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I'm actually in favor of high cancelation fees....

kfp673
Explorer II
Explorer II
Maybe that's not the answer, but maybe it will help at least a little... Sorry for this upcoming rant, but I have a state park rant I must make to get off my chest ๐Ÿ˜‰

I've been tent and RV camping in state parks my whole life. Most here in PA but also surrounding states. Now that I have a 5 person family, state parks are the perfect balance of what I want (boondocking) and what the kids want (hookups and things to do), but getting a site with at least electric has become near impossible at most of our favorite parks without months and even a year in advance planning. My wife and I both work and we have 3 kids in sports and activities. Trying to plan long weekends a year in advance is not possible. Our full week vacations we rarely plan that far out let alone the weekend trips.

Anyway, my gripe is the games people play with booking. Here in PA, you can book 11 months to the day in advance and book up to 14 consecutive nights. What that causes people to do is book 11 extra days with their last day on a Sunday when they only intend to stay for the weekend / long weekend. Because the cancelation fee is only $10 they just wait the 30 day waiting period (or longer) and cancel the days they don't want. They also book multiple long weekends without knowing if they can make it and cancel when it gets closer, again it's only $10. So people like me that are looking too book 30-60 days out have to sit on the computer multiple times per day just hoping to get lucky. I would love it if they did what our PA state forrest does with Boondock permits and have a 30-90 day window (depending on the area), but I know people need more time to plan. So, I would be in full support of a 1/2 or even more loss for cancelation. Of course as always that means people with money can still play the game and others can't (like many things in life), but maybe it would discourage the "games". Another idea would be to make a new rule where EVERY day you plan to book must be at least 11 months out. So you now can't book until 11 months from the last day of your trip rather than your first.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. It has been getting harder every year but the past 2 years has been terrible. There are a few parks that we used to camp at least once every year that we have not visited in 3-4 years now simply because we can't get a site.

Anyway, back to your regularly schedule programs....
40 REPLIES 40

Unobtanium
Explorer
Explorer
This dead horse has been beaten in forums 100's if not 1000's of times going back 10=15 years or longer. Good luck.

toedtoes
Explorer III
Explorer III
Lantley wrote:
Don't make up rules that can't be enforced.How do you suspend someone?
THe offender will just make reservations in the wife's name. Then the son, brother, sister etc. Is the plan to suspend the entire family?
Simply cancel the entire reservation and enforce 1st day show up rules.
It's not foolproof but it will tighten the loophole.
Yes you could cancel and try to re-book but that is not guaranteed.


If they book 14 days at the 6-month out point (or whatever the earliest point is), they can simply wait until right before their arrival date then cancel and immediately re-reserve for the weekend. They will have a 99 percent chance of successfully getting the spot. So it won't do anything to eliminate the problem.

I do get what you are saying about the suspension. It would require a level of enforcement that isn't practical these days. But, maybe with technology it isn't that far off.

I also think that, at least for public campgrounds, change will happen if the public voices their displeasure with the status quo.
1975 American Clipper RV with Dodge 360 (photo in profile)
1998 American Clipper Fold n Roll Folding Trailer
Both born in Morgan Hill, CA to Irv Perch (Daddy of the Aristocrat trailers)

kfp673
Explorer II
Explorer II
Thanks for all the replies so far. Good to know others are seeing the same thing...

Taking all the replies in, I feel like a combination would be best. 1- all or nothing cancelation and 2- your LAST day (not the first) has to be the full period out. So here in PA the period is 11 months to the day. The "to the day" part needs to be your date of departure. Should at least level the playing field for those of us trying to get weekends.

Thanks again all!

Lantley
Nomad
Nomad
Don't make up rules that can't be enforced.How do you suspend someone?
THe offender will just make reservations in the wife's name. Then the son, brother, sister etc. Is the plan to suspend the entire family?
Simply cancel the entire reservation and enforce 1st day show up rules.
It's not foolproof but it will tighten the loophole.
Yes you could cancel and try to re-book but that is not guaranteed.
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Walaby
Explorer II
Explorer II
All this talk about suspension for a full season is great, but it will never happen. The parks actually have to care first about enforcing such a thing, and lets be honest, they largely don't care.

But, it is interesting to debate. Having said that, I vote for full year suspension for the state of residence, plus all states that have borders with state of residence.

Mike
Im Mike Willoughby, and I approve this message.
2017 Ram 3500 CTD (aka FRAM)
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toedtoes
Explorer III
Explorer III
monkey44 wrote:
I was trying to be less harsh for some stupid reason - then you posted and woke me up. Second thought, yes, entire season, and loss of entire reservation fee. Cheaters need penalties that hurt them as much as they hurt other campers.


I tend to do the same thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰
1975 American Clipper RV with Dodge 360 (photo in profile)
1998 American Clipper Fold n Roll Folding Trailer
Both born in Morgan Hill, CA to Irv Perch (Daddy of the Aristocrat trailers)

monkey44
Nomad II
Nomad II
I was trying to be less harsh for some stupid reason - then you posted and woke me up. Second thought, yes, entire season, and loss of entire reservation fee. Cheaters need penalties that hurt them as much as they hurt other campers.
Monkey44
Cape Cod Ma & Central Fla
Chevy 2500HD 4x4 DC-SB
2008 Lance 845
Back-country camping fanatic

toedtoes
Explorer III
Explorer III
monkey44 wrote:
Toedtoes -- good idea, step-up the suspension period, a week, then two weeks, then a month, then a season. Also, step the fines too, ten percent, twenty-five percent, fifty percent, complete reservation fee.

IF people cheat the system at a cost to other campers, it's gotta hurt, otherwise, it won't curb the cheating.


I was thinking more that the suspension period would be at least a season.

Simply because if someone books twelve 14-day reservations, then changes the first to just the two weekends, a one week suspension won't bother them - because they have 22 more weekends booked.

If the suspension lasts a full season, then all their weekends get pulled. They lose all their advantage from cheating. Suddenly they are facing the same dilemna that they were trying to avoid - having to find a spot last minute.
1975 American Clipper RV with Dodge 360 (photo in profile)
1998 American Clipper Fold n Roll Folding Trailer
Both born in Morgan Hill, CA to Irv Perch (Daddy of the Aristocrat trailers)

monkey44
Nomad II
Nomad II
Toedtoes -- good idea, step-up the suspension period, a week, then two weeks, then a month, then a season. Also, step the fines too, ten percent, twenty-five percent, fifty percent, complete reservation fee.

IF people cheat the system at a cost to other campers, it's gotta hurt, otherwise, it won't curb the cheating.
Monkey44
Cape Cod Ma & Central Fla
Chevy 2500HD 4x4 DC-SB
2008 Lance 845
Back-country camping fanatic

toedtoes
Explorer III
Explorer III
IMO, a suspension period would work along with a stepping scale cancellation fee. It would be an additional step to help stop those who don't care about the monetary punishment.
1975 American Clipper RV with Dodge 360 (photo in profile)
1998 American Clipper Fold n Roll Folding Trailer
Both born in Morgan Hill, CA to Irv Perch (Daddy of the Aristocrat trailers)

wing_zealot
Explorer
Explorer
toedtoes wrote:
hotbyte wrote:
It might be difficult to implement, but I really like the idea of a suspension period for those that habitually cancel reservations.


I figure there will always be 5-15 percent who will always cheat the system regardless of the penalties. For the rest, once they are inconvenienced by the penalties, they will fall back in line - at least until a new easy way to cheat is discovered.

For the most part people are lazy and want instant gratification. They resort to cheating the system because it gives them fast results. They go in and make a bunch of reservations and cancel what they don't want - much easier than trying to book just what you need and constantly having to check for an opening. The money is nothing to them (buying $5+ coffees, $5000 shoes, etc, while working an entry level job is not money-smart).

By eliminating the instant gratification and ease of cheating, many will stop. So, even if the "suspension" only works 70 percent of the time, a high percentage of those people will stop the cheating. And that at least makes some difference.
7 or 8 different usernames and passwords and even if they suspend one account for a year I got plenty of other usernames to fall back on. In my opinion the best thing you can do is make canceling expensive, no exceptions. You'll piss off the guy with the true emergency cancellation (BTDT) but if the policy is up front, known, and agreed to by making a reservation, then they have no argument. Doesn't stop anyone from still gaming the system, just makes them pay high price to do it. Michigan does it that way but the cancellation fee could be a little steeper in my opinion; doubling or tripling them would cut out a lot of nonsense.

toedtoes
Explorer III
Explorer III
hohenwald48 wrote:
None of these suggestions will ever come to pass. RV park owners and managers are only interested in filling the park and they make the park reservation rules. As long as they can get every spot paid for they don't care if anyone ever actually shows up. They don't really care about any inconvenience you might incur as a result of holes in their reservation systems.


It does and has changed with public campgrounds. Slowly, but things do change.
1975 American Clipper RV with Dodge 360 (photo in profile)
1998 American Clipper Fold n Roll Folding Trailer
Both born in Morgan Hill, CA to Irv Perch (Daddy of the Aristocrat trailers)

hohenwald48
Explorer
Explorer
None of these suggestions will ever come to pass. RV park owners and managers are only interested in filling the park and they make the park reservation rules. As long as they can get every spot paid for they don't care if anyone ever actually shows up. They don't really care about any inconvenience you might incur as a result of holes in their reservation systems.
When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

2019 Newmar Canyon Star 3627
2017 Jeep Wrangler JKU

toedtoes
Explorer III
Explorer III
hotbyte wrote:
It might be difficult to implement, but I really like the idea of a suspension period for those that habitually cancel reservations.


I figure there will always be 5-15 percent who will always cheat the system regardless of the penalties. For the rest, once they are inconvenienced by the penalties, they will fall back in line - at least until a new easy way to cheat is discovered.

For the most part people are lazy and want instant gratification. They resort to cheating the system because it gives them fast results. They go in and make a bunch of reservations and cancel what they don't want - much easier than trying to book just what you need and constantly having to check for an opening. The money is nothing to them (buying $5+ coffees, $5000 shoes, etc, while working an entry level job is not money-smart).

By eliminating the instant gratification and ease of cheating, many will stop. So, even if the "suspension" only works 70 percent of the time, a high percentage of those people will stop the cheating. And that at least makes some difference.
1975 American Clipper RV with Dodge 360 (photo in profile)
1998 American Clipper Fold n Roll Folding Trailer
Both born in Morgan Hill, CA to Irv Perch (Daddy of the Aristocrat trailers)