b'has seen more new campers in can get legally binding signatures on any of theirAspira 2020.forms that they need for reservations, rental poli-When the COVID crisis first hit, Matt Smithson, We had a bunch tell us that cies, any of those sorts of things, Halvorsen said.director of business development at Aspira, said they were new campers or we It goes straight to the guests phone. Its an add onthat the company was seeing a massive number wouldtakeinreservations to Mobile Check-In.of cancellations, but that the trend didnt last all from people that had a ton of Looking down the road, CampLife is focusing onthat long.questionsandreallyhadno a number of new features, including integratingItwasalmostimmediately clue what they were doing be- with more electronic meter reading equipment. after that when people decided Jessi McGee cause they were new to camp- (877) 783-2367maybe they didnt want to be ing, she said.www.getcamplife.comat home and changed their va- The centers call volume was up 10% in 2020 atcation plans and decided to go the end of September, but McGee said they still had Campspotthe RV route, he told WCM. to factor in how Halloween was going to impact HaileyDalian,marketingmanageratGrandSince then, weve seen a pretty those numbers as well.Rapids, Mich.-based Campspot, said that the com-nice surge in the number of It was just crazy everywhere, she noted. Peo- pany didnt notice a slowdown for very long in theMatt Smithson reservations per campground. ple were wanting to get out and it almost felt like a Spring due to the COVID crisis. ByI think this is fantastic for the industry because Black Friday everywhere. People were grabbing the end of March, she said thatnow you have people RVing that hadnt done so in everythingandgenerallycampersdontliketo the company was beginning tothe past and they are getting a taste for the lifestyle move from site to site, but in some parks, they were noticesteadyincreasesinand really enjoying it, Smithson explained. They moving daily just to be able to stay longer.reservations, she told WCM.are now investing in an RV and planning to take ad- (605) 574-3405 The company also noticedvantage of what campgrounds have to offer. weekday bookings were up 2%Smithson said that the company has noticed CampLife compared to 2019, with the av-more mid-week reservation traffic and that it is CampLifes Marketing Director Emily Halvorsen eragelengthofstayup28%mainly due to people being able to work from the told WCM that 2020 has seen a lot of large shifts at Hailey Dalian from 2019. Campspot also sawroad since they are not going to an office at the mo- the company. While initially the company saw can- a 100% increase in campers adding on amenitiesment.cellations coming in at the beginning of the COVID like golf carts or other rentals while purchasingIt really depends on whether a park can offer crisis, the trend reversed course in their reservations. reasonable Internet access, he noted. We are re- a big way.Just a lot more engagement with purchasing atally noticing this trend transcending generations Online reservations for the parks, engaging through Campspots software tobecausealldifferenttypesofpeoplearegoing company are 33% higher than book and just volume in general of reservations,camping this year. in 2019, with 37% of its parks Dalian highlighted. Aspira offers its Astra Campground Manager seeing their highest-grossingsoftware as its reservation and park management year on record in CampLifesproduct to campground owners and Smithson said system. that the company has been working on redoing its The average length of stay isentire back end.Emily Halvorsen also up by more than one day,noted Halvorsen. People are staying a little longer and I thinksome of the trends driving that are more peopleworking remotely or doing school remotely andhavingbetteraccesstotheInternet,sheex-plained. People are feeling a little more flexible intheir travels.CampLife has spent most of 2020 focused oncreating features that allow parks to operate safelyand remotely, said Halvorsen.Campspot came out with its Express Check-InThat is, of course, in response to the pandemic, feature right as parks were looking for a solutionbut a lot of it is just good for ongoing business, for that allowed them to do contactless check-ins, shethewaythatpeoplearetravelingandworking noted, right along with a housekeeping feature innow, she explained. In March, right when we June, which allows park owners to better managestarted to see closures, we accelerated our plans for personal and ensure units are getting cleaned. Mobile Check-In. Within a month, we released Mo- COVID motivated us to really provide that extrabile Check-In, where people on their own device value when it was needed most, when owners areWeveupgradedallofoursoftwaretothe can arrive at a campground and finish their check- looking to their vendors to provide timely solu-newest version thats out there and that has been in and get directions on their phone or their tablet tions, not just features that are nice to have, buthuge for us, he said. It allows us to offer more or whatever they have right to their site.things that are instrumental like keeping their busi-functionality than ever before. nesses open and helping them to adapt, DalianThecompanyhasbuiltoutdynamicpricing explained. tools and the Aspira GOapp over the past year. The The company is focused on rolling out gift cardAspira GO app allows owners to take reservations, functionality at the moment and has a list of othercancel reservations, check people in or out and future tools they are working to develop. more, in the field.Next year is looking like it will be another ban-It is giving us new opportunities to add different ner year for the industry and we are going to keeppieces and to help people work when they are out up with that by continuing to add the features thatin their parks and not behind a desk, Smithson are in demand and wanted by our customers,said.Dalian said. (800) 547-9147 (616) 226-5514www.AstraParks.com www.campspot.comWe also then released a guest credit feature thatCamper Reservation Center was more robust, where owners could offer credit CampWorksIt has been a crazy year for the Camper Reserva- to have people reschedule or postpone trips be- Hutchinson, Minn.-based Camp-tion Center, according to Jessi McGee, manager of cause a lot of parks were getting hit with cancella- Works has seen online reserva-the center. The center is based in Rapid City, S.D., tions and having to process refunds, Halvorsen tions jump 400% in 2020, whichand serves Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) added. That helped them stay afloat, maintain owner Keith Johnson, called aparks by answering overflow calls for park owners cashflow and get more of those guests to come huge increase. and even as a central forwarding number for parks back versus just losing that trip. Some of thats new busi-that are closed during the winter. It is exploring the On the heels of those innovations, CampLife also ness, some of thats just an in-option of allowing non-KOA affiliated parks to take released Sign+Store, which is a digital signature creaseinthepercentageofadvantage of the system as well.and document storage service.peoplethataremakingonlineMcGee told WCM that anecdotally the center It helps owners manage liability because they Keith Johnson reservationsversuscalling,WOODALLSCM.com December 2020-19'