Park Vendor Review, a company that offers park owners the chance to review the vendors they use, has announced the launch of its platform at ParkVendorReview.com.
The brainchild of Todd Sabo, formerly the president of NewBook’s North American division, and Stephanie Puglisi, hosts of The RV Atlas podcast with her husband, Jeremy, and an accomplished book author, the new site offers the first digital platform created for campground and RV park owners to search, save and review vendors, streamlining the decision-making process.
Sabo told Woodall’s Campground Magazine (WCM) that he was spurred to create Park Vendor Review after being on the other side of the equation as a vendor for several years with NewBook.
“At trade shows you could see in the faces of the park owners that were walking around that they had all of this information spinning around in their heads and there was no real place for them to go and make an informed decision or research which vendors to work with,” he explained. “Also, just by looking at Facebook groups, park owners said that they wanted a platform specifically for the industry where they could review vendors, and that was the spark that grew into what we have now.”
Sabo noted that park owners a lot of the time are making decisions based on the interactions they have with vendors at trade shows and through short demos, and that one wrong move could cost them a lot of money.
“We’re hoping to solve that issue by allowing them to do more due diligence on our site, see what other peers are saying and ultimately hone in on the right vendor for their particular need,” he said.
For park owners, it is simple enough to get signed up through the company’s website and each new user takes part in a verification process that ensures all reviews are left by people who work in the industry.
“There are different classifications of people, so when you’re signing up as a user, there are park owners, park investors, potential owners, potential investors, park managers, park staff, media and work campers,” highlighted Sabo. “We want each user to take a picture or make sure that they have got a photo of themselves. You can also use Google single sign-on, LinkedIn, as well as Facebook single sign-on, and that helps with the verification process.
“We want to make sure that people within the industry are verified and they’re welcome to comment, rate, review and discuss things on our platform,” he added.
Puglisi noted that the entire process is manual at the moment.
“There is no bot out there making these approvals,” she explained. “It is a process that is designed to make sure that the community is an authentic one.”
A photo of the person commenting is also a key part of the process.
“We just had someone sign up recently that put up a picture of their park and we told them that they needed to take a photo of themselves because they are going to be leaving reviews and you can’t just have a picture of an RV sitting on a lot somewhere,” said Sabo.
While users are free to leave reviews, the website does feature community guidelines that are adhered to so that the website doesn’t turn into the Wild West.
“Whether it’s good or bad, we need to ensure that the review is a real one and that the reviewer used the services they are writing about,” said Sabo. “We don’t want derogatory information or people calling other people out. There can be no specific naming of people.”
Vendors will have a chance to respond to reviews, giving them a shot to tell their side of the story if a review is negative.
To avoid allowing reviews to go down a negative rabbit hole, Sabo noted that a user gets to leave one review about a vendor and then the vendor gets to respond, that is it.
“It’s not this ongoing thing,” he noted. “But in our discussion forum, there could be some back and forth. Everybody can report abuse, which is good. If somebody is a habitual abuser, they’re going to get warned a couple of times before they get on the naughty list. Then eventually, if they can’t stop, they’re out.”
Puglisi acknowledged the complicated nature of moderating a website like ParkVendorReview.com but also said that this website empowers both park owners and vendors.
“Other campground owners are going to be able to see not only how campground owners respond, but also how the vendor responds to a customer’s concern,” she said. “Airbnb is a good example of this. People learn just as much from an Airbnb response as they do from the initial review.”
“Having experienced the repercussions of choosing the wrong vendor in the past–leading to wasted time, court fees, and unnecessary headaches – Park Vendor Review is a game-changer,” noted Amir Harpaz, owner of Torrey Trails RV and Golf Resort and a Park Vendor Review user. “The platform provides park owners like me the invaluable ability to make informed decisions about vendors, and it also empowers us through ratings, reviews and discussions by peers who can share their own vendor experiences. It’s not just about saving time and money; it’s about preventing costly mistakes. Park Vendor Review addresses a critical need in our industry and I’m excited to be a part of this positive change.”
Park Vendor Review spent last fall connecting with vendors in the industry to add them to the website, but Sabo said that the company has automatically added vendors as well. He noted that vendors can claim their company’s page on the website for free.
Sabo said they have over 1,000 vendors in multiple different categories on the website right now.
“It’s very easy for them to claim their site and set up a basic profile, which takes all of about 30 seconds,” he noted.
“It’s free to go on to find and claim their listing and just update it with any information that they want in terms of their logo, their tagline, a description…etc.,” explained Puglisi. “Then if their listing isn’t there for some reason, if we’ve missed them, they reach out and Todd adds them. We’ve added quite a few vendors based on them emailing us and saying, ‘Hey, we’d love to be on your site.’ And that whole process is free for vendors also.”
Along with the website launch, Park Vendor Review is offering users free access to PVR’s “Reservation Systems Buyer’s Guide.” This resource is a comprehensive, data-driven guide to property management systems (PMS) software, offering objective insights to assist campground and park owners in navigating their PMS software purchasing decisions.
The guide includes results from a 68-question survey that more than a dozen reservation software providers took part in.
“We outline every possible feature that’s out there and explain what these features are,” noted Puglisi. “Todd’s a subject matter expert at this, so to me as somebody that’s been learning about it, I feel that’s a real value. A lot of these campground owners probably get a little overwhelmed with all the lingo and the jargon when they’re shopping and have a lot of terms thrown at them that they might not have had a lot of experience with in the past. One of the great things about this buyer’s guide is that it is an educational tool for owners and helps them learn the lay of the land before they go into any of these discussions with vendors.”
Puglisi noted that guides like this are one way that Park Vendor Review is going to become an important information resource for owners.
“I would say that it’s a really good example of our commitment to providing high-quality, editorially research-backed content for RV park and campground owners,” she said. “I think it’s our first example of something important to us. It’s why Todd asked me to get on board. It’s important to him, and it’s something that I invested a lot of my career in.”