Park First Class, Pay Coach: The Wallypark Difference
John Van Horn
“Park First Class, . . . It’s the difference between the Ritz Carlton and Marriott. They are both extremely successful business models but they appeal to different types of customers.” WallyPark President Charles Basset talks about his company and how he sees its fit in the off airport parking business.
All off airport parking operations park cars near an airport and take their customers to the terminals in shuttle buses. I like to think that the similarity with our competitors stops there.
“We spend a tremendous amount of effort making the parking experience different for those who leave their vehicles with us. It’s more than a bottle of water and a newspaper, it’s a feeling that you are special, that your car will be well cared for..
He showed the interviewer a picture on his iPad. It was two Rolls Royces parked side-by-side in his facility at LAX.
“These customers could have easily had a car service take them to the airport and pick them up on their return. However, they chose to leave their expensive vehicles in our care. There has to be a reason.
“It’s more than high-end shuttle buses and comfortable lobbies. It’s more than the “WallyGuards” that hang between each vehicle so there are no door dings when it’s returned. It’s more than the services like oil changes, detailing, window tinting, dry cleaning and vehicle refueling. We have a ‘feeling’ that we train all our staff to impart. Our customers are our guests. We treat them like they were staying at a five star hotel.”
“WallyPark guests are usually under pressure trying to make a flight or thinking about business or vacation. The WallyPark staff attends ‘WallyUniversity’ where experts in customer service and hospitality train them down to the last detail. They learn to be perceptive and attentive to the needs of guests.”
PT spoke to a customer who was just dropping their car off in WallyPark’s “valet” operation.
“I’ve been parking here for years. I like the idea that when I return, I just get out of the shuttle, someone helps with my luggage, my car is right here on the ground floor. I get in and drive away. No lines, no paying, its great.”
WallyPark has a “WallyClub” loyalty program and customers can log their credit cards on file. When they return they give the shuttle driver their ticket number and he calls it in. When the shuttle arrives at the facility, the member’s car is on the ground floor, door open, receipt on the dashboard, and keys in the ignition ready to go. The valet helps with the luggage then walks to the exit gate and personally lets the member out.”
“We staff at a level that allows us to offer personal service. Sure the valet customers pay a bit more for that service, but they appreciate the convenience after returning from a long flight. The fact that they don’t have to wait in line or deal with cashiers is “priceless”.
Self-park guest are picked up at their individual vehicles by the shuttle, which runs every five minutes. They are greeted by a driver and assisted with their luggage.
”We design and build our parking facilities to be efficient and customer friendly. High ceilings so the shuttles can drive to every floor, plenty of space between vehicles, a welcoming atmosphere with hotel-like lobbies and restrooms.
According to Bassett, 80 percent of the people who park at WallyPark’s locations nationwide are return customers. “We understand the value of customer loyalty and will continue to offer a level of service that exceeds the expectations of our guests.
Known for its “white glove service,” WallyPark, owned by the L&R Group of companies, is one of the largest and fastest growing national off-airport parking companies with locations in Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, SeaTac, Houston, San Diego, Newark and is currently expanding to Jacksonville, Milwaukee and Orlando. WallyPark also operates other off-airport brands including WallyPark Express and All-Star Parking.
The L&R Group of Companies, headquartered in Los Angeles, is a privately held, well-capitalized organization that operates two distinct parking divisions: WallyPark and Joe’s Auto Parks. L&R is a vertically integrated company that owns, operates and develops parking facilities at major airports and cites nationwide. Visit www.tlrgc.com
Article Abstract from April, 2013