Rethinking Deposits and Cancellations
At AOS, we manage our cancellation policies, deposit policies, and fees the same way we manage rate. This is becoming increasingly important in today's high demand markets.
In parts of the country where demand is higher than supply, parks are seeing more no shows as travelers book numerous sites to make sure they get one. Additionally, nightly guests are reselling their sites at higher rates, even at private parks. Buying sites and subletting used to be a problem only at seasonal parks-this is no longer the case.
Recently, we changed one our high demand parks to 100% due at booking with a very strict refund policy. We watched to see if it would have an impact on bookings-and bookings continued to soar!
Here is snapshot of just one week after the switch. We made 141 bookings in the week. A full 122 were through our website or OTA, and only 19 were by phone.
Not only did we not slow down, online and OTA bookings shot off the charts. In addition, no shows were no longer a worry as we had 100% of the fee up front. At checkin, drivers licenses are requested to make sure the booker is the guest. Lime green is our website, orange is OTA, and yellow is walkin or call in bookings.
Why did we do this? A few reasons. First of all, it prevents all the woes outlined in the RV Travel article. It also allows our staff to step outside the office and engage with guests. They are paid in full so the office work is minimal at checkin.
We plan to move all of our in season high demand parks to this policy. We have also added "No Subletting" language into our daily and weekly guest forms.
The times are changing and we are making sure our parks do not suffer with the changes.