Club sites - advance booking system

ask66 replied on 20/03/2018 09:24

Posted on 20/03/2018 09:24

Hi all, I'm sure this has been discussed before but here goes...

We normally use CLs as we like the peace & quiet and are happy to use our onboard shower and toilet etc., but on a certain weekend towards the end of June we want to visit Castleton in the Peak District.  There are no CLs in the village, leaving the Club site as the only option.

Looking online I see that no pitches are available for that weekend, or indeed for most weekends!

Now I have no problem if everyone who has booked actually turns up - good for them for planning ahead - but with the current system there is nothing to stop people making a large number of advance bookings, then cancelling right up to 72 hours before.  I can't wait that late - if the site is going to be full, we will want to book a B&B or hotel instead.

Would it not be a better idea for all pre-bookings to require a deposit of say £5 or £10 per night (more for the most popular sites, e.g. near London), refundable where there is a genuine reason for cancellation?  I believe a similar system may be operated by the Camping & Caravanning Club and this would surely deter people from  making advance bookings when they haven't really decided whether or not they will be going!

It would be helpful to know how many pitches are booked and then cancelled before the 72 hour deadline, just to give an idea of how much of a problem this really is.  Perhaps the Club could make some figures available.

Just to repeat, I have no problem with the site showing as full if all those who have pre-booked actually show up (give or take the odd one or two with genuine reasons for cancellation).

What do others think?

Tinwheeler replied on 20/03/2018 10:25

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:25

“.....availability calendar is wildly inaccurate because of people booking early and then cancelling nearer the date.”

Ask, what proof do you have of this? It’s no more than speculation. 

I think you have to be realistic and accept that others have got there before you and booked the dates you want. 

Metheven replied on 20/03/2018 10:28

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:20 by ask66

Metheven, perhaps rather than making fun of my capitalisation, you might consider and respond to the serious point I have tried to make. I think it's a real problem if the availability calendar is wildly inaccurate because of people booking early and then cancelling nearer the date.

People who need to go on specific dates will do as you as you have suggested I do, and book a B&B instead. Not everyone wants, or is able, to keep logging on to see if a pitch has become available, and leave booking until the last minute.

And if people are booking B&Bs when they would rather have booked pitches on a Club site, they may decide it's not worth being members at all, and that's not good for our Club!

 

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:28

Then you give an answer that would work, a small deposit means nothing to someone who has a genuine reason for cancelling last minute. Probably the cancellation is far more important than the fiver or whatever.

There is no practical answer that would suit all if a particular site is important, that would be why a B&B, a nearby CL or somewhere apart from this Club would be the answer. Do you think the Club has not given thought to this and decided how it is, best serves their membership.

As said, historical figures will not help for this year at all, this country has many many touring people and even less site availability. It's how it is on our small island so for important times look for a solid alternative.

DavidKlyne replied on 20/03/2018 10:35

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:35

Ask66

I am not sure how long you have been a member but before we had the computerised booking system deposits were indeed taken and of the level you mention in your original post. Deposits were abolished for two reasons. Firstly at that low rate (£5 and £10) many people were happy to lose that deposit but the real problem was that they didn't inform the campsite so everyone lost out. Another reason why it wasn't carried over when internet booking started was because of a software difference between what was used at HQ and what was used at the campsites. I am sure this has long be sorted out. People often make assumptions when they find a site fully booked online. The information given out by the Club is that the bulk booking of pitches and later cancellations does not seem to be a major issue. People have to cancel within 72 hours of the their site arrival day. So they would have to cancel on the Tuesday if arriving on the Friday. This usually gives plenty of time for the pitch to be rebooked. Your difficulty, as I understand it, is that you need certainty rather than possibility? Unfortunately the system can't offer that unless you book months ahead.

David

ask66 replied on 20/03/2018 10:38

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:09 by Tinwheeler

If you secure a booking, Ask, can you categorically state beyond all shadow of doubt that you will not cancel? 

Are you certain you won’t be ill, your car won’t break down, we won’t have a terrific storm......  There are no certainties and I’m afraid taking deposits, or knowing what happened last year, will not help you. 

The club does not measure the cancellation rate outside of the 72 hour limit. As they said themselves, why would they? If the cancellation period was changed to a week, people would still ask how many cancelled 8 days before. It would be a pointless exercise to record the number of cancellations prior to cut off. 

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:38

Tinwheeler, no, of course I can't categorically state that I will not cancel.  The situations you mention, depending on their seriousness, may well count as genuine circumstances, and they would not be expected to happen to any given member too often.

I'm sure the Club does measure the cancellation rate outside the 72 hour limit - for the reasons I have mentioned, it matters very much to members (or at least one member - me!)

I often book Ryanair flights in advance - always of course paying in full at the time of booking.  Can you imagine how the system would work if there was no cost involved in advance "booking", and you could cancel without penalty up to 72 hours before travel?  I imagine it would be chaotic.  What's the difference?

 

JVB66 replied on 20/03/2018 10:44

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:38 by ask66

Tinwheeler, no, of course I can't categorically state that I will not cancel.  The situations you mention, depending on their seriousness, may well count as genuine circumstances, and they would not be expected to happen to any given member too often.

I'm sure the Club does measure the cancellation rate outside the 72 hour limit - for the reasons I have mentioned, it matters very much to members (or at least one member - me!)

I often book Ryanair flights in advance - always of course paying in full at the time of booking.  Can you imagine how the system would work if there was no cost involved in advance "booking", and you could cancel without penalty up to 72 hours in advance?  I imagine it would be chaotic.  What's the difference?

 

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:44

And in the past some would make multiple sites bookings for the same dates at  sites and go to the site they fancied and just forfeit the £5 deps at the othersundecided 

JVB66 replied on 20/03/2018 10:47

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:38 by ask66

Tinwheeler, no, of course I can't categorically state that I will not cancel.  The situations you mention, depending on their seriousness, may well count as genuine circumstances, and they would not be expected to happen to any given member too often.

I'm sure the Club does measure the cancellation rate outside the 72 hour limit - for the reasons I have mentioned, it matters very much to members (or at least one member - me!)

I often book Ryanair flights in advance - always of course paying in full at the time of booking.  Can you imagine how the system would work if there was no cost involved in advance "booking", and you could cancel without penalty up to 72 hours before travel?  I imagine it would be chaotic.  What's the difference?

 

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:47

You do not tend to get Bumped off a cc site if you have bookedwink

ask66 replied on 20/03/2018 10:54

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:35 by DavidKlyne

Ask66

I am not sure how long you have been a member but before we had the computerised booking system deposits were indeed taken and of the level you mention in your original post. Deposits were abolished for two reasons. Firstly at that low rate (£5 and £10) many people were happy to lose that deposit but the real problem was that they didn't inform the campsite so everyone lost out. Another reason why it wasn't carried over when internet booking started was because of a software difference between what was used at HQ and what was used at the campsites. I am sure this has long be sorted out. People often make assumptions when they find a site fully booked online. The information given out by the Club is that the bulk booking of pitches and later cancellations does not seem to be a major issue. People have to cancel within 72 hours of the their site arrival day. So they would have to cancel on the Tuesday if arriving on the Friday. This usually gives plenty of time for the pitch to be rebooked. Your difficulty, as I understand it, is that you need certainty rather than possibility? Unfortunately the system can't offer that unless you book months ahead.

David

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:54

Hi David, thanks for your post. No, I joined in around 2009 so don't remember the previous system.  Obviously no-shows would be a serious problem, and I would hope that persistent no-shows would be asked to leave the Club very quickly.  As I said in my original post, if all the people who have booked the site actually turn up on the weekend I wanted, then good for them - they got in before me and I hope they enjoy their stay.  But I would be unhappy if a significant number of people are "playing" the system and will cancel - not for "genuine" reasons - right up to the 72 hour deadline.  I guess the Club may be happy with the 72 hour deadline as it does give a reasonable time-frame for the pitch to be rebooked, but individual members may be unhappy for the reasons I have mentioned.  And as I have said, if members are unhappy, they many decide the Club is not for them - which would be a pity.

Tinwheeler replied on 20/03/2018 10:57

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:38 by ask66

Tinwheeler, no, of course I can't categorically state that I will not cancel.  The situations you mention, depending on their seriousness, may well count as genuine circumstances, and they would not be expected to happen to any given member too often.

I'm sure the Club does measure the cancellation rate outside the 72 hour limit - for the reasons I have mentioned, it matters very much to members (or at least one member - me!)

I often book Ryanair flights in advance - always of course paying in full at the time of booking.  Can you imagine how the system would work if there was no cost involved in advance "booking", and you could cancel without penalty up to 72 hours before travel?  I imagine it would be chaotic.  What's the difference?

 

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:57

You cannot categorically state you will not cancel so what is so different when others cancel? All of us have genuine reasons at times. 

The club has said it does not measure cancellations outside of the 72 hour deadline. You’re sure that it does. Oh well, that settles it then - you have superior knowledge and the club tells lies. 

I suggest you read what the moderator has written and take that on board along with the other points we have all made as you seem unwilling to accept the realities of the situation. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have other things to do. 

ask66 replied on 20/03/2018 10:58

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:47 by JVB66

You do not tend to get Bumped off a cc site if you have bookedwink

Posted on 20/03/2018 10:58

I don't think Ryanair are into bumping people off their flights - many other questionable practices, yes, but not that! wink

brue replied on 20/03/2018 11:05

Posted on 20/03/2018 11:05

With deposits (as per the other club) come minimum bookings etc so weekends become three or five days on popular sites.