An analogue mentality is well incorporated in the horse community, and it makes sense that horse people are not as passionate about innovation, change and technology as they are about the fabulous four-legged friends.
However, in Norway, this is changing. This summer two forward-leaning Norwegian riding schools/clubs, Søndre Nordstrand Rideklubb and Nordmarka Rideskole digitalised their booking process with great success. They are saving time on administration, emails, invoicing and chasing up payments.
This article was first published in sportshest.no and translated to English here.
Søndre Nordstrand Rideklubb is a riding school/club based in Oslo. They have 200-300 riders participating in riding courses every week. Nordmarka Rideskole is also situated in Oslo. They have about 50-80 weekly riders.
Customer friendly booking system
– When we started to use pluvinel.com we saw an increased willingness to pay. 97 per cent of our riders booked and paid for their courses one month before we commenced the courses. We have never managed this before. It means a great deal for our finances, says Ingvild Sveen, Chairwoman at Søndre Nordstrand Rideklubb.
– It works so well with Pluvinel because the riders confirm their spot and pay at the same time. Saving all of us a lot of time on emails and phones. The process is straight forward and designed for our purpose, she continues.
Focus on digitalising
Designed for riders, horse centres/riding schools, instructors and horse event organisers pluvinel.com is an innovative platform. It started when the founder, wanted do horse-riding again after a 15-year break.
– It was challenging to find my bearings in the horse community. I discovered that many instructors, horse centres and riding schools had difficulties keeping their websites up-to-date. They didn't answer their emails or call back, therefore missing out on new business, says the founder, Camilla Næristorp.
– I also noticed that the way they organised their courses and clinics could be more efficient. Saving themselves and their students time and effort, says Camilla Næristorp.
So the idea for pluvinel.com was born. The creative founder has a BA in Graphic Arts and Design from England. After university she worked five year in the media industry, later moving on to being the Design Manager for an international oil company. It was not granted that the horse industry would be her next move, however her passion for uniting the horse community has endured, and she is sticking with it. (Pluvinel was started in 2015.)
– Digitalisation is so essential, we cannot avoid getting involved. It will simplify, improve and make the community move forward. People might feel safer waiting to see, but unfortunately, it is not how it works, we have to embrace the change and get involved. Building technology is costly, and who will take responsibility if not you and me? asks Camilla Næristorp.
Financial predictability, transparency and improved overview
The financial predictability should be a driver for using pluvinel.com. It is free to register, and instructors, horse centres and riding schools can register on the platform. When booking, pluvinel.com adds or subtract (users choice) a service charge of 5 per cent plus 10kr/1USD/1EUR.
The pilots (Søndre Nordstrand Rideklubb and Nordmarka Ridekole) are very satisfied with the digital solution. The platform is designed to make inviting, reserving and booking/paying for courses and clinics simple and transparent, and all it takes is two clicks. You can choose to have an open booking or by invitation only per event.
If a participant is not giving a response, you can revoke their spot to invite someone else from your waiting list.
– With 200 riders on the waiting list it is very important for us to quickly fill the spots with paying customers so that those who want to can join a course, says Ingvild Sveen from Søndre Nordstrand Rideklubb.
With real-time data, users will get their information immediately. You don't have to rely on an email, or log into the bank to check if the payment has gone through. When the rider has confirmed, they have also paid you. You can see it clearly in the Dashboard.
Strengthening the riding schools
When a riding school starts using pluvinel.com they don't need much support. The registration is simple, just follow the steps. Another great feature we love is how you can link instructor's profiles to your horse centre profile. Then people can see who your teachers are. When you are up and running the administrative work is fun and straightforward.
Margaret Eide Hillestad, Chairwoman of Nordmarka Riderskole, had previously used Pluvinel to find instructors for her riding school before they decided to join pluvinel.com as pilots.
– The overview of our community pluvinel.com is offering is unique. And it is not only allowing riders to find instructors, courses and riding schools, it also gives riding schools the possibility to find and learn about the riding instructors. I challenge all instructors and riding schools to register on pluvinel.com!, says Margaret Eide Hillestad.
Margaret Eide Hillestad is sure of all the benefits that will come with the digital service platform.
– The overview of what is going on is super, riders can benefit from the variations. Some horse centres might offer driving courses, while others, like us, offers horseball, different options for different riders, says Margaret Eide Hillestad.
Some riding schools or instructors might fear to lose contact with their riders by going digital. Maren Kinn, has been handling the booking process for Nordmarka Rideskole and is not worried.
– Booking and paying are formalities you have to go through before the fun. The most important contact is the contact you have with the riders when they arrive at the barn. It is the activities you offer and the service you provide that builds personal costumer relations. And with the digital booking process, it only leaves more time to spend with customers and our horses, says Maren Kinn.
– To keep the website up-to-date with information about our courses and availability takes a lot of time. On pluvinel.com it happens automatic and in real-time without us having to do anything else beside scheduling our events, says Maren Kinn.
Søndre Nordstrand Rideklubb and Ingvild Sveen was the first piloting riding school/club. Ingvild Sveen had many questions and user-related challenges starting up. Pluvinel.com is an early-stage software/platform, and typically there was some bugs and unforeseen issues.
She is not hiding the fact that it has taken some time to get accustomed to the new solution. However, she appreciates the support they have received during the break-in period.
– Pluvinel's founder, Camilla, has been amazing and service-minded. We have had requests which have all been met, says Ingvild Sveen.
For pluvinel.com, the close insight and understanding of what is happening before, during and after is essential to design a solution that actually solves problems and improve the process.
– Some new systems can be demanding to implement. And even a little scary. However, Pluvinel.com is simple and designed for none-technical users. We have been able to make important adjustments after working so closely with our fantastic pilot users. They have done so well! They are quick to ask questions and give feedback, and this is the core of excellent product development, says Camilla Næristorp.
– By listing our courses, we got to understand the system very well. And we have not had many questions from our riders, who are very happy with the system saving them time too, says Maren Kinn.
Despite some, bugs and some technical challenges, the start has been fantastic. Ingvild Sveen from Søndre Nordstrand is looking brightly at the future.
– We have started this semester's courses now and will continue to use pluvinel.com for drop-in-lessons, riding excursions and individual lessons/courses. We have all the courses in one place, we can reuse the set-ups which makes it easy going forward, says Ingvild Sveen.
Contact pluvinel.com for questions at email@example.com