Maine's Reservation Solution Gets Mainers Outdoors

June 24, 2022 by Jessica Sparrow

Maine's Reservation Solution Gets Mainers Outdoors

What better time to explore Maine than during National Great Outdoors month? With its pristine beaches, beautiful forests, and miles of trails, Maine truly earns its nickname "Vacationland.” As Mainers flocked to the outdoors in record numbers during the pandemic, outdoor recreation participation has not slowed since the world began returning to normal, reinforcing the importance of an accessible, comprehensive reservation solution to support Maine's public parks, historic lands, and trails.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF), in partnership with NIC Maine, developed a web-based, end-to-end reservations solution for managing campsite reservations for 12 parks. During the 2021 outdoor recreation season, over 28,069 reservations were made through the online service, representing an increase of 22% more than the previous year. The 2022 season, to date, has processed nearly 17,283 reservations thus far. Since implementation in 2011, usage of this service has increased by 93%.

The solution features four main components:

Public interface – Allows campers to book and manage existing campground reservations, print reservation permits as needed, edit or change any reservation details, and cancel reservations.

Call center interface – Allows call center employees to take reservations over the phone and make changes to permits. This robust interface allows super administrators to put sites on hold if a site is unavailable due to an emergency and create reservations with specific criteria. Administrators can also print batches of permits to be mailed to campers.

Administrative interface – Allows park rangers to view incoming campers and keep track of available sites. With more than a dozen custom reports, the interface gives park rangers the tools they need to manage visits to the park.

Database – Stores and tracks updates made through the public interface and call center interfaces.

Maine's campground reservation service is a comprehensive solution that handles complex rules, high traffic, and multiple user interfaces and roles while continuing to offer a superior user experience.

The online service received a new feature in 2021, allowing public users to alter permits purchased through the online system. Users can now update campsites, length of stays, or change their dates completely. The new tool has significantly reduced the amount of time call center employees spend on the phone.

"The campground reservation solution was designed to provide ease of use and ease of access to both users and employees, simplifying the outdoor camping experience in Maine for all," said Dan Andrews, NIC Maine general manager. "We are proud of what it has accomplished so far and excited to see it continue to grow and revolutionize the camping experience in our great state."

As a 2016 StateScoop IT Innovation of the Year award winner, the service has produced considerable cost and time savings for the State of Maine. The development, project management, and ongoing hosting, maintenance, and enhancements were provided to the DACF with no upfront or ongoing costs. In addition, the service is fully funded through camp transaction fees, resulting in a cost avoidance of more than $1 million over the 11-year project lifecycle.

To learn more about the DACF's campground reservation solution, or book your stay today, visit www.campwithme.com.

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