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wfcentral 11-25-2014 07:32 AM

Idea for useful website for RV folks?
 
I'm back again with another idea... last time I posted here I got a lot of useful feedback that kept me from "selling the house and investing in a useless invention."

So, I'm back here again with another idea... just to see if it has any merit.

I try to keep my eyes open for those moments when something is really frustrating and I wish there was an easier way...

This idea it is for a website - that could also end up being an app for your phone. (I'm a web developer / programmer so the cost to build this would be time only).

Here is the real world scenario...

We are planning our first cross country trip by RV to see family. I'm calling and making all my reservations at various campgrounds. The majority of these sites do not have online reservation systems. So, I must call and give all my info over the phone.

Long story short... the ONLY part of my information that I don't have to SPELL OUT is my first name (Robert). Everything else I have to spell 4-5 times because there are various S (did you say F?) and T (did you say C?) in my name and address.

The entire time I'm on the phone I'm thinking - jeez - I wish I could just push a card through the phone with ALL my contact info on it and say THIS IS ME. Quick and easy - they could just SEE and READ all my info with no frustration.

Okay - so, how am I going to do that?

Facebook? no... they would need a facebook login.
LinkedIn? no... same thing

Matter of fact, just about all these social sites would either require them to be a member and "friend me" or I would need to post my contact info totally public for all to see...

Well, I don't want it public (even though the info I'm posting is in every digital white page available online).

So... here is the idea I came up with.

A FREE website where you go and post your contact info. It's encrypted in a database and no one can look you up, do a search, etc...

So, how do they get the info?

((disclaimer - it would be real hard to get this rolling, but if it took off it would be as common as telling someone to go to facebook or twitter))

It works like this...

I'm on the phone with whoever - and I want to give them all my info.

Hey Sally - I've got all my info ready for you to see, copy, paste, etc. All you have to do is go to [WEBSITE NAME HERE] and type in 12378945.

Sally goes to the site, types in the number and there is all your info. There is a warning on the page saying that this information will EXPIRE in 10 minutes.

When you created the card you set a timer on it. You could have it alive for 5, 10, 30, 60 minutes. After that, the card expires and that number will no longer let them view it.

= yes, I did think about the fact I could just email or text my info to someone =

okay , what would that involve... well, they are going to need to give me their email address. Then, they are going to need to get into their email program and retrieve it. Maybe their email program is on the computer over at the other office or at home...

Same for text message - now, they have to give me their cell phone number. Not a lot of people want to do this.

With my method, you just need access to ANY computer or Smart Phone.

= other add-ons =

- Vehicle Card
You could have a vehicle card where you put in all the details on your RV (maybe even with a photo). So, you're on the phone with a park and they want all your contact info and your RV info...

No problem - you create an expiring page that contains both cards items and tell them the number to access it.

- Card Tracker
See who has viewed your card and when (IP address with location)

- Expire Now
You can check your cards and if the person has got your info you can click to expire it now

== the website would always be free

I would either put google ads on it to cover expenses or maybe sell a PRO app for your Android / Apple device that does extra things for .99

Okay - Let me know what you think...

Maybe I'm just creating a solution for a problem that doesn't exist.

The first person I told this to has a name like Jeff Jones so he can't grasp what it is like to have a name that people can't spell.

Statgeek 11-25-2014 07:56 AM

WF--it's a neat idea. I have a complicated and hyphenated last name, and so I totally get the frustration. And that's just my name... The issue is more than frustration , because if they get this info wrong (it has happened to me), check-in can be a problem, credit card payment issues arise, email confirmations never arrive... It's just no fun. :banghead:

Playing devil's advocate though, I have a hard time envisioning the reservations-person actually going to such a website, logging in with the credentials you supply them, and then grabbing the info from that page and pasting it into their reservation system. In all honesty, most of the campgrounds that we visit are run by people who are only marginally technically literate, and/or, their reservation desk has limited or spotty internet connections to begin with. This is not to say that they aren't some of the friendliest and helpful individuals!! It's just a limitation of their workplace and/or their .... shall I say... vintage? :blush: So in these situations I think you'd be pushing beyond either their technology limitations on the desk in front of them, or their own abilities to work in different systems simultaneously.

I say this from some experience, in that I always have to spell my name (remember... it is long and has a dash in it), and then later I have to spell my email address. :facepalm: Well... my email address has my last name as part of it, but without the dash. I used to try to get people to "copy" the name that I just spelled out for them from their lname field, and "paste" it into the email field, then remove the dash and add some letters before and after. As I explain this on the phone, 2 or 3 out of 10 people get it completely and are happy that I suggested it. The rest act as if I just asked them to cure cancer. They just ask me to spell it out again... blaming "their system" for not allowing them to do that. Maybe they are right--it's a hardware/software limitation? Maybe it's just too complicated for them personally and they are more comfortable listening to me speak out letters, followed by words that begin with the same letter?? (F, as in frank..) (I have a P in my name too, and when I am working with a person who has a sense of humor, occasionally I say "P as in Psychology...":D)

Either way, it suggests that your idea may be difficult for some reservation-desk people to implement.

BUT IF YOU COLD MAKE IT REALLY SIMPLE... maybe, just maybe it'll work! I think there could be a market for this kind of stuff, because businesses probably want clean data even more than customers want them to have it! I'm just not sure if focusing on the RV industry as a target market will be the quickest way to success. Heck.. I'm glad if I can get usable wifi at my campsite, and that's not rocket science! :laugh:

wfcentral 11-25-2014 08:20 AM

thanks for the feedback - it could be used by ANYONE for ANY REASON...

However, I just know I would definitely use it myself for this scenario...

Thought I would toss it out to this community if I build it and see how much it spreads by usage...

Rkh 11-25-2014 01:29 PM

Sounds like another solution looking for a problem.. sorry.

phranc 11-27-2014 08:32 PM

Not a bad idea . A little refinement here and there and of course getting
campground offices to have internet . Might make a nice alternate
to on-line registration.

Superslif 11-27-2014 09:03 PM

I agree for the most part especially some older mom & pop campgrounds it does take a few times to get all your info processed correctly. I guess I'm just used to it. How were you going to handle the deposit if that is by credit card?

On another note: I'm finding there are now too many ways to communicate. phone, text, email, Twitter, Facebook. Link-in...The list goes on. I'm always selling stuff on Craigslist and having to remember who contacted me and by what means...I'll email someone back...no response, O that person only does texting. Another...I get a email with a phone number, but when you call they never answer or the voice-mail box is full.

wfcentral 11-28-2014 06:30 AM

The credit card info (number, expiration date, security code) would still be given over the phone. Those are all numbers and I rarely have issue with people getting those wrong. It's when I get to the billing address and have to give them weird street names and city name that it gets difficult again.

another option I thought of is having a small webform at the end of the card where the person viewing it could put in a confirmation number or any info they want to get back to you. So, if you are making a reservation at an RV park they could put in your confirmation number and the name of their park or any of their contact info they want... then press send.

Lindamon 11-28-2014 06:54 AM

Phonetic alphabet
 
I have a first and last name that is often confused for similar sounding ones.

As a retired airline pilot, I always use the phonetic alphabet when I give my name over the phone.

As many RV'ers seem to be retired military or airline, I imagine that's a pretty common practice here.

Still, I applaud anyone who keeps trying with ideas and the hard work to implement them, some will surely pan out, and that's one of the things that makes this country so great!

Good luck!

Damon

jones47172 11-28-2014 07:09 AM

The most satisfying experience I have when making reservations is when the campground sends out an email with the details of the reservation. This confirms my reservation and info in a format I can retain while traveling. A website that conglomerates this info in one place would be interesting. With this the DW would have access to current info. Maybe your website could give each user a page that retains our trips, past and present. Taking this even further, the user could add notes to their page that would document their trips.

rjf7g 11-28-2014 08:29 AM

Perhaps you should do a little requirements gathering from the folks you are dealing with...it's the campground owners, not the campers who will help you solve this problem or not. It may work for you all day long, but if it doesn't work for them, it doesn't result in a reservation for you!

RodgerS 11-28-2014 08:38 AM

Great way to build a database you can make money from by selling it for marketing.

wfcentral 11-28-2014 05:01 PM

I would not sell the data. Would probably have Google ads on the site to cover expenses.

wfcentral 11-28-2014 05:02 PM

Guess I will talk to some Park owners

Ray,IN 12-04-2014 08:35 PM

And just think, in the 1930's the government considered closing the patent office because they thought everything was already invented. Keep at it!


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