In the last 23 years I have been asked many times, “What is the best software out there to manage my park and my business?”. Without hesitation I always say, Campground Manager Software@/ BookYourSite™. We are. What else would I say? Even today I still say that. If you do not believe you have the best value proposition on the market, you should not be in this campground software business.
At any rate, I think after all these years I have earned the right to be somewhat subjective on this subject. I am not going to list and rate my competitors as I prefer to take the high road and in this litigation based society we live in, I do not want to get mixed up in any of that. Plus I would put us at the top anyway and that would kind of invalidate the whole process!
So here are the top 5 things you should look for in a software partner and their products.
- Help and Support: Number 1 with a bullet and for good reason. Generally when we think of software we think of the actual CD or the actual software that is downloaded to your machine. But great software is not about the software itself. In reality it is about the results you get out of using the software that counts. In order to get those results you need to have ability to get prompt accurate support. Both from within the software or from a help desk. To quote a customer, “dull rather simple software can be turned into great software just by the help and support it received, The opposite can also be true.”.
- Reliability: Software can have a great feature list, lots of bells and whistles and great support, but if it is not reliable, all else is irrelevant. By definition reliable software is software that you know is not going to crash and gives you honest direct reliable information you can trust. You can make sound business decisions based on the information you receive from the system. It needs to be battle hardened.
- Ease of Use: Again software can have all the bells and whistles and great feature list (POS inventory system,online bookings, integrated cc system, iPhone app) but if it is not easy to use it is kind of all for naught. You can only get those easy to use features and put the most important ones out in front, if you know the business. If your software comes from another sector of the business (say hotels or another continent) this makes it much more difficult for the developer to make it easy to use in a campground in North America.
- Value for Money Software; I love this statement. The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory. So true. The product and company have to be quality obsessed. Full stop. Anything short of that will fail. If a developer has fulfilled all other factors, if he prices it too high and people do not see the value in it, then it will fail. As developers and sellers of campground/RV park software ourselves, we know how important it is to charge a reasonable price that the market will accept. What the market has to get their head around is that some of those funds go to ensure the continuity in the future development of the software.
- Long Term Viability of the Company – Make sure you check into the financial viability of the developer. I have seen this many times over 23 years, companies come and go. The sad part is their customer base often is the ones who really suffer. The company folds up on a long weekend, park is left hanging. Especially now with cloud computing based programs, park owners would be in a real conundrum if the software developer and product they chose went down.
Those are my 5 top factors to look for in your software partner. Remember this is not Microsoft Word that you use every 3rd day. This is a mission critical business function that has to be up and running perfectly every day. Your business depends on it. Realizing there is a lot of pain involved in switching software companies, please take your time, chat among your peer group and chose wisely. We hope we can come out on the winning end of that choice.
PS. I came up with this list by reading white papers, my own experience and various sources on the web. Hope you enjoy!