It used to take the front desk staff at Outdoor Resort Palm Springs eight to 10 minutes to process a typical reservation. But ever since Outdoor Resort installed RMS North America’s front desk management system last summer, front desk staff at the 1,213-site resort have cut their reservation processing times to an average of two minutes.

The RMS system is so effective and easy to use that Outdoor Resorts was able to reduce front desk staff from five to three employees, said Carolyn Dailey, Outdoor Resort’s director of operations and finance.

“It’s a very user friendly system for the staff as well as the setup process,” Dailey told Woodall’s Campground Management.

The challenge with some front desk management systems is the complexity of the program, which requires extensive training as well as lengthy reservation processing times, even for seasoned staff.

Few people know that challenge better than Dailey, who has installed front desk management systems in hotels, country clubs and campground settings.

Dailey’s perspectives are shared by other park managers across the country utilizing RMS. “It’s such an easily accessible system. It’s very easy to train employees to use RMS,” said Troy Bittner, general manager of Signature Resorts properties in Naples, Fla., and Bay Harbor, Mich.

Bittner said it’s possible to train employees to use the RMS system “in literally a day or even a few hours,” compared to other systems requiring a week or more of training.

The system’s ease of use also translates into much shorter reservation processing times. At Signature Resorts, he said, actual reservation processing times have been cut from five minutes to less than 2 minutes using the RMS system.

“The efficiency of our reservations staff has greatly improved with RMS. We have the ability to process more reservations,” Bittner said.

Faster processing times reflect the ease of use of the RMS system, as well as the built-in research functions. Staff members have the ability to perform multiple searches and to conduct other research without leaving the reservation screen or losing reservation data initially entered into the reservation request.

The research function is particularly helpful when callers request a specific site type, and change their request mid-call, perhaps to be near friends. The RMS system allows the front desk staff to search for RV friends and facilitate finding a space nearby. If a campsite with the caller’s requirements is available next to their friends’ campsite, it’s easy for the front desk staffer to switch the campsite while processing the same reservation request.

But while the ease of use and training are big selling points for RMS, Sarina Bentley of Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort & Marina in South Carolina said she likes the flexibility of the RMS system.

While many parks assign specific campsites at the time a reservation is made, Bentley prefers not to assign specific campsites until the guest arrives.

Bentley takes this approach partly because the campsites at her park are privately owned and she gives the owners the ability to use their campsites at their convenience. The sites are also very diverse, with a mix of oak and palm trees, which, while scenic, sometimes interfere with satellite dishes or slideouts, depending on the size of the RV.

“We let our guests pick the site they like best,” Bentley said. RMS is the only reservation system she has found that can process a campsite reservation without assigning a specific campsite.

Bentley also likes RMS’s accounting system. RMS manages both her RV sites and boat slips in the marina. The system facilitates tracking multiple financial transactions and allocates them to the guest’s account, just like at a hotel.

The RMS system also manages accounting for privately owned lot owners at resorts that rent their lots from time to time. Dailey of Outdoor Resort said the ease of use of the RMS accounting system has enabled her to expedite accounting and payments to her 200-plus campsite owners.

All of these functions that are built into the RMS system are the result of many years of feedback and recommendations from campground, hotel and marina operators around world.

“RMS is developed in Australia and is currently used by 80 percent of the outdoor hospitality industry within that country and is rapidly gaining market share in Europe. RMS, now established in the United States, is certain to become the preferred reservation system for outdoor hospitality in North America,” said Reza Paydar, president and CEO of RMS North America, based in La Jolla, Calif.

“RMS gets constant feedback from its customers worldwide,” Paydar said, adding that RMS programmers are constantly able to refine and upgrade the reservation system to best serve the needs of RMS clients, regardless of whether they are small privately owned parks or large corporations with multiple parks.

The RMS system is a cloud-based reservation system and any updates are performed automatically and at no additional cost to the RMS subscriber.

RMS capabilities include reservation chart management; the ability to combine short, medium or long-term stays on the same system to maximize occupancy; a dynamic pricing feature which automatically adjusts the rates based on occupancy; utility metering, which monitors and minimizes utility costs; and the ability to manage housekeeping and maintenance to reduce labor costs.

The best feature, Paydar said, “is the system’s affordability.” Monthly rates start as low as $150 plus a $3 charge for each online reservation made with the system. No up-front purchase or long-term contract is required. The company also offers a “Seasonal Program” for smaller seasonal parks who have more limited demand. Parks are simply invoiced at the reduced rate during their off season.

“With most of the reservation systems today, park owners have to wait three to eight weeks to get their money from online reservations,” Paydar said. “With the fully PCI-compliant RMS system, parks get their money deposited immediately into their bank account.

For more information, visit www.rmsnorthamerica.com/woodalls2012 or call (888) 802-5827 to request a demonstration.