Transition to a new booking system will up the cost of renting popular Alaska State Parks public use cabins.
Acting State Parks Director Matt Wedeking said a flat eight dollar reservation fee will be added to the rental cost for 66 cabins statewide.
Wedeking said the fee is the result of State Parks switching from an in house reservation system to nationwide vendor Reserve America.
”That is new,” Wedeking said. “That will be a fee to the customer on the Reserve America system.”
Wedeking said there will also be new fees for changing or cancelling reservations.
”There’s a fee charged to the customer to cancel the reservation of five dollars,” Wedeking said. “And to modify a reservation it’s gonna cost you three dollars. But with the system, it’s a lot more user friendly to do that.”
Wedeking said users currently have to call to alter a reservation, and are issued cabin credits for cancellations.
State Parks will not be taking any reservations between March 20th and April 1st as it transitions to the new system, and anyone who cancels during that time, or has an unused cabin credit, will be issue a refund.
Reserve America already handles reservations for State parks in 31 other states, as well as for the U.S Forest and Fish and Wildlife services. Wedeking said the system, which includes a mobile AP, offers new options and opportunities.
”We can actually send out a notification like, ‘Hey. Meyers Lake Cabin is not booked on these weekdays. Are you interested?'” Wedeking said. “So it’s more like a constant call back sort of back and forth.”
Wedeking said being able to better track cabin usage and more easily contact users also opens the possibility of offering discounted rates on open cabins.
”To see if we can fill it,” Wedeking said. “So there’s an opportunity there to get more bookings for us which increases our revenue and providing a better deal for the public.”
Wedeking said State Parks expects the new system to overall reduce management costs. The state anticipates transitioning other recreational facilities, like campgrounds, to the Reserve America system later this year.