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MARYVILLE, Mo. — City Council members approved on Monday a plan that city staffers say will make online reservations for activities at Mozingo Lake Recreation Park easier and save the city money.

During Monday’s meeting, the council OK’d an ordinance to contract with Campspot, a leading campground reservation system company, to take over Mozingo Lake Recreation Park’s online reservation system for cabins, RVs and shelters.

Currently, the city uses a custom system built by Hue Labs as part of its redesign of Mozingo’s website in 2015. However, as traffic has continued to increase, the system has required significant overhauls to keep up with demand — because the reservation system is part of the website itself operated on the same servers, high traffic for reservations slows down performance across the whole site.

The rapid growth in popularity of Mozingo as a tourist destination has already necessitated an overhaul previously: in 2017, the council agreed to another $12,500 redesign to address similar issues. In January of this year, Assistant City Manager Ryan Heiland said, the company sent the city another $15,000 invoice for what it said would be a required update to further optimize performance. Instead, the city looked for other solutions.

In Campspot — a widely used, cloud-based booking system — Heiland said the city has found one that will not only be significantly cheaper, but also will be easier for users and staff alike.

Campspot charges no upfront fees, but instead takes a $2 fee from each online reservation made through the system — Mozingo charges $10 for each reservation. City documents show that 1,082 bookings in total were made last year, which includes offline bookings that would not be subject to the $2 fee. However, even if all the bookings were made online, the city would have paid a little more than $2,100 to Campspot last year, as opposed to the average of $6,250 it had paid per year the two years prior to Hue Labs.

Additionally, Heiland said, the city is currently required to pay for enhanced security and server capacity to handle reservation payments; since Campspot is cloud-based, Campspot handles the transactions and servers, and the city would only need to pay for hosting the rest of the site. That would allow the city to look for a new website host at a lower rate than the more than $5,200 annually that it pays now that includes such expanded features.

Heiland said the target date for the system to go live is June 15.

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