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Chuck Dunaj

Chuck Dunaj

Editor’s note: This column was written by Chuck Dunaj, senior sales executive of RMS North America. Chuck has extensive experience in hospitality management and technology sales. With 23 years of hotel management combined with 19 years of selling leading property management system solutions to hotels, Chuck has experience consulting with and assisting hoteliers and now campground operators across the U.S. and around the world. 

You’ve just closed out a fantastic season — reservations were up, customers were rolling in and you sold plenty of add-ons and merchandise at the campstore. Still, you can’t shake the feeling that you missed out on something. If you’re operating on an outdated reservation management system, that missed something is likely additional revenue.

The right technology tools can increase worker productivity, offer customers a better experience, and even increase revenue. Take advantage of the post-busy season downtime by evaluating your reservation management system. Here are three questions to get you started.

Is Your System User-Friendly?

Your employees use your software daily, so you should consider their experience first when evaluating your technology. The right solution will make employees’ jobs easier by having an intuitive interface, streamlining processes and being easily accessible.

Training staff on a new program is tough; training staff on a complex and clunky program is even tougher. The easier a system is to use, the faster employees can be trained, and the quick work will be done. Demos are a great way to evaluate whether a system would be a good fit for your team, as you can invite staff for participation and feedback.

Juggling multiple data systems is another common pain point for staff, as manually entering data from one system into another increases the likelihood of errors. That’s why software integration is an essential feature of a reservation management system. It grants campgrounds the ability to streamline all their data into one location, speeding up processes and granting managers greater operations visibility, allowing them to make better business decisions.

Lastly, if you’re using a legacy system, your bookings and customer information can only be accessed from specific machines. While this may be fine for staff at the front desk, it can be a hassle for employees in the field. A modern, cloud-based solution allows employees to access the system from any device, aiding real-time data entry for time-sensitive items like maintenance issues.

Is Your System Guest-Friendly?

The onset of COVID dramatically altered guest travel expectations. With the advent of contactless services and increased online services, guests now expect self-serve systems that offer control of their information and services. Not only are these features convenient for guests, but they also free up campground staff to focus on other tasks and guest needs.

First and foremost, your reservation management system must have a mobile-friendly interface for guests. In recent years, the amount of mobile internet traffic has overcome that of desktop traffic. If your website or booking service doesn’t have a mobile-friendly version, you could be missing out on potential customers. Plus, mobile-enabled services can be accessed from nearly anywhere, opening a realm of possibilities like contactless check-in, which has become more important than ever due to the pandemic.

On top of mobile friendliness, another must-have feature for guests is a self-serve system, such as an online guest portal. This feature gives campers the freedom to manage their information, view their payment history, and make changes to their reservation, such as adjusting check-in times and adding additional services like laundry or pool passes. A Guest Portal can also streamline communications with messaging options, enabling guests to send inquiries directly to staff and enabling your property to relay vital information directly to guests, such as COVID policy changes or check-in instructions.

Does Your System Boost Revenue?

Reservation management software has evolved to run all aspects of your business operations.  With pricing features that automatically adjust to supply and demand, service add-on capabilities and the ability to capture bookings directly on-site, the right platform can be a vital piece of revenue-boosting technology.

Dynamic pricing is an automated pricing tool that helps campgrounds make the most out of their rates. Property managers can set their own pricing rules based on predetermined occupancy rates and rates are then automatically adjusted depending on whether it’s a busy or slow season.

Online travel agencies (OTAs) have been a great tool for getting vacancies in front of more travelers, but they come at a steep price. That’s why more and more of the hospitality industry is moving towards direct bookings. A reservation management system with an internet booking engine (IBE) allows you to capture more bookings directly on your website. In addition to avoiding OTA fees, direct bookings enable potential customers to see real-time availability, reducing the chance of overbooking.

Another strong feature of an IBE is its ability to upsell to guests while they are in the decision-making mindset and have their payment information close at hand. With an IBE, you can offer enticing site upgrades, popular add-on services, or camp store items right at check-out. Not only does this help boost your profits, but it can reduce the hassle for guests when they arrive, knowing all their items are already taken care of.

Make the Choice that Fits Your Business First

An upgraded reservation management system can cause a significant boost in profits and productivity, but you must select the right program for your staff, customer and business needs. When considering your options, think about who will interact with the technology most, how it can increase efficiency and how it can help improve revenue.