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Campground Master supports Online Reservations in a few different ways, depending on your needs. You can use one part of it or any combination of parts:
•Integrate in a real-time 2-way automatic mode with Leisure Interactive's online service, Hercules. Reservations are automatically imported, and availability is automatically uploaded, preventing any conflicts with online reservations.
•Retrieve reservation information from Hercules in manual mode (e.g. if your online connectivity is limited).
•Retrieve and extract reservation data from formatted E-mails (like form submissions from your web site, or E-mail notifications from other online services).
•Create "vacancy grid" web pages with availability data and upload them to your own web site.
General Guidelines for Taking Online Reservations
While Campground Master is not an online system in itself, it can integrate with 3rd-party online reservation services like Hercules in real time just as though it's a combined system, or it can assist in taking reservations through your own web site. Naturally a high-speed Internet connection is recommended for this, especially if you get more than a few reservations per day.
Avoiding Conflicts Between Online and Offline (Local) Reservations
Using the Hercules 2-way integration, conflicts are automatically avoided as long as you have internet connectivity.
If you need to use one of the other options, accepting online reservations is only fool-proof if you set aside certain sites to be used only for online requests, since the person online can't see your local system at exactly the same time as you. Without this separation of sites, you could potentially be making a reservation on the same site and for the same day as someone online, resulting in a conflict. Campground Master lets you designate which sites are to be shown as available online (assuming you use one the option to upload availability data to your own web site).
If separation of sites isn't practical, you can also minimize potential conflicts by taking requests only for a certain type of site instead of taking requests for a specific site number. The customer would select the type of site, and you would select an appropriate site for them as you process the request locally. You can also combine this with limiting the number of sites available online. For instance if you have 40 cabins and 50 tent sites, you might designate only 20 cabins and 20 tent sites for online availability
You can also specify a number of "online release days" as a buffer -- for instance, you may specify that online reservations can only be made for dates at least 3 days in the future (or any number of days you think is appropriate). This allows you to handle short-term walk-in customers without worrying about conflicting with online reservation requests.
Handling the Online Reservations
Using the Hercules 2-way integration, online reservations can either be automatically imported to Campground Master or you can manually process them as they are received. Reservations imported automatically can be reviewed easily through the function Reservations / View Recent Online Reservations, and then edited if necessary.
If you use a different form of online integration, manual processing is required. Manual processing requires an operator to view the reservation request and make sure everything is in order before saving it. While this isn't quite as convenient as a fully-online system, it's necessary to eliminate "junk" requests from the Internet, duplicate customers, missing information and other problems associated with manual systems.
When manually processing online requests, the operator can assign a site if necessary, send a confirmation E-mail to the customer, and save the reservation into Campground Master. Assuming that most of the information is filled out properly by the customer on the web site, this is a fairly quick and easy process and eliminates the need for customer information to be typed in manually.
Hercules (2-way integration)
Other Online Reservations Setup
Retrieving Other Online Reservations