Campground Master
Reservation Software for RV Parks and Campgrounds
by Cottonwood Software

Why Choose Campground Master?

Occasionally we're asked how Campground Master compares to other reservation software and why you should choose us over the competition. There are actually many ways that Campground Master is unique to the industry.

We believe that if you try the demo then you'll discover for yourself how Campground Master stands out from the crowd in ease of use, flexibility, and functionality. But just in case you're still undecided and want to know the advantages of Campground Master, here are some key points to consider:

  • The Rack and Map views give you the best of both worlds -- Some programs give you only a map or only a grid, but having both views is essential to efficient operation. The map gives you a quick reference of openings for a particular date or range, and it's perfect for visualizing locations and positioning people accordingly. But a Rack view allows you to see lengths of stays and lengths of openings at a glance, which helps you fill sites more efficiently. It can also be printed as a quick-reference for the gate house or after hours.

    Keep in mind that we offer the map functionality free of charge -- while others charge anywhere from $2 to $7 per site to do a map for you (and you can't use their software without it), we throw this in as a standard feature. You do have to put the map in yourself, but it's easy to do with the point-and-click map editing functions which give you full control over how it looks.

  • Easy to use, for a good reason -- Since we don't charge much for support, we have the best incentive imaginable to make it easy to use and bug-free -- to keep support calls to a minimum.   Now consider that all of our competition wants you to pay them around $500 per year for support, plus additional hourly fees if you call too often -- they actually have a strong incentive to make their program complicated and problematic, so you keep paying for support. But don't just take our word for it, see what our customers say and ask for references.

  • Unmatched flexibility -- Campground Master is flexible on many levels. Overall it can be used for any type of rental, not just campgrounds. It's being used for such diverse applications as canoe trips, dog kennels, flea markets, storage units, jail houses, and parking garages. So if you have more to rent than just RV sites, Campground Master will handle it.

    On a functional level, many of the user's choices can be designed to fit your needs. The types of sites, types of reservations, payment methods, site attributes, discounts, transaction categories and more are all user-defined lists.

    Hundreds of other configuration options, many of which were added based on feedback from our customers so that we can meet everyone's needs, allow you to easily make the system work just the way you want it.

    Taking it even further, the Advanced Customization features allow you to modify & create your own forms like receipts, letters, labels, E-mails, etc., as well as create your own reports, add custom fields to data entry dialogs, modify the menus, set up custom functions and events like reminder prompts, and many other customization options.

  • Continued education -- You'll learn several new tips & tricks through our newsletter. We know that we can't expect everyone to read the whole manual and learn every facet of such a sophisticated system on their own. So we E-mail a newsletter filled with tips & tricks to solve special problems and get more out of the software, and it also includes a Q&A section with common or interesting support questions we've had. You won't find such a useful newsletter from any other company. We also make all past newsletters available for searching online as well as printing out (fully indexed) -- they make a great addition to the manual and are often more helpful.

  • Speed -- Have you ever been checking in to a hotel or campground and had to wait while the clerk tries to get the system to respond? One reason for this is that many reservation systems use out-dated or bloated database systems that aren't designed for real-time (instant response) applications.

    Campground Master uses a state of the art database designed specifically to be fast, even on older computers. There are no "Refresh" buttons to click because everything updates instantly. You won't keep your customers waiting.

  • Automatic rate calculations -- In keeping with the flexibility theme, we've designed a sophisticated auto-rates system so that you can base your rental rates on dozens of different conditions. It can factor in various discounts, seasons & holidays, the type of site, the type of reservation, weekly & monthly rates (with pro-rating), add-ons like 50 amp, extra adults, pets, special services, and more. Electric, water and gas meter rates can be set up for any number of usage ranges, seasons, and other factors.

  • Extreme data protection -- Anyone who has been using computers for awhile knows that system crashes can happen, whether due to a software bug, power outage or other computer glitch. Your reservation data is probably the most important thing on your computer, so besides making the software virtually crash-proof we've taken several additional measures to minimize the chance of losing any information:
    • Automatic reminders to back up your data on a removable disk.
    • Automatic daily backups of the database, in case you ignore the reminders.
    • The database file is not held open continuously, so if there's a power outage or crash then it's unlikely that the data will be affected to begin with.
    • A unique logging feature which records all data changes to a separate log file, so even if your last backup was 3 weeks ago the program can still recover everything you did since the backup. (This log can also be used to track down the details of any data change, including the date, time, and operator who made the change.)
    • It's easy to restore a data backup onto another computer, in case you need to switch computers. Just install the program and use the Restore function, and you're up and running again.

  • Unique networking support -- With most systems, networking means having a "server" computer that has to be high-powered and dedicated to the task. If that computer goes down, the whole system is dead.

    Campground Master's networking doesn't require a special server. You simply set up your workstations, select one to be the "master" (so it runs a tiny server task in the background), and you're up and running. If the master computer goes down, you can simply change a couple settings to designate a new master and keep working. Every computer has a full copy of the database at all times, which also makes it nearly impossible to lose your data.

    Of course all new transactions appear on all of the networked computers, in real-time. There's no need to "refresh" the display to see what changed on another workstation -- the display will update by itself almost instantly. The system also prevents conflicts automatically, by locking out appropriate records if they're being used by another station -- for instance to prevent double-booking a site or double-charging a customer. (Click here for more details.)

  • Internet-workability -- Our networking functionality can also be used through the internet, so you can access the system from home or while on vacation to check on how things are going back in the office. This can also be done on a continuous basis, for instance to link a park's office with the main headquarters. Again, this is real-time networking just like you're in the same office. You just need to have internet connectivity (a static IP address for the master computer is helpful). (Click here for more details.)

  • Widespread compatibility -- Some reservation software requires that you use a particular version of Windows, or only a certain display resolution, or only on specific hardware. Campground Master works with any display resolution on all 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows (everything since Windows 95). Our hardware requirements are minimal because it was designed to be efficient and work with older machines, so you don't have to spend a lot of money on a new computer.

  • QuickBooks(TM) support -- If you're using QuickBooks software for your general business accounting, then you'll want an easy way to transfer your reservation sales and receipts without having to retype figures every day. Campground Master can export daily sales and receipts information into QuickBooks easily and error-free. (Note: QuickBooks Pro or higher desktop version required -- QuickBooks Simple and QuickBooks "online" versions do not have the required import functions.)

  • Point-of-Sale option -- If you have a store in the same location as your check-in counter, then it makes sense to combine the cash register function with the registration functions. Just add the POS option, and you get a fully functional cash register and inventory tracking system with the same easy-to-use features. No need to learn two separate systems and manage two separate sets of reports. Combine merchandise sales with camping receipts, avoid double-entry of sales in a separate cash register, and consolidate accounting reports and cash drawer "z-out" functions. Click here for more details.

  • Credit card processing -- You may be perfectly happy with using a separate credit card terminal for now, and that's fine. But at some point (probably when you have to pay hundreds of dollars for a new terminal) you'll decide that it makes more sense to use the computer to process credit cards instead of a separate terminal. Campground Master already supports this, with many benefits -- click here for more details.

  • Real-time online reservations support -- We're the only campground reservation system that has true real-time 2-way integration with online reservations. We work with Hercules (by Leisure Interactive) to provide a robust online solution without giving up any local control. This allows you to make your full inventory available online at all times (optionally showing it on a map of your park), updating the online availability instantly based on local changes while using a sophisticated communications system to prevent any double-booking.

  • We won't keep asking you for money -- Other reservation software companies charge $300 to $500 every year for support, whether you use it or not, and won't even answer a few quick questions unless you pay. You're locked in to paying this for as long as you continue to use their program -- it's as if you don't really own it, you're just renting it.

    Campground Master is probably the most rock-solid reservation software there is. That's why we only charge $100 per year to cover both updates and support. Once you're set up it just keeps working, so you won't need to call for support very often. But don't forget that we do provide support 7 days a week, just in case you have questions about how to do something.

    When you purchase Campground Master, it's yours to use forever just like QuickBooks, Excel, or any other off-the-shelf software. You can choose to continue updates and support at a very reduced cost ($100/year), but it's not required in order for the program to keep working. If you have a problem with the program, we will still try to help you no matter how long ago you purchased it, within reason -- we want you to be a happy customer and tell others about us.

  • Money-back guarantee -- Reservation software is probably the largest software investment you'll make. Besides trying to make the best choice to begin with, why not make sure it's not a potentially expensive mistake? We're one of the few companies willing to offer a money-back guarantee on our software. We're very confident that you'll be happy with Campground Master, and we provide a free demo and offer a 30-day fully functional trial so you can make the choice before investing a dime.

    But just in case you find a shortcoming later that keeps it from meeting your needs, we offer a full refund within 90 days of purchase. We just wouldn't feel right about keeping your money if you don't use the software.

  • We listen to our customers -- Since our goal is to make everyone a happy user, we listen carefully to what you need. If there's something we can improve in the software, we'll do it as soon as possible. That helps everybody, because better software is easier to use (which also means fewer support calls), and it will be used by more people.

We hope we've answered some of your questions about Campground Master. Please feel free to contact us with any other questions you might have, or browse the Frequently Asked Questions.

Don't forget to check out the free demo, and browse the Quick-Start guide for a simple tour of the software.

"Without Campground Master we would have been in a great peril. ... Even our worst critic is amazed at the difference Campground Master has made."
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