Giving Parking Managers DIY Tools To Make Wayfinding Process Easier
In Philadelphia, as in most cities, parking is an expensive grind that leads to countless complaints. In most cases, however, there is plenty of parking; it’s just hard to find or difficult to understand the time limits and regulations.
When visitors are driving around looking for parking, it can be difficult to decode parking instructions, rates, prices and locations. They often resort to third-party services, such as Google Maps, which regularly include outdated and inaccurate data.
Visitors are left stressed, but parking managers don’t have any platforms to help visitors understand and find parking. In other words, a significant communications gap exists between suppliers and consumers, providers and users.
Enter Mappify, a platform that equips parking managers with DIY tools to build white-label mobile apps designed to make it easier to communicate parking information and engage visitors. The online dashboard lets them draw parking options on the map, with detailed information such as pricing and availability, and then just click “Publish” to send their app to the App Store and Google Play.
Great Visitor Experiences
Clarity and awareness are key factors to establishing smoother visitor experiences. Instead of having to call or email the parking department, visitors can refer to easy-to-navigate websites or apps for additional information. It’s a win-win for both sides, because parking managers can spend less time on the phone and more time focusing on improving operations. When options are clearly communicated, parking becomes significantly less stressful.
To build convenient, easy-to-understand, intermediary information sources, companies are empowering traditional strategies with technology. We at Mappify, for example, are teaming up with cities to install more informative street signs alongside traditional parking signs.
Positioned under typical parking street signs, the Mappify signs showcase a website link based on the city and specific parking space. The link leads to detailed information for the parking space, plus availability and time restrictions. In case the spot is currently unavailable, visitors can use the map to find nearby options. The maps even feature real-time occupancy and pricing, to make the wayfinding process as smooth as possible.
Visitors are usually in town for work, recreation or any reason other than solely parking for fun. They have places to go and things to do, so it would make sense to accommodate their goals as much as possible.
Parking is not an isolated operation, but a piece of the total visitor experience. As such, parking managers are looking for wayfinding solutions that help connect visitors, parking and local businesses.
The typical visitor, perhaps unfamiliar with his or her destination, uses services such as Apple Maps, Google Maps and Waze to navigate while driving. Nearing their destination, they keep an eye out for a distinct parking sign or an empty space. Visitors also might use services such as Yelp, a crowd-sourced review app, to find the best local restaurants, stores and entertainment. Notice the disparate connections between each of the phases, which comprise a common visitor experience.
Thus, whether it’s positioning kiosks and exits conveniently or finding a way to help visitors navigate to nearby businesses, it’s important to acknowledge the bigger picture. Strategies using technology such as lighting and mobile payments, for example, have made great progress in simplifying the visitor experience, but they have room for improvement.
The industry still lacks a comprehensive wayfinding solution.
Parking Manager Benefits
Parking managers are aware of the disconnect between them and visitors, and are looking for wayfinding solutions. Especially with rising expectations from visitors in terms of service, transparency and mobility, parking managers want a platform on which to better communicate information. We at Mappify are tackling the opportunity with DIY tools for them to manage data, publish apps and better engage visitors.
With the platform, managers use simple drawing tools to outline their parking facilities and include relevant information. The design tools also allow them to choose from a library of pins or even upload their own custom pins. It’s a simple task to match colors to brand.
Positioned under typical parking street signs, the Mappify signs showcase a website link based on the city and specific parking space.
Initial setup to deployment is a matter of minutes, compared with the weeks it would take a development company to create from scratch.
After that, it’s just a matter of clicking a button to send a complete app to the App Store and Google Play. No developer is needed to set up or update content, and the tools are intuitive for anyone to use.
If prices or hours change, for example, a simple edit on the dashboard is instantly mirrored on the mobile apps. For custom features and support, we at Mappify are always on hand to help out.
Mappify integrates with parking systems to put your real-time data on top of interactive maps and also display live analytics and metrics that are always up-to-date. With real-time occupancies on the map, visitors are empowered to find the best parking.
We at Mappify are working on partnering with other popular services and platforms to make the process as simple as possible, so expect even more integrations in the near future.
Prepare for tomorrow, today
Currently, plenty of consumer-facing apps out there are looking to modernize the parking industry, but Mappify is working specifically with cities and municipalities first to deliver a comprehensive solution.
The company is positioning itself as a WordPress or Squarespace for parking managers. Its platform is designed to give parking managers complete control over their data so they can better engage visitors and improve operations.
Mike Black, Mappify Co-Founder and CEO, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to http://mappify.co/faq.html.