7 Best Free and Open Source Campground Management Software
Both campground and camping have changed a lot with time. Most of the campgrounds are controlled by the campground owners who have to follow the camping rules and regulations of their country. If you are into the Campground business, then you are in a very specialized field. Campground owners have to meet various specific requirements of their campers. New camping ideas like glamping, survival camping, workamping, history camping, etc. are getting popular with campers of all ages. Such camping activities by the modern campers require specific style of planning and execution on the part of the campground owners.
For instance, campers who demand glamping want the luxurious setting of their camp, customers who seek historical camping experiences want the campground owners to provide them with historical equipment and setup, campers looking for Kayak camping demand modern canoe and rafts, those loving rooftop camping want over landing rigs and rooftop tents from the campground providers. Campground owners have to make necessary changes in the camp layouts, timings, equipment, processes, and technology to accommodate the modern camping requirements.
The changing requirements of the campers have compelled businesses to change the technology that they have been using for managing their campground operations. Most of the campground owners now use campground management software to ease their everyday business operations.
What is a Campground?
A campground is a place where people put camps or park recreational vehicles for adventure and fun. Campgrounds have been one of the favorite outing goals for families and friends who want to share camaraderie under the aegis of Mother Nature. While 'Campground' is a term used in the USA, the term 'Campsite' is more prevalent in the UK. However, both convey the same meaning.
Why are Campgrounds so popular?
Campgrounds have been providing thrill and joy to millions who seek a break from their routine life to soothe their stressed minds in the lap of natural surroundings. It fills your lungs with fresh air, connects you with nature, has a healing effect on your anxious mind, builds strong companionship with fellow campers, and enhances your physical strength and stamina. Setting up your own tent, starting fires, cooking in open, hiking, and exploring nature are the kinds of joys that are unmatchable. No doubt, campgrounds are extremely popular destinations for people of all age groups.
Types of Campground Sites:
- Camping Cabins
Camping Cabins are the type of campgrounds that have pre-built wooden cabins with basic facilities. These cabins can be rented from the campground owners. These types of cabins are generally built in areas where regular tents won't be suitable because of weather conditions or due to extreme wildlife threats.
- RV Parks
A recreational vehicle park (RV Park) or caravan park is a type of campground where campers can park their recreational vehicles and stay overnight. RV parks also provide a facility for tent camping, but people generally choose to lodge inside their RVs at such campgrounds.
- Holiday parks or Caravan parks
As the name suggests, such campgrounds are popular with holidaymakers who want to spend their long vacations at such campgrounds. The holiday park is a sophisticated area that provides facilities like mobile homes, theatre, swimming pools, restaurants, shops, etc. Most campground owners lease these parks to large families and large groups.
- Tent Site campground
A tent site campground is a campground that provides spots to build tents to the campers, or the campers have an option to move into tents that are already in place. Campground owners often let the campers choose what they want.
- Trailer Parks
A trailer park is a temporary campground for travel trailers. Some campers decide to stay for a considerably longer time at a camping site. They might plan this due to various reasons, including prescribed nature cure. In such cases, trailer parks prove helpful.
- Certified Locations
These campgrounds are the locations or sites certified for camping by the government or local law bodies. These are open places where campers can set up overnight camps with some restrictions. The campers have to follow the guidelines and the camping rules as framed by the government in these locations. Most of these places are free for campers, but some of the certified locations can be privately owned sites where campers have to pay some fees.
History of camping and campgrounds
The primitive man used to live in forests. Natural surroundings and caves were his shelters. While the idea of living in the wild is pre-historic, but camping as a human-made activity started only two centuries back. In modern times attempts are made by campers to recreate that spectacle through what is known as the primitive camping or backcountry camping. Campers stay at remote locations without using any modern machinery and amenities.
Let us discuss in brief about the history of the camping and how it all started?
Thomas Hiram Holding is regarded by many as the Father of Camping. He was the first person to set up a camp in 1853 AD for five weeks along the river Mississippi. He also wrote the first guide to recreational camping -"The Camper's Handbook," based on his camping experiences in 1908. He was one of the founding members of the Association of Cycle Campers. Next comes, the Father of outdoor movement in America-William Henry Harrison Murray. He wrote his camping guide- The adventures in the Wilderness or, Camp-Life in the Adirondacks. Adirondacks Mountains with over 200 campsites built-in over five years. Another pioneer in the history of camping was Robert Baden-Powell, who founded the Boy Scout Association in England in 1908.
The below timeline will help in understanding the chronological advancements in the camping history:
A suggestive list of Campground Amenities:
Most of the campers require the below basic amenities and objects, as shown in the below graphic.
What is Campground Management Software?
Campground management software provides the users the tools and features to manage and track their campground reservations and other related operations. It increases the efficiency of campground owners to provide services to their campers, and it also increases the profit margin of their businesses.
Who should use Campground Management Software?
Why should campground owners use campground management software?
The final objective for every campground owner is to provide their campers with great customer experience. Campground management software helps campground owners in achieving that goal. Below are some reasons why you (campground owners) should use the campground software:
- With the help of the campground software, the campground owners can automate a lot of tasks that are otherwise done manually and require a lot of effort and time on the part of the campground owners.
- Campground software acts as a catalog for all the information needed by both the campground owners and the campers who want to book their seats. This relieves both of them from the arduous task they would otherwise be required to do by calling each other for booking and payment process.
- Campground software keeps owners more organized and prepared for the business as they can easily manage prior bookings, finances, space issues, over-booking scenarios (which won't happen at all as the software won't allow booking beyond capacity), and on-ground management.
- The software saves time and cost for the campground owners by letting them focus on the customer experience and other services by saving their time by automation of many repetitive activities. This helps them to scale their business, and ultimately it improves the bottom line for them.
- It makes them look more professional and trustworthy as they provide a seamless booking experience, automated emails, and hassle-free online payment options for their campers. This trust translates into more business and more profitability.
Features of a campground software
- Online bookings
Campground software allows users to book the campground seats online. The software has an added payment portal to let users make online payment also. This feature is vital for campground owners also as a lot of their time is saved by not having to spend time on the manual booking process.
- Automatic rate calculations
This software is able to calculate the cost of booking a particular campsite or campground seat by adding all elements that constitute costs. It takes into account the space utilized, amenities added, number of persons, time of the year when the booking is required, applicable taxes, etc. to calculate the amount to be paid for that booking.
- Interactive campground map
The software can show the complete map of the campground with grids to give the users and the customers a better idea of the seats left in real-time for booking. The map also helps the campsite visitors to choose the best-suited seat for their needs.
- A complete history of customers and transactions
The software keeps a customer-wise record of all the bookings and transactions which can be downloaded in multiple formats in just one click. All records are safe and secure and mostly kept in software database or cloud database service that the software is integrated.
- Automatic routine tasks
The campground software lets campground owners manage and operate their routine activities automatically.
- Customizable functionalities
The features, functions, and rules can be customized as per the requirement with the campground software.
- Reporting and analytics
The software provides various reports to understand the business better and make decisions accordingly. It provides reports of the reservation and occupancy trends for the past week, month, and year.
The software can send automatic notifications to the campers about change in their reservations, other reminders, welcome messages, etc.
- All device compatibility
The software can be accessed from a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. It is compatible to use with all devices.
- Control admin rights
The software provides the users control over security by letting the owner decide about the full-access, restricted access, permissions, and rules.
- Technical Support, live chat, training
Most of the software provides technical support for installation and after installation queries. Live chat and training sessions are also available.
The list of 7 free and open-source Campground Management Software:
- Campground booking
- Campground master
- Premier campground
- Astra Campground
- Aspira Connect
Comparison table of 7 Best Free and Open Source Campground Management Software
OpenCampground is an open-source campground management software licensed under the General Public License. This software is available for download from the Downloads page at http://opencampground.com. This software caters to the needs of all types of businesses. It has features that appeal to all types of campgrounds-small or large. It is very easy to use the software. The system is designed in such a way that it can be used by anyone and without technical training. The system is easily adaptable to the requirements and needs of any campground.
- Online reservation and booking
- Keep track of reservation and customers
- Reservation confirmation
- Users can customize the system in the setup screens to provide different looks
- People with the requisite technical skills can modify, delete or add features to the system
- Compatible with Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Linux, Mac OS X, and BSD.
- Site availability on screen
- Available as a system in the Cloud
- It is coded in the Ruby language
- It uses the Ruby on Rails framework
Roverpass’s campground software will ease your campground operations by providing you functionalities that make campground management efficient and user-friendly. It is free for campground owners. Their support team will build you a website free of charge if you don’t have your own business website. Website management and hosting are included at no additional cost. Roverpass customers get a free listing of their park on the RoverPass Marketplace. Thousands of campers and RVers use the Roverpass directory to browse and book camp reservations.
- Fully customizable online reservation system.
- View and edit all of your reservations
- Online bookings and reservations
- Check campers in and block off dates and sites.
- The cloud-based availability system saves you time from managing a manual datebook.
- View refund, cancellation requests, and other action items on your dashboard
- Easily process reservations and credit card payments by the Reservation Builder campground point-of-sale (POS)
- Create new RV Park or campground reservations from your dashboard or calendar view.
- Collect the customer information and save it in the database for future use
- Integrates with your business website
Campground booking is a free campground management software that saves the time of the campground owners in responding to email and phone reservation requests. Their customers get access to their exclusive channel partners with a popular reach like GoRVing Canada and Travel British Columbia for free. With its ease of use and flexibility, Campground booking assists users in managing and operating campgrounds without hassles.
- Allows campers to book a reservation from the campground owners' site directly.
- Reports such as daily occupancy, reservation revenue, guests who are checking in/out, and more
- Reservation grid to extend reservations and collect an extra fee
- Customized booking experience according to the needs of the campground owners
- Charge different tax rates option
- Works smoothly on any device: desktop, tablet or mobile
- Full rate table to customize rates by season, day of the week or even holidays
- Receive notification for each new reservation
- End of day report about all bookings
- Automated confirmation emails to campers
- Campground master (Free Trial)
Campground Master is a useful campground management software for campground or RV resorts. They offer free demo and trial. Campground master is known for its flexibility and functionality. Campground Master comes with unmatched flexibility that makes it efficient to use not only as campground software, but it can be used for any rental. It is used for various applications as dog kennels, canoe trips, flea markets, jailhouses, storage units, and parking garages. Campground master provides both functionalities-the Rack and Map views. It helps in finding the openings on a given date as well as it is perfect for seeing the lengths of stays. Campground master provides the map function free of charge, and it lets users edit the functions with map-editing tools. It has a Community Forum to communicate with other Campground Master users on topics related to the software or the camping business.
- Advanced customization features allow you to create and edit your own forms like labels, emails, receipts, and letters.
- Newsletter filled with tips & tricks about the software
- Speedy system response without downtime
- Automatic rate calculations by a sophisticated auto-rates system that can factor in various discounts, and add-ons like extra adults, pets, special services, seasons & holidays.
- Easy to restore a data backup with the Restore function
- All new transactions get updated on-screen and all networked computers in real-time.
- Compatibility with all 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows
- Integration with QuickBooks(TM) for general business accounting
- Point-of-Sale option -add the POS option
- Credit card processing
- Real-time online reservations support
- Provides a robust online solution
- Sophisticated communications system to prevent any double-booking.
- Premier campground (Free Trial)
Premier campground management software provides you with unlimited admin users, reservations, and free upgrades. The adding of admins with restricted rights is possible. PCM is easy to use a cloud-based reservation system that allows users to manage their campsites with ease, control, and efficiency. It helps users manage merchandise sales and inventory easily. It has built-in features to manage products and categories and record sales transactions.
- It gives users full control of the branding of their documents, attachments, and notifications.
- Premier campground can support 1000+ sites across multiple site maps if needed.
- Send out confirmation emails to customers
- Send text messages to customers to notify about changes in their reservations
- Automatically assign and manage routine maintenance tasks with its powerful task workflow tools
- Get real-time updates on task progress
- Add all of your add-on schemes or products for cross-sells to online customers
- New fields and lists can be added by the admins, or existing fields can be customized as per needs
- It works very well with mobile devices.
- Manage your campground from anywhere
- All reservation changes reflect immediately without the need of browser refresh. This prevents double bookings due to the "at-a-glance" view of your entire site.
- Integrate your existing site map
- Multi site map support
- Triple redundancy and geo-replicated database backups
- PCI DSS compliant with 128-bit SSL encryption,
- Full audit logging and fully integrated POS system
- Get a copy of your reservation data in your inbox
- Retrieve your reservations using PCM's built-in export tools
- All screens have full built-in search capabilities
- It provides reports such as
- How many guests per reservation on average?
- How many repeat customers do I get?
- How have reservations been trending for the past three months?
- How are customers finding my park?
- How far away do my customers live?
- What's my most popular site?
- What's the most popular day of the week or week of the year?
- Astra Campground (Free Demo)
Astra is a campground management software for RV parks, campgrounds, in-house stores, online bookings, and multiple park operations. Astra is the next generation of the comprehensive campground and RV Park management systems. Astra is a multi-product software developer and vendor. Their team with head office in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada designs and develops industry-leading software. It has been developed by campground owners who are software professionals also. It is based on 23 years of the real-life experience of the campground owners, and it implements the newest technological improvements.
- Track your customer activity from initiating booking to checkout.
- Easily customizable to fit your campground’s unique needs
- Past and future booking records of each customer
- Intuitive processes that are easy to learn
- Accept 24/7 online reservations
- Strong accounting and financial reporting capabilities
- View and manage availability by park map and grid
- Boost revenue with advanced pricing capabilities
- Multi-language capabilities
- Technical support and training to staff
- Aspira Connect (Free Trial)
Aspira is a campground management software that provides online campsite booking experience. It is easy to navigate and user-friendly. It has marketing tools that help you grow your customer base. It has various functionalities that enhance your camping business. This software helps businesses to improve their campground’s operational efficiency. It is a mobile-optimized and Cloud-based software.
- Aspira connect lets you manage RV park and campsite reservations online with a comprehensive campsite management software
- It helps clients provide their campers an amazing online reservation experience
- Use mobile phones to manage your campground business
- Set up shop for campground and campsite retail with streamlined POS services
- Benefit from the convenience of interactive maps and grids
- Control security with admin users, permissions and rules
- Monitor site inventory in real-time
- Manage campground/park free spots in real-time
- Manage camping process, fees, funds and promotions
- Increase campsite exposure with integrated marketing
- Increase campsite reservations online
- 200+ financial and demographic report types
- Get technical support and account management
We have included one popular campground management software for discussion-Bonfire. It is a commercial campground management software. Let us see its features in detail:
Bonfire is a popular user-friendly Campground management software with an all-in-one reservation system and online booking portal. Bonfire is a cloud-based software that focuses on providing users simple features and functions to manage their campground reservation operations. It also generates core industry reporting that helps campground businesses identify the strengths and loopholes in their operations. Bonfire also provides two free e-books for a better understanding of the campground management and its marketing process. These two e-books are available for free download from their site even to those who are not their clients.
- It has a dedicated online booking page that can be connected to your website. This feature helps the campground owners to manage their bookings even via their mobile phones.
- It has an integrated payment processing system, a secure payment gateway, and a facility to get money deposited in your account within 24 hours of your transaction.
- It features a fully customizable online booking page. Users can custom settings according to their needs.
- Reservation system for those who want to book their campground spot before arrival
- Core reporting for generating reports and analytics about the business and its performance.
- It works on all types of devices having internet.
- It has a dedicated account manager.
- Bonfire also provides free training for staff.
- Users can charge amenity add-ons fees to reservations.
- Users can see all arriving and departing guests with one click.
- Calendar control
In the US and Canada alone, 13000 public campgrounds are active. This number does not include the privately-owned campgrounds. In the future, there will be a huge demand for innovative technologies and customized software to cater to the needs of these campgrounds. Even campground owners have changed the way they used to carry their campground businesses. The recent developments in the way campgrounds are operated and managed by the campground owners using the latest technology and the campground management software have not only revolutionized the way this business is done but has also empowered the campers to choose, plan and thoroughly enjoy this outdoor activity without difficulties.
For meeting the campers' requirements, campground owners have to update themselves not only in terms of technology but also the very idea of camping that they have in mind needs to be upgraded from time to time.
As campground owners get too busy in meeting the on-ground expectations of the campers, the campground management software provides them relief in terms of activities that can be automated. Campground owners should utilize the services of the campground software to enhance their customer experience and increase profit margins by focussing on core business activities. The software discussed in this article can be used by campground owners to conduct their campground operations.
We will love it if you share your views about the article in the comments section below. If you have utilized any of the free and open-source campground management software mentioned above, then do share your feedback with us.
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