests to transfer bookings. As we operate a booking system, it is often unlikely at very short notice that we are unable to fill a slot that is no longer needed unless on the off chance we have walk in customers on the day which we are discouraging at the moment due to the high demand in online bookings and sessions selling out.

For those requesting transfers, we have needed to share that we are unable to transfer bookings without 24 hours’ notice. In all honesty, this has felt very hard for us as we genuinely understand as parents that last minute things crop up and children get poorly.  Whilst we would like to take every situation on its merit we feel that it’s a very difficult position to put our team and ourselves in to make decisions on a case by case basis for all those who contact us daily to transfer bookings and would lead to different decisions being made and inconsistencies. This in turn would be viewed as unfair by others. We feel that the only way to be fair is to have a specific cut off point in terms of changes or cancellations and to apply this consistently and communicate it clearly. Unfortunately if the request is made giving less than 24 hours notice then we cannot offer a refund or transfer the booking… we find this difficult but hope at least we are being clear.

Your feedback…

Thank you to each and everyone of you who have taken the time to share a review or write directly to us with your feedback, it’s very valuable to us in getting ‘fitter and stronger’ and it’s wonderful to see that you think as much of our team as we do.  They have been amazing, really got stuck in without a flicker and work very hard.

As creators and owners of The Children’s Play Village we are working alongside our wonderful team every day and during each play session; many of you will have met us and spoken with us. We do this because we want to see, feel and understand first hand what works well and perhaps what needs to change. Its great to be able to welcome and host visitors personally and hear what you all have to say. As you can imagine we are learning everyday about the small and the big things that will make a difference and even though the reviews and conversations with visitors have been overwhelmingly positive we still strive to do better and do more.

It’s over and out for now…

It’s over an out from us for now, but we’ll continue to share any information that we feel would be useful to you.  In the meantime, it’s time for some shut eye ready for another exciting week ahead. We hope to see those of you who have visited again soon and please let your little ones know Squiggles and Squash are safe and well. For all those due to visit us, let the fun begin!

From all of us,

Alan, Shelley & all the team at The Play Village