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?

DavidKlyne replied on 20/03/2018 12:53

Posted on 20/03/2018 12:53

Ask66

Given Eurotravellers  idea of a campsite a few miles away from Castleton might it be an idea to investigate local taxi companies. We often use taxi's when the place we need to visit is too far to walk or not on convenient transport routes. However I would check that they will operate within the time frame you need. 

David

 

 

Cornersteady replied on 20/03/2018 12:54

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 12:54

+1

Also if people do pay a deposit and they want to cancel, why bother tell anyone? I've paid my deposit so I just won't turn up, it's my £10 to lose

And strangely enough that is what happened, when the club stopped taking deposits the number of no shows went down!

OK Ask66 - so say we pay a deposit, and I cancel before the 72 hours, I'd want my deposit back or as you talking about a non refundable one? Bit harsh? No refunds after a certain date then? Two weeks? OK I'll book a year in advance and cancel just before that.

So what would taking a deposit actually achieve? The sites would still show full.

ask66 replied on 20/03/2018 13:04

Posted on 20/03/2018 12:53 by DavidKlyne

Ask66

Given Eurotravellers  idea of a campsite a few miles away from Castleton might it be an idea to investigate local taxi companies. We often use taxi's when the place we need to visit is too far to walk or not on convenient transport routes. However I would check that they will operate within the time frame you need. 

David

 

 

Posted on 20/03/2018 13:04

Thanks for the tip David.

takethedogalong replied on 20/03/2018 13:14

Posted on 20/03/2018 13:14

It's an old debate this one, although perhaps ask66 hasn't seen it before. The Club offers a somewhat unique no deposit, quite late cancellation policy to its members, and in truth, I am guessing it is reasonably well monitored at sites and HQ, although probably not to the depth Ask is suggesting. The simple fact is that the take up of pitches is the prime consideration for the Club, and most cancellations at honeypot sites will probably be snapped up, even the very late ones. It's a balancing act, between inconveniencing members with deposits that are meaningful, and allowing for a few folks who do transgress the system. Start with meaningful deposits, and members will possibly have to use travel insurance just in case, just as you do when booking any other form of holiday. Personally, it works as it is for me. It's hard luck if you realise you need a specific date late after Frenzy Day, but this new system of rolling bookings might help a bit.

ask66 replied on 20/03/2018 13:15

Posted on 20/03/2018 12:54 by Cornersteady

+1

Also if people do pay a deposit and they want to cancel, why bother tell anyone? I've paid my deposit so I just won't turn up, it's my £10 to lose

And strangely enough that is what happened, when the club stopped taking deposits the number of no shows went down!

OK Ask66 - so say we pay a deposit, and I cancel before the 72 hours, I'd want my deposit back or as you talking about a non refundable one? Bit harsh? No refunds after a certain date then? Two weeks? OK I'll book a year in advance and cancel just before that.

So what would taking a deposit actually achieve? The sites would still show full.

Posted on 20/03/2018 13:15

Hi Cornersteady, maybe there isn't a problem - I guess only our Club knows that, because it has access to the booking and cancellation details.  And maybe individual members have some idea, if they have found that one day a site shows full, and the next day it shows availability.

I'm not saying I have a perfect solution, just that maybe there's a problem which should be investigated.

Earlier in this thread I mentioned Ryanair, where you pay in full, in advance.  That's a real incentive to turn up at the airport!  Where there is a genuine reason (e.g. close family bereavement), Ryanair will refund you - I know that from experience.  For less serious cases, it's up to you to take out travel insurance if you wish.

Is there a good reason why our Club can't do the same, or at least move in this direction?

Swifty2018 replied on 20/03/2018 13:20

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 13:20

Only if you are a single person and the Club would prefer a family. surprisedinnocent

Tinwheeler replied on 20/03/2018 13:55

Posted on 20/03/2018 13:15 by ask66

Hi Cornersteady, maybe there isn't a problem - I guess only our Club knows that, because it has access to the booking and cancellation details.  And maybe individual members have some idea, if they have found that one day a site shows full, and the next day it shows availability.

I'm not saying I have a perfect solution, just that maybe there's a problem which should be investigated.

Earlier in this thread I mentioned Ryanair, where you pay in full, in advance.  That's a real incentive to turn up at the airport!  Where there is a genuine reason (e.g. close family bereavement), Ryanair will refund you - I know that from experience.  For less serious cases, it's up to you to take out travel insurance if you wish.

Is there a good reason why our Club can't do the same, or at least move in this direction?

Posted on 20/03/2018 13:55

Cancellations aren't the only reason that an apparently full site suddenly has availability, Ask. Pitches out of commission for a variety of reasons then become usable so are entered on the system. The whole premise assumes that the availability shown is accurate in the first place which might be doubtful.

"Is there a good reason why our Club can't do the same, or at least move in this direction?" Yes, the cost of administration, and the fact that we are members and not customers wandering in off the street.

I'm afraid that none of your ideas, will prevent the honeypot sites showing as full at popular times. Nor will they ensure that people turn up.

I think you are falling into the trap of wanting to change the system to suit you regardless of the many people who are quite happy with things the way they are. Isn't it perhaps time to accept that you maybe should have booked earlier and now need to move on? Good luck with finding an alternative.

ask66 replied on 20/03/2018 14:15

Posted on 20/03/2018 13:55 by Tinwheeler

Cancellations aren't the only reason that an apparently full site suddenly has availability, Ask. Pitches out of commission for a variety of reasons then become usable so are entered on the system. The whole premise assumes that the availability shown is accurate in the first place which might be doubtful.

"Is there a good reason why our Club can't do the same, or at least move in this direction?" Yes, the cost of administration, and the fact that we are members and not customers wandering in off the street.

I'm afraid that none of your ideas, will prevent the honeypot sites showing as full at popular times. Nor will they ensure that people turn up.

I think you are falling into the trap of wanting to change the system to suit you regardless of the many people who are quite happy with things the way they are. Isn't it perhaps time to accept that you maybe should have booked earlier and now need to move on? Good luck with finding an alternative.

Posted on 20/03/2018 14:15

Tinwheeler, this isn't about me wanting to stay somewhere in Castleton on a weekend in late June 2018 (I can easily book a hotel room and sort that one out) - it's about a booking system that I think needs improvement, not just to benefit me, but to benefit many current and future members of our Club.  You and others are obviously happy with the current system, but that doesn't mean you represent a majority, or that discussion shouldn't continue!  All opinions are valid, and worthy of respect, aren't they?

 

AnotherDavid replied on 20/03/2018 14:30

Posted on 20/03/2018 14:30

Unless the deposit is a significant  sum it won' make a lot of difference,  I remember the days of postal booking and £5 (I think) deposits and there were regular complaints about wealthier members double or treble booking the same dates. I have hardly ever booked overseas sites but did last year in order  to reserve a particular pitch, even though we happened upon a new site en-route and would have stayed much longer we moved on to save our €200.  However we won' be doing it again.

EasyT replied on 20/03/2018 14:45

Posted on 20/03/2018 14:15 by ask66

Tinwheeler, this isn't about me wanting to stay somewhere in Castleton on a weekend in late June 2018 (I can easily book a hotel room and sort that one out) - it's about a booking system that I think needs improvement, not just to benefit me, but to benefit many current and future members of our Club.  You and others are obviously happy with the current system, but that doesn't mean you represent a majority, or that discussion shouldn't continue!  All opinions are valid, and worthy of respect, aren't they?

 

Posted on 20/03/2018 14:45

Deposits have been discussed many times. I do not see that they serve an advantage for members.

There are a number of sites that are booked up for weekends at certain times of the year. If you want them you will need to book ahead (as at Castleton in June). Most providers require a £25 deposit or similar for a few days booking. If CC required such a deposit it would not be a reason not to use them as you will still pay elsewhere generally.

A £25 deposit will not prevent such sites getting from booked up and offers little advantage in my opinion.