Case Study -- Parking Operator in South Florida
Turning Silver Into Gold
Urban sophisticates shopping for luxury lifestyles are accustomed to all the amenities of a five-star
hotel -- branded spas and health clubs, vanishing-edge pools with waterfalls, gourmet markets, world-class dining and a multitude of personal luxuries, including concierge service. In a sizzling hot condominium market, developers pre-marketing projects from sales centers are preoccupied with capturing the brand experience.
Yet, might something vital have been overlooked?
"Absolutely," says Bijan Eghtedari, President of Park One, a Miami-based full-service parking services firm. "Increasingly, professional valet services are being recognized by developers as a fundamental five-star amenity for their projects." Gone are the days of feeding nickels, dimes and quarters into meters. That silver was turned into gold when developers began to see valet as a necessity in the luxury market.
"The first person you see is most likely the valet and, therefore, is critical to the brand experience, Eghtedari says. "Not only is it the first impression, it is also the last impression." Relying on the valet service as the front-line ambassador for a completed luxury development takes staff with the ability to convey a feeling of competence and trust. "Customers who know us do not hesitate to hand the keys to their expensive vehicle to a fully trained Park One employee."
Consider that the parking for a premium South Florida development typically contains more than $8 million of luxury cars on any given day, with more arriving by the minute, and one can appreciate the importance of such a statement. "We have the best and most qualified group of associates in the industry."
Park One provides valet and other premier parking services to some of the most luxurious South Florida condominium environments and prestigious real estate developers such as Aventura's newest condominium, The Peninsula, developed by Boca Developers; Turnberry Associates; Williams Island Associates; Trump International; Sonesta Hotels; Fortune International Developers; Brookwood Properties; Dezer Development; and the Related Group. On any given day, Park One employees valet park 25,000 to 30,000 cars.
Park One provides strict training and sustaining employee standards -- maintaining a car dedicated to employee training and testing; carefully monitoring employee demeanor and appearance; and requiring a valid driver's license, thorough background check and drug testing.
"Park One turns silver into gold right at the front door," says Eghtedari. "Valet, door and concierge staff are the newest front-line diplomats, even wearing the uniform of the development," as they are doing with Jade at Brickell Bay, the new Fortune International Developers' 338-unit luxury project, where Park One is rolling out a custom project uniform that becomes part of the brand complementing the signature Jade color and theme.
Park One is experiencing excellent growth in the last 18 months, doubling the size of the firm and topping off the more than 80 major accounts landed in the last four years. In fact, according to Ben Launerts, Marketing Director for Park One, "our employees become integral to the organization of a condominium. The residents come to know them well, and the employees reciprocate the good feelings. I am proud of our people and acknowledge that most of my [marketing] work is done through the tremendous good will and effort of our employees."
Another trend in the industry is in "smart building" systems, and Park One is at the forefront of the new technology. "Sophisticated smart building technology integrated with parking services is becoming the norm," Eghtedari says. "Park One seamlessly synchronizes with remote parking system activation, bar code activation gates, and smart building systems, such as those allowing communication directly from the residence to the valet with simple touch screen activation." (Such technology signals the valet to bring the car around on command or on a pre-arranged schedule, and is a part of premium parking service amenities.)
Park One offers more than 65 years of parking experience, providing valet and transportation services and significant expertise in development, consulting and management of parking systems. Originating in New Orleans, LA, Park One entered the Florida market in December 1999. The company operates properties in all of the Miami sub-markets, including Miami Beach, South Beach, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Key Biscayne, Downtown Miami, and Bal Harbour, and is making headway north with recent addition of properties in Hollywood Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale by the Sea and Boca Raton.
Park One is community-based and community-involved, actively participating in leading industry and local organizations, with board member status in CAMP (Condominium Association Management Professionals), the exclusive organization for condominium managers; the Advisory Board of the Florida Builders Association; National Parking Association; Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau; Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association; Greater Fort Lauderdale Lodging and Hospitality; Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce; the Aventura Marketing Council; and the "I Have a Dream" Foundation.
Article Abstract from January, 2005