e-commerce firm rvseek Inc. will shift the primary focus of its industry portal, rvseek.com, in August from dealers to campgrounds, according to Matt Dittrich, president of the Bend, Ore., company.
When launched a year ago, rvseek.com primarily was a web site that prospective buyers could use to search online through the inventory of several dealerships.
However, keeping the dealers’ inventories up-to-date turned out to be a tricky issue, Dittrich said.
In other words, a relatively long period of time might elapse between when a dealer sells a unit listed as being for sale online, before the image of that unit is removed from the web site.
Currently, five dealerships have inventory on rvseek.com’s companion web site, rvdealernetwork.com. The list included: Altmans Winnebago of Carson, Calif.; Super 1 RV Center of Conyers, Ga.; Hitcharama RV of Turnersville, N.J.; All Seasons RV & Marine of Bend, Ore., and Stoltzfus RV & Marine of West Chester, Pa.
Although he has not abandoned the effort to build a sizable web site to help dealers move inventory, Dittrich’s company shifted its attention to the campground sector with the launching of campgroundnetwork.com.
Campgroundnetwork.com appears to be a good fit for the traveling RVer, because they buy a CD from rvseek Inc. and then they load it on to their computer. As they move to different locations, RVers use the rvseek Inc. program to get local telephone access to the Internet.
There are 4,000 campgrounds in the campgroundnetwork.com database, and beginning in August, it will become possible for RV enthusiasts to reserve a space online at certain campgrounds, Dittrich said.
However, at many campgrounds listed on campgroundnetwork.com, RV enthusiasts will only be able to submit, online, a “request for a reservation.” The campground operator must then contact the RVer submitting the request to finalize the reservation, he said.
Unlike the hotel industry, relatively few campground operators are willing to set aside spaces for customers who might book reservations online. That’s why RVers, in many cases, only are allowed to submit requests for reservations, according to Dittrich.
A similar situation exists with RV dealers, many of whom discovered “a lot of care and feeding” is required to keep their online inventory up-to-date, so prospective customers do not submit requests for information or to buy units that were already sold, he said.