b"Reservation system providers and booking software companies are integrating new technologies into their software as park owners look to streamline their operations. Photo: BookOutdoorsReservation Software Developers Help Campground Owners Cope with Projected 2023 Camping BoomA s technology continues to evolveincluding the recent release of ad- While directory websites are helpful to be on, Google remains nBY RON BARGERvanced artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) features thatthe biggest billboard for their business, he explained. Park owners will impact the way our world operatesreservation and bookingare employing Smart Ad campaigns through AdWords. This is the software companies are also clearly adapting.Google AI to search for the users while not confining the advertiser Thom Gibbs, chairman of Digital Rez, noted that park owners areto a single network for each campaign. It is also easier to ascertain looking for software that features online bookings, dynamic pricingthe return on investment through Google Analytics versus some of and an integrated payment system.the platforms that deduct a percentage per booking. Everybody needs those, he said.Business has been fantastic, added McGuinn. We've grown Bobby Sorden, senior marketing manager of Firefly Reservations, explained thatexponentially over the last year, and it has just been great. A lot ofBrian McGuinnvirtual tours are also very popular.new developments, a lot of new customers are coming our way and The virtual tour provides a realistic experience of their camp- we're flourishing right now. ground and can show potential campers all of the great featuresBookOutdoors.coms CEO Brian Nolan noted that while AI is in through VR, he said.its infancy, it will impact more of what park owners do daily. Providing real-time information about a park is also key asWeve all heard how AI technology, like Chat GPT, is quickly campers search for their next destination.changing how people find information and even create custom con-This real-time information helps campers know what is happen- tent, but its still very early days, he said. We will see a lot of ing and allows them to become more involved with activities,progress in these technologies before they make their way into added Sorden. We have also noticed more campgrounds using AImainstream use. One of the most significant benefits of using AI is Bobby Sorden to help describe their facilities. Campground owners can create doc- its ability to suggest camping destinations that match your prefer-uments describing their campground through artificial intelligence technology andences. AI tools can provide a list of destinations that suit each usersBrian Nolanthis process helps campground owners develop creative descriptions of their siteneeds. If you're looking for a camping destination that offers hiking trails, AI can sug-features.gest locations with trails that match your preferred difficulty level. Brian McGuinn, director of SEPI Marketing, the creators of MySite, noted thatWoodalls Campground Magazine (WCM) spoke with several reservation and park owners are also spending more time to ensure that their websites are updated.booking companies to get business updates.BookOutdoorscampground sees results. Think of it like a risk-free mar-BookOutdoors is an online travel agency (OTA) thatketing expense. Its very easy to start benefiting immedi-touts itself as a fresh booking experience filled with de- ately.BookOutdoorshelpsmarketandadvertisea lightful perks and a growing selection of outdoor stays.campground to a wider audience, increasing visibility and It is free to list your campground on BookOutdoors,generating more bookings as well. said Nolan. And you can be live on our site the same day.www.bookoutdoors.comAfter you complete our online signup form, our team gets to work for you to build your listing using information andCampground Commanderimages from your website or anything you send us. IfBecause Campground Commander is so easy for our youre using one of the reservation systems that we inte- customers to learn and use, our goal is to have new camp-grate with, then a quick authorization allows us to accessgrounds up and running and trained within two to three your real-time rates and availability. Once approved, yourweeks, said Mary Moeller, president of the firm. Our old-listing is live on our site and able to receive bookings.fashioned values assure our goal is to provide the highest There is no cost to list the campground on BookOut- customer service and support possible, which means we doors. But it does charge a small commission on con- are not about rushing the process to increase the number firmed bookings.of our customers. There are no extra upfront costs for you or the guests,Once a campground has committed to using Camp-Nolan explained. That means you only pay when yourground Commander reservation and management soft-20 May 2023Woodalls Campground Magazine"