Switching your campground reservation system can be daunting.
One question we often hear is, “How long does it take to get set up for online reservations at our campground?”
Depending on whether you’re coming over from another online system or manually taking bookings — the short answer is that it depends.
The (only slightly) longer answer is a week or less if you’re ready to get up and running quickly.
Onboarding a campground reservation system does not have to be a painful process.
Since this is a question that comes up often, I want to spend a few minutes documenting what we learned this past week while launching with one of our newest campgrounds, Golden Municipal Campground.
While it may seem daunting to add in 150 sites with rate variations across your camping season, connect your Quickbooks, and learn a new system— the truth is that when parks sign up to use Campground Booking, we take care of 75% (or more) of the heavy lifting to get you started.
Getting Started with a Campground Reservation System
To show exactly what it’s like getting started with a new campground reservation system, let’s walk through how we recently launched Golden Campground.
While every campground will have different needs, here’s a high-level overview of the onboarding details for Golden:
Number of campsites: 150
Total onboarding days (from initial sign up to taking reservations): 8
Previous booking solution: Bonfire
After signing up with Campground Booking, here’s our step-by-step process to launching your campground:
Step 1: Kickoff call
After hopping on a demo of our product and deciding to move forward with Campground Booking, we set up a kickoff call between Joy (the awesome on-site operator) and Andrew on our Campground Booking team.
Andrew’s role is to ensure park owners are able to seamlessly transition into using our booking platform.
The purpose of a set up call is to:
- Share what settings an owner needs in the system (i.e. tax rates, pricing for campsites, etc.)
- Establish a launch date for accepting online bookings for the new year
- Learn more about not only what an owner needs from a reservation system, but what the overall goals are for the park as a whole (and how we can help support you!)
A kickoff call with Andrew takes roughly an hour to get all the information we need to get your campground set up online. Joy and Andrew set a meeting two days later for training and review.
But park owners do get one piece of homework before the call is over.
Andrew asks owners to connect with our payment processor Stripe, allowing the campground to be able to take payments within a couple of business days. This little bit of homework helps us make sure you can get online reservations set up (and you can start getting pay!) before the end of the week.
Step 2: Setup Campground Booking log in
To access your dashboard, see reservations, and download reports, you’ll need to login to Campground Booking. Immediately after the kickoff call, Andrew sent login information straight to Joy’s email so she can get into the system.
Step 3: Upload park information onto Campground Booking
Alongside park owners, Andrew and the CB team work together to upload information for each individual campsite at a campground. Joy’s campground has 150 campsites, so this took our team two days to finalize.
Plus, Andrew uploads any photos Joy has of her campground as we know sharing campsite photos can increase campground occupancy.
While we double-checked campsite information, Joy was busy writing her cancellation policy and any campground rules that she wanted campers to know before arrival.
Step 4: Check In
In between meetings while information is being uploaded, Joy reached out to Andrew with any questions she had about the process.
“It’s great to get questions taken care of during meetings, but with a tight timeline, it can really speed things along to get anything sorted out ahead of time that we can,” says Andrew.
Sending in quick questions by email can help us get campgrounds live faster and keep meetings shorter.
Step 5: Dashboard Training
After getting all of Joy’s information into the system, now it’s time to review it all to see how it works. During dashboard training, Joy can play around inside the Campground Booking system, test how to edit reservations, how to review reports, how to give refunds—all of the things she’ll do as a campground operator.
It’s Andrew’s job to answer questions, demonstrate how different features work, and correct any errors in campsite data if they find any.
If the park owner has any onsite campground managers who will be using the system, it’s best to have everyone on this call so they can all be trained on how to use the system.
Step 6: Book Now!
After our training, Joy put her “Book Now” button on her website. While Joy set an intentional launch date and wasn’t ready to accept reservations quite yet, this allows our team to make sure our bookings work perfectly on her website.
This is a quick easy step, but it allows our team to catch any little hiccups that might confuse campers during the booking process.
Step 7: Final Review
Inevitably after training, campground owners will think of more questions or remember one last adjustment (e.g. site 57 can only fit rigs under 30 feet, not 33 feet). We always schedule a final video call to review campground information and make sure owners are 100% comfortable with the system.
Our support team will be around to answer questions as long as you’re a customer, but this is a great time to run over the system with our team one last time before launching. All of the sites and inventory items were listed with appropriate rates and photos and Joy test-drove the system on her own, with Andrew answering any questions along the way.
It’s been less than a week since the kickoff call, and we’re just about ready to take Joy’s campground live!
We like to leave a couple of days between our final review call and a launch date for a campground to allow a little cushion in case any big changes need to be made. Those couple of days are a great time for campground owners to email past customers or post on social media and advertise their launch date.
Step 8: Launch!
Golden Municipal Campground officially launched on its scheduled launch date (January 1st) and started taking reservations without a hitch. Andrew stayed in the loop with Joy to make sure things ran smoothly on her opening dat, but after her training, she is self-sufficient and able to operate her campground on her terms.
After successfully launching, Andrew introduced Joy to our support team. Our support team offers virtual office hours to allow campground owners to ask questions, talk through ideas, and quickly fix any support issues Joy encounters.
And that was it. In one week Joy signed up with Campground Booking, had her account created, got trained, and was taking online reservations!
Onboarding your campground reservation system
Every campground is different, and while Joy’s story may not be the same as yours, with clear expectations and communication, onboarding your park can be a breeze.
Looking for software with online reservations? Campground Booking can make switching over painless. Sign up for a demo today!