Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) has launched a new online reservation system that gives consumers the ability to instantly check campsite availability and to make reservations using a credit card.
“The new system came online in late August with half a dozen parks,” said Ken Stellmacher, KOA’s vice president of marketing. He said about 40 to 50 of KOA’s nearly 500 parks would have the new reservation system by year’s end.
KOA has seen a 30% jump in online reservation requests this year, compared to a year earlier. The increase reflects consumers’ increasing preference for online reservation booking as well as the Billings, Mont.-based company’s growing customer base.
But while KOA has long had an online presence, its reservation system has not operated on a real-time basis. Campers have made their reservation requests using an online form, which is then sent by e-mail to their campground of choice. The campground operator then replies back, indicating whether their reservation has been accepted.
The new system, however, enables campers to book their reservations instantly online, subject to campsite availability.
“This makes us the first branded campground system to have this type of offering,” Stellmacher said. “In the past, we’ve never been able to communicate what our inventories are. This way, campers can plug in what they’re looking for and if it’s not available they can check another date and see.”
The first KOAs to use the instant online reservation system include campgrounds in Santa Cruz, Calif., Las Vegas, Nev., Silver City, N.M., and St. Petersburg, Fla. Stellmacher said the system will ultimately provide KOA with an online inventory of about 60,000 campsites.
Stellmacher said KOA will unveil the new reservation system to KOA campground operators during the company’s annual convention, which is slated for Nov. 14-17 at the Opryland Resort and Conference Center in Nashville, Tenn.