One of the biggest “Ah-Hah!” moments for new parents using Kowalah is that the platform provides a real-time search. When you launch a booking request, at that exact moment Kowalah will notify targeted local sitters (Kowalahs) and provide them with booking details of your request on their own phones – your first name, the number of children, the date of the booking, the distance from them and the duration.
This information gives the Kowalahs the ability to accept or decline the booking request right then and there based on their other commitments. Within 15 minutes we then present those Kowalahs that have accepted to you so you can scroll through their profiles and make your decision. Simple.
However, many of us have grown up in a world of search and web directories – and so we’ve been used to non-real-time platforms like Yell.com or, in the childcare world, sites like childcare.co.uk or care.com – where you enter some details of what you are looking for to ‘filter’ a big list, and then start to make contact with suitable candidates one by one.
Moving from a web platform to a real-time app means less browsing and more booking! When searching a portal you’re not worried about when you do it – but because of the instant nature of Kowalah, it is worth thinking about when you are running a real-time search.
Time means choice
The earlier you can run a booking request – even 2 or 3 weeks in advance, means you’ll get the pick of the Kowalahs, as most parents book with 3-4 days notice. Whilst we’ll still be able to fulfil your requirement with a couple of days to go, you might not get your favourite Kowalah, or you might only get one or two to pick from.
Last minute costs more
We love helping parents out with a last minute crisis – an urgent meeting or evening function that we can step in and provide childcare with just a few hours notice – it is the beauty of real-time in action! But Kowalahs earn a higher rate of pay for these requests with less than 6 hours notice to compensate them for their flexibility and giving up other plans.
The concept of real-time means that we see a high number of these requests for same day bookings – but many of them could have been booked earlier, provided the parents with more choice and saved some money.
What time is it?!
As we covered in our previous post Who are the Kowalahs? we have a wide range of Kowalahs from university students, to nurses, teachers, mums and professionals. Depending on the ages of your kids you may have a particular type of Kowalah in mind – a nurse or mum for some toddlers, or a university student for a 10 year-old that wants to have a laugh watching Michael McIntyre.
It is a generalisation but most teachers and nurses are not going to have their phone on while they are working so will not be able to accept a booking during the day.
A great time to run a request is over lunch time, or in the early evening between 6 and 9pm.
We do see a number of booking requests run between the hours of 11pm and 6am – and surprisingly these still do well – mainly with acceptances from Kowalahs who are out working and have their phones on them – but this is still not an optimal time to get the widest choice of Kowalahs.
But in the end, there is one golden rule:
We monitor all booking requests, and if you run one at 3.30am that doesn’t come up trumps – we’ll contact you and help fulfil your booking.
Kowalah is a mobile app delivering On Demand Childcare across the Cotswolds by connecting parents with local babysitters and providers of childcare. Parents are connected with up to 5 available Kowalahs in 15 minutes giving them speed and flexibility. All Kowalahs have been interviewed and referenced providing parents with peace of mind.