In the big bad world of online camp management software, there are many options to choose from.
Each camp registration software offers up what it considers to be the best, most important features that your summer camp just cannot live without.
Each company clearly values putting forward a product that will appeal to and work for the majority of camps – allowing them to manage their summer camp registration process as well as other camp admin tasks.
In this post I am going to do a little comparison so that you can see which one works for YOU best. Note that there is no “best camp software”, it is all about what YOUR camp needs and finding the one that does that (and fits the bill obviously).
The goal of a good camp management system is to automate much of this process and allow camps to improve their workflow and reduce mistakes, and time wasted on admin tasks. After all, you are not in the administration business, you are in the camp business and the online camp registration and client management is just a necessity you want to get out of the way. Hence the need to automate (so you can really do what you are good at).
Ultimately you need a camp management software that solves YOUR camp’s problems and not the issues of other camps. The software you choose should give you exactly what you need, nothing more and nothing less. The latest trend in the software world recently has been offering up more and more personalization when it comes to the flow of the system, and a general lowering of prices for software. This is good news for you because you are getting more (ability), for less (money)!
How to choose the software that fits your needs.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with choosing a software for your camp, check out some posts I’ve written, below, that go into more detail about evaluating the price vs cost of software, since budget concerns and determining the real cost of your software can sometimes be tricky as well as other tips and tricks to choosing a software that meets your needs.
- How to choose the best online registration software.
- Price vs. Cost of Online Registration Software: 5 Factors to Consider
- Pre-Set Registration Software vs. YOUR Software
Top Camp Software Feature: Conditional Logic!
Conditional logic very simply means the ability to customize the registration flow based on parent answers to specifically triggered questions.
An easy example is camper allergies. If you ask the question “Does the camper have any allergies?”, a “No” answer will move on to the next section and a “Yes” answer will trigger additional questions to show – like an upload function to add a doctor report, more details on the specific allergy or whatever you need to get the information required.
Regpack takes conditional logic a step further by allowing you to trigger more than just additional fields, questions or forms. You can also trigger products, payment plans, schedules and more with conditional logic, based on how parents answer specific questions.
This ability really gives your out of the box software a customized experience and allows you to create a unique registration flow for every family.
Evaluate your own needs
As a first step I recommend you evaluate your own camp onboarding process, and decide what functionalities you really need and then what you’d like to have but that isn’t necessary. DO THIS BEFORE you go look at software options and request some demos. The reason I suggest this is because once you start seeing demos, you will start believing that you need to change everything around and that your process requires more and more abilities to work.
Don’t fall into that trap! Every software company will present to you their unique edge, that special something that they have and they know the other companies do not have. Is it something you need? Most likely not. Is it something important? To them it is, I am not sure it is important to you. We all fall for marketing tactics, but if we are aware they happen we just might avoid it.
I have been going on forever about seeking for solutions, not features and the same obviously applies when looking for an online camp registration software. Do not be overwhelmed by features, do not talk the “silicon valley” talk of more is better.
Find the software that makes sense for you, call the company and ask for a demo (red flag if you cannot talk to someone). Tell them your challenges and see what happens. If they start talking about all their great features and why you REALLY REALLY need this feature nicely say “thank you” and move to the next vendor. You know what you need, you know your camp and your audience, you know what are your current challenges.
Stay focused on the issues you want to solve and you will find the software that is right for you. Any added value that comes later through the software will be great but at the beginning focus on what you need and not what they are telling you you need.
Now hit Google, Capterra, Facebook or ask your friends on Twitter or any other source that will show you which software companies are out there and what people like using. Good search queries are “online camp registration software” or “camp registration software” or “camp registration system” to get started.
Once you narrow the field and decide on the 3-4 software companies you want to look further into, it is so important to make sure that your contact at the companies are knowledgeable in the camp field. This means they understand your issues and your problem areas and they can explain how the software can address and solve your challenges.
It’s always nice that a software might offer a ton of capabilities, but maybe your camp does not need all the fancy features they suggest… stand your ground, remember who you are and what you know works for your camp and your business and seek out the software that is right for you. Do not get tempted to use a software that has “a ton of features” but none of them are the ones you need. (I wrote all about seeking solutions, not features when it comes to registration software).
For example, some of the options listed below offer camp store setups and some don’t. If you are looking for a camp store feature, obviously crossing off any that don’t offer that helps you narrow things down right off the bat.
But what if you don’t need a camp store? It doesn’t mean you have to dismiss any of the options that have it, but just keep in mind that while it sounds NICE that the software is capable of a camp store, if you don’t need it, then who cares that one of their long list of features is a camp store? Always think about what you NEED and if the software you are looking at fills that need.
Embedded Registration increases enrollment 27%!
One feature that would be a must have on my list is registration that can sit and function on YOUR website, and does NOT redirect to a 3rd party software site.
This feature alone has shown to increase registrations by 27%. Parents trust you, and will be more inclined to complete and pay for camp registration when it’s happening on your website.
The more expensive is not the best and neither is the cheapest – it really comes down to what you want and need in a software.
Many of the options listed below don’t advertise their pricing, so you’ll have to send in a demo request or email to get more information.
Note that there are different pricing types in the software world. You can learn more about how to differentiate and truly compare between them here.
Some software options lock you in to an annual contract – which offers little flexibility. Others do offer month to month pricing, which can be a lifesaver for seasonal camps.
This is a big consideration for many camps, so having the option between the two can be a huge benefit!
Camp Management Software Comparison Chart
The chart below compares the following companies and the main features they offer, including their pricing structure, payment capabilities, family registration tools, form creation, automated communication tools, reporting capabilities, alumni data history, mobile access and management, staff management and electronic health records options.
Notice that only 2 of the options allow embedding on your own website. If you want to understand why this is important, read this post.
Regpack Camp Software Comparisons
Remember that there are many solutions to 1 problem, so if you think you need feature x, but a software doesn’t have it, it could be they have another tool that will solve your problem. That’s why it’s important to find a company that connects you with an account manager with knowledge in your field. They can marry their expertise of how camps operate with how their software can support you best.
Good luck hunting!