The parking sector has been on a slower trajectory with technological advancements for decades. Today, many off-street parking lots are exactly the same as they were in the 1980s when open city spaces were much easier to find. On the other hand, the urban population has grown at a staggering rate since the 80s. Consequently, the number of vehicles on city roads has increased exponentially, applying significant strain to parking facilities, and putting parking providers, city infrastructure, and the environment in the firing line.
Fortunately, parking can solve many of the challenges it faces with technology that is already available. By implementing innovations, industry players can gain efficiency, save money, improve customer experience, and cement their place in the tech-driven future.
Why has parking technology been so slow to change?
Because demand for parking spaces has been climbing steadily since the invention of the automobile, providers have never had much trouble attracting customers. Those that have had to work harder at attracting customers have often found it easier to simply lower their prices rather than implement new technologies.
As a result, the overall parking experience has not changed much in decades. Customers are still struggling to find parking, creating endless congestion and pollution in cities worldwide. Many parking companies are yet to embrace contactless mobile-based payments. Moreover, save for security cameras and alarm systems, parking lots are not much safer than they were fifty years ago. According to the U.S. National Safety Council, more than 50,000 car crashes occur in parking lots every year, resulting in at least 500 deaths and 60,000 injuries.
Four must-have technologies for today’s parking facilities
Today’s parking customer is increasingly tech-centric. While they may not already interact with much technology when finding parking spaces, they accomplish many other day-to-day tasks on their smart devices. Motorists are accustomed to using technology to make processes easier and are increasingly asking the same from parking operators. Consequently, cars are zooming past archaic parking lots in favor of more convenient, innovative facilities.
As a parking space provider, you owe it to your business, customers, and the industry to embrace technology. Below are the top-four must-have parking solutions to guarantee future success.
1. Pre-booked Reservations
The most significant challenge drivers face when out with their cars is finding an open parking spot. 30% of all city traffic is caused by people searching for parking. But what if there was a straightforward, cost-effective way to end that struggle?
App-based parking reservations work like hotel bookings. With an app like Pavemint, you can present your parking lot for motorists to book their space for specific durations. Apps also leverage the power of GPS to enable drivers to find empty parking spots without trial-and-error.
App reservations give a customer assurance of a parking space any time they need it. Instead of driving off hoping to find a free spot, a motorist can set off knowing precisely where they will leave their vehicle. For you, this convenience can translate to return customers and sustained revenue.
2. Data Analytics
The same data analytics techniques used by hotels, car rental companies, and airlines are also available for parking operators. Tools like customer data reporting, inventory allocation, and dynamic pricing can empower you to optimize your service to best meet customer needs and maximize revenue.
Customer data collected through software like Pavemint's can help you build accurate forecasts regarding peak and off-peak parking times and make better resource management decisions. You can also uncover how demand varies from one parking location to the next and introduce dynamic pricing so that customers pay more for premium spaces or during high-traffic times.
3. Communication Channels
Customer feedback may not seem important to parking operations, but it might define the level of your success in the future. Today, customer expectations are at their peak. Drivers expect parking businesses to provide personalized customer service experiences and seamless communication channels, be it in apps, websites, or social media.
Having a channel that enables you to connect to drivers can help give you a dedicated base of clients. You can also benefit from free assessments about what is working or failing in your facility and make improvements that align perfectly with customer needs and preferences.
4. Cashless and Contactless Payments
The average consumer does not consistently carry cash around anymore. Now more than ever, people consider cash-only operations relics of the past. Luckily, accepting digital payments and credit cards can be as simple as using Pavemint. By posting a scannable QR code or enabling automated text messages, you can give drivers the ability to pay for parking through their phone and go cashless affordably.
Is your parking business ready for the future? Invest in technology and solve some of your most pressing problems, increase revenue, and most importantly, make parking easier for everyone.