Province's online campsite booking service frustrates campers

The site has been experiencing problems since online booking launched Monday.

Saskatchewan Parks reserve-a-site slow, one-in-seven customers charged more than once

Some people trying to book campsites online have been frustrated with the experience. (Google Street View)

It was a frustrating morning for Lauren Henning. 

The Regina resident was trying to book a campsite online using Saskatchewan Parks' reserve-a-site service

"It was terrible," she said. "We were struggling getting sites. It would close off on us. The website would crash. The payments would be rejected and when you go back in to try to re-choose your sites again it would be gone because somebody else chose it."

The site has been experiencing problems since online booking launched Monday.

Kathy Young, executive director of communications with the province, said in a statement that the high volume of people accessing the site quickly contributed to a processing error that resulted in some campers being charged more than once.

Of the 7,000 or so reservations completed Monday, Young said that about 1,500 people were charged more than once.

"The government is taking this matter seriously," she said. "When the challenge was brought to our attention, Parks staff updated their website and posted to Facebook and ensured that their staff, as well as the Camis call centre (the service producer), knew about the issue and could help people over the phone. They have directly emailed the 1,500 customers affected with apologies from the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport. The ministry went to work immediately with the service provider to ensure the error was corrected in time for today's booking opportunity." 

Slow site

In first 90 minutes today, Young said they had about 3,400 reservations. There were reports of the site being slow because of traffic volumes, she said, but there were no billing errors and the situation is being monitored. 

This morning, Henning said she waited more than 20 minutes for her booking to be processed and to see whether the payment would be completed. What made it more challenging for Henning was that she was trying to book campsites at Danielson Provincial Park next to her friends. 

"We're all very close friends so we wanted to be a stone's throw from each other," she said. "As it turns out, now we have to kind of do a little stretch of a walk in between, which isn't the end of the world, but it's not ideal. When it comes to booking something with people, you want to spend the majority of your time with."

Join the Saskatoon Morning live chat about the province's online booking system right now.