Note: Many common questions related to making and editing Reservations have been answered in our newsletters -- be sure to check the Newsletter Category Index (click this link) to see if your question is answered there.
A New Reservation dialog will be opened whenever you need to enter reservation details. (It's also used for assigning sites to existing reservations.) This dialog has entry fields for the basic reservation information, plus a miniature version of the Rack view. This miniature rack view can be used to select a site, and can be filtered by site type, site preferences, and available sites for the desired dates. As with the main Rack, it will show a red divider line to indicate the start of today, and it may also start with yesterday in the first column (depending on the Options settings).
Note: If a Default site type filter is defined for the Rack view, this filter will also be used as the default for this mini-rack view.
First and Last Night
The first thing to do is verify the first and last night of the stay. The first night and possibly even the last night may already be set, depending on how you started the reservation. (Tip -- if "Available Only" is selected on the Rack, both the first and last nights will default to the rack dates when double-click is used.) In this case, the mouse cursor will automatically be placed in the Nights field, with the number 1 highlighted. (To change the number of nights, all you need to do is type the new number, and the 1 will be replaced with the new number.) Otherwise, you will want to select the date for the First Night, and then either select the date for the Last Night or enter the number of nights -- when one of these two fields is changed, the other one automatically adjusts to match.
Another way to select the number of nights is with the "+1" buttons, which make it easy to add 1 day, week, or month to the reservation with mouse clicks. (Note: these buttons will not be available if Days of the Week are enabled, below). A special case exists with the +1W, +1M and +1Y buttons -- it they are used when the reservation is still just 1 night, they will make the reservation for exactly 1 week, 1 month or 1 year respectively, rather than actually "adding" 1 week or month. Thereafter, it will add weeks or months as needed.
Important -- Remember that "Last Night" means exactly that -- the last night of their stay. It's not the check-out date, which is typically the following day (the next morning). This may take some getting used to if you've been going by check-out date.
In Campground Master, the "blocked" date is used to keep the site available for a customer to some date later than the official Last Night. For instance, if they say that they want to stay 3 days for sure but might want to stay 5 days (assuming availability is not an issue), you would typically make the reservation for 3 days (and charge for 3 days), and use the Block To date to block it to the 5th night. It won't try to charge them for the extra 2 days, but the site will be considered unavailable for other reservations for all 5 days (the blocked dates appear in a light grey on the Rack for easy identification). When they check out or decide to whether or not to extend their stay, then you can adjust the Last Night accordingly or remove the Block To date.
Note that Owner and Day Pass reservations cannot have a Blocked date.
First, Last, and Block Period
These fields will appear only if the reservation type is hourly / scheduled. For more information, refer to the Hourly/Scheduled Reservations section.
Days of the Week
If you have reservations that occur on certain days of the week, for instance if customers commonly reserve a site for every weekend for several months in a row, then you may want to enable the day-of-the-week fields for reservations (see Define Data Fields under the Maintenance menu). If these are enabled, then you will be able to select the specific days of the week to reserve, instead of making a separate reservation for every weekend.
If these are enabled, you will see a series of check boxes, with S, M, T, etc. above them. Just select which days to apply. Note that it may default to having none selected, which is the same as if all are selected so you don't need to select them all each time.
Note that if these fields are enabled, it will slow down some processes like updating the Rack view, so only use them if this is a common occurrence.
The reservation type governs how the reservation is treated. The different types are covered in the previous section on Reservation Types.
Est. Arrival Time
If desired, you can enter an estimated arrival time for the reservation. This is helpful for knowing when to expect a customer to arrive, and is only used for your reference. This entry field is free-form so you can enter anything you like, but there is also a pick-list associated with it so you can simply select an option from the list if preferred (this helps keep entries uniform, but is not necessary for this field).
Finding A Suitable Site
If you don't want to assign a site at this time, or if you started by double-clicking on the rack so that a site is already selected, then you can skip to the Customer Information now.
If you know beforehand what site you will use, you can also use the Quick-Pick list to select a site -- just click on Quick-Pick Site, scroll the list if necessary, and select a site. It will automatically be used and shown in the mini-rack, and you can continue to the Customer Information.
Note: the Quick-Pick list will only show sites according to the site type filtering, as will the mini-rack. If you don't find the site you want, try resetting the site type selection to "All Site Types", or uncheck "Use Preferences".
Another way to jump a particular site quickly is by using the Search function -- Alt-S or F9. Just enter the site number or partial site name in the dialog that opens up, and the mini-rack will scroll down to that site immediately.
Showing Available Sites
If you need to find a suitable site for this reservation, you first need to verify that you have a vacancy for the nights selected. You can do this quickly by checking the box Show Available. Any sites with existing reservations for the selected nights will be eliminated from the mini-Rack view. (The specific sites filtered out follow the same rules as for the Available Only option on the Rack view -- see Program Options and Settings for details). If you find that you almost always check the Show Available box, you can save time by making this the default for new reservations. This setting is in the main menu under Maintenance / Program Options / Functions.
Note that if you're making an Owner-type reservation (select "Owner" in the Resv Type list), Show Available will also exclude owner-occupied sites. Otherwise, owner reservations are ignored so you can make normal reservations on the owned sites when the owner isn't present.
If you're familiar enough with your campground's sites to know which ones are suitable for the customer, you can immediately select one of the sites to use (see below) and move on. Otherwise, you may want to further filter the list by selecting a Site Type or Site Class from the drop-down list (both types and classes can be selected from the same list), or by clicking on Site Preferences to enter a detailed list of the customer's needs. Preferences include things like as sewer, cable, rig length, waterfront, or any other attributes you have defined (see the Maintenance section for details on defining preferences).
If you want to select a site by specific attributes, you can use the Site Preferences. The Use (or Use Preferences) box in front of the More Pref's button is checked by default, but in most cases the preferences selections are empty so this has no effect until you select preferences. The exception is when changing sites for an existing reservation -- any previous preferences selected will be used automatically. Any time you want to ignore the preferences, simply uncheck the Use box.
Up to 5 site preferences can be shown on the dialog as checkboxes (to the left of the mini-rack grid), to make the most selections easier. This is set up through Maintenance / Program Options. If preferences checkboxes are set up, simply check the desired preferences and only sites with those attributes will be shown (assuming the Use box is still checked). If the preference you need to select is not available as a checkbox, then you can click the More Pref's button to open the Site Preferences dialog.
The Site Preferences dialog shows a list of all attributes that a site can have. For each attribute, there are three possible selection methods -- a drop-down list, a value, or a Must Have/Must Not Have selection. Note first that any attribute which is blank (showing nothing next to the name) means that the customer doesn't care about that attribute, so it is not checked against the sites. The list should start with all blanks, unless you have already chosen a Site Type from the reservation dialog (that's actually one of the attributes).
If you select a value from one of the drop-down lists, for instance the Site Type, Site Class, Pad Type, or Site Facing, then you will be limiting the available sites to those that match that attribute exactly (this is one reason to define the pick lists for these attributes carefully).
If you enter a value for an attribute (for instance the Rig Length, Site Length, or Site Width), then any site with that value or greater will be shown. Note that entering the Rig Length on the New Reservation dialog is the same as entering it in the Site Preferences.
The other types of attributes, such as 50A, Phone, and Handicapped Access, can be either "Must Have" or "Must Not Have" (or blank). Note that when the attribute is blank there is a check box that's gray, meaning no selection. If you click it once, it will change to Must Have, and the box will be checked. If you click it again, it will change to Must Not Have, and the box will be white but unchecked. Finally, if you click on it a 3rd time, it will go back to the blank (gray) state.
After making your preference selections you can Save them, or if you change your mind you can click Cancel and none of the changes will be saved. Once they are saved, the mini-rack on the reservation dialog will remove any sites that don't fit the preferences criteria (preferences will filter the rack whether Show Available is checked or not, since Show Available only filters out sites with existing reservations).
Note that these preferences will stay with the reservation. They will show up on the reservation's Quick-Info window, and will appear in the Requests column of some of the tab views. Site preferences are especially useful when making unassigned reservations (a reservation with no site assignment), as a way to remember what attributes the customer asked for.
By now you should be able to see what sites are available for the selected dates on the mini-rack view. To select a site, just click on an empty cell in the rack for that site, and then click the Add Selection(s) button. Alternatively, you can simply double-click on an empty cell for that site, just like on the main Rack view, or right-click on the site and select Assign Site. That site's cells for each of the reservation dates should immediately fill in, with the word <new> in red-on-yellow. You will also see the site name in the Site(s) Selected field.
If any of the dates conflict with other reservations, they will be shown with asterisks (***) in yellow-on-red. You won't be able to complete the reservation with conflicts, so you need to adjust the dates or pick a new site before continuing.
Here's a quick tip -- If you have not yet indicated a start date (for instance if you started from the Phone icon), you can select the date and site at the same time, similar to double-clicking on the Rack View. Just go straight to the mini-rack and select a site on the desired start date. In fact, you can select the entire date range right on the mini-rack -- drag the mouse to highlight all of the cells needed (e.g. 3 cells for 3 nights, starting on the appropriate night) and click Add Selection(s). The date range will change to the range of cells selected on the rack. Be careful with this, thought, since any subsequent multi-date cell selection will change the dates again to the newly selected cell dates. Only single-cell selections will leave the dates alone once they are set.
Groups and Linked Reservations
If you're booking a group under a single name, or if you need to reserve an additional site for the same person (for example a trailer storage spot), you can reserve multiple sites at once. You can add additional sites to a reservation by selecting another site in the rack and clicking Add Selections(s) again, etc. Each site selected will show in the Site(s) Selected list, in addition to being shown as <new> on the rack. If you have a lot of sites to select, you can do it easily using Ctrl-click on each one (select multiple individual sites), or click on the first one and Shift-click on the last one to select a whole range of sites.
If you select the wrong site or sites and need to start over, use the Clear All Sites button to clear all selected sites You can also select a single site to remove from the Site(s) Added list and click Delete.
Multiple Site Clarification -- Although this is referred to as "adding additional sites to a reservation", remember that technically each reservation record can only have one site assigned to it. When you select more than one site, it will actually create multiple reservation records. Each of these reservations will be identical except for the site assignment, and they will be linked together and synchronized. This linked status will be tracked whenever you make other reservation changes or operations like checking in and out, so they can stay synchronized and act like a single reservation.
You'll see a Linking... button and possibly checkboxes for Synchronize with and Sub-member of, which are used to select the way multiple reservations are linked together. For more information about linking modes and multiple-site reservations, refer to the Groups and Linked Reservations section.
Once you have a site and dates selected, you can use the Check Rates button to show the rate(s) available and calculate how much it would be. This is useful if they want to know the rate before making the reservation or giving you more information. If Auto-Rates are configured, then you can have it automatically apply the appropriate rates when the rates selection dialog is opened, so you get an instant total.
An extra preference you can set for the reservation, which is a reservation status rather than a site attribute, is the Don't Move option. If you want to make sure that this reservation is not moved to another site (e.g. to make room for someone else), check this box. This will be flagged as such and the Assign Site functions will be disabled for this reservation (unless of course the Don't Move option is manually unchecked again).
Once the site selection is taken care of, you're ready to either select a returning customer or enter the new customer information. No reservation can be made without at least a customer last name. (The minimum reservation has a first night, last night, and customer last name.)
Note: If there's already customer information when the dialog is opened (e.g. you're using this dialog to assign or change the site for a reservation, or add a new reservation for an existing customer), then all of the customer information fields will be disabled to prevent accidental changes to the customer.
Note that some of the information in the Customer area will come from (or become part of) the Customer record as well as stored with the Reservation record. This includes the Notes and the number of Adults, Children, Pets, Extra Vehicles and Extra Trailers. This apparent duplication is actually necessary so that it can be changed for each reservation they make (for instance, the number of children tends to change over time). When an existing customer is used, the information is automatically filled in from the customer's record. Any changes you make to the information (including the name, address, and phone) will be saved back to the customer's record, whether it's an existing customer or a new one.
Also note the Customer Details button. You can use this at any time, to enter or edit other customer information such as their vehicle information, driver's license, discount clubs, etc. You can also view their previous reservation history (for instance to see what sites they used before, or to verify an outstanding credit balance from a prior stay) and their transaction history. The amount of customer information you keep track of is up to you, but we believe that the more information you have the better prepared you will be to handle emergencies.
Automatic Zip/Postal Code Lookup
For U.S. and Canadian addresses, you can speed data entry by simply entering the Zip or Postal code in the City field. When you press Tab or Enter after the code, it will automatically fill in the City, State, Country and format-corrected Zip/Postal code for you. Note that there is no need to enter the spaces or capitalize the letters in Canadian codes, it will do that automatically. You can also use the Zip+4 format for U.S. codes if you like.
If reserving for a returning customer that you have in the customer database, you don't have to enter the information again. You will use the Find Customer function to select an existing customer from the database.
There are two ways to do this
The quickest way is to enter a portion of their last name in the Last Name field, then press Tab or Enter. (One letter is enough, but the more letters you enter the more direct match you will get). A small Select Customer dialog will appear (unless it's disabled in Maintenance / Program Options / Functions), listing any customers that match the last name entered so far. Simply select the customer from the list. (See the next section for details on using that dialog.)
If the above option is disabled (through Program Options), then you can still click the Find Customer button (or press Alt-F) after entering a portion of the last name. Any customers with last names starting with the letters you've already entered will be displayed.
In either case, after selecting a customer and clicking "Use", the customer's information will be copied to the New Reservation dialog, including any Notes, and the How-found field will be changed to "Return visit" automatically. If you selected the wrong customer by mistake, you can go back to Find Customer and select a new one (any changes made to the customer fields here in the meantime will not be saved).
The other method is to go straight to Find Customer without entering a portion of the name, and then search the list using the available options. There are various ways to search for customers (address, phone, first name, etc.), so this can be used even if you don't know their last name. For more information, see the section Working with Customers.
Note that once a customer is selected, the Last Name field will be disabled -- this is a warning that the customer has been selected and any other changes you make (to the address, etc.) will affect that customer's information. If you made a mistake and need to select a different customer, use the Find function (which changes to "Find/Change Cust" once a customer has been selected).
It's important to know that the customer notes will be copied to the reservation's Notes field (and shown here for reference), but future changes to the customer's Notes or the reservation's Notes will not automatically be copied back and forth. This is so that you can keep specific notes for the customer that don't necessarily apply to the past reservations (e.g. "don't put next to the dump next time"), and likewise you can make notes to the reservation that don't stay with the customer (e.g. "cancelled due to flood").
If this is a new customer, simply enter the information you know. Starting with the Last Name, you can use Tab to jump to each field in a logical order. Note that the Address 1 and Address 2 are typically used for addresses that require additional lines, rather than 2 separate addresses. This would be important if you plan to print mailing labels, for instance. If you want to store a second address for the customer, you can use the Notes field.
Once you've entered some customer information, you can use the Customer Details button to enter further details as explained above. It's a good idea to have their rig and vehicle information if you can get it, just in case you need it for authorities (e.g. to find them in an emergency, or if they are reported missing). You can also record their discount club information here for future reference.
Since you did not use Find Customer, a new record will be created for this customer when you complete the reservation. However if you abort the reservation (with the Cancel button), the customer information you entered will not be saved. If you want to enter customer information without a reservation (such as entering your old customer records), you should use the Customers / Add a New Customer from the main menu, or Customer Details from the menu, or the Customers toolbar icon.
Check for Duplicates
This button will appear (below the Find Customer button) only if you have the option enabled in the settings (Maintenance / Program Options / Reservations / Duplicate Customer Checking), and only if a previous customer has not already been selected (through Find Customer, for instance). This will look for duplicates according to the criteria specified in the settings. If any are found with matching information, they will be shown in a list as Possible Duplicate Customers Found, where you will have the chance to decide for yourself whether it's really a duplicate and optionally use the previous customer instead of the information you just entered.
If you're changing the site for an existing reservation (or adding linked reservations), any previous reservation notes will appear here. If you selected an existing customer, that customer's notes will appear here, and will be copied to the reservation (if not changed). In any case, you can edit or add notes as needed. Notes will be shown as a single line here, but you can enter multiple line notes as long as you like by clicking the "..." button at the end of the notes entry field. This will open a separate Notes dialog for entering the notes. Any current notes will of course be shown, and the cursor placed at the end so you can begin entering notes immediately. When multi-line notes are displayed as a single line, for instance on the Detail dialogs or in lists, each line break will be shown as a double-backslash (" \\ ").
At this point, you have several choices. If you're making a simple future reservation, you can click Done once you have a site selected or if you want it booked without an assigned site.
If you have more details to manage in the reservation, the Continue to Details button, which will close this dialog (saving the reservation the same as if Done was used) and open the Reservation Details dialog automatically. From there you can perform further actions -- Confirm or Guarantee the reservation, add charges or a deposit transaction, add guests to the reservation, etc.
Shortcuts to Guarantee, Check-in, etc...
To save a step or two, you can use some of the other options at the bottom instead of Done or Continue to Details. If you're ready to ask them for credit card information to guarantee the reservation, for instance, click the Guarantee button to save the reservation and go directly to the Guarantee function.
If it's a walk-in that you're ready to check in right now, you can use the Check In! button at the bottom of the dialog, which will take you straight to selecting the rate and/or entering transactions (assuming the options are set up to do so). Note that If no site has been selected, the button will be "Day Pass" instead of "Check In", since you can't check in reservations without a site assigned. See the section on Day Passes for more information on this.
If you're not checking them in at this time but want to go ahead and add charges or enter a deposit, then use the Charges & Payments button. This will save the reservation and go straight to the Transactions dialog, opening the rates selection so you can add charges immediately.
Inquiries / Pencil-Ins
If this is just an inquiry by a potential customer but you want to record the information for reporting purposes (or in case the customer calls back to make the reservation), click the Inquiry button. The information will be saved but it will not reserve the site. If they do call back to make the reservation, you can find them on the Non-Reserved tab view (or through the Find Reservations function), go to the Reservation Details dialog, and change the status from Inquiry to Pending (or Confirmed or Guaranteed).
The Inquiry status can also be used as to "Pencil-in" a reservation without considering it active in all respects. To do this, select a site for the reservation before clicking the Inquiry button. (Note: the option "Inquiry reservations with a site show on the Rack and block others" in Maintenance / Program Options / Functions must also be enabled). Now the reservation will be shown on the Rack and Map as if it's reserved, and will block the site as any other pending reservation. However it will not show on reports like Arrivals, Departures, On Site, etc. You can come back to the reservation later to either finish it up (change it to pending, etc.), or to cancel it. You could also use Continue to Details and/or change the status to Inquiry at any time to make it a pencil-in, but a site must be selected for it to show on the Rack or Map.
Waiting List / Can't Book
If the customer did want to stay but you could not find a suitable vacant site, then you should use either the Waiting List button or Cannot Book button, depending on whether the customer wants to be notified if something becomes available. It's recommended that you use one of these rather than just canceling the reservation without saving it, so that you have some useful statistics later on. Also, if they call back later and you do have an opening at that time, then you already have their information and can re-activate the reservation easily (see the Non-Reserved tab view).