Phantom Campers and RV Campsite No-Shows - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-12-2021, 07:51 AM   #1
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Phantom Campers and RV Campsite No-Shows

In another thread I talked about the new problems we have with campground reservations. One is people reserve at 2-4 sites on the same weekend and then only show up to one, sometimes never canceling the unused reservation(s). A couple of campground hosts I've talked to in the last year have felt no-shows are a larger problem than ever before.

I finally found the RV Travel article Are Phantom Campers Stealing Your Campsite? I talked about earlier.

Personally I could care less about commercial campgrounds, since we use federal, state, county, and local campgrounds, and yes, BLM type camping (but that doesn't apply here), but the problem is real.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 10-12-2021, 08:16 AM   #2
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Demand booking with a credit card.
You need to cancel 24 hrs or whatever ahead if you won't be there or your charged for one night, reservation canceled.
Simple
Motel-hotel system seems to work.
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Old 10-12-2021, 09:40 AM   #3
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The way things are now, if you have the money, you have the right. Public officials have for the most part turned the campgrounds over to concessioneers. As one said to me, reservations fills the campgrounds. The reservation companies don't care as they get there money whether you show or not. And despite what they say, no shows mean one less campsite for the host to clean up.

Recently I've done most of my camping in the White Mountains in N.H. The campgrounds are a mix of reservable and fcfs. One host commented that some weekends half the reserved sites were no shows.
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Old 10-12-2021, 12:01 PM   #4
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Texas State Parks will be facing the same situations ,if not already. They went to a similar reservations systems last spring. Most Tx. State Parks do not run full although some of the more popular ones do. They have been hurting for the few years and have been asking for donations. We left the state parks for COE campgrounds years ago. No discounts for seniors and a daily entrance fee ever day added to the camping fee. If they were competitive with the feds, they would have plenty of full sites with seniors who would be glad to use the state parks. I have contacted the Tx. Parks and Wildlife about a program similar to the Golden Age Passport, etc. but the only answer I received was that they were not affiliated with the fed programs and have no plans for senior discounts. It's a shame because they could fill a lot of empty camp sites, including me.
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Old 10-12-2021, 12:54 PM   #5
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No-show reserved camp sites

I agree with Perry; there are many reserved sites in federal campgrounds that have no-shows.
After not obtaining a campsite reservation all summer in the Gifford Pinchot Wilderness forest service campsites, I decided to go without a reservation in early Sept to a highly popular campground.

Yea...had several great sites to choose. I found out that the campground concessionnair had changed from Hoodoo to the Rocky Mountain Recreation Company (https://rockymountainrec.com/). RMRC's policy, I was told, is to have 44% campsites first-come, first-served. Now, that's fair. Currently, Fed, state, local campgrounds, day use & lake facilities in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Kansas.

Even then at the last weekend of the season, there still were many of the reserved sites with no-shows.

Note: The USFS awards concessions contracts that cover 5 years with possibility of extensions. So there will be different concessionairs in Calif or Florida, or....wherever.

Unfortunately, I'm unaware of any USFS requirement for xx% of first-come campgrounds in their contracts.
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Old 10-12-2021, 04:07 PM   #6
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Yep, no shows who don’t worry about money or people who do show up but want to control adjacent sites have become a problem. I camp at a city owned RV park which is expensive (to me at least), around $75 a night. I’m seeing more sites reserved prior to a holiday where eventually the camper shows up Friday night for the holiday weekend. They’ve paid in advance for several nights, sometimes as much as a week, just to make sure they get their favorite site.

If I were King, they’d forfeit the site after one night..
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Old 10-12-2021, 04:59 PM   #7
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When they pay for the site it is theirs. The camp ground keeps the money regardless if the RV is there or not.
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Old 10-12-2021, 06:18 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
When they pay for the site it is theirs. The camp ground keeps the money regardless if the RV is there or not.
And your point is?

I find their self-centered behavior appalling. There is a shortage of campsites and for hard working people this is a serious problem. It not about the money, campsites have been full on weekends in Minnesota for decades. I want to be able to get a campsite and with extended reservation dates, and this attitude, it's become almost impossible for us to camp weekends anymore.

I wonder how many here exhibit this behavior?

Perry
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Old 10-13-2021, 08:20 AM   #9
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As with many things, it is about money. It might be worth pointing out to decision-makers that unused reservations only contribute the cost of the site, but actual people in those sites spread their money around the local economy.

Of course that argument only works if the decision-makers value the tourist/recreation economy. If they have a more protectionist mindset, you are stuck.

On our first Thanksgiving visit to a popular AZ state park back in 2013, I was shocked at how many unused reservations there were the first night. They did fill up on Friday, so it seems like people booked the whole 4-day weekend but didn’t intend to arrive until after they’d had the traditional Thanksgiving dinners at home. I’m guessing it’s because of the way the rolling reservation window works.
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Old 10-13-2021, 09:22 AM   #10
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In the case I mentioned, it does make a difference. The city built a campground, not to be in the campground business, but instead to attract tourists to their nearby downtown area. Unoccupied but paid for campsites do nothing to fill their restaurants, bars, and gift shops. People do it so they can secure the site for the weekend and particularly for holiday weekends. The campground is on a 60 day reservation window so you can book up “early” if you pay for phantom days.

Selfish is the key word here.
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Old 10-13-2021, 09:56 AM   #11
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The type of a person who will do this is what I call BOUGIE. They want to be able to complain to their friends of how much it cost to do this just so they can get the site they wanted. They want others to know they can afford to do things like this. Jerks, yes they are. BOUGIE want to have the appearance of the higher class of person. They are phonies and selfish.
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Old 10-13-2021, 10:04 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
The city built a campground, not to be in the campground business, but instead to attract tourists to their nearby downtown area. Unoccupied but paid for campsites do nothing to fill their restaurants, bars, and gift shops.

Selfish is the key word here.
I guess I'm selfish according to you since I never use local businesses when I'm camping.

:-(
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Old 10-13-2021, 10:19 AM   #13
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I guess I'm selfish according to you since I never use local businesses when I'm camping.

:-(
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Old 10-13-2021, 02:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Perryb67 View Post
In another thread I talked about the new problems we have with campground reservations. One is people reserve at 2-4 sites on the same weekend and then only show up to one, sometimes never canceling the unused reservation(s). A couple of campground hosts I've talked to in the last year have felt no-shows are a larger problem than ever before.

I finally found the RV Travel article Are Phantom Campers Stealing Your Campsite? I talked about earlier.

Personally I could care less about commercial campgrounds, since we use federal, state, county, and local campgrounds, and yes, BLM type camping (but that doesn't apply here), but the problem is real.

Enjoy,

Perry
I’m currently in Oregon and 95% of BLM sites are now 100% reservable via Recreation.gov. Just talked to a rep at a BLM site, and they feel they can better utilize employees by outsourcing this through a vendor. That being said, I was just at a campground, all the riverside sites were reserved, I used the courtesy phone and was able to reserve a spot the operator said was “definitely” on the river. It wasn’t. Spoke to the campground host, who gave a reserved riverside site to another individual that just pulled in because the people who actually reserved the site had a medical emergency and had to leave. So my question is: that site has already been paid for, no refund to the folks who left. So HOW didn’t the new guy pay for that site? Maybe he didn’t pay at all. Maybe he paid for ANOTHER site, which will now show as reserved and will be unavailable to another. Just ridiculous…
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Old 10-13-2021, 03:38 PM   #15
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A couple of years ago I left a campground one day early, half of the sites were empty and they would not refund the remaining day. I fully expect them to keep the money if the campground is completely full but a 1/2 empty campground is a ripoff. They make the rules and you have no recourse.
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Old 10-16-2021, 10:29 AM   #16
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Wink Good explanations

I have been wondering why so many campsites have been showing up full on ReserveAmerica sites. Thanks for the explanation. Now I know, but I still don’t know how to work around it. I’d feel better if I could reserve a site that shows a picture, but that’s impossible when they aren’t “available.” Next week we’re going out for a few days as walk-in. Hope we can find a good site—level, wide enough, etc.
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Old 10-16-2021, 11:32 AM   #17
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Fact is that manufacturers are building RVs much faster than campsites are being built. Perhaps states should begin to levy a sizeable registration fee on manufacturing for each new camper to provide funds for campground construction
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Old 10-16-2021, 11:38 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by FRED SMAILES View Post
Demand booking with a credit card.
You need to cancel 24 hrs or whatever ahead if you won't be there or your charged for one night, reservation canceled.
Simple
Motel-hotel system seems to work.
Fred
You run into the same thing with motels with all the motel booking sites like Trivago, Kayak, Travelocity, Expedia and so on. I always book motels on their own company site! And motels give away those booked rooms reserved through a internet booking service after a certain hour in the evening. It is always customers who booked through a internet booking service that are complaining about messed up reservations!!! I've heard them over and over again when I wasn't traveling by RV!
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Old 10-16-2021, 11:39 AM   #19
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A few years ago, we were able to get a walk up site at Mueller State Park out side of Co. Sprs., Co. After one night we were told we would have to move because the one we on had been reserved. We moved down a few sites but they they never showed up. A couple we became neighborly with were from Co. Sprs. and they said since they were so close, they often reserved a site for $5 and didn't end up using it. If I recall, Co.state park has it's own reservation system is not the same as the feds. Maybe having to put up a full night's deposit might keep some of that from happening.
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Old 10-16-2021, 12:37 PM   #20
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Camping Blues

Yes; sounds like there is a lot of frustration out there about reservation angst. I don't have anything to say that will alleviate that directly. It's one of the main reasons I typically boondocks in very remote places untouched by the reservation systems but I appreciate that doesn't address the issue in any way when you are traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to intentionally visit a scenic wonder like Big Sur, the Grand Canyon, or Yosemite.

As a sideline I can tell you where some of this reservation madness originated. During the Reagan administration there was a commission formed to investigate the jobs that various government agencies were doing that could be done better by private industry. One of those tasks that got replaced was the reservation systems and campground management at each park.

From my own experience as a park ranger I can tell you that prior to this this time (70's and 80's) we had very good campground management. There were rangers assigned to work in and patrol the parks. Often there are educational requirements for things such as novel resident wildlife (don't feed the bears) and the rangers would go to each and every site and explain the rules and procedures. They also knew the park very well and would provide interpretation of the park to each visitor; hikes, trails, plant identification, fishing, worthwhile drives, scenic vistas and the like. There was also people in the park who knew the campgrounds, its issues, and its reservations.

I remember going to Lassen National Park soon after the campground reservations had been given over to a private company. The sum total of services provided by the new 'concessioner' consisted of two jolly elder women who drove around the campground in an golf cart collecting fees. They had done nothing in the park, understood nothing of why the park was created or its features, and could not answer simple questions like is there a trail leading up to the top of the volcano.

The public lost greatly in this transition to private enterprise. The primary focus of many of the private concessioners (not all) is to make money. They pick up volunteer or low-cost labor and their main focus is to collect fees.

When I do use the recreation.gov system it makes me angry every time. The company collects services fees for every transaction that instead should be going to the underfunded parks. As a national or state park the management focus should be on making the park visit as inexpensive as possible (not losing money perhaps, but at least non-profit) so as to include as many people as possible economically. The parks belong to all of us tax-paying citizens; not just the few wealthy enough to pay the fees to fund a private concessioner.

I apologize if I've led anyone down an unproductive rabbit hole. It's just that some of our issues have complex tendrils that grow back through the decades. ME FIRST will always find a method of cutting in line.
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