Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Topsail Hill, Florida Reservations not efficient?
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 > Topsail Hill, Florida Reservations not efficient?

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Dutch Oven Man

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Posted: 05/30/20 09:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not being critical, just making an observation. My party had three sites reserved from Memorial Day weekend through the following week at Topsail (9 days in total). Because of travel issues, we had to cancel two reservations at the last minute, but I kept mine. We got all our money back less the fees, but those two other prime spots, which are next to us, were open all week as if they were reserved. When I looked on-line after I cancelled, they showed booked all week. We had some other friends that wanted to come in, and when I inquired at the check-in about these two spots that I cancelled that are empty but appear to be reserved, they told me they have no control over the sites and I would have to contact Reserve America.

Long story short, Reserve America said all the sites are booked solid till September, even just two nights, yet I’m looking at multiple empty spots around the campground and have been empty for over a week. Just think of all the money the state of Florida is missing out on because I know for a fact at least two sites were given a refund, and no one else booked them. Seems like an odd business practice to me to try and not rebook.

jdc1

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Posted: 05/30/20 10:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I dislike Reserve America. I'll bet they are overwhelmed with cancellations and bookings all at the same time.

bucky

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Posted: 05/31/20 05:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree with the empty site deal. We see it every winter. The sign at the entrance says campground full but empty sites stay empty for days and many days at a time.
No shows account for some of it but who knows? We had to leave a day early for a medical emergency back home in NC. Went to the gate and did the correct stuff to get a refund Feb 24th. Haven't seen it yet but RA says it still will happen. The amount is minimal but I'm guessing FL spent the money a year ago and is strapped right now.


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SpeakEasy

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Posted: 05/31/20 06:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's not just Topsail, and I don't think the problem originates with ReserveAmerica. The presence of empty sites is something I've seen at several FL state parks. I think it's a problem with the Florida State Park system.

One thing I learned is that most FL state parks keep back a certain number of sites for walk-ins. If you're already camped in a FL state park and you want to extend your stay, you may get lucky and be able to move to a vacant, walk-in site. However, they don't make it easy. The following story is an excerpt from my travel blog from last year's visit to Anastasia State Park:

"Today was the day to try to extend our stay by one night. I had been told at check-in that the procedure was to return to the office at 10:00AM on the day we wanted to extend, and they would see if any sites were available. This seemed a little unnecessary to me, because we saw empty sites, dozens of them, all over the park. (We have seen this in all the state parks in FL: no reservations available; ReserveAmerica.com shows fully booked; but empty sites every night. There is a flaw in the FL state park reservation system.)


At any rate, at 10:00 AM I showed up at the ranger station to take care of business. I was the only one there. The ranger asked what I wanted. I told him I would be checking out of site 107 and I wanted to stay another night. He said that he would put me on the “waiting list,” and I could check back at 1:00 to see if anything was available. I looked at him. I told him what the other ranger had told me about showing up at 10:00AM. I looked over at his clock. I told him it was 10:00AM. He said, “Yes; you get put on the waiting list at 10:00AM and then at 1:00 you check to see if you can be put on a site.” Waiting list. I was the only one there. I told him there were vacant sites all over the park. He told me to come back at 1:00. I told him that I would appreciate knowing if I would be able to get a site, because if not, I would need to activate a “Plan B” and go somewhere else. He told me that I would be sure to get a site. I wondered why he couldn’t just assign it right then and there. Granted, checkout isn’t until 1:00, so people currently on a site have until 1:00 to stay and maybe extend, but he knows there are empty sites that he could assign me to. Grrr. I don’t do well with this sort of bureaucracy."

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jbc28

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Posted: 05/31/20 08:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dutch Oven Man wrote:

Not being critical, just making an observation. My party had three sites reserved from Memorial Day weekend through the following week at Topsail (9 days in total). Because of travel issues, we had to cancel two reservations at the last minute, but I kept mine. We got all our money back less the fees, but those two other prime spots, which are next to us, were open all week as if they were reserved. When I looked on-line after I cancelled, they showed booked all week. We had some other friends that wanted to come in, and when I inquired at the check-in about these two spots that I cancelled that are empty but appear to be reserved, they told me they have no control over the sites and I would have to contact Reserve America.

Long story short, Reserve America said all the sites are booked solid till September, even just two nights, yet I’m looking at multiple empty spots around the campground and have been empty for over a week. Just think of all the money the state of Florida is missing out on because I know for a fact at least two sites were given a refund, and no one else booked them. Seems like an odd business practice to me to try and not rebook.


We were at Topsail Memorial Day weekend also. I noticed more than a few empty sites. I figured that they were no shows. Its odd that the sites didn't show back up when you cancelled. I have used recreation.gov to rebook a site nearly instantly after it was cancelled.


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GordonThree

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Posted: 05/31/20 09:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Maybe similar at a County-owned park here in Michigan? The park doesn't allow reservations, but it does allow long-term rentals. So folks with disposable income are allowed to buy a site for the entire season, and leave it empty when they are camping elsewhere. Pretty much every other site with a view of the lake was like this last fourth of July when I visited.

Maybe the rule should be, must occupy every night or forfeit the entire reservation?


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Dutch Oven Man

Tennessee

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Posted: 05/31/20 05:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I did find out today from a ranger that the State is not allowing rebooking at this time to control the crowds. They are honoring current reservations, but if someone cancels or shortens their stay, they are keeping the site open to limit visitors in the park.

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