How to select a Reservation System for Your Campground
I’m Donna Bordeaux with CampgroundAccounting.com. Mark Koep has done a great job of setting up this group so that we can look at the reservation systems in one concise and easy place and you can make some good comparisons without having to go through a lot of trouble. So I wanted to give you a couple of tips on what I think you ought to be looking for in your next reservation system. I’m going to include a checklist on our blog if you want to download this later, but take a few notes if you want.
#1 Online Bookings: your reservation system should accept online bookings and I know that sounds like a standard, but there are some still cases where people aren’t able to accept online reservations. Maybe they just have a form on their website or they have an email generation to ask about booking a site. In today’s day and time, you have to be ready to accept an online booking right from your website any time of day.
This is your 24/7 salesperson, so make that happen to make sure that your reservation system is working for you. All the time. Otherwise, people will pass you by. If you’re not there to answer the phone or answer their question or make sure that their reservation is finalized right then and there, you’ll miss out. So let’s not. All right, that’s number one.
#2 Pricing Options: I know most of you are probably still booking at a certain rate for each site and it’s pretty clear cut, but the world is changing in the world of campgrounds, you’re going to have to be moving into dynamic pricing and including things like site lock fees. They’re coming! You want to be on front of that bandwagon rather than on the trail end. Even if you don’t plan to use it today, make sure that your reservation system can handle this because you’re going to need it very soon if you’re not already doing it.
#3 Selling Add-Ons: Have you ever been to a restaurant where they say, would you like fries with that? Would you like to upsize your drink? Add ons are a really great benefit to both your customer and you. They can be very profitable. So how about when I make a reservation for my campground site? You ask if I’d like a bundle of firewood delivered to my site. You ask if I want the smores kit. Oh, come on. Those are the greatest thing ever. And what kid is not going to make mom or dad by them? That’s smores kit. Now we’ve got to be able to do those add ons and help increase your profitability and bring those numbers right to the bottom line.
#4 Point of Sale System for your Campstore: If you have a point of sale system in your store or if you have a store and you’re doing it in some other method, maybe manually still, let’s make sure that point of sale system can work right through your reservation system and integrate all into one. We got some big plans for you on how to tackle, uh, making additional sales to your guests while they’re already there. Your guests want to buy things. Let’s let them buy it and make it a nice, easy process. Number Five, marketing. If you’re not doing email marketing to your past and your present customers, you’re missing the boat. You got to remind people of the fabulous time that they had when they were at your campground last time. Let them know that you’ve got an upcoming event for Halloween. They’re Halloween bookings. They had better get booked that site booked by March or you’ll be all booked up.
Advertise those events, advertise those weekday specials where you need to fill that campground, especially in your shoulder seasons.
#5 Email Marketing: So make sure that your reservation system is collecting the information you need. An email address, preferably texting information is also great. And address Info we never known. We might want to do some direct mail. So let’s make sure that it’s collecting that information and there is an easy way to get it out. You can use systems like constant contact, eye contact, those types of systems to send out and generate the emails. But we want to make sure it’s an easy process to get that info out of your reservation system. And some reservation systems have built-in email marketing capabilities. They can send out things like birthday reminders, send out automated reminders directly and integrate that process right into the reservation system. So keep an eye out for those great functions.
I’ve also got a couple of tidbits that I’ll add in his bonuses on the blog post for you about how to look at the pricing of those systems. So check that blog out. It’s at campgroundaccounting.com/blog — nice and easy. I hope this helps you. I’m Donna Bordeaux with CampgroundAccounting.com.