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Old 11-20-2018, 08:22 AM   #1
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No Room at RV Park: Poor behavior by RV'ers

We camped at Trailer Village in Grand Canyon last week for 8 days. When we arrived the campground was "Full," but it was at least 1/3 empty. We thought, its Friday, people will arrive late. The next morning, it was still 1/3 empty. It was the same Saturday and Sunday night. I stopped by the office and asked for an explanation and they showed me the "reservation list" and it was full. They explained that RV'ers consistently make reservations and don't show up, and don't cancel. I asked why the park didn't cancel after the first night if they don't show and they said if they are paid, they can't cancel. Is there really a space shortage or do we need to encourage a policy with significant penalties for no cancellation/no shows.
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Old 11-20-2018, 08:30 AM   #2
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Texas State Parks have had similar problems for many years. People will log into the system and reserve many parks/nights with intention on only actually going for a handful of them. The idea is to get a reservation SOMEWHERE because the parks fill up quickly during peak times.

Obviously this creates a problem for those of us who actually have full intention on going to a specific place at a specific time because all the sites are booked up. Cancellation had previously been pretty inexpensive depending on timing.

TX Parks & Wildlife has tried a few different methods to curtail the behavior, but with limited success IMO. Bottom line is that there are A LOT of campers competing for sites, especially during peak seasons and times.

These days I try to make reservations as far ahead as possible. If I really want to go somewhere and can't get a reservation there, I will watch the system the week before and look for cancellations. But I don't do that often because our schedule is so structured, we typically can't just drop in or out on last minute notice.

ETA: I have found that private parks often have spaces when the state parks are booked "full". So sometimes I will try to find a private park close to where I want to be. Their "penalties" for cancellation are also far more harsh, so reservations usually mean the site WILL be occupied most of the time.

Luckily, our peak season (at least for now) is when no one else wants to be out, so we can often find places to go when we're ready. OTOH, I've been trying to get into Dinosaur Valley State Park for a while now and can't manage to get a reservation...
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Old 11-20-2018, 11:22 AM   #3
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With so many campgrounds in the national system it would seem that having the park show them as a no show could be used against them in future attempts to book, of course allowing for the possibility that it was out of their control. Habitual offenders could be restricted, in my opinion.
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Old 11-20-2018, 11:43 AM   #4
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It's not that simple. The reservations have been paid in full. So the parks don't care if the people show or not . It actually works better they get their money and it doesn't cost them a dime. What's sad is these people have the money to throw away on unused reservations. I'm sure sometimes it's unavoidable but when I put money out on a trip I go on the trip or send someone in my place ! I guess all those unused reservations could be chalked up to charitable donations though.
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Old 11-20-2018, 11:44 AM   #5
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While it does stink for those of us that do show up, if it is paid for then the 'owner' of the grounds isn't losing money so why would they really care if someone doesn't show?
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Old 11-20-2018, 12:23 PM   #6
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IIRC, the policy of one park we stayed in is that you MUST spend the FIRST night of your (uncancelled) reservation in your reserved site. If you don't, they'll give it to someone else and DON'T refund your reservation.

That opens sites up for others AND gives the owner the potential for additional income.
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Old 11-20-2018, 12:52 PM   #7
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WI State Parks & Forests solved this problem some years back by implementing a simple rule. If the site is not occupied by the second night it is forfeited so someone else can use it.
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Old 11-20-2018, 01:02 PM   #8
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That should be and is the policy in most gov. run and private parks we frequent. If a reservation is not cancelled in a stated period of time you forfeit the deposit. If you are a no show for a reservation the site is released. Most all charge a fee for changing or cancelling a reservation. When making a reservation, we always read the cancellation and no show policies. Many Fl. parks that we frequent require the entire payment at reservation. That may cut down on it somewhat.

That still won't help the poor guy that has already been denied the opportunity to reserve because of others who are selfish. This is causing many cg's who were very liberal with no-shows to have to crack down.

We all lose when this happens.
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Old 11-20-2018, 01:23 PM   #9
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We saw quite a lot of this in Florida last time we were there. Prime spots that said reserved but no one ever showed up while we camped in less desirable spots. It was frustrating to say the least, sitting in full sun while spots that were reserved sat empty in the shade for days. I guess it doesnít matter to people with the money to burn, but it sucks for those of us who donít. I did like that they had some spots that arenít listed on the website that are first come first serve. It was a gamble to show up hoping for one but at least it couldnít be booked by someone and never used. From a business standpoint I get that the park gets paid either way. From a travelers standpoint though, itís frustrating.
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Old 11-20-2018, 03:38 PM   #10
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I always cancel if something comes up.Would rather lose 20 bucks than lose the whole shooting match!Not to speak of the shortage of camp spots. Thanks
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