Hot topics - 01/11/2012
ReferenceCamping.com: campsite management software, a real helping hand
The role of campsite manager is constantly evolving. Nowadays, campsite management software saves time, brings increased reliability and efficiency, and even helps you grow your business.
Still working with pen and paper? This will change your mind!
Campsite software, with all its features and its cost, may appear complicated and off-putting. But take the time to consider it and you'll be as convinced as we are that campsite management software is a real helping hand.
Why? Because all the specific issues faced by campsites have been catered for. The idea is to free yourself up from often tedious administrative tasks so you can focus more on the business aspect, and thus develop a formal marketing strategy. These three areas of management are closely linked. Software means time saved, greater productivity, customer satisfaction, increased turnover and occupancy rate, more accurate accounting, real-time booking management and more...
Administrative management: time saved for campsites
Planning, managing... Management software fulfils all administrative obligations, makes your accounts immediately legible and results in better financial management.
Entering statistics, tourist tax, calculating VAT and its complications (with varying rates according to the product), managing deposits, holiday vouchers, etc... All these tedious tasks take time.
Campsite management software allows you to automate tasks and plan daily needs, from plumbing work on a rental property to scheduled cleaning tasks. Software also lets you link your mobile home sales to your sales journal, for example, and above all, to record all takings from subsidiary services and allocate them to campsite guests' stays.
You can also offer your guests the possibility to pay later, and group together cheque deposits... But above all you get an instant financial overview of your establishment's activity. To fine-tune your administrative management, it's important to be aware of everything that gravitates around the need for management. This is where gateways with other software applications come into play. Once you're well-armed for your daily activities, you'll be ready to go further and benefit from the marketing advantages promised by campsite software.
Business management: following up the customer from A to Z
From booking to sending out wishes, everything is aimed at facilitating your customer relationship, defining a reliable pricing policy and increasing productivity. Above all, campsite management software gives you the ability to plan and have an immediate overview of your campsite's activity. Put an end to the nightmare overbooking situation... and have the total stay price calculated automatically - an undeniable advantage in the face of multiple different rates. No more risk of errors due to varying seasons, special offers or rental type; campsite software is configured to give the correct price.
The tool also offers A to Z customer follow-up. With management software, you can send rental contracts, quotes, letters, reminders, invoices, etc. directly by email, bring up the details of all your exchanges and keep a trace for when the customer calls. The customer can even be assigned a photo, taken by the webcam at reception. This personalisation also extends to the sending of letters or custom emails, cutting costs in the process. The customer can also be informed of an evening event happening at the campsite, or receive an electronic greeting card, to maintain the link come Winter... Finally, with Sequoiasaoft, you can send out a satisfaction survey.
Now you can centralise all bookings in your schedule, whether they be taken over the phone, by email or through the campsite or tour operator website - which represents an undeniable amount of time saved. Giving you another opportunity to improve your selling...
Marketing management: improve your selling
Beyond its primary management function, you can use the software to analyse data, generate reports and fill the gaps in your schedule. Working from this tool makes it easier to follow the right approach.
"What we offer is not just a management tool. The idea is to attract customers first, then manage them." A marketing tool, rather than an operating tool? Cyrille Cottin, Sales and Marketing Director at Sequoiasoft, insists on this added value that software brings today. Far beyond a technical aid, it's also a sales tool, powered by various commercial solutions that have been developed. How? Based on statistical analysis.
Statistics compiled for an end-of-season report also serve as a means of being pro-active, and useful information can be brought up via custom widgets. This means you have an immediate view of your activity on the "reception" and "booking" dashboard (last customers served, pending requests, occupancy, age categories, etc.)... Why take an interest in statistics? Because they give you a better idea of your customers, so you can target them. This helps you plan your future activity and take the right decisions to win over your guests (launching special offers and mailing your customers and prospects to let them know).
Fill your schedule
By including the concept of sales, you have the opportunity to boost them. "Software helps you increase occupancy. With our products, you gain between 5 and 10%," promises Cyrille Cottin. This means you can increase your turnover with software. It is essential then that you look at how your campsite works before choosing your management software: what's the ratio of tenants to residents? How many of your bookings come from tour operators? Cyrille Cottin insists: "you must look at your needs in three years' time and ask yourself, 'Is this going to help me?' " The growth in your turnover can only accelerate as a result.
How to choose your campsite management software
For a campsite chain, the preference would be multi-workstation software with centralised data. That said, a small campsite can benefit from the same features as a large one. Any features that aren't used can be hidden so as not to get in the way of your daily work.
Colour coding allows you to get your bearings. The best solution is to test it out for yourself.
Software offers gateways with tour operators, compiling all bookings without having to re-enter information.
Nothing complex, just a simple tool that can be used by seasonal staff to manage arrivals. That said, don't neglect the two-day training course offered by the software developers to get to grips with and master the tool - and to avoid having to make endless calls to the support team!
The indispensable service that comes with a maintenance and guidance contract. The support service include calls, software updates, assistance and listening to your needs.
Before all else, think about a possible exit: how easy is it to change campsite management software? By linking services to your software with specific suppliers (access barriers, compatibility software or online booking systems), you run the risk of having to change all your equipment in order to change tool (especially in the case of security gates). Next, you must make sure you can work with other interfaces. The majority of files are open and enable gateways with central booking systems.
Finally, make sure to back up! To counter a bug or hardware failure, it's essential that you back up all your data. Sequoiasoft has a head start in this domain, owing to its experience in hosting services. Finally, consider access control if there are several software users involved.
Finally, a major point: how does campsite management software evolve? It cannot be frozen, as it needs to integrate new features and adapt to changes in legislation. It must meet any new needs that a campsite might have from one year to the next, and the software must also be regularly updated for all users. So the developers hold a coordinated dialogue with their users, and through daily input and acknowledgement of needs, the exchange is fed and maintained.