I wanted to take the opportunity to review some of the more frequently asked questions from the last few months about reservation processes. Hopefully this information will help make the reservation experience less stressful and provide some insight into how to help us help you.
“What’s the best way to get a site?” This is definitely in the top two most frequently asked questions our staff fields. The answer is that there really isn’t any “best” way to get a site. While there are many different methods to request reservations – online, in person, by telephone, by fax, and by mail – there is no method that is necessarily “better” than another or more likely to secure a site. While online, faxed, or mailed requests are certainly easier methods than waiting in line in front of the office or trying to get through to the office by phone, there is a delay in receiving a confirmation in the mail to let you know you did in fact obtain a site for the dates your requested. If requesting a site by phone or in person, you do find out at that time if you were or were not able to get a site, but you may have to wait a while to talk to an agent. Also, while working live with an agent, if we are already full for your desired dates, we can sometimes find an available site if you can change your arrival or departure by a day or two. This type of interaction is not possible with on online or faxed request.
“How far in advance can I request a site online or fax/mail?” For Prime Time dates, we can accept written, faxed, emailed, or online requests up to five days prior to the appropriate release date indicated in your Shareholder Information Manual. For example, if the release date is on 8/11, we can begin accepting requests on 8/6. One of the biggest misconceptions is that requests are processed as they are received or in the order they are received. This is not the case. Originally, the five-day window for acceptance of requests was established to compensate for variations in the delivery times of postal mail. Before the existence of the internet and our online request system, many shareholders used a mail-in form to make requests because it was much more convenient than the telephone. However, since the mail might take two days to reach us one time and four days another time, there was no way to be able to guarantee that the request form would reach us exactly on the release date. If it reached us too early and the sites hadn’t been made available, there was no way to make a reservation yet. If the request reached us the day after the release date, there were usually no sites left at that point. So we decided that any mailed in requests that arrived within a reasonable window of time would be held and processed on the appropriate release date. Years later, when the online request form was created, we carried over the five-day advance acceptance window. Since the five-day window was never intended to give any person a head start over anybody else, but rather to simply allow for the variances in postal delivery times, the requests are processed at random on the morning of the release. Any request received in advance during the five-day window has the exact same chance of obtaining a site as another request. So for those of you have been waiting up until midnight of the fifth day prior to the release, you’re not really getting placed at the head of the line. Please go to bed and just send the request any time in the next few days.
“Should I submit an online request and call in to the office?” No. Please choose one method or another to request your reservations. The amount of work we have to do on release dates is already plenty. Please don’t weigh us down with multiple requests for the same dates. It simply makes a bigger pile, which will take more time to process. If one agent is already making a reservation with you on the telephone, having another agent working on your online or faxed request just prevents that second agent from helping another shareholder, which slows us down. Similarly, if you have already submitted a request online or by fax, please don’t try calling on the release date. Your request is already in the office, and tying up a phone line just delays or prevents somebody else getting through to us. If you do choose to make your reservation by telephone, please be patient when trying to get through to us and while waiting on hold for one of our agents to assist you. Calling one of the other offices will not speed up the process. The reservation system is only accessible to the Reservations Office staff, and calls transferred from other offices during the release periods go unanswered as the agents are handling the calls that come in to the Reservations telephone numbers first. Also, please don’t hang up once you do get through and are placed on hold. If you do hang up, or are disconnected because your cell phone loses its signal, you will be back at the bottom of the queue once you do get through again.
“Why can’t I get the site I requested?” This is definitely the second of the top two most frequently asked questions. Unfortunately, there is just no way to guarantee that every one of you will always get the site you want. It is usually a simple situation of demand exceeding supply. The volume of requests for the same sites or areas regularly exceeds the availability of those sites. For a simple example, on any given holiday, we may receive fifty requests for sites 22 through 26. It’s obvious that the majority of the folks making this request will be disappointed, since fifty RVs can’t fit into five sites. During summer, the situation gets substantially more complicated due to the great variation in arrival and departure dates. At the time we are making your reservation we place you in the closest available site to your requests. There is nothing sinister at work here. We’re not plotting and scheming to deliberately place somebody where they don’t want to be. On the contrary, we would all love it if we could place everybody exactly where they want to be. It would make our lives significantly easier and less stressful, and none of us enjoys getting yelled at. In the interests of helping you help us make you happier, here are a few tips for site requests:
- Please let us know your likes, and dislikes, each time you make a reservation. Even if we are unable to place you where you want to be, we can at least try to avoid the areas you don’t want to be. You don’t always have to specify certain sites or areas. You can also just let us know the amenities you desire, such as near a play area, a 50-amp electric service, not near the restrooms, etc.
- Please remember the restrictions on lengths of stay in various areas of the resort. Anything on the north side of the resort has a limit of 29 days per stay. All sites west of the restrooms have a limit of 14 days per stay. And stays in sites 1 through 26 are limited to a total of 14 days per calendar year.
- Smaller RVs will generally not be able to be placed in the larger sites. In order to get as many of you into the resort as possible when you want to be here, which is one of our primary goals, we simply can’t assign smaller RVs to the larger sites in the resort. Every small RV assigned to a large site means one large RV won’t be able to get a site at all when we are full.
- You are welcome to call us ten days prior to your arrival date to find out your assigned site number. At this time, there may be the opportunity to rearrange things to get you closer to your requests if you’re not in your desired sites. While we cannot guarantee we will find anything, we generally have more flexibility ten days in advance than on your day of arrival, and we’re happy to take a look
- We’d rather place you in a site you might not like than not get you a site at all. This is very often the bottom line during high demand time periods, especially as RVs continue to get bigger while our sites cannot.
I hope this helps you better understand some of our efforts and processes in the Reservations Office. If you’d like more details or clarification about anything mentioned here, or if you have any other questions about reservations, please give us a call or stop by the office. We’d be happy to help.