After eight years the Friend Communications name will be retired and the business will now officially be known as Leisure Interactive LLC.
The new company name establishes a clearer link with the broader mission of the company – to deliver best-of-breed software, management and marketing solutions for the leisure lifestyle industry, according to a news release.
The legal structure of Friend Communications has also changed, from a corporation to a limited liability company.
Leisure Interactive founder and CEO Gary Pace named the company Friend Communications in 2002 when he launched the first real-time online reservation system for the campground and RV park industry.
“At the time we launched Friend, companies like Orbitz and Expedia were successfully changing the way consumers booked business and pleasure travel for airlines, hotels and rental cars,” he stated. “But no one was doing that for the campground industry. As long-time industry veterans, we decided to change that – the name Friend Communications reflected the connection we wanted to create with our customers and consumers. The concept of ‘Friend’ will always be at the heart of what we do but as our company grows and expands into different markets and industries we needed a name that would better reflect our future vision.”
Hercules, the company’s flagship product has rapidly gained market share in the campground and RV park industry. Product enhancements are currently underway for planned expansion into other leisure lifestyle industries, such as marinas and RV rentals.
With the name and legal structure change, all brands and products formerly owned by Friend Communications and parent company Leisure Holding, including ReservationFriend.com, CampingFriend.com, Hercules Front Office, PARCS software, the CampingAds network, Camping.com, and RVSales.com, will live under the Leisure Interactive umbrella.
Leisure Interactive LLC is a leading provider of online reservation, property management software and marketing solutions for the Leisure Lifestyle industry. Leisure Interactive LLC also operates a large network of consumer focused leisure travel and information websites, including camping.com campground.com, RVparks.com and rvsales.com.
The California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) has added the GuestRated review function to Camp-California.com, which gives consumers the ability to rate their camping experience, according to a news release.
“Consumers can now rate private campgrounds and RV parks throughout California using a survey tool that coverts their responses to letter grades,” said Debbie Sipe, executive director of the Auburn-based CalARVC, which manages Camp-California.com.
Private parks can be rated on their service quality, property condition, campsites and restrooms. “Overall grades are assigned to each park that has been surveyed,” Sipe said, adding that the number of surveys completed for each park is also displayed.
Sipe said the rating system, developed by Murrieta, Calif.-based GuestRated.com, was added to Camp-California.com this summer in response to consumer demand for an independent rating system for private parks throughout the Golden State.
“The letter grade system is a powerful marketing tool for parks with high scores since Camp-California also offers consumers the ability to sort parks by their ratings,” Sipe said. “Of course, it also provides an incentive for parks with lower grades to address areas of consumer concern if they want to remain competitive with their peers in the industry.”
Consumers can review campgrounds and RV parks they have visited by clicking on the “reviews” tab, which appears at the top of the screen after they click to see detailed information about the private park of interest to them. The rating form provided by GuestRated.com will then appear on the screen.
Sipe said more than 3,200 surveys have been completed for roughly half of the campgrounds and RV parks listed on Camp-California.com and those numbers will increase significantly as word spreads about the new ratings function.
The ratings capability was one of several upgrades made to Camp-California.com this summer by Orange, Calif.-based Friend Communications Inc., which manages and hosts for CalARVC.
Other improvements include the creation of subdomains on the site, which make it possible for consumers to bookmark park listings for future reference. The computer coding in URLs throughout the site has also been replaced with recognizable keywords to make it easier for consumers to find parks listed on Camp-California.com when they conduct Google searches or searches with other Internet search engines.
Parks listed on Camp-California.com can also be sorted by location and by the amenities or recreational activities they provide. They can also be listed alphabetically or by their ratings.
“We are continually fine tuning Camp-California.com to make it more user friendly and to give consumers the information they need as quickly as possible,” Sipe said.
For additional commentary, statistics and sources on the latest camping trends in campgrounds, RV parks and resorts in California or for leads on parks in your news coverage area, contact Sipe at (530) 885-1624 or (530) 906-4592 (cell).