RV parks and campgrounds can soon automate utility metering and invoicing, thanks to an industry-first integration between electrical products provider Utility Supply Group and CampLife, a reservation software system, according to a press release.
The remote meter reading program is scheduled to launch in December — first at Homestead RV Community, a new campground near Mobile, Ala., and then for other CampLife customers.
Many campgrounds don’t charge daily or short-term guests for utilities because it normally requires personnel to manually collect, enter, and invoice meter values, noted the release. The cost in staff hours and wages usually exceeds the utility revenue earned for stays shorter than a month.
“Remote meter reading does three things: 1) saves staff time, 2) eliminates unnecessary trekking through the park, which exposes staff to the elements and other campers, and 3) makes it cost-effective to charge all guests for the energy and water they actually use,” stated the release. “The new functionality offered by CampLife and Utility Supply Group protects park profits and encourages guests to mindfully conserve resources.”
Considering current trends — rising electricity rates, increased RV camping and glamping, and modern RVs using more power — outdoor resorts using reservation systems with remote meter reading will recapture otherwise lost revenue. And with more parks updating their infrastructure, the two companies realized the time was right to turn their long-discussed idea for remote meter reading into reality, according to the release.
“Getting out to read site meters even once a month is onerous,” said Wade Elliott, president of Utility Supply Group. “You can have a trusted member of your staff do it, but more often than not it’s going to be you. And then, you have to take that data and put it into something and subtract last month’s meter values to come up with an allocation and calculate a charge. This integration with CampLife solves two problems: getting the meter data and billing it, and not being able to bill utilities for overnight campers.
“We’ve been saying for years, ‘when you’re not charging for something, it’s free,’” continued Elliott. “Even though you may raise the base rent, when you’re not charging for power, people leave the air conditioning set on low while they’re out for the day. They don’t conserve, because they have no need to conserve. You can make the case that 30 overnight campers use more power than a month-long camper because a month-long camper gets to see their electric bill. And the overnighters don’t. Park owners shouldn’t have to subsidize the cost of electricity, not when it’s easy to pass through the utility charges. Automated metering is fair to everyone.”
This integration can retrieve meter values on demand with the click of a button. In CampLife, the beginning meter values for a site can be remotely refreshed and set at check-in (starting utility billing) and then updated in the same way at check-out (closing the bill and automatically adding the charges to the reservation invoice). This makes metering a natural part of arrival and departure routines.
CampLife has also enhanced its existing meter management tools so that all customers, not just those who opt into the remote meter reading program, can more easily track and invoice multiple utility types, noted the release. Customers can watch a video showcasing these updates in CampLife’s support portal.
“We’re proud to be the first software company to partner with Utility Supply Group in this way,” said Tyler Duffy, CampLife’s president. “Every time we automate a task, parks save time and money, which they can reinvest however they need. If winter is a slower season for a campground, it’s the perfect time to set up new services like remote meter reading and start 2021 with every advantage.”
To learn about remote meter reading capabilities and hardware requirements, call Utility Supply Group at (800) 800-2811, or visit GetCampLife.com to schedule a software demo.