Unlike a plethora of other markets that experienced an influx of dot-coms that made some hay then vanished into thin air, the camp marketplace has provided and supported a bevy of healthy software and Web-based providers. Their success is due in large part to the fact that they're selling products camps actually need. It's the old supply-and-demand scenario.
Earlier this year we sent out surveys to companies who provide technology products and services specifically to children's camps. These companies run the gamut from Web service and online interactive content providers to camp management software vendors, and everything in between that's computer-based and makes the daily grind that much easier.
As we did last year, we're publishing an abbreviated version of the full report here. The entire report can be found at www.camp-business.com. Click on Camp Business magazine on the left side of the homepage, then scroll down on that page to Articles, Forms & Reports and click there.
What you'll find on the Web is a breakdown of each software company's offerings into products and pricing, technical requirements, connectivity, management/operations/database functions, registration functions, on-line interactive services, search-engine services, other services, third-party compatibilities, upgrade and support policies and contact information.
Here, we've provided a snapshot based on information provided by each vendor, edited to fit a relatively consistent style, intended to give an idea of each offering. You're encouraged to do further research via our Web site and the Web sites off all the vendors listed here.
We'll publish an annual update each year to keep you informed of changes and upgrades. Your input is valuable and we invite you to let us know if there's any other information we can help provide.
Products and prices: Bunk1's password-protected summer services are available at no cost to the camp. Services include Bunk Notes, which lets parents send one-way e-mail to campers; Bunk Replies, which lets campers respond to Bunk Notes with Bunk1's camper fax-back system; Photo Gallery, where parents view (and can buy) pictures from camp; Video Gallery for posting camp videos on-line; Newsletter and Message Boards to help the camp community stay in touch in the off-season. Other Web site services include Bunk1 CampSite, which offers simple tools to build a camp Web site (no Web master necessary); Care Package Store and Custom Website Design. Other Bunk1 services include Camp1, fully integrated, Web-based camp management and on-line registration; Bunk1 Messenger, for phone messaging; Camp Search Engine; Staffing Service; On-line Surveys and CD-ROM Photo Yearbooks.
Technical requirements & connectivity: Windows PC with Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher, or Mac with Safari 1.0 or higher; dial-up or high-speed (cable, DSL) Internet connection. No software required.
Third-party compatibilities: Fully compatible with all camp market-specific and off-the-shelf software.
Upgrade policies: Bunk1's features are Internet-based so all upgrades and improvements are instantly available. There is no need to manually install patches or software upgrades.
Support policies: Bunk1 provides separate toll-free numbers for camp owners and camp parents to call during the summer. Bunk1 customer service representatives are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Contact information: Bunk1, 211 West 61st Street, 4th Floor, NY, NY 10023, (888) 465-2267, info@Bunk1.com, www.bunk1.com
Products and prices: CampBrain, camp and conference center management software, $1,900 and up. On-line Registration prices vary.
Technical requirements: Network setup -- Windows 2000 or Windows XP, 128 MB or more RAM, 50 MB or more hard disk space, Pentium 266 MHz or faster. Workstation -- Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, 128 MB or more RAM, 50 MB or more hard disk space, Pentium 266 MHz or faster, 800 x 600 minimum screen resolution, Microsoft Access (Access 97, 2000, XP, 2003. Access is included in Microsoft Office Professional and Microsoft Office Professional Enterprise editions only). Single user (no network) -- Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, 128 MB or greater RAM, 50 MB or more hard disk space, Pentium 266 MHz or faster, 800 x 600 minimum screen resolution, Microsoft Access (Access 97, 2000, XP, 2003. Access is included in Microsoft Office Professional and Microsoft Office Professional Enterprise editions only).
Connectivity: Software-based with Web-based online registration.
Third-party compatibilities: Complete compatibility with Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel and Outlook. Download on-line registrations directly from infosnap via an XML data transfer. Send camper information automatically for use in ecamp's communication products. Process credit cards directly from CampBrain using the Skipjack payment network.
Upgrade policies: Upgrades are included in the first season and to members of the Annual Maintenance Plan free of charge. Otherwise, they may be purchased as needed.
Support policies: Year-round, dedicated, personal technical support is available to all users. Technical support provided with purchase and Annual Maintenance Plan free of charge. Otherwise, it may be purchased on a time-used basis.
Contact information: CampBrain, 5 Lower Sherbourne St. Suite 206, Toronto, ON M5A 2P3, Canada, (866) 485-8885, email@example.com, www.campbrain.com
Products and prices: CampMinder, all-encompassing Web-based management program. Also includes online camper applications, online payments, online inquiries, online staff application, online photos, one-way e-mail, newsletters, online accounts for families, staff and alumni to fill out forms, pay, and update info online. Call for pricing.
Technical requirements: High-speed Internet connection, Mac or PC with Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox Web browser.
Upgrade policies: Standard upgrades included with license, upgrades occur transparently to user.
Support policies: Unlimited support.
Contact information: CampMinder, Dan Konigsberg, (212) 475-4045, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.campminder.com
Products and prices: Online Registration and Comprehensive Camp Management Software: $2.50 to $7 per registrant (no software purchase or maintenance fees). Photo & Emailing services: Free to camp plus parent fee split with camp. Credit Card & Debit Card Processing: Single percentage to cover costs (no setup, monthly, or other fees). Online Electronic Check Processing: 1.5% to 2.5% (no transaction or monthly fees). Online Staff Applications: $.15 to $.25 (if using other services). Online Request Information Forms: $.15 or less (if using other services). Online Donation Collection: 1% of donation amount. Online Product Sales (eCommerce): 2% of donation amount. Web Site Development: variable cost plus hosting. Assistance with Publicity: Free recommendations if using other services
Technical requirements: Any computer with an Internet connection. CampRegister provides the hardware that runs the software at its expense.
Connectivity: Web-based and browser-based.
Third-party compatibilities: With CampRegister, your database can be exported to either comma- or tab-delimited format for use with other database software. Your current database can be imported into our software.
Upgrade policies: Because CampRegister's software is connected to the Internet, upgrades are received weekly at no cost, and without having to download or install.
Support policies: CampRegister provides a dedicated account manager who will be your primary point of contact. There is 24x7 emergency support where CampRegister will get back to any question within an hour.
Contact information: CampRegister, A Division of Thriva, (877) 996-2267 x3, email@example.com, www.campregister.com
Products and prices: Featured Camp Listing -- Recommended for camps that are equipped to manage referrals and are interested in targeted Web traffic. Featured Plus Listing -- Recommended for camps that are interested in acquiring targeted Web traffic and generating new leads. CampMatch Online Marketing -- Using the company's camper profiling engine, CampMatch creates lists of potential campers that meet a camp's exact criteria. Marketing campaigns start at $499 per year.
Technical requirements: A computer with a connection to the Internet.
Connectivity: Optimized for Internet Explorer
Support policies: Telephone support available 9-5 EST; Web and email support available 24/7. Free six-minute online tour of campsearch.com, 9-5 EST (call 416.588.6375).
Contact information: CampSearch.com, Kyle Waxman, 219 Dufferin Street #200A, Toronto, ON, M6K 3J1, (416) 588-6375, (416) 588-8753 (fax), firstname.lastname@example.org, www.campsearch.com (for parents and families), www.campsearch.com/marketing (for camp directors and camp marketers).
Products and prices: On-line photo gallery. Premium plan is $12 per camper per year; basic plan is $6 per camper per year.
Technical requirements: Computer with Internet access and a digital camera.
Third-party compatibilities: Works with any existing Web site.
Support policies: 24/7 technical support toll-free.
Contact information: SIMPLYCAMP, (800) 608-9018, email@example.com, www.simplycamp.com
Products and prices: CAMPWISE Basic and CAMPWISE Advanced. Prices can vary. Quotes available upon request.
Technical requirements: CAMPWISE has been designed to work in a stand alone, workgroup (peer to peer), or network environment. Which type of installation you choose will have an impact on what configuration is required for your equipment. Operating System, when in a standalone environment, must be either Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional. In a network setting, Microsoft Windows 2000 server is required. Software requirements, Internet Explorer 6.0 or above. For online use (CAMPWISE Advanced) high speed Internet access is recommended.
Connectivity: Browser-based product that resides on your system in a Windows environment, which creates a familiar, comfortable environment for users. The product can also be hosted remotely on a server.
Third-party compatibilities: Financial export capability allows for transaction to be imported by many financial packages. Real time credit card payment authorization available when On-Line Payments used in conjunction with the on-line gateway service provided by Authorize.net.
Upgrade policies: Yearly updates provided as part of annual support subscription.
Support policies: The annual maintenance and support plan begins the day you purchase the CAMPWISE product. RecSoft includes one year of subscription to the plan with each purchase of CAMPWISE. At the end of that year, the company suggests that customers renew their maintenance and support plan subscription. The support plan includes the following services and/or benefits: Unlimited software support via phone, fax, email or Web; access to customer-only content on the CAMPWISE Web site; software defect fixes; software updates, which may include features that are added to the modules you currently own; toll free number for support; user manuals and training. Hours for support are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. After-hours support is available for an additional charge.
Contact information: CAMPWISE by RecSoft, PO Box 1353, Harrisonburg, VA 22803-1353, (540) 433-3939, (540) 433-0520 (fax), www.recsoft.net
Products and prices: EZ-CAMP2 Camp Management Software. EZ-CAMP2 is priced in modules, allowing you to purchase just the elements you need. Individual modules range in cost from $95-$495. Modules include Database/Camp Manager, Family/Camper Drawer, Staff Drawer, Prospect Drawer, Custom Report Writer, Insta-Merge, E-Mail Management, Online Registration, Enrollment Chart, Activity Scheduling, , Facility Scheduler, Accounts Receivable, EZ-EFT Electronic Fee Collection Service, General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Payroll, EZ2-Post Accounting Interface to QuickBooks, Networking, Import Utility and Communications.
Technical requirements: Server -- Peer-to-peer operating system, Windows 98 minimum, Win98/NT/2000/XP/Pro recommended. LAN operating systems, Novell, Win NT Server, Win 2000 Server. Memory, 128 MB minimum, 512 MB recommended. Hard drive space needed, application, 60 MB. Hard drive space needed, data, 1-2 MB per family. Processor speed, 400 MHz minimum, 1 GHz recommended. Network cards, 100BaseT. Cabling, hubs and switches, 100BaseT. Other hardware, CD ROM drive, 1.44 (3.5") disk drive minimum; all hardware needed to provide full, scheduled backup of data. Workstation -- Operating systems, Windows 98 minimum, Win98/NT/2000/ME/XP recommended. Processor speed, 400 MHz minimum, 1 GHz recommended. Memory (RAM), 64 MB minimum, 256 MB recommended. Available hard drive space 40 MB. Video memory, 4 MB minimum, 8 MB recommended. Network card, 100BaseT. Other hardware, CD ROM drive, 1.44 MB (3.5") disk drive.
Connectivity: Software-based with browser/Web-based access options.
Third-party compatibilities: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, export available to other applications (PDA, databases, etc.) and a QuickBooks Interface, which allows EZ-CAMP2's specialized features for camp enrollment and billing to post to QuickBooks for financial reporting.
Upgrade policies: SofterWare provides free updates to all clients on support plans.
Support policies: Support plans include free regular product enhancements/updates, toll-free 800 unlimited phone support, access to the clients-only Web site, newsletters, user meetings, access to training classes, modem support, emergency interrupt access to support, 24-hour, seven-day a week emergency support and one-hour guaranteed response time.
Contact information: SofterWare Inc., 540 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 200, Fort Washington, PA 19444, (800) 220-8111, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.softerware.com
Products and prices: UltraCamp is a Web-based management tool developed by camping professionals. Setup fee is $199. Pre-pay registration option is $4 per registrant, 100-499 registrants; $3 per registrant, 500-999 registrants; $2.75 per registrant, 1,000-4,999 registrants; 5,000 registrants, $2.25 per registrant. Monthly registration option, no up-front cost except setup fee, $4 per registrant.
Technical requirements: Internet connection.
Upgrade policies: Free upgrades.
Support policies: Free, unlimited tech support.
Contact information: UltraCamp, 11 Public Square, 4th Floor, Hagerstown, MD 21740, (888) 791-2080, email@example.com, www.ultracamp.com