Family Owned Campgrounds – Comparing Reservation Software Costs
This is the second part of Campground Commander's look at the influence of the past two years in camping and expectation of campers. View part one here “STREAMLINE FAMILY OWNED CAMPGROUNDS AND INCREASE REVENUE.”
As mentioned last month, we are a family owned reservation software company and former farmers from Iowa who understand the work and challenges owners and managers of family owned campgrounds have. This month we’ll delve deeper into costs of adding online reservation software built for family owned campgrounds, and how this software can increase income while saving time and money. To start, let’s discuss the benefits of a customer paying online using a credit card. When an online reservation is been made the money for that reservation is automatically sent to the bank, and If the credit or debit card used for the reservation isn’t funded or the customer has gone over their credit limit, the reservation will not go through and you are not left holding the bag of no income for that site rental. Unlike taking checks that may bounce or cash payment that can result in a short cash drawer at the end of the day due to mistakes in figuring cash, online reservations are automatically calculated to allow the correct dollar amount to be taken at the time of the reservation. Extra fees for pets, vehicles and adults or children are automatically added into the transaction during the reservation process and computed in the total sale amount due prior to the customer paying for the reservation. Camper no shows are much less of an issue when the reservation has been made online as the campground can easily refund the camper through the credit card used by the customer while retaining a cancellation fee.
Next, let’s discuss the cost of software to the campground. As seen software can save time and money in managing a campground but when choosing the reservation software that is right for your campground it is important to compare apples to apples. A very important factor in choosing a software is to understand how software companies collect their fees, as there may be “hidden” costs not mentioned during the sales process. Reservation Software costs to the campground vary from charging a percentage per reservation, a percentage based on the number of sites in the campground or a monthly fee. Some companies then add on extra fees for essential tools, features, software upgrades, customer service and so on. Often if the company has a low upfront fee, they reserve the right to raise their prices at any time after the campground is up and running. Software called “Shelf” software charges a one-time up-front fee and although it may seem less expensive this software typically may have poor customer service while updates to keep the software current and additional features cost extra. Some reservation software companies tout the benefit of having online campground directory. Although this may seem like an added feature a campground may actually lose customers through these directories since they often charge the camper between an extra $3 to $9 “service fee” per night to reserve through the directory listing. A portion or sometimes all of this service fee often goes back to the reservation software company providing them with a double fee, your charge and the service fee. Most campers when seeing the service fee for reserving through the directory will move onto a campground that does not charge the extra fees causing a loss for your campground.
ARVC provides the largest online directory in the US, GOCAMPINGAMERICA.COM, and charges you or your campers NOTHING for reserving a site through their directory!!! Another one of the largest online, free directories to list your campground is allstays.com.
Hopefully, this and last month’s article titled “STREAMLINE FAMILY OWNED CAMPGROUNDS AND INCREASE REVENUE” will be helpful for your campground to find the reservation/management software right for your campground.
Online Reservation Software built for Family Owned Campgrounds