The Challenges of Managing Parking In-House
The Misconception that Parking Is Easy
On the surface, parking seems easy. A car pulls into a lot or a garage. The driver finds the first available space, parks their car, and they’re on their way to their primary destination. When they return, it’s just as elementary, right? Get in the car, start it up and leave. Maybe the parker pays on entrance or exit, but other than that, the process is relatively standard across the board. Easy.
Ease should be the end-result for the user, sure. For the operator, however, there’s so much more that goes into a parking operation, and it’s not as simple as one might think. When that parking operation is a support service of a primary business, such as a hotel, hospital, stadium, university, or Class A office tower, all of a sudden, parking isn’t easy at all.
Your Priority is Your Business, Not Parking
Think about it. If you are running a hotel, for instance, you’re concerned about the hospitality experience. You want to ensure the rooms are meticulous when your guests check in. You want your room service to be punctual, and the food service to be exquisite. The bell staff must be attentive and polite. You want your staff to creatively anticipate the needs of guests. Your goal is to provide a first-class hospitality experience to all of your clientele.
Many times, your parking environment is a little lower on the list of priorities because, quite honestly, it isn’t your specialty. Parking is important, though, in that it provides those same guests you’re catering to with the first and last impression of the overall hospitality experience. That matters! If your hotel has a self-park garage, but it’s not well-maintained, that will affect the overall perception of your hotel. If the valet team doesn’t have vehicles ready on departure, that will also influence how guests feel about the overall hospitality experience. If your parking associates aren’t well-groomed or polite, that has an impact, and it isn’t the right one. Parking, especially in the context of being the first and last impression, matters.
It doesn’t have to be a hotel for the same dynamic to ring true. University administration has so much to worry about when it comes to running an institute of higher learning. Stadium or arena operators are focused on providing a top-notch entertainment experience for fans. Hospitals and healthcare facilities are consumed with providing care to people and providing the best patient experience possible. These are the primary functions of these businesses. Parking isn’t a primary consideration, even though parking touches all of these verticals; and many more.
Why Parking Isn’t As Easy As You Think
You, as a leader and decisionmaker for one of these types of businesses, are not up late at night thinking about how you can make your parking experience the best that it can be. That’s not to say you don’t care. It’s just not your “bread and butter” and any resources you do put toward the parking operation only takes focus away from the primary functions of your core business. It’s actually counterproductive, when you think about it on a deeper level.
By trying to run your parking operation in-house, you’re doing your business more harm, than good. You need to ensure that you are providing parking guests with the best service and that you’re up to speed on the latest parking technology. Do you have the best garagekeepers insurance coverage at the most affordable premiums? Is your parking facility well-maintained? These are just some of the aspects of your parking operation that you need to pay real attention to.
How about your team of attendants or valets; are they properly trained and providing the highest service levels possible? You also need the most qualified people and staffing levels have to be optimized. You must ensure that all of your parking revenue is protected and accurately accounted for. And while you’re focusing on all of these aspects of your operation, you need to ensure that your guests are satisfied with their experience.
There’s a lot there, and it all takes away from your ability to provide the best experience within your chosen profession. By the way, if your parking operation happens to also incorporate a transportation component, such as a shuttle bus for instance, that adds an entirely different, and often times equally complex, layer to the equation. Are your drivers providing courteous service? Are all vehicles current on preventative maintenance? Do you use technology to monitor…well, you get the point. There’s a lot that goes into that piece of the puzzle, as well. And, much like the parking component, focusing on the transportation part of your operation is taking away from your primary responsibilities.
You Can Make Parking Easy. Here’s How.
As you already know, and as alluded to above, parking isn’t easy. But it can be if you know how to solve the inherent challenges. And if you can solve those inherent challenges, it will not only improve the parking operation, but that rising tide will help lift your overall guest satisfaction for your primary business. Unlike managing your parking in-house, the answer to your problem (managing your parking in-house) is actually very easy. Outsource it!
Professional parking management companies specialize in delivering parking solutions that are well thought out, scalable in nature, and that have demonstrated, effective results. Much like a hotelier specializes in hospitality, or a hospital administrator specializes in delivering a high-level patient experience, parking management companies specialize in parking.
Scalable parking solutions help achieve economies of scale that aren’t realized when operating in-house. For instance, the cost of your parking supplies is dramatically reduced when a parking management company is acting on your behalf. These companies have existing relationships and national agreements in place that bring costs down, and those savings are passed directly on to you, the client. Oftentimes, the cost reductions alone can account for offsetting a large portion of the management fee paid to the outsourced parking management company. It’s worth it!
Companies, such as Propark Mobility, know how to accurately account for, and protect, your revenue. They specialize in it. Technology is leveraged to provide air-tight controls and crystal-clear accountability. Long gone are the days of the attendant with the cigar box, collecting cash (or perhaps that describes your parking operation, which helps explain why you need a parking management company). In today’s day in age, you need to be current with technology.
Pay-on-foot units, in-lane equipment, hand-held valet technology and mobile payment apps all provide cashless, and in many cases frictionless, transactions that not only expedite the process, but provide clear accountability. They don’t just minimize the risk of employee dishonesty, it’s literally eliminated altogether. Much like the expense reduction value proposition outlined previously, the increased revenue from a parking management company will oftentimes also offset a large portion of the management fee paid to an operator. Between the two, it’s likely you’ll be able to pay for the outsourced parking management, and then some.
But there’s more! Parking companies don’t just protect your existing revenue streams. Industry experience across similar parking account types often leads to the generation of new, untapped revenue streams. For instance, that garage with 100 empty spaces. You might not know about additional revenue generating opportunities, but an experienced parking management company will know how to manage those empty spaces and turn them into additional income producing assets.
For example, what if you are operating a residential building in a dense urban environment? You might want to keep those spaces open for your residents, but a parking management company will know how to yield-manage the opportunity to leverage those spaces to produce additional income without negatively affecting the resident. It’s not easy to orchestrate, but that’s what a parking company specializes in.
Taking the Next Step
The cumulative financial effect of outsourcing your parking is resounding. In almost all cases, the modest management fee for a parking company is far less than the impact of increased bottom line revenue (both from protecting existing dollars, and generating new income streams) and cost savings (supplies, insurance and payroll, for instance) that these companies bring to your operation. And that just speaks to the parking piece. By leveraging a parking management company to manage your operations, you are freed up to focus on your core business and do what you do best, which oftentimes will yield similar specialized efficiencies and newfound profitability.
Easy, right? Well, it certainly can be!
If you’re finding that parking isn’t your first priority, outsourced parking management is a fantastic way to improve your business. To find out how Propark Mobility can help, click here for more information.