After several years of trying to familiarize its park operators with a new reservation format, Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) plans to complete the installation of its Kampsite online reservation system this year, according to Jef Sutherland, vice president of information systems for the Billings, Mont., park franchisor.
The system thus far has been installed in about 330 of KOA’s 440 parks.
Unlike other online reservation systems, which require campground owners to set aside part of their inventory for online booking, the Kampsite system gives campground owners the ability to control all of their inventory at all times, Sutherland said. Campground operators can make a certain number of campsites or cabins available for booking by other KOAs or through KOA.com, but parks always retain full control of their inventory.
The Kampsite system also has a profiling capability, which stores camper’s preferences about the kinds of cabins and campsites that appeal to them. The idea, Sutherland said, is to eliminate the need for front desk employees to double-check repeat campers’ cabin or site preferences or even the correct spelling of their names every time they book a reservation.
“Our surveys tell us that recognition is a key measure of satisfaction to our guests,” he said.
The Kampsite system, he maintains, allows KOA operators to spend more time working on ways to strengthen their relationships with KOA rather than getting bogged down in administrative details.
KOA also is training its workampers to use the system so they can work in KOAs across the country without having to be retrained.
Sutherland said KOA’s guests are coming to enjoy the new system. “We started to hit critical mass in 2003,” he said. “We have guests that actually ask the campground if they’re on the (Kampsite) system.”