With its pristine beaches, beautiful forests and miles of trails, Maine truly earns its nickname “Vacationland.” In its efforts to promote tourism, the State of Maine manages thousands of acres of public parks, historic lands, and trails.
In 2010, 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. Today, that reservation solution is booming.
During the 2020 outdoor recreation season, a total of 23,076 reservations were made through the online service, an increase of 38% over the previous year. The 2021 season already has nearly 24,000 reservations as of June 30.
The solution is comprised of four main components:
- Public interface – allows campers to book and manage existing campground reservations, to print reservation permits as needed, to edit or change any reservation details, and to cancel reservations.
- Call center interface – allows call center employees to take reservations over the phone and to make changes to permits. This robust interface allows super administrators to put sites on hold in case a site is unavailable due to an emergency and create reservations that have special 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 all the tools they need to successfully manage visits to the park.
- Database – stores and tracks updates made through both the public and call center interfaces.
Maine’s campground reservations service is a comprehensive solution which handles complex rules, high traffic, multiple user interfaces, and roles, and still offers an exemplary user experience.
The online service received a new feature in 2021 which allows public users to alter permits purchased through the online system. Users are now able to update campsites, length of stays, or change their dates completely. The new tool has significantly reduced the amount of time call center employees are on the phone.
“This campground 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.”
A 2016 StateScoop IT Innovation of the Year award winner, the service has resulted in considerable cost and time savings for the State of Maine. The development, project management, and ongoing hosting, maintenance, and enhancements are provided with no upfront or ongoing costs to the DACF, and the service is fully funded through camp transaction fees. This has resulted in a cost avoidance of more than $1 million over the 11-year project lifecycle.
To learn more about the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s campground reservations solution or to book your stay today, visit www.campwithme.com.
About Tyler Technologies and NIC
Acquired by Tyler Technologies (NYSE: TYL) on April 21, 2021, NIC is a leader in digital government solutions and payments, partnering with government to deliver user-friendly digital services that make it easier and more efficient to interact with government. NIC and Tyler are united in their mission to empower public sector entities to operate more efficiently and connect more transparently with their constituents and with each other. Tyler has more than 27,000 successful installations across more than 11,000 sites, with clients in all 50 states, Canada, the Caribbean, Australia, and other international locations. Tyler has been named to Government Technology’s GovTech 100 list five times and has been recognized three times on Forbes’ “Most Innovative Growth Companies” list. More information about Tyler Technologies, an S&P 500 company headquartered in Plano, Texas, can be found at tylertech.com.