Pick Lists

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Pick Lists are the tables of values used to make data entry quicker.  In addition, they are useful in limiting possible values for certain fields so that data integrity is assured, and so that meaningful categorized reports can be generated.  The pick lists for site attributes also help categorize sites to make site selection easier.


A new database is initialized with populated pick lists that serve as a guide.  While some of the entries may be useful, you will likely want to remove and change some, and add some of your own.  This is done easily through Maintenance / Pick Lists.  A pick list may be any length, but use discretion when filling them -- long lists are more difficult to choose from, and can cause problems displaying the list in a drop-down box if your screen is too small.


The order of the items in each pick list is important -- this is the order in which they will always appear in the drop-down lists or other selection lists.  Besides making the order logical to the operator, you will want to pay attention to the first letters of the items, because those can be used to quickly select the items.  You can try to make each first letter unique, but if that results in confusing names then the next best would be to put the most-used items toward the top.  Or instance, if you have "Tent" and "Trailer" in the Rig Types list in that order, pressing T will select Tent, and pressing T again will select Trailer.  If you use Trailer much more that Tent, you might want to switch the order so that Trailer comes up first.  (Or in this case you can just remember that TT means Travel Trailer, a convenient coincidence since TT is often an abbreviation for Travel Trailer.)


Note: If you already use QuickBooks and plan to export transactions to QuickBooks, you may want to base your setup of Transaction Categories and Payment Methods according to your QuickBooks accounts, to make the transactions in Campground Master map easily to your existing accounting system.



Changing Pick Lists


You can add pick list items any time you like.  So if you add cabins to your campground, you can easily add a Site Class and/or Site Type for cabins.  You can even insert it into the list anywhere you like, since the order of the lists don't matter to the database -- it won't cause problems with existing records.  The Index field is the important part (that's how the pick list items are referenced), and you will see that when you move pick list items around in the list, their Index stays with them.  When you add or insert a new item, a new unique Index will be generated for it automatically.


IMPORTANT! Once the pick-list is in use you should never change the names of pick list items to something that has a different meaning, and you should never delete a pick-list item that has ever been used before.  (Note that when a pick list item is deleted, its Index is discarded and cannot be re-used, so there is no way to get it back short of restoring the database from a backup!)  Of course if you're sure that an item has never been used in a database record, then it would be safe to delete or change it.  If you stop having a need for one of the items (for instance if you no longer accept one of the payment types), the best thing to do is to just Set the Enabled field to "No".  It will then be removed from commonly used selection lists, and will only be shown on reports if there is data associated with it for that time period.


On the other hand, you are free to change the text for any pick list item.  As long as it still represents the same thing, it won't cause any harm.  The new name will be shown in any existing records that used the pick list item automatically (because the Index field is unchanged), so feel free to make changes like "highway sign" to "road sign" or "billboard".  But don't make changes like "Visa" to "Discover" -- use the Move Up and Move Down functions instead, if you just need to change their position.



Pick List Dialog Functions


Each of the Pick List editing dialogs consists of a grid with the pick list table and some controls at the top.  The controls are detailed below.


Warning! -- All changes made in this dialog are permanent and immediate, there is no way to cancel them!


Allow Editing of Fields -- This is simply a safeguard against accidental changes.  By default, all of the dialog's controls except Print and Close will be disabled, but you can look around the table.  If you plan to make changes, check this box so that the controls are enabled and you can make changes in the grid.  Note: leading and trailing blank spaces will be automatically trimmed from all entries after editing.


New Record -- This will add a new pick list item to the bottom of the list and move the cursor to it, ready for typing.


Insert Record -- This is used to insert a new item in the list somewhere other than the bottom.  First click on the item in the grid that you want the new item to be in front of.  Click Insert, and a new pick list item will be added at that point, moving the others down.


Move Up and Move Down -- Use these to move items in the list to new positions.  Just click on the item to move, then click the Move Up or Move Down button.


Print List -- This will print the pick list grid.  It uses all of the same print options as used for the other grids (tab views, etc.).


Delete Selected Record(s) -- This will delete (permanently!) any of the items selected in the grid.  Just select one of more items (using Shift-Click to select a range or Ctrl-click to select multiple items), and click the Delete button.


Close -- closes the dialog.  Since all changes were already made immediately, there is no Cancel option.


The Grid -- This is the list of pick list records (items).  If editing is enabled, you can edit any text (except the Index field) by clicking on the cell and typing (which will replace the existing text with what you type), or by double-clicking on the cell to enter edit mode (where you can edit the text without deleting it).  Note that while you are in a cell, you can abort the changes by pressing the Esc key.  Once you leave the cell, however, the changes are permanent.  Any cells that have been changed will be shown with a light yellow background.  


You may notice that the grid can't be sorted by a column the way most other grids can.  This is because the order of the items is important, and sorting (even temporarily) could cause confusion when adding items to the list.



Pick List Fields


Index -- This is the software-generated unique identifier for an item.  It cannot be edited.


Selection Name -- This is the text normally displayed in drop-down lists on dialogs, etc, and as the value for the field.  It should be limited to about 10 or 12 characters so that it fits in the drop-down lists without being truncated.


Report Heading -- This is the text normally displayed on reports as row & column headings, e.g. when grouping by the pick list value.


Abbreviation -- This is a short version of an item name.  It's only used in a few places where space is short, such as the Requests column on the Arrivals tab and the Type column for sites on the Rack.


Notes -- This can be a long description, for your own reference.


Base Type -- This is used in the Reservation Types and Payment Methods pick lists only.  See below for details.


Enabled -- This can be used to disable items that were used in the past (and thus can't be deleted), but you don't need anymore for future reservations, etc.  Disabled items will not be shown on selection lists (unless it's the currently set value), and won't be shown on summarized reports (unless there's a non-zero amount for that item).


Ref Needed, Qty Needed, Fixed Each, and Each -- These are used in the Payment Methods pick lists only.  See below for details.




Rig Types Pick List


This is used for the customer's Rig Type field.  You can define them to be generic (RV, tent, boat), or you can be more specific (Fifth wheel, class A, diesel, etc.).  It all depends on how specific you want your records to be or what information is helpful to you for making reservations.  You may want to include a "none" value to be used for guests or if you have cabins, etc. where there is no rig needed.  Future software versions may support rig type categorization or filtering for reports, so keep that in mind as well.



Site Types and Site Class Pick Lists


Site Type is the most important of the site attributes, since it's used on nearly every report for filtering sites and is also used as the basic criteria for selecting appropriate sites, and possibly for determining the rate of each site.  The design of this list can vary greatly for different campgrounds.  Selections can be as generic or specific as you like, but keep in mind that the longer the list is, the more awkward it will be to use.  Design a list that will be useful for filtering and provide useful reporting categories, and that would work well in the tab views where you can select only one site type.


Remember that there are a number of site attributes than can be used to narrow down a search, so you don't need to have separate Site Types for every combination of 30A/50A, pull-through, sewer, pad type, etc.  On the other hand, if all of your sites are basically the same except that some are pull-through and some are not, and perhaps some of the non-pull-through sites have only 30A, then that's only 3 different combinations and would be very manageable as 3 Site Type selections.  But if you have more than 5 combinations of site features, then it may not make sense to use each combination as a different Site Type.


Site Class is another site attribute that can be used for selecting a site (in a reservation's site preferences).  Site Classes are typically a more broad category, and Site Types are more specific.  So you might have "RV site" as a Site Class, and "Powered" and "Unpowered" as Site Types.  Cabins, Units and Bungalows could be all one Class of "Room", or they could be 3 separate Classes (especially if you also needed to break them down further, e.g. 1-bed cabin, 2-bed cabin, etc.)


There are 2 main uses of types and classes:


- Selecting a site (e.g. what their criteria is -- do they just want any type of RV site (select by Class) or do they need a Powered one (select by Type).


- Rates -- this is generally best to do by Site Type, so for instance if you have 3 different rates for different types of RV sites, then you would want to set up 3 Site Types for those.


You can do most reporting by either Type or Class, so keep that in mind also.



Pad Types Pick List


This is a site attribute that can be used for selecting a site (in a reservation's site preferences).  Pad Type selections would typically refer to the type of material that an RV parking space uses, such as grass, gravel, concrete, etc.  Pad types usually refer to RV sites, but you could also include useful selections for cabins (bed type?) or other types if needed.



Site Facing Pick List


This is a site attribute that can be used when making a reservation (site preferences), if the customer has a preference for which way a site faces.  It is initialized with common directions (North, West, Southeast, etc.), but it could be used it for something more descriptive, replacing the directions with something like "Lakefront", "Pool", "Golf", and "Playground".  (There are other attribute fields in the Site table that could handle this as well, but if direction is not a concern then this may be a better way to handle other attributes.)



Discounts Pick List


This list is used for the Discount-Used field of charge-type transactions, to indicate what discount was used in the calculations (and of course for the Discount transactions themselves).  Just include an entry for each type of club discount you accept, plus anything else applicable like Seniors, Students, and perhaps one for Other (you never know when you might give a discount just because the poor guy looks like he's had a bad day).



Payment Methods Pick List


This list is used for the pay method in any payment-type transactions.  Simply include the different types of payment that you accept, to the extent that they are useful for reporting or keeping track of how a bill was paid.  You can include anything from credit cards to green stamps if it helps.  It's usually a good idea to include the different types of credit cards (Visa, Discover, etc.) rather than one "credit card" field, for the sake of reporting.  If you take multiple currencies, you might even want to distinguish between U.S. and Canadian cash, for instance.


Note: In order for Campground Master to correctly determine the credit card type, the Selection Name for those must be the standard names "Visa", "MasterCard", "Discover", and "Amex".  Do not change those!


In addition to the name and description fields, there are 4 special fields that should be set according to the payment type.  The Base Type field, Ref Needed field, Qty Needed field, and Fixed Each field help determine what additional information is needed for each payment method when entering the payments.  For instance, if "Credit Card" is selected for the Base Type, then the credit card entry fields will be enabled.  If Qty Needed is set to "Yes", then the Qty field will be enabled.  This is useful for coupons or other payments that have specific values. In addition, you can set the Fixed Each field and specify an Each value for the payment method, in which case only a Qty is needed when entering the payments.  This is useful for membership coupons with fixed values, for instance.



How Heard Pick List


This list is used in the reservation records, and is simply to indicate how the customer heard about the campground, or if they are returning customer.  It's used primarily for tracking advertising results, in the How Heard Report.   This list can get fairly long if you include every possibility, but if that's the information you need then you should let it be long and specific.  If you don't do any advertising and only want to know whether they are a return visitor or not, you can use it for that too.


One unique feature of this list is that there should always be an item with "Return visit" as its Name text.  It doesn't matter where it is in the list or even what Index it has, it just needs to have that exact text (without the quotes of course).  This will allow the "Return Visit" item to be selected automatically for a reservation when you select an existing customer from the customer database.   It won't break anything if you don't have that selection, but you would lose that bit of automation -- the How-heard field would just need to be selected manually.



Transaction Categories Pick List


This list is used for the Category field of most transactions.  It should include various categories for the types of charges, plus any categories you need for Expense and Misc. Income.  You may want to keep these from overlapping each other or the charges categories, so they can all appear as separate ledger categories.    


In order to handle sales/lodging taxes correctly, you should have specific entries here for your taxes.  For instance, have a "Lodging Tax" category for the tax, rather than lumping the tax into the categories like "Daily Rate".  Also, we recommend that you set up separate categories for different taxable sales.  For instance if your cabins are taxed at a different rate than your tent sites, don't just have one "Daily Rate" category -- you should have a "Daily cabin" category and a "Daily tent" category, so reports will separate the amounts.  This will make it much easier to do your quarterly tax reporting from the category reports.


Note that there are some hidden transaction categories with "Reserved" names, matching each of the internal transaction types (Discount, Payment, Refund, etc.).  These won't be shown, but if you try to add a type with the same name then you will get an error message.



Estimated Arrival Times  (ETA) Pick List


This list is for easy selection of an arrival time for reservations.  Unlike other pick list selections, the ETA is actually a free-form entry field. The list defined here is just "suggested" values, allowing selection with the mouse instead of typing it.  This list can contain whatever needed, including generic entries like "Early", "Late", or "Unknown".  The default selection (when making a new reservation) is defined in the Program Options.



Reservation Types Pick List


Each reservation must have a Reservation Type, which is selected when making the reservation.  Originally these types were fixed, but now you can rename them and add additional types as needed.  This is a very special list, because each type must be associated with a Base Type.  The Base Type is used by the program in various places so it knows how to handle each reservation type, and how it will be color-coded on the Rack and other views.  For instance, Monthly types are handled differently for auto-rate calculation and monthly billing, Guest types are only used for adding people to an existing reservation, etc.  For a detailed explanation of the different types, see Working with Reservations.   You can't define new "Base" types, but you can create any number of additional Reservation Types to differentiate them in things such as reporting, rates selection, and color-coding (see "Quick-add Resv Type" in Color Schemes) -- you just need to select the Base Type that most closely matches the way the program should handle the reservation.


By default, this list has one type defined for each Base Type.  If you don't need a type, you can delete it from the list or set the Enabled field to "No" to disable it.  If it's disabled, it won't show in the drop-down selection lists for new reservations.  However it will still appear in filtering lists and reports.  If you've ever used the reservation type, or plan to use it in the future, you should not delete it -- just disable it.  However if you have never made reservations for a particular type, it's safe to delete it.


While base types can be useful for rates selection and reporting, be careful in defining too many types.  For instance, you could define a Daily and a Weekly type to help with rates selection.  However this could cause confusion if the person stayed longer than expected (say 8 days instead of 5).  A more appropriate use for additional types might be to add a "Seasonal" type that acts like Monthly but has a different rate schedule.  Or perhaps adding a "Drive-through" type that's similar to a Day Pass but has a different rate charge.



Cancel Reasons Pick List


When you cancel a reservation, in addition to selecting the "Type" of cancellation, like No Show, No Stay, Mistake, etc, you can also select a user-definable Reason from this Pick List.  The distinction is that the "Type" is also the Status, and also determines the color -- it's more of a general explanation of how the reservation was canceled.  The Reason can be as specific as you like.  A number of common options are present by default, but you could add anything you need, such as "Hurricane Harvey" or "Highway construction".


The Reason selected will show on the Non-Reserved tab view, and can be used for the Unfulfilled Statistics Report.  It can also be used for Reservation Filtering of any report that supports that filtering.



Inventory Item Classes Pick List


This pick list is only present if the P.O.S. option is enabled.  See the P.O.S. Setup section for details.



User-defined Pick Lists


If you want to create your own Pick List, e.g. to use in a custom field you've added, you can do so through User-defined Tables (a Pick List is really just a special-purpose Table).  See that section under Advanced Customizations for details.


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