How to Make Your Own Check-in Kiosk for Late Night Arrivals

The hotel and lodging industry never sleeps. So it is no surprise that campers and RVers will show up at all hours of the night looking for a spot to rest their road-weary mind. The good thing about this is that you have another guest. The hard part is that you don’t always have a spot for them and/or you don’t have staff on site to get them all settled in. This leads to many different outcomes, but most commonly we hear that campers will just “self-assign” themselves a spot. This action snowballs the problem when that spot has been assigned to someone else. There is also the difficulty of verifying payment for the lodging, not to mention the possibility that they don’t pay at all.

Maybe you have tried leaving well articulated instructions, envelopes, and a dropbox to guide them through their late-night arrival. Maybe you don’t allow them to come in after hours at all. One park implemented a call-in service that specializes in after hour reservation handling. There are pros and cons to any solution. But, one of the campgrounds using Bonfire took matters into their own hands and created an in-house solution that solves all their late night arrival problems. They made their own check-in/reservation kiosk using Bonfire, a wifi connection and an iPad. This system allowed users to check-in, reserve/pay and even assign themselves a spot. Here’s how you can do it too. 

1. Pick up a refurbished 3rd generation Apple iPad from your favorite store or online. An older generation tablet will be more than enough. You don’t need an expensive new one. You can find refurbished tablets online for around $300 or less on Amazon. You can use an Android tablet, but the apps needed MAY be different. 

2. You can then purchase an app called Kiosk Pro Plus for $49. This app allows you to create a user workflow that leads people to specific sites, prompting them to take specific actions and keeps the iPad on at all times. 

3. To protect the iPad from being stolen, you can purchased a lock box and cemented it to the ground. These range from $35-$150. You can also design and build your own method of securing the kiosk as you desire. This may be a less expensive option. Just make sure you also factor in ways to keep the kiosk screen protected from the elements.

4. Next, you will need to design a landing page. The Kiosk Pro Plus app controls the back and forward icons of the web page and also keeps the user locked into the check-in/checkout process. Click Here to reference an example of this kind of landing page. 


5. Using specific image icons/text buttons, the user is sent directly to your online booking page provided by Bonfire. The user can either check-in OR reserve a spot. If they are trying to reserve a spot, Bonfire’s online booking page will also ensure they pay for that reservation based on your deposit policy. After they complete the check-in or pay for their reservation, they are all set to go to their site. 


6. Additionally, as a precautionary control, you should enable Guided Access, which restricts the user from clicking the home button or referencing the notification center when they swipe down on the screen. 

  • To enable Guided Access:In the iOS Settings menu, select General.

  • Select Accessibility.

  • Select Guided Access and turn it On.

  • Set Mirror Display Auto-Lock = On (devices running iOS 12.1.1 or later). This prevents the device from being put to sleep after 20 minutes of inactivity, regardless of Auto-Lock settings.

  • Guided Access requires that you set a passcode to unlock the device. This can be done globally for the iPad in the main Accessibility settings (which we recommend as there's less chance of making a mistake or setting an incorrect passcode if you only have to set it once) or individually each time Guided Access is started.

Total Cost: $400 - $800

A huge thanks to Golden Municipal Campground for graciously sharing with us their after-hours check-in kiosk process.  If you have any questions about Bonfire or how it could work for your campground, email our Head Honcho at howdy@letsbonfire.com.