b'SMART OPERATIONSHow a Park Owner Can Come to a Reservation Software Decisionyourcustomersarenotrequiredto an initial purchase price plus a fixed so within the foreseeable future.adapt to something unfamiliar. As with monthly fee or a per-transaction fee? If 3. Does it allow you to determine anything online, the ultimate determi- there are transaction fees, are you ex- either a flat or percentage reservationPeternation of success is a highly intuitive pected to pass those along to your cus- deposit?end-user experience. tomers or are you expected to absorb 4. Does it allow users to reserve add-Pelland Most reservation systems are part of them into your pricing as a cost of busi- ons at the time the reservation is made?a broader back-office software suite, ness? Customers will balk at a hefty fee For example, can a guest reserve a golfnot simply standalone reservation en- and absorbing that same fee could se- cart or perhaps linen service in a rentalgines,allowingyoutomanageyour riously impact your profit margins. unit?I am probably asked which reserva- available inventory in real-time. They DoyouhavetopayfeesonALL 5. Of course, you expect the reserva-tion software I recommend more fre- might include customer relationship reservations, keeping in mind that most tion process to be responsive, workingquently than any other question. My management and property manage- of your customers are finding you from on both computers and the full spec-answer is generally the same each time, ment system functions. The more ro- your own website, not the reservation trum of mobile devices. Do they have aresponding that I do not recommend bust the package, the more useful the engine?Generallyspeaking,nobody responsive widget that can be embed-anyparticularreservationsoftware software will be as you manage not only likes to loosen the lid on a pickle jar, ded into your website? If not, who is re-package over another. They all appear your inventory of campsites and rental only to pay someone else to actually re- sponsible for making your landing pageto have advantages and disadvantages, units but your overall customer base. move the lid. If you are going to pay a look like your website?and one that is right for one business When people tell me they would like feeonlyonstaysthatarebooked 6. Does the reservation engine sup-may not be right for another. In the to make a change from an existing soft- through the reservation engine, is the port languages other than English, not2020 edition of the Woodalls Camp- ware suite, I generally ask them why reservation engine competing against simply using Google Translate?ground Management Business Direc- theyarethinkingaboutmakinga your website in search results? 7. Is the reservation process Ameri-tory,thereare45businesseslisted change.Aretheycontemplatingthe Beyond the pricing issue, here are cans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compli-under the Reservation Management costs and the learning curve, which also what I consider to be a few essential ant? PCI compliant? GDPR compliantSystems & Software category. Essen- applies to employees? What is it in par- questions to ask: (important for any reservations origi-tially, those are too many choices. What ticular they dislike about their existing 1. Will you have an account repre- nating from the European Union.)I invariably end up doing is providing a software? I then generally advise them sentative assigned to your business to 8. Can the reservation engine inte-list of questions to ask when comparing to talk to their existing account repre- offer support during the setup process, grate with Facebook, where many ofthe various products on the market. sentative to see if they can address the thelearningcurveandbeyond?Are your customers may be ready to book?Aswithanybusinessinvestment, new concerns (that may, in fact, not there limitations or costs to that tech- 9. If the landing page URL changes,you should select software based upon have existed at the time of the original nicalsupportorareyousimplyex- will the old link redirect to the new des-its ability to streamline your workload set up). More often than not, the prob- pectedtowatch(andunderstand) tination page?and increase your profitability. Reserva- lem is a lack of communication with video tutorials? Alsoimportantisthereservationtionsoftwareisalong-terminvest- the existing supplier. 2. Does it support dynamic pricing? softwaredoingmorethanpassivelyment, which is why software is likely How flexible is your control of that pric- processing reservations? Does it allowdepreciated in your accounting and on The Important Questions ing? Keep in mind that you are looking you to follow up with users who do notyour tax returns. Consistency is good, Firstandforemost,whatarethe into a long-term investment. Even if you actuallycompletethereservationparticularly when it means that you do costs involved? Nothing of value in the are not engaged in the use of dynamic process? E-commerce companies havenot need to learn new processes and business world is free of charge. Is there pricing today, you are highly likely to do longutilizedabandonedshoppingcart tracking software, with the under-standingthatsomebodywhowentthrough 90% of the buying process isone of your best candidates to turn intoa paying customer. Perhaps a personwas sidetracked by a phone call, theneeds of another family member or itwas simply time to call it a night. A littlereminder will not hurt and can often re-suscitate the otherwise uncompletedtransaction.Choosingareal-timereservationservices provider is a very importantconsideration, which is one of the pri-mary reasons that so many park ownerschoose to go with a franchise systemsuch as Kampgrounds of America Inc.(KOA). If you are the more typical unaf-filiated mom and pop campgroundowner, you need to make this decisioncarefully. Too many people have beenforced into making a hasty decision be-causetheirreservationservicesprovider suddenly ceased operation.Do your homework and make your de-cision when you are not under duress,choosing a company that you expect tobe a key player ten or more years downthe road.PeterPellandistheCEOof Pelland Advertising, a company thathe founded in 1980 that has beenserving the family camping industryfor nearly 40 years. His company spe-cializes in building fully responsivewebsites, along with producing a fullrange of four-color process print ad-vertising,forclients.LearnmoreaboutPellandAdvertisingathttps://pelland.com/ or see its ad inthis issue. WCM8 -September 2020 Woodalls Campground Management'