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Campspot Blog Industry Tips

The Guiding Principles of Reservation Systems

by Griffin Engel January 3, 2020

How you take and manage reservations is one of the most important decisions you make as a campground owner.

We here at Campspot may be biased, but your chosen reservation system impacts your business at its core. How many people are coming? How are they contacting you? How much money does this bring in? How are you taking and tracking this money? This list goes on, as do the options for how you initially communicate with your guests and manage this information.

There are phone reservations, online bookings, email inquiries, website forms, in-person inquiries, third party marketing websites, campground memberships, and more. As the world gets more digital and more complicated, managing all of this can seem overwhelming.

However, modern technology has entered the game to help in the form of online reservation systems. Slowly but surely, they are taking over the tried and true methods of yesteryear – binders, post-it notes, Excel spreadsheets, physical calendars for each site, etc. You name it, we’ve probably seen it.

For those new to the industry or new to the idea of reservation systems, we want to share a few of the guiding principles. First and foremost, The Golden Rule…


Car driving down a road in nature.


Not all reservations (or reservation systems) are created equal.

At first glance, you might think something along the lines of “A two-night stay is a two-night stay.” However, the difference in context can be immense.

For example, a two-night stay booked months in advance for a holiday weekend could block a space that another guest may have booked for a week — costing you five nights worth of revenue. Conversely, a two-night stay might be a last minute booking that fits perfectly between two other reservations and maximizes the amount of money you make during that time.

One of these is a good reservation, the other is a bad reservation, and the question is this: How can your reservation system decide between the two?

A quality online reservation system like Campspot can take a lot of the pain out of this process. By using grid optimization to fill your park as much as possible as well as following business rules that you set for things like minimum stays and holiday weekend policies, your reservation software can help you generate revenue and manage a smarter campground.


Online reservations are more than a convenience.

The world today is online, but for a multitude of reasons, camping has been one of the last industries to adopt online reservations – lagging behind hotels, car rentals, airlines, and even restaurants. For campground owners, online reservations are now a must. They are no longer simply a convenience; they are potentially your biggest source of business and your biggest competitive advantage in the digital economy.

According to the 2019 KOA camping report, 78% of campers are now generation X or younger – people who were either born or raised in the digital generation, and people who expect the accessibility and ease of doing everything online. If you don’t cater to this audience’s preferences, you will lose three out of four customers to a campground that does. For campgrounds that joined Campspot and previously did not take online reservations, their revenue increased by upwards of 55% year-over-year.

Simply put, online booking for your campground is a MUST. And while it can be a significant business decision, it can also be so much more than a chore. Taking your park management system online is a pathway to new and bigger markets that you wouldn’t tap into otherwise, and when done correctly, the results can be immense.

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