Building a new RV park

Discussion in 'Park Management' started by rbnrbn, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. rbnrbn

    rbnrbn
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    Hello,
    We are in construction of the first of three phases of a brand new RV park that will open spring 2019. I will be having some questions along the way and would appreciate any advice you all have to give. My first question is we would love to have a pay system where everything is put on a persons credit card. So basically, when you reserve a spot, we take your credit card #. Anything you purchase during your stay (wood, snacks, propane etc) would be added to your bill. When you check out, you get a list of what you purchased and your credit card is charged. So no cash will be needed. Yay or nay in your experienced opinions?

    Wifi is very important to campers...any advice on this? Who do you use?

    What reservation system do you recommend?

    Any marketing advice would be greatly appreciated. (We will for sure have a Facebook page, a website and will have a booth at the Sports and Travel shows in the area in February).


    That's it....for now. :)
    Thanks
     
  2. NYDutch

    NYDutch
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    Are you an experienced RV'er? I don't like parks that require a "check out" office visit on departure day for stays when electric is not billed separately. Departure day is already hectic enough without the added annoyance of on office visit. Anything more than the drive-up box that some state parks use to return vehicle passes on final exit, and we're not likely to return. The office would also have to be manned nearly 24/7 to accommodate the variety of departure times that are common with RV'ers. 4-5 am departures are not common, but not all that unusual either. Cashless is ok, but charging at the time of each purchase would be preferable to me at least. Checking out in a hotel where you often have to walk by the desk anyway is one thing, but a line of RV's waiting to check out when departing has no appeal at all. Have you ever seen the line of RV's leaving popular parks at checkout time on a summer Sunday?
     
  3. rbnrbn

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    No, I am not an RVer at all but our partner is and he is also constructing the park. I will be handling the office part of it all. We are hoping to eventually be all seasonal. Everyone will have their own electrical meter. I appreciate your opinion very much and I understand your point. We are trying to avoid cash because from what I hear, a lot of it ends up in pockets...if you know what I mean. We also considered being able to buy a preloaded cash card for our customers. What is your opinion on that? Thanks in advance.
     
  4. docj

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    I think there's a big difference between what's good for a largely seasonal park and what makes sense for a more typical one. When we stay for a night or two (or even a week) there's rarely anything we purchase so what you propose wouldn't accomplish much, if anything. On a seasonal basis it could make a lot more sense. I do wonder why you would go through the trouble of a reloadable cash card when all you really need is a bar code wristband/card (or something similar) sort of like cruise ships use for onboard purchases. If customers wished you could generate automatic text messages every time the code was scanned.
     
  5. Rollin Ollens

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    I hardly ever carry any cash. I use my credit card but I pay as I go. I agree with NYDutch, the idea of having to check out is not appealing. I understand that you are trying to keep cash from evaporating but you will also be taking a hit with bank charges. Hiring an honest and knowledgeable staff would be more acceptable to me.

    Wifi is important. So much so that for me I no longer rely on what an RV Park has to offer. I carry my own with me. I have stayed at a few parks that offer tiered levels of band width and I think that is a wise option. Those that want or need a lot can have access but should not interfere with what the rest of the users need.

    I'm sorry I can't offer any more info and I wish you well.

    Darrell
     
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  6. The Campground Consultant

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    I agree with NYDutch. I think you are over complicating the process. If you've got a problem with cash leaving the business then you need to do a better job of hiring and training employees. Hardly anyone pays with cash anymore anyway.

    Wi-fi is very important, I always try to use local vendors that way if you need service/have an outage then you can it taken care of right away.

    POS, there are several out there I would make sure that you find one that enables you to tie it to your website for online booking etc...I would also sit down and think about what features you want and would like and ones that you don't like. Campground Manager is good especially if you are going to be a Good Sam. (not a big fan of the sports and travel show idea)

    Marketing, Adwords is where it's at. Facebook and others are good informational places but for driving people searching for places to go then Adwords is what you want to do. Also any professional affiliations can help drive traffic to you, Good Sam, KOA etc...
    I'm not big on franchises but there is a reason that KOA's are successful.
     
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  7. NYDutch

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    If you're going all seasonals, then yes, what you propose could be workable, perhaps with monthly statements rather than a single end of season check out.
     
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  8. rbnrbn

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    Can I ask why you are not a fan of the sports and travel show? Too late, we already signed up but from what we have heard, you can really get your name out there from these.
     
  9. rbnrbn

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    Thank you for your reply and the information. I will look into Adwords.

    If you think of anything else that would be helpful, I would appreciate your expert advice. Thanks again.
     
  10. The Campground Consultant

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    Sports and travel shows are typically local people and they are looking to go somewhere else...I guess I would want to know what type of sports and travel show it is. How much it is, do you have your booth already. How much and what are you going to hand out? Are you going to be mining for email addresses and if so what are you going to give away of value to get those people to signup? It would also depend on your area. Maybe if you are a local hunting, fishing destination you might be able to pull some people out there from that if they don't already know you exist but chances are that if someone is traveling then they will do a google search and go with what they find there. Most people will forget you were at a travel show the minute they walk out the door unless you were so awesome that you made a lasting memory. Or had something of real value to give them.
     
  11. mdcamping

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    curious, what is the difference between a sports & travel show vs a camping show? (the latter we have a bunch here in the northeast that we have been to)

    Mike
     
  12. Fitzjohnfan

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    For electrical service only, have you looked into something like Shore power Technologies (http://www.shorepower.com). I saw a video of this system a while ago. They will install it, and have emergency repair abilities as well. Basically the user calls a # or goes to a website, and pays per hour for the electric. Then the post turns on/off remotely according to what they paid for.

    Just a thought.

    Chris g.
     
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  13. NYDutch

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    That does not strike me as a good option for seasonal sites. I suspect potential guests would be turned off by it.
     
  14. Fitzjohnfan

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    I agree, its mostly designed for the sites where the guest would stop in for the night, and then move on. When I saw this a few years ago, I believe the rate was about $2.00/hr. This might be a bargin for someone staying 10-12 hours to make dinner and get some sleep.

    Probably need a different rate system for someone staying long term.
     
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  15. newkcmoedoe

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    Any such system would need to also include a fee for the site separate from the charge for electricity. Otherwise someone could pull in, use a couple hours of electricity at night, buy another hour in the morning, leave the RV all day without power while people toured in their tow or towed and then repeat the process. That would mean the park would be getting $6.00 a day, a recipe for going broke.
     
  16. Ellistea

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  17. NYDutch

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    Yes, when rbnrbn said they were hopping to have all seasonal sites, that changed the dynamic quite a bit.
     
  18. rbnrbn

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    Where do most parks install their security cameras? Obviously on the entrance gate and Office/Store/Bathhouse buildings but do you scatter them throughout the campground also or just in the commons areas?
     
  19. NYDutch

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    I've actually been in very few parks with any security cameras at all. Those that did usually had them covering common areas like a playground, pool, or beach, and some for the incoming check-in parking area if they did not have a good view from the office windows, but not in the camp site areas or bathhouse areas.
     
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  20. docj

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    I've never noticed security cameras in any RV park. I guess one in the office makes sense in case of robbery, but if I were a robber I'd probably look for a more lucrative target. I suspect most RV parks handle very little cash these days.
     
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