Bespoke Caravan Park Management Software Using Perch
A number of years ago I built a booking and caravan park management app for Ladycross Plantation. Ladycross is a busy park with a large number of pitches. They provide seasonal pitches as well as touring pitches and in more recent years have branched out into motorhome hire and woodland lodges.
The old software needed retiring - or at least a major upgrade to get it ready for PHP 7. Rather than work on the old system, Kieran and Lisa asked me to develop a new solution which would give us the flexibility to offer online booking in the future, as well as greater control over certain aspects of the booking process in the short term.
Bespoke Perch App Development
The Ladycross Plantation website was built using Perch, so it made sense to use this framework to build their new booking system within. I used the standard Perch Members app to manage their customer data and then built a bespoke booking management app.
The app provides the following features:
- Pricing management
- Unit (pitch/lodge) management
- Booking confirmation & cancellation email templating system
- Booking entry and management
- Colour-coded calendar so it's easy to spot who hasn't paid!
- Payment log against each booking
- Email log against each booking (what messages were sent and when)
- Ability to send multiple booking confirmation, payment receipt, invoices, request for review emails for each booking with unique email content each time
- Daily arrivals and departures report to make park management easier
- Daily payments log (who paid what)
- Historic income report (payments made between 2 dates)
- A 'busyness' graph showing the number of pitches in use at any one time
Here are a few screenshots:
Benefits of a Bespoke App
The original app had lasted around 7 years and had become integral to the smooth running of the caravan park. Kieran and Lisa were keen to develop the system further, without losing what had made it such a useful system in the first place. By developing a bespoke app I was able to retain the same structure, form fields and functionality Ladycross staff were used to, whilst improving and adding new functionality.
Developing an app within Perch means that you can make use of the features which already exist - such as:
- Robust interface framework and styling
- User management
- Excellent security
- Interaction between apps - such as the Members app in this case
Bespoke software doesn't have to be expensive either. Other than hosting there are no ongoing costs associated with this app. Because the application was well specified and I had a good understanding of my clients needs before beginning work I was able to keep a tight schedule and complete the work in a couple of weeks.
Opportunities for Future Development
Kieran and Lisa would like to offer online booking directly through their website in the future - perhaps later this year. By building a bespoke app I was able to structure the software in such a way as to make this a realistic possibility without having to re-write the core functionality.
Other areas which could be developed further include:
- Reporting and analysis
- Customer management (booking history, payment history etc)
- Interface - Kieran would love a 'drag and drop' map of the park
- Interaction with other apps - Mailchimp for instance, or bookings via Facebook