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Old 11-17-2014, 12:42 AM   #1
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RV Park Reviews Updated

Many of you probably know about www.campgroundreviews.com. It's been around for decades and is a great resource for RVers. I acquired the site last year and we spent the better part of 8 months rebuilding it onto new platform that we launched yesterday. We have a huge knockout list of things that need to be adjusted but within a few months it should be dialed in. This winter we plan to release some native smartphone apps for iOS and Android which are going to have some really neat and innovative features.

One thing that we have done in this new version is capture more information about the trailer or motorhome (type, length, brand, etc). So with time we can create a section of reviews by Redwood owners. We can also create an interface that would filter out campgrounds that are not 5er friendly. The best part about being on the new platform is that we can listen to the feedback from our great members and build new features much more quickly.

If you all have any ideas, comments, feedback, etc. please post them here.

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Old 11-17-2014, 03:08 AM   #2
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Sounds great!
Being a full timer, any information that details reliable information about an RV Park would be very useful.
We've even had occations where we talked with the park owners and they were less than sincere about how they can accomodate a large 5er.
We would be happy to supply our experiences and any location where we stay.
Thanks for your efforts.
George and Kay
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Old 11-17-2014, 03:21 AM   #3
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Excellent! Using it all the time. Lots of things happening here today!
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Old 11-17-2014, 04:11 AM   #4
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Ah, didn't know that ---

I started looking at rvparkreviews a while back,
but always took it with a grain of salt because of that sying:
'one man's treasure is trashy to another" thingy

I like to find a campsite we've both reviewed,
so I can evaluate if their taste are the same as ours
(or rather my high maintenance wife's )

She just informed to make reservations to meet two other rv's at The Vineyards for Christmas week so we can be closer to the rest of the family...
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Old 11-17-2014, 04:12 AM   #5
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Andy, I hate to be a naysayer, but so far I find the new site to be a complete turn-off. The old format, which I used quite often, was user-friendly and simple. With the new site, the first thing that hit me was the disproportionate about of space devoted to ads versus useful content. The site appears disjointed and hard to sort through to get the needed information. I'll give it another look, but I have a feeling you're going to lose a lot of customers. Sorry, but I call it like I see it.
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Old 11-17-2014, 04:31 AM   #6
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AH, after your comment had to go look at the new layout...

I actually like it though - but that may be that at work we released a huge app about 6 months ago that used the same google maps api so very familiar with it
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:57 AM   #7
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I wish someone would have mentioned this site when we were looking for our park near Orlando for the winter. We did find an outstanding park at Elite Resorts Orange Valley Resorts in Clermont. It has the highest ratings of any of the resorts around Orlando, so we lucked out. Wifi comment about this park concerns me because I use that a lot. Any recommendations for bad wifi?
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Old 11-17-2014, 12:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piper Guy's Gal View Post
Andy, I hate to be a naysayer, but so far I find the new site to be a complete turn-off. The old format, which I used quite often, was user-friendly and simple. With the new site, the first thing that hit me was the disproportionate about of space devoted to ads versus useful content. The site appears disjointed and hard to sort through to get the needed information. I'll give it another look, but I have a feeling you're going to lose a lot of customers. Sorry, but I call it like I see it.
Thanks for your feedback. The new site actually has the same ads and they are further away from the content than the old site. It's probably the added white space that makes then stand out. The white space along with larger text was used because of the massive amount of mobile users. When you are trying to tap on a little bitty text link that is right next to lots of other little bitty text links it can lead to clicking the wrong link.

We kept the structure of the new site the same so people could still navigate through the site just like they did in the past. We actually used heat mapping to identify usage patterns and used those patterns to make sure the new site would flow the same. I agree that the extra white space feels way different. A change like this is like driving a new car. You still look for things in exactly the same place and for the most part they are.

You can see examples of the old page and the new page here:
http://www.campgroundreviews.com/regions/colorado
https://web.archive.org/web/20140801...ions/Colorado/

On the old page the space above and below the map was an ad along with ads running down the right hand column.

Thanks again for your feedback and if you don't mind, would you post again in 30-60 days after you have used the site some with your honest feedback. I am curious if the new layout is still bugging you or if it's grown on you by that time. That type of feedback is extremely important to hear and does influence how we continually evolve the site.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnboytoo View Post
I started looking at rvparkreviews a while back,
but always took it with a grain of salt because of that sying:
'one man's treasure is trashy to another" thingy

I like to find a campsite we've both reviewed,
so I can evaluate if their taste are the same as ours
(or rather my high maintenance wife's )

She just informed to make reservations to meet two other rv's at The Vineyards for Christmas week so we can be closer to the rest of the family...
The Vineyards is a great campground, we live just down the street from there.

I agree about having to use review sites with a grain of salt. We added a new feature to allow users to mark which reviews they find helpful. We plan to use that feedback along with feedback from your own reviews to develop an algorithm that can help you find campgrounds that others who seem to be rating parks the same as you. It would be a suggestion type system that you could check a box when searching. That's pretty far down the road though.

One thing we have done on this version is to put up two new section on the state pages for Highly rated campgrounds and Popular Campgrounds. The highly rated campgrounds are only those rated 8.5 or higher. The Popular campgrounds are those with a lot of reviews which signals lots of RVers staying there. This is a nice way to see the best parks in a State but we have to figure out how to show the same thing on a more regional level.
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Old 11-17-2014, 12:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by JohnEileen View Post
Wifi comment about this park concerns me because I use that a lot. Any recommendations for bad wifi?
Do you have an external booster antenna? If not, it could be an excellent investment.

By external, I don't necessarily mean mounted on the exterior of your rig. There are some external antennas that can connect to a laptop that increase the gain of the antenna too. Of course a nice external antenna with the most gain is going to get you the best connection.

Wifi and cellular signal strength (ie. internet connection speed & consistency) is a huge factor when people choose parks. We are already allowing users to tell us what cell phone providers are available at each park. In the future ee plan to build in some tools for this with our smartphone apps so we can link wifi and cellular signal strength to each campsite since both can vary greatly within the same park. This way you can see where the signals are best and keep that in mind when requesting a site at the time of reservation.
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Old 11-17-2014, 01:20 PM   #10
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I too use Rvparkreviews a lot when planning a trip. The new look will take some getting use to but so far I like it. Change for an old guy like me always takes time. I like the new features. Again, I don't mind the ad's, but they do seem to be in the way a little more, especially the ones on the left side between features.


I also think reviews, especially really low ratings, have to be taken with a grain of salt. Many times the really low ratings are by someone who just likes to complain.
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Old 11-17-2014, 01:36 PM   #11
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Hey John.....
Re wi fi.... We got a booster from wifi ranger. It's attached to our ladder.
Really works! Another good feature is the router is what you log in with. All your devices go through the router so there is only one log in required.
We also got their booster for our phones. Have one in the truck as well. You go from 1 bar to 3 or 4 bars..
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Old 11-17-2014, 05:57 PM   #12
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I'm hoping when someone writes a review that they can also put that they can easily accommodate a larger RV. We have pulled into some that there is no way we could ever fit. Also pet friendly I don't know many that RV without pets but quite a few in Well /Ogunquit Maine that will not accommodate. We searched along time before we found one. Some charge 5 per dog what's that for anyway they stay in the RV most of the time and you pick up after them...
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Old 11-17-2014, 06:06 PM   #13
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FYI...we do not depend on campground wifi...it is not a deal breaker because we have an AT&T MiFi which is a great little outfit for getting our devices (laptop, IPad, etc.) online whenever we need it. We love it.
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:10 PM   #14
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FWIW, as I probably seem to have a dark cloud over me regarding ads and sites... I actually think the new site looks good and the ads are appropriate spaced and not overtaking the content. I've always like RVParkReviews for it's content but thought the format sucked (to be blunt). I think with a smart, fast interface it could be a very useful tool. While we're talking business, if the data can be somewhat easily mined it might be a smart Bus Venture to try and develop an app (for both iPhone AND iPad unlike Camping World..) to make this much more mobile friendly.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:12 PM   #15
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the ads didn't seem that bad to me. I just don't look at them.
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:43 PM   #16
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lwg - We plan to develop apps this winter. They will be free and provide a lot of new & unique features from the website.

I just got done with a meeting with the team helping build the new RV Park Reviews website and we noticed that on some screen resolutions the ads were horribly placed and obstructed content. Most notably this would be when you look at the current site on a Tablet with the screen turned to portrait mode. The left hand column takes up way to much space (like 40%) of the screen and it looks horrible. We are going to axe the left hand column completely and try to fit in a skinnier ad on the right or move one down in between the sections.

Right now the desktop site is what's dialed in but the mobile versions are not yet optimized. I suspect it will take us a couple months to really knock out the majority of issues. The good news is the site should be in great shape by next camping season.
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Old 11-17-2014, 08:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy R View Post
lwg - We plan to develop apps this winter. They will be free and provide a lot of new & unique features from the website.

I just got done with a meeting with the team helping build the new RV Park Reviews website and we noticed that on some screen resolutions the ads were horribly places and obstructed content. Most notably this would be when you look at the current site on a Table with the screen turned to portrait mode. The left hand column takes up way to much space (like 40%) of the screen and it looks horrible. We are going to axe the left hand column completely and try to fit in a skinnier ad on the right or move one down in between the sections.

Right now the desktop site is what's dialed in but the mobile versions are not yet optimized. I suspect it will take us a couple months to really knock the majority of issues. The good news is the site should be in great shape by next camping season.
That's the real problem with all the browsers now days. What works fine for IE screws up Chrome, Firefox, etc; what works for the others screws up IE.
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Old 11-18-2014, 03:05 AM   #18
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I use RVParkReviews all the time when looking for a new CG.
Since a lot of our Travels are in the same areas, we have CGs we like and do not bother looking for a new one, but when going to a new area or not happy with the CG we have been using in a routine area, I use RVParkReviews to do my research.
I have found the info and ratings to be pretty accurate.
I like the look and feel of the new site.
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Old 11-18-2014, 04:53 AM   #19
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Thank you for that, Andy. I was indeed using the IPad when I looked at the site. I'll have to take a look on the PC.

I hope you can iron out the kinks on this for the mobile version. When we travel, I often have an RV GPS open on one IPad and the RVParkReviews open on another for searching out campgrounds. I would be lost without the quick and easy accessiblilty of the honest and pertinent reviews that RVParkReviews provides.
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Old 11-18-2014, 05:28 AM   #20
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Sense IE/Microsoft does not/will not comply with the current web standards it is very annoying to have to write web content for everyone and then go back and make it for IE. I would love to see web developers just drop IE until they comply especially when you consider IE is now down to 17% maybe then Microsoft would get on the same page as the rest of the world
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