Why Businesses Should Shift to Providing Parking as a Service

By Thomas Hohenacker

Thomas Hohenacker is the CEO of Cleverciti Systems.

Nov 21, 2018 | Mobility | 5 comments

Parking lots, garages and on-street parking spaces are often sources of anxiety and frustration for drivers, and there are unfortunately few ways to avoid using them. Parking is a necessary function that comes with automobile travel, whether it be to a retailer, airport, downtown city, or other core location to urban or suburban life.

But the concept of parking doesn’t need to elicit negative feelings in drivers, and it’s up to enterprise organizations that manage the parking process to change this. This change must begin with a shift in mindset.

Almost every enterprise organization that provides a service will declare that providing their consumers with the best and most efficient experience possible is central to their overall mission. Generating revenue and satisfaction in a sustainable manner is critical to the business operation.

This mantra usually relates only to what takes place inside a facility, such as comfortable seating in airports, discounts on clothing items, or free food samples throughout a mall —elements that tend to the consumer once they’ve already walked inside the building. But service to customers actually begins the moment they enter the premises, and this is likely to occur in a parking lot. Organizations must look outside the box and expand their boundaries of service to include all areas surrounding the facility that a consumer must navigate to reach their destination.

It may not often be blatantly stated, but an individual’s experience with an organization or location includes the time it takes to enter the area, find a parking space and exit afterward — and a hassle-free trip is always preferred.

A customer’s perception of the overall business is therefore influenced by the critical component of parking, demonstrating the need for organizations to take a service-based approach to this process. Circling an open-air parking lot struggling to find a free space does not give the impression that a business cares about the customer.

In fact, according to research by CBRE, 93 percent of respondents indicated that parking areas in the retail industry are extremely or very important to the company bottom line. On a 1-5 scale with 5 representing a score of “most important,” parking facilities ranked:

  • 4.2 for the office sector
  • 4.2 for industrial
  • 4.5 for retail

Parking as a Service

Parking as a Service, the appropriate concept to address this challenge, follows the “as a Service” model that was derived from the software and cloud computing industry. Technology innovations such as the Internet of Things (IoT) have placed the focus of obtaining recurring revenue on selling services rather than just a product.

Parking managers must follow along with this line of thinking, where it isn’t enough to simply let drivers know how many spaces are available in any given lot. To truly serve the customer, reliable direction to open spaces is critical.

This can be achieved through smart parking management infrastructure and intelligent solutions. Those that harness the power of sophisticated edge computing, deep learning, and artificial intelligence can provide drivers with the data at the exact time that they need it.

Through the use of smart sensors and LED screens, drivers can receive not only real-time updates of available spaces, but also guidance that communicates exactly where the spaces are located. This extra layer of service can minimize the time spent searching for an open space, cutting down on stress and providing better service overall from the moment of arrival.

Additionally, while effective parking is the main priority, drivers are also influenced by the ability to obtain critical information while on the road. LED screens can also display messaging such as advertising, media sponsorships or security announcements, creating a positive opinion from a customer toward an organization that genuinely cares about its customers.

The best part about this kind of Clever Parking technology used within the Parking as a Service model is that it benefits both sides of the operation. Drivers are satisfied, while parking space operators and managers experience a multitude of advantages, such as:

  • Alerts for misusage or unpaid spaces, enabling quicker response
  • Increased revenue through the ability to price according to occupancy dynamics
  • Visualization of parking data with unprecedented insights
  • Ability to generate revenue from partners displayed via omnidirectional LED signs installed on lampposts, on top of the parking guidance information

When it comes down to it, there aren’t many reasons why parking operators shouldn’t prioritize an efficient parking solution for their organization. Parking as a Service extends the true morals of business leaders looking to please the individuals that will be spending money at their facility.

It’s clear that the first place to start as far as adapting to this model is utilizing intelligent and advanced parking management solutions that facilitate a user-friendly, productive experience for all those involved.

Discussion

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5 Comments

  1. Cars should go park themselves. Parking should be only the lightest part of the car not the heavy battery portion. Rooftop parking is the least expensive location once cars are human scale for weight. Parking should be free and no parking manager hired or police paid to be the collection goon. Using police to collect pennies for parking ruins the police image in fighting real crime and vagrancy. Parking should never be pushing away customers or employees. If you want to kill a downtown keep increasing parking fees and regulations.

    Reply
  2. In City of Karachi, Pakistan where the population is crossing 30 Million Mark. The registered 04 wheel drives are over 3 Million and Motorcycles are over 2.5 Million and absence of public transport has posed great threat both on road traffic movement and parking places.

    Reply
  3. An interesting piece highlighting the opportunities for smart parking. Building on this idea it is important to highlight the problem such as driver time lost due to congestions, city space taken up with parking, city emissions and how smart parking or other parking strategies can be a strong lever to solve these issues. For further examples refer to this article: https://www.wbcsd.org/Overview/Panorama/Articles/Should-we-try-to-make-parking-spaces-extinct

    Reply
  4. Too many parking systems are either enforcement-oriented or revenue-oriented. The most successful parking systems are customer-oriented. Parking is the first and last experience most people have when they enter a downtown or business district. Technology is important, but parking should be a high-touch as well as high-tech business. I ran the downtown parking system in Kalamazoo MI and our award-winning system emphasized treating each customer as a guest. How would the system feel if it were run by Nordstrom or Disney? Parking operators need to completely rethink how they approach their operations.

    Reply
  5. I definitely agree with the part where you mentioned that a consumer’s entire experience with an establishment includes the time it takes to enter the area with their vehicle, find a parking place, and leave smoothly. It reminded me of the time when my father got so frustrated with a local restaurant because their parking lot is in disarray and we ended up not eating at that place, no matter how good the food is. It might also be better if stores and other organizations can invest in line striping to ensure a smooth and hassle-free trip for all of their consumers.

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