Noted Keith. To answer a few points you and others have raised
One aspect to consider from my experience of attending BFTA meetings, is if the proposal isn't cast iron, then people may not have the permission to vote on it from their region should it be changed slightly, and it becomes a dead duck. Think about potential problems when it's proposed beforehand
The system can take prepayment. However there is a handling charge to consider, and people would have to think about how best to approach that payment as well... Credit Card/Paypal? In addition there's always the comment that people off the web should not be excluded by not being able to access it, as well as there's always a method of payment that someone wont like
In addition, group bookings will require just one person to pay, and they will require work if just one the party cancels (costs in addition to refund to consider as well, and who does it?)
I, like you, have always seen that problem, but from the amount of cancelations we're getting, I think that people are at least taking the time to notify us in most of the cases. That said, I don't get to see the final attendance sheets.
Anston however was not fully booked until several days afterwards. Indeed, Paula has posted that there are a few places left here today .
Here's the times that sessions are taking to fill up (to the day)
GP 1 AM opened 16th, closed 18th
GP 1 PM opened 16th, closed 24th
GP2 AM opened 16th, closed 17th
GP2 PM opened 16th, closed 18th (one space left on the 18th)
GP3 AM opened 27th, closed 14th
GP3 PM opened 27th, closed 22nd
GP4 AM opened 16th, Still Spaces
GP4 PM opened 16th, Still Spaces
GP5 AM opened 25th, closed 25th
GP5 PM opened 25th, closed 29th
Booking may be closed when it is full. After that there's a period where we prune out the double bookings etc. Double bookings are seemingly impossible to catch. An idiot isn't something i like to call my fellow shooters, but i thought the system was idiot proof enough to spot them. However it's not... people book in for their mates, only for their mates to them book them in later. People also book themselves in under a slightly mispelt name... that would be easier to spot except we have shooters who have the same fore and surname, and club and the only way of telling them apart is by their BFTA number (or perhaps an odd birthmark, but the computer can't see there... unless it's Chubby we're talking about, in which case we've seen too much
After it's closed there may be 1-2 spaces as people are still booking into the session they didn't want, and are moving... but when the organisers are doing the cards there's a point when it becomes less work to contact them directly rather than use the system, monitor the email, spit out a spreadsheet and email the organiser.
The "ad-hoc" nature is due to me being available at a time, which is not always guaranteed. If someone else is willing to step up and open up, then it can be made more consistent and a simple log in, hit a menu or 2, done.
This is why i endeavour to advertise opening here, on the BFTA forum, the BFTA front page, to your regional rep via email, and even to some via text. To that end it's why i've floated the idea of texting booking opening, we can do email notification right now, but most people are closer to their phone these days than email.
I realise it's not perfect, but it's an attempt to get it as close as we can.
SMS messaging would cost about £25 per GP based upon the current amount of people signed up for the booking in system. Perhaps a bit more.