Adapting to a new normal will be a challenge and an opportunity for RV park and campground owners to reevaluate the systems and resources they currently have in place and make changes that will set them up for success long-term. Here are six steps owners and operators can take using their reservation system to make the path to recovery easier.
1. Increase operational efficiency
Automating crucial processes can help parks survive and even thrive during recovery. Campground owners should look for “set it and forget it” features like dynamic pricing, scheduled reports, and automated guest correspondence to save hours of staff time every day. A system with detailed reporting and integrated accounting can also provide owners real-time visibility into their property’s performance, and enable data-driven decision-making as new information becomes available and the market changes quickly.
2. Ensure staff productivity
As businesses reopen in phases, a cloud-based reservation system that can be accessed remotely will enable parks to minimize their on-premise staff footprint by allowing back office teams - such as reservations, accounting, sales and revenue management - to work and be productive from home. Staff can take advantage of any downtime to learn about additional reservation system functionality and enhance their system to ensure peak performance as travel picks up. Campground owners should look to their technology provider for online training tools and resources such as self-help files, how-to videos, educational webinars, and one-on-one remote live sessions for training tailored to their property’s specific needs.
3. Capture as many bookings as possible
Now is the time for campground owners to ensure their software has the features and functionality they need to achieve their business goals as travel returns. In addition to updating websites with relevant content and having a strong SEO strategy in place, park operators should look for a reservation system with a built-in internet booking engine and channel manager to make sure they’re reaching as many people and capturing as many reservations as possible through both direct bookings and OTAs.
4. Resume marketing to guests
As travel restrictions lift, campgrounds need to let people know that they are open and encourage travelers to re-book stays with them. A reservation system with built-in marketing tools will have the ability to send targeted email campaigns to contact lists pulled from guest records based on specific criteria, such as cancelled reservations or how long ago guests stayed at the park. A fully integrated reservation system also gives park operators the ability to automatically apply promotional rates to their booking engine when guests click a link in a marketing email. Built-in marketing analytics can help campgrounds track the effectiveness of email campaigns such as number of emails delivered, open rate and click rate.
5. Enable guest-driven experiences
Guests will be looking for safe, hygienic hospitality experiences with social distancing in mind even as travel returns. RV park and campground owners should use their software to enable as many convenient self-service interactions for guests as possible, like online reservations, mobile check-in and check-out, and communication with staff through a guest portal. Online transactions including digital contracts and online payment options will also help guests avoid face-to-face contact and reduce the amount of staff time required to manage guests’ needs.
6. Plan for the future
No one knows exactly what the road to recovery will look like for the park industry. Campground owners need to prepare for different scenarios and have a plan for how they will adjust as time goes on. As business needs change, technology should evolve too, and owners should make sure their system aligns with their goals for the future. A highly configurable and scalable reservation system will give owners a competitive advantage, because their technology will be able to grow, change and adapt to market conditions with them, regardless of size or operational complexity.
At RMS, helping RV parks and campgrounds achieve their business goals is our main focus. Our cloud-based reservation management system has a robust suite of features that can be tailored to meet each property's needs and empower park owners in any market conditions. For more information about RMS, visit www.rmsnorthamerica.com.