Normandy Farms Campground in Foxboro, Mass., is seeing the benefits of online reservations first hand.

Since late last year, the campground has been using Sunrise, Campground Automation Systems’ cloud-based reservation system, which enables the park to process reservations in real time, either by phone, in person or online. About 30 percent of the park’s reservations are now coming in online.

“This has reduced our call volume at the reception desk, reduced labor costs and improved guest satisfaction,” said park spokeswoman Kristine Daniels.

“The online reservation system is a visually intuitive interface,” she said. “It contains an interactive map that highlights available sites based on the dates and amenities selected. You simply click on the site and it shows you a picture of that particular site along with a description.”

Guests who make their reservations online and pay for their campsites, cabins or yurts in advance can opt to receive PDF files by e-mail, which contain their vehicle passes and gate codes.

“Once the guest has made a reservation, they receive an e-mail reminder two weeks prior and again 24 hours prior to their reservation,” Daniels said. “If paid in full, this would include their vehicle pass so they could proceed directly to their campsite. If they are not paid in full, the e-mail contains a link where they can pay the balance.”

The system also allows parks to flag difficult guests so that they can be prevented from making online reservations.

Tyler Duffy, president and CEO of Nashville, Tenn.-based Campground Automation Systems, said some of the parks that use his system generate more than 70 percent of their reservations online. Of course, online reservations aren’t the only benefits.

Sunrise is a front desk management tool that handles online reservations, real time inventory and utility management as well as guest profiles.

Other attractive features include the ability to hold pending reservations. For example, if a guest calls to make a reservation from a cellphone and the call gets dropped, the reservation can be saved in the system until the guest calls back to complete the reservation request.

The system can also be configured to handle dynamic rate pricing as well as minimum stay requirements for particular types of campsites and rental accommodations. “There are no two parks in the country that do business the same way,” Duffy said. “Our dynamic rules engine makes it trivial to accommodate each park’s unique requirements.”

Heather Colvin, resort concierge for Heritage Motor Coach Resort in Orange Beach, Ala., said she has been pleased with Campground Automation’s service as well as the reliability of its front desk management system, which handles accounting for campsites that the park rents out on behalf of individual site owners. “It’s been great to use,” she said, adding that Campground Automation’s personnel are “always available” to answer questions.

Duffy first introduced Campground Automation Systems to private park operators during ARVC’s InSites Convention and Expo in 2007. The company’s front desk management systems are currently being used by about 60 campgrounds across the country. More information is available at www.CampgoundAutomation.com.