First-come First-serve Campground Struggle
It definitely wasn't her favourite part of being the administrator of a first-come, first-serve campground, but it had to be done.
Every year, Beth Endresen, from the Town of Sexsmith campground in Alberta, had to make the dreaded - but necessary - calls to law enforcement to help deal with campers who refused to pay or campers who slipped away early in the morning to avoid paying.
Switching to an Online Campground Management System
So it came as a bit of a surprise that all it took was switching to Camp Reservations Canada's free campground online reservations system for most of their 26 campsites to significantly cut down the number of calls to law enforcement about problem campers this past summer.
Beth says, "I was excited to switch to an online reservation system for most of our campsites, but I had no idea it was going to positively affect so many other areas of our operations and management of the campground."
It wasn't just the benefit of requiring less face time with law enforcement. The 2018 camping season was undeniably an all-around success for the Sexsmith campground. Fully booked through the summer for the first time ever, the campground recorded an impressive 160% increase in revenue over the previous year.
I was excited to switch to an online reservation system for most of our campsites, but I had no idea it was going to positively affect so many other areas of our operations and management of the campground.
Beth Endresen Town of Sexsmith
All-around Success: Increase Revenues and More
"The results really were beyond our expectations," says Beth. "There were some initial hesitations expressed about switching to an online reservation system, but after just one summer, we are convinced we made the right decision upon seeing the benefits of the system firsthand."
Another unexpected but welcome benefit was reducing the workload for the campground attendant. Previously, Beth says the attendant would spend two hours every morning checking the campground to figure out who needed to pay, print receipts for campers and go back and do it all again with the campers missed the first time around.
Even with 10 of their campsites remaining first-come, first-serve, since the online system was in place for the rest of the campsites, the two-hour job turned into a one-hour task every morning. "Our campground attendant found there was more time to work on other responsibilities, which include taking care of the plants and greenery in the public areas of our beautiful Town of Sexsmith," says Beth.
"I'm so happy that we switched to an online reservation system. We increased our revenues, reduced the time it takes to manage the campground and made efficient use of labour," says Beth.
"I can't imagine going back to a solely first-come, first-serve system - it would be horrible and painful to do that at this point."