Editor’s note: This column was written by Joe and Rose Duemig, founders of App My Community.
App My Community, creator of individual, customizable mobile apps for resorts and campgrounds, have seen first-hand how the flexibility of a mobile app has enabled our customers to continue to do business.
Each day we are hearing of updated timelines for openings and new expectations of conducting business. We have seen a surge in app usage by our customers as they prepare for taking care of their guests in the safest and most efficient way possible while focusing on customer service.
To best illustrate this increased usage of the features, let us walk through the guest experience:
Along with the normal check-in forms, Liability Waivers and Code of Conduct documents are going to be part of the norm this season in many locations. Red Eagle Family Campground, in Coe Hill, Ontario, has made these forms available within their mobile app along with agreements associated with each document for guests to complete prior to arrival to make their arrival process smoother.
Red Eagle captures the guest’s digital signature and has those signatures and agreements are available to them for their records.
Also prior to arrival, Saugeen Springs RV Park, in Hanover, Ontario, has requested that guests sign up for an arrival timeslot via their mobile app to space out arrival times. Staff are on-hand to assist in answering any questions and ensure that all forms within the app are appropriately completed and submitted in advance prior to campers entering the park.
There are many other use cases of this tool that allow sign-ups for resort amenities that were previously open for usage. Jumping pillow family time? Boat rentals? Pony rides or animal viewings? Allow your guests to still enjoy all your amenities in predetermined blocks of time to maintain social distancing protocols.
As guests drive to their site, in lieu of hand drawing map directions, guests at Mystic Quarry in Canyon Lake, Texas, have a different approach. They type their assigned site number into the map feature of the mobile app and guests can view entrance and exit directions to their individual site. Pull-through versus back-in specifics are also noted per site.
During their stay, it is important to keep guests aware of the constantly changing status of not just the park as a whole, but the individual amenities within your park. Holiday Trav-L Park in Emerald Isle, N.C., has created a specialized category within their app to keep guests informed with regular updates as they become known. This section also has the most up to date overview of the status of its services and amenities as well. Examples include – are the laundry facilities or comfort stations open or closed? This overview is easy to update and in a prominent location for quick access.
Pirateland Family Campground in Myrtle Beach has utilized push notifications with updates on the status of the campground as well. Notifications can be sent to specific types of campers to share pertinent information to that group (examples include seasonal campers versus transient).
It is not all work and no play though, RiverBend RV Resort in Watertown Wisc., will be offering multiple types of scavenger hunts for their guests to enjoy during their stay. Scavenger hunts can be created for recreation purposes, learning what is within the app or even for new employee orientation. Answers can be photo-based, QR code-based, or question and answer formats.
Of course, being able to provide basic services is also important to both the camper experience and aiding in revenue generation. Lakeview RV Park & Cabins in Chilton, Wisc., has created multiple sections for guests to make purchases while at their campground. Everything from advertising sites, to Friday Night Fish Fry’s, to firewood, to basic store items, can all be purchased via their app. When setting up the store, campgrounds can choose to give their guests the option to pay via credit card, bill to site or, for our Canadian clients, E-Transfer instructions.
Do not underestimate departure day as well. Remind them to book their next stay. All of our clients either link directly to their online reservation websites, a phone number, or a reservation request form within their app to make it easy to book additional reservations.
Visit https://www.appmycommunity.com/social-distancing/ to learn more about these and many other tools your own mobile app can provide.
For more app use cases, follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/appmycommunity/
Armstrong Software — founded by Joe and Rose Duemig in 2017 — has been working over the past few years to get its App My Community platform, recently rebranded from Resort Navigator, in front of park owners.
App My Community is a program that allows RV park and campground owners to create their own individualized app for their parks that will appear in app stores.
“Rather than a camper opening the application and seeing a list of resorts that they would need to scroll through to find the one that they are at, we allow the park owners to build their own individualized app and campers can find it in app stores by using the park’s name in the search bar,” said Joe.
“From there the owners have full flexibility to customize it to their property,” added Rose. “The home screen that is displayed, obviously the colors, icons, categories, and logos, everything is wrapped around their park’s brand. We really promote each park’s brand versus our own.”
With Joe’s background in computer science and Rose’s background in hotel and restaurant management, the Duemigs told WOODALLSCM.com that they were spurred to create App My Community after visiting a resort.
“While we were there, we saw a train full of kids go by and we had no idea that it even existed,” said Rose. “Then the next night we wanted to go use the mini-golf course but it was closed due to inclement weather and we didn’t know that until we got there, and I think we both thought there should be a better way to communicate what is going on at a park.”
Today, the app offers the capability for owners to upload photos and videos, as well as keep campers informed on what is going on at the park, along with myriad of other functions.
“We want it to be more than an information resource, because we want people to keep being drawn into the app,” said Rose. “One thing that we do is allow a camper to ‘favorite’ the activities that they are interested in and then they will get a reminder before that activity begins. In essence, they’re creating their own personalized agenda.”
“Another thing that owners really like are the searchable maps,” explained Joe. “When you’re in a campground you can pull the map up in the app and you can type in and find what you’re looking for, so you can search for a restroom nearby and find it. Also, when you’re going to an activity, there will be a map button and it will show you right on the property where that activity is being held.”
App My Community also allows owners to start a rewards program, where campers can be rewarded for activity participation, the number of nights they stay at a park and on campstore purchases at the park.
“Then they can go and redeem those points for money off of campstore purchases or free nights at the park,” said Joe.
The Duemigs explained that the reactions they have been getting from campground owners have been fantastic.
“We sat down with one owner that said he had been looking for a product like this for years,” Joe said.
To see a demo of the App My Community platform, go to www.appmycommunity.com.
AGS, the Crowley, Texas-based producer of campground guest guides, has partnered with Armstrong Software to provide discounts on their mobile app, which helps park owners communicate with their guests through push notifications about activities, park events, and special promotions.
Armstrong Software is offering a special promotion for AGS guest guide customers of $1,500 a year for parks with 150 or fewer sites, which is $300 off the normal price, or $2,500 for parks with more than 150 sites, which is $500 off the normal price.
“We want to help park owners strengthen their connections with their guests,” said Rose Duemig, who co-owns St. Louis, Mo.-based Armstrong Software with her husband, Joe.
Each app is branded to the property, noted the release, and guests can use it to set their own reminders about park events and also to participate in special activities like scavenger hunts, which allow the participants to scan QR codes, take photos or answer questions as they participate in the hunt.
“The park operator can decide how they want to configure everything within the app as it really sets parks apart from their competition,” Duemig said.
The app can even facilitate a park’s loyalty program by tracking points earned for overnight stays and other product or service purchases at the park.
“What Armstrong Software is doing — allowing campgrounds to offer their own, branded app — isn’t being done right now. It’s both fun and functional,” said Brian Schaeffer, CEO of AGS. “Similarly, only AGS is offering parks the opportunity to connect local businesses to campgrounds through both print and cutting-edge digital formats. This is truly something different and it’s a win-win for the campground.”
The Armstrong Software app also has built in locations for banner advertising or splash screens from local RV dealers, restaurants, amusement parks and other businesses the park may wish to promote to their guests. These additional businesses can help underwrite the cost of the app and make it a source of additional revenue generation, Duemig said.
“Merchants featured in the app, such as restaurants, service providers and other merchants, can connect with a campground’s guests through both print and digital formats,” Schaeffer said.
To request a demo or learn more about Armstrong Software and see how your park can have its very own app, visit www.armstrongsoft.com.