View Full Version : Friend Communications Enhanced Integration

07-09-2008, 01:23 PM
Many of you may have read the recent press release announcing a strategic alliance with Friend Communications. We are very excited about this alliance and what it means for Campground Master customers, and we're anxious to tell you all about it.

"Real time" online reservations

The new strategic alliance with Friend Communications will enable Campground Master to provide online reservations support with a 2-way "real time" interface, rather than the 1-way manually-updated interface currently employed. This means that you can make your complete site inventory available online all of the time, rather than just part of it, part of the time. The availability shown to customers booking through your web site (via the Friend Communications gateway) will always match the availability in Campground Master, eliminating the possibility of double-booking. Likewise, reservations made through Friend will immediately and automatically be reflected in Campground Master (optionally tagged as "pending approval" until you review them), abolishing the need to manually retrieve them periodically. You will still have the ability to change or reject online-submitted reservations if necessary, so you don't give up any control of your inventory.

This new online integration functionality is already in the works, and you'll receive more information as it progresses. We expect it to be fully released by the end of this year, and will have it ready for testing much sooner. Current customers will be notified when the product is available in beta and will be offered the opportunity to participate in beta-testing. Whether you already use Friend or you're just thinking about online reservations, we welcome and encourage your comments, suggestions or concerns so that they can be suitably addressed and incorporated in the final design.

What follows are some excerpts of a press release.

"After years of working together, we are taking the relationship to the next level by creating this strategic alliance," said Gary Pace, Friend president and CEO. "This enhanced relationship will enable us to build a tighter integration with Campground Master."

Campground Master customers will not notice any change in the software or support, other than the ability to participate in the enhanced benefits of the Friend online booking engine and increased exposure on Camping.com and the Friend network. Rest assured that this is not a merger or buy-out -- Cottonwood Software, LLC, the producers of Campground Master, remains an independent company with the same leadership, goals, and business practices as before.

"We are excited about this alliance. After working together for several years, this is just a natural progression in our relationship and we are pleased with what it can offer our customers," said Stan Spielbusch, president and CEO of Cottonwood Software. "Being able to integrate with Friend's online booking engine is a valuable asset to any park or campground. This enhanced partnership will ensure that the integration remains strong and continues to progress technologically, as well as strengthening our position in the industry through cooperative opportunities."

Friend Communications Inc., a subsidiary of Leisure Holding Inc., provides an integrated portfolio of services, including online reservation technology, advertising infrastructure and marketing services to the outdoor recreation industry. Friend is committed to delivering best-of-breed products and marketing support to unite the businesses that make up this vertical and allow the industry to compete effectively for the general travel dollar. Through industry partnerships and its own brands, including Camping.com, Friend enhances the consumer's online experience by providing outdoor recreation-centric information, resources and an extensive online reservation network for locating RV parks and campgrounds. More information is available on the Web at www.friendcommunications.com.

07-09-2008, 09:02 PM
this is very exciting news. I will be watching for updates, and would love to be a beta tester.

Riverdale Farm
07-10-2008, 06:47 AM
Sounds great, I would also love to be a beta tester.

07-16-2008, 04:46 PM
This is big! This is most definitely what our customers want and expect from us

Let us know some beta testing details when you do know...

09-30-2008, 07:52 PM
Hey Stan, Do you have an update for us on this??? :D

10-01-2008, 06:09 AM
There was an update in the newsletter yesterday:

11-18-2008, 10:42 AM
We would like to test the system if possible. We are ready to go live with rezs.
We would like to be up and running by the first of the year.

Any new news?

11-18-2008, 11:12 AM
We're probably a few weeks aways from beta testing, so it's getting close.

11-18-2008, 07:16 PM
We cant wait!!

11-19-2008, 09:51 AM
We're probably a few weeks aways from beta testing, so it's getting close.

Sooooo, does this mean we will be ready to go live on Jan 1 ?

11-19-2008, 12:15 PM
We're not promising a specific date, but I expect beta testing to be well underway by then.

01-14-2009, 01:15 PM
Hey Stan, any new news?

01-14-2009, 01:50 PM
Friend seems to be dragging their feet a bit on getting their side working. But it's getting there!

Four Oaks Lodging
02-06-2009, 10:57 AM
hey, what is the status of this? we have been waiting since last year.

02-06-2009, 11:09 AM
I'm afraid it's taking longer than expected, but we're working as fast as we can.

Four Oaks Lodging
02-06-2009, 04:25 PM
Is there a time that you are shooting for? I know that I have been talking with them, As I want to intergrate so I can gain GDS/IDS Presence for Both our Motel and Campground in the near future.

02-07-2009, 08:27 AM
We hope to have it ready for beta testing sometime in March, so we can release it by April.

04-21-2009, 08:38 AM
Any update?

04-21-2009, 01:26 PM
Still progressing, but slowly. I can't really quote timeframes because too much of it is out of our control.

05-15-2009, 05:19 AM
Anything you can tell us? It's been almost a year (July 9) since you announced the parternership. Things proceeing that slowly???:confused:
Is there someone that some of us could email (or call) at Friend to inquire about the status on their side???:confused:

"Real time" online reservations was one of the reasons I choose Cmaster in the first place. :confused:

Kick em in the ass to get this integration going!:confused:

05-15-2009, 11:00 AM
yeah, if we all call/email friend communications, maybe they will understand we NEED them to get their act together.

05-16-2009, 02:32 PM
Things are starting to move and they have promised that this is their highest priority now... so we expect to see some progress very soon.

05-21-2009, 08:50 AM
May 21, 2009
I talked to Gary Pace (CEO of Friend Comm.) today and he says that the integration is progressing (slowly). He blamed everything on Stan!!!!!

Just kidding Stan:)

He says he has Leslie ,his chief technical officer, on the job now and he is fixing the "error" bugs.
Bottom line is that Mr. Pace was very informative and he wants the programs to mesh also. He hopes that it will be ready for beta testing in "the next two weeks". No promises though.

I reached Gary Pace at 1-888-333-9383 x 222

Have a great Memorial Day weekend and may all your sites be filled with well behaved families.

05-26-2009, 04:45 PM
Thanks for the update Garry. I won't call and be a pest yet. Lets hope he is right, I am ready for this.

06-09-2009, 02:33 PM
June 9,2009

Well I haven't heard any updates...how bout you Stan?

06-09-2009, 03:43 PM
We're working closer with them now and getting better turnaround time on bug fixes from them, but I can't make any promises.

06-26-2009, 09:11 AM
I called Gary Pace today and left him a message. Hope he gets back to me.

Sure would be nice to get the rez system up and runnin'.

I'll post back if he calls back....any new news Stan?

Sorry to be a PIA but I know more folks that just me need this integration.

06-26-2009, 09:24 AM
Yes, It would make life easier for a lot of us.

06-27-2009, 09:25 AM
Gary Pace called me back yesterday. He said that Stan and Leslie where real close and that beta testing should be ready in a week. (by the end of the month of June) If it did not happen then , :eek: maybe the first week of July.

What say you Stan?:confused:

06-27-2009, 10:13 AM
Yes it is getting close, but I think a week is a little optimistic. There is a lot more testing and tweaking to do on both sides. My most optimistic estimate is 4 weeks for beta, though there might be an "alpha" release available before then if you're really desperate (and brave).

06-27-2009, 11:40 AM
I'm your Huckleberry!

Hell...sign me up. Can't be any worse than not having anything at all.:)

07-19-2009, 04:42 PM
Hey Stan-
This is on your web site-

"Campground Master supports Online Reservations in a few different ways, depending on your needs. The most robust online reservation support is available through our alliance with Friend Communications, using their Reservation Friend online booking engine".

When is that gonna happen pal?

If not intergrated soon how about how do I do this-

"You can seamlessly integrate their online engine with your own web site to have sophisticated online booking capabilities, and Campground Master can import those reservations made through Reservation Friend without any re-typing of information."


07-20-2009, 06:14 AM
It has been integrated with Reservation Friend for years, as a 1-way system (importing online reservations into Campgroiund Master). The 2-way system is coming very soon. However if you're not yet set up for the 1-way integration, you might as well go ahead and do that because most of that setup will be applicable to the 2-way system.

Setup for integration is documented here: