b'Reservation Platforms Continue to Adapt AsParkOwnersSeekOutDigitalTools T hereservationsandcamp- With a variety of tools and functions, reservation and management platforms in the outdoor nBY BEN QUIGGLEgroundmanagementsys- hospitality industry having been adapting to consumer demands and park owner preferences. tems sector has exploded in thelastfiveyearsasmore campground owners under-stand the benefits of taking online reserva-tions and work to operate their parks more efficiently. Reservation and park management com-panies, in turn, have been busy implement-ing new features that park owners are looking for, from text messaging services to dynamic pricing, cancellation tools and more.Woodalls Campground Magazine, in an effort to help park owners sort through the maze of reservation systems providers, touched base with over a dozen companies in the outdoor hospitality industry to get businessupdatesandaglanceatwhat these companies offer park owners. Below is our guide to these companies in alphabetical order. Advanced Outdoor SolutionsThis Matlacha, Fla.-based company provides third-party management ofmanddashboardreporting,shehighlighted. RV parks and campgrounds throughout North America, while also serving asTheydemandgoodsolidoccupancy/average a distributor for NewBook and providing its own reservationsdaily rates. They want the option to have either platform, Mosaic.cash or accrual accounting, and when I started in Mosiac was a great launching point for us when we first gotthe industry 20 years ago, you really had maybe going because there wasnt a variety of robust systems outtwo choices, and thats just not the case any longer. there at the time, noted Kathleen Walsh, owner of AdvancedYou have good solid systems out there now that Outdoors. Now, we are more focused on building relation- give you the kind of reporting that these high-end ships with some of the big players in the industry that we thinkinvestor clients demand. are doing a fantastic job.Walsh said the vast majority of the parks she Katheleen Walsh Walsh said that reservation companies need to at least haveworks with saw 5% to 35% revenue increases so far three key functions to work with Advanced Outdoors: Onlinein 2021. booking, the ability to connect with online travel agencies (OTAs) and an easyIt was an incredible summer, and we already way for the company to manipulate rates, since Advanced Outdoors does thatare seeing snowbird parks that are now on waiting daily for all of the parks it works with.list status and its only October, she noted. It is Walsh noted that reservations software has evolved over the years frominteresting, and I am wondering if Canadians are going to be able to find sites simple Excel spread sheet programs to advanced reporting systems.once the border opens. We have very high-end clients who demand good reporting, and they de- 302-616-2895www.advanced-outdoor.biz AstraAstra saw a 42% increase in bookings over the past year, according to Gary Dodds,send confirmations, invoices, park rules, liability waivers or any document that may marketing manager for Aspira, which owns the Astra platform.require a signed agreement from the customer. Once the document is signed, the sta-Park increases were generally varied, he noted. Most had about a 20% gain, whiletus is automatically updated in Astra. others doubled and even tripled theirCampground staff can pull up the signed document for review. Reminder messages bookingsfromthepriorseason.are automatically sent to customers who are slow in signing their documents, ex-About a dozen parks saw a modestplained Dodds. decrease.Astra has also released its employee-focused Astra-GO app, which allows park em-SMS messaging is one of the keyployees to perform specific functions using their smartphones or tablet. It is fully in-updates that Astra made to its systemtegrated with the front desk system too. this year. Messages can be sent to in- Looking forward, Dodds noted that the company is focused on streamlining features. dividualcustomersorgroupsasaSometimes, having been around for a while can be construed as a bad thingbulk message. Customers may opt- youre old, your dated you dont understand the market, Dodd explained. Weve outofreceivingtextsatanytime,heard it all. In our case, its a competitive advantage. Were campground owners our-noted Dodds.selves and our team represents decades of experience in park management, customer The platform has also linked withgrowth and customer service.WaiverSign.com, enabling Astra to800-547-9147 www.astraparks.com CampLifeTylerDuffy,presidentofCampLife,We have a park that uses them for its swim-up bar notedthatthecompanyhasbeenon- and arcade, he noted. boarding more parks as the demand forOther things the company has been improving are campsites has increased. its site lock feature and a point-of-sale package option. CampLife has been focused on rollingThe package option will allow park owners to com-out its wristband feature recently, whichbine certain amenities or activities to form a package allows campers to load information ontothat campers can buy while they are booking a camp-the bracelet and use it to pay for amenitiessite, Duffy highlighted. Maybe a park could do a spe-Tyler Duffy while at a campground.cial golf package where they offer several activities and 18 December 2021Woodalls Campground Magazine'