Parking lot owners are an adaptable group. In the past 50 years, parking went from a mostly low-tech business – little more than a gate attendant and an open lot – to a venture replete with evolving equipment, software and management methodologies. To give credit where it’s due, several owners have remained open and nimble through this period of great change.
But this industry isn’t done evolving. As new technologies and equipment options emerge, it’s imperative that parking real estate owners remain knowledgeable about what’s out there – to offer optimal value to customers and stay ahead of the competition.
Below, let’s review four tips for running a successful, up-to-the-minute operation. Whether you’re considering investing in parking real estate, or currently own a lot, these parking lot solutions will help you stay ahead of the curve.
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Get Connected with a Mobile App
Across America, smartphone penetration skyrocketed in the past five years, reaching 85% of people in 2021 (up from just 67% in 2015). As smartphones become a commonplace fixture in American pockets, more consumers demand mobile app solutions for day-to-day processes – ordering food, reading the news, and, of course, parking.
A mobile app isn’t just the logical next step for a parking platform; it’s a complete reinvention of how to offer value to customers. A powerful mobile app allows customers to compare prices between lots, check availability, and pay for their parking. All without leaving their car.
Embrace New Technologies
As mentioned, the industry has come a long way from the days of cashiered booths. Recent strides in technology have ushered in new forms of equipment and software to help parking owners boost security and glean critical financial insights.
Let’s spotlight two new technologies worth noting: LPRs and cloud-based PARCS. LPRs (License Plate Recognition devices) use advanced photo recognition to capture incoming license plates, automatically ticketing the vehicle according to duration on the lot. This offers parking owners unprecedented control over access (discouraging theft and tailgating) while also providing customers with a convenient, contactless parking experience. Cloud-based PARCS, like REEF ARCS, harnesses cloud-based connectivity for more robust, real-time and interactive financial reporting.
Add Value with Valet and Shuttle Services
A successful operation should look for ways to add value – to accommodate customers willing to pay more for convenience.
Two such value-adding solutions are valet services and shuttle services. Connect with a parking operation and management company to incorporate valet and shuttle services into your lot’s offerings. They should be able to help you streamline operations with valet management solutions (like a guest-facing valet app), shuttle staff and services.
Let the Experts Handle Management
Some parking owners want complete control over management – that’s understandable. They would rather pick and choose from the services, technologies and equipment listed above and manage their lot themselves.
But you can have a more synergistic, streamlined and – frankly – better-managed investment if you let a parking solutions company handle the daily operational aspects of your lot. The best solutions companies offer everything listed above and more. Further, they take the burden of strenuous management off your shoulders.
As parking lots continue to evolve, consider evolving with them. Embrace new technologies, mobile strategies and value-adding services – either by implementing them yourself or handing over management to experts.