Turn Your Garage Into Destination Parking
Operators are getting smarter about optimizing inventory through dynamic pricing and more
By Gary Neff
The parking industry hasn’t been known for its technology or marketing innovation. Deciding when and where to park is usually an afterthought for most. But with so much growing attention on the “smart commute” movement, drivers are becoming strategic about their transportation decisions, including where and how they choose to park their cars.
The smart commute movement has paved the way for a host of innovative consumer-facing solutions to burst onto the scene during the last few years. But that’s just part of the transportation renaissance we’re now seeing across the country. The parking industry, especially from the parking operator side, is ripe for innovation as well.
Think Outside the Parking Spot
More parking operators are rising to the challenge to fill parking spots and optimize inventories through dynamic pricing and new mobile marketing channels. They are turning to new tools to better understand and market to customers.
One of those tools is ParkNow, a new service and app for parking operators, which has made its debut through a pilot program in the San Francisco Bay Area. The app is helping to evolve parking so it’s hassle-free for drivers to find and book a conveniently located parking space in advance at a guaranteed price.
Operators using the app network can select to post a specific offer, rate, and quantity of spaces available at a fixed price. The moment they post that information to the portal, the offers become live on the Internet in real-time and can be purchased by drivers.
Because ParkNow is a venture of BMW, all transactions are securely served over its global IT and payment network used by BMW dealers worldwide.
Currently available only in San Francisco, its early success there has encouraged company executives to expansion plans into other major U.S. cities in 2014 and 2015.
Know Your Audience
The benefits for drivers are pretty obvious. ParkNow ensures a reservation for a convenient parking spot near their destination before they arrive at a specific garage. But from a B2B perspective, the real impact is that app helps operators optimize parking inventory with dynamic pricing that can be booked before the driver even arrives on-site, similar to a hotel booking system.
The app also provides a number of multi-channel marketing services to build awareness and customer base, including digital marketing, social media, advertising and public relations. It also provides valuable access to marketing insights such as demographic information on customers, usage patterns and private ratings to help improve customer experience and boost repeat business.
Instead of hoping motorists will make the choice to park at a specific garage when they drive by, operators can now use customer information to strategically sell parking spots before those drivers even get into their cars. In other words, the “buy” decision can be made from any place in advance, which allows operators to cast a significantly wider net to attract drivers.
This app is just one example of the evolving strategies that parking operators are using to optimize their industry. Traditionally, the industry has consisted of a fragmented group of operators that have all had to rely primarily on signage and flag-waving attendants as their primary marketing channels.
With such emerging parking technology and services, operators now have access to powerful marketing tools that build brand awareness, drive bookings, increase customer retention, and increase insights into customer preferences, behaviors and demographic information.
Operators can now offer dynamic pricing and special promotions to better meet demand at various points through the day or week. They have a much better idea of how many and what kinds of customers they’re servicing at any given point, allowing them to improve garage staffing and upsell add-on services such as valet parking or carwashes. They also can glean insight into usage patterns of their customers and then use that data and customer feedback to make their garages more efficient.
Parking Is Just Part of the Equation
The vision is to create a painless parking experience for the customer, while improving business for operators.
Garages can become more than just another place to park. They can become “urban mobility hubs” that help reduce traffic congestion and CO2 emissions, and lead to the creation of smarter, more sustainable cities.
Parking doesn’t have to be a challenge anymore, and thanks to emerging technology, operators can now make their garages true destination parking.
Contact ParkNow CEO Gary Neff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit www.park-now.com.
The ParkNow app/service is designed to turn parking locations into preferred destinations. Operators can increase revenues, optimize occupancy and give customers a premium experience through a simple app.
With a few taps, customers know a spot is waiting for them. By taking the stress out of the parking search, customers will appreciate the facility and consider the parking garage a desired destination.
Change the Way People Think About Parking
• Your garage/lot is a destination, not a last-minute choice.
• Payments take place on BMW’s secure transaction system.
• Customers enter and exit using a simple QR-code.
• No fussing with cash, credit cards or vouchers.
A Smart Parking Network and Marketing Channel
• Don’t just sell parking on the spot market; change pricing based on demand.
• You can easily adjust prices on the fly to maximize revenue.
• Access to garage and booking data enables yield management to grow a more loyal, consistent and manageable customer base.
• Now it’s easier to add services such as car washing, electric vehicle charging and other amenities.
– Gary Neff
Article Abstract from October, 2013