Preparing Event Parking Operations for a New Normal
“From 9/11, to the Great Recession, to today’s pandemic crisis, the past two decades have taught us that tumultuous times call for innovative thinking. Businesses must work together to navigate the “new normal” and serve their stakeholders with intelligence and compassion.” – Tony Albanese, EVP Enterprise at ParkHub
In the words of Tony Albanese, ParkHub’s EVP Enterprise, “From 9/11, to the Great Recession, to today’s pandemic crisis, the past two decades have taught us that tumultuous times call for innovative thinking. Businesses must work together to navigate the “new normal” and serve their stakeholders with intelligence and compassion.”
Get cash out of the picture.
Prior to disruptions caused by Coronavirus, cash was still king for many event parking operations. Not only does cash pose an obvious hygienic risk<(a New York University study found over 3,000 types of bacteria can live on American money), it’s also a hassle to manage and the weakest link in revenue control. Starting with Mercedes-Benz Stadium, numerous professional sports and entertainment venues successfully made a transition to cashless operations over the past year. According to a study posted in March 2020, a year after cashless procedures commenced, roughly 95% of MBS fans noticed the same or an increase in speed at concession lines. The stadium also reported a 16% increase in concession sales over 50 combined events.
Parking is often the first point of contact. It happens before fans arrive in the venue, in their seats, or in a line to buy nachos. For drivers, the parking experience sets the stage for the entire event. When venues reduce or eradicate cash, they benefit from shorter waiting times and simplified payments for parking. Data has proved that efficiency in the parking lot leads to a boosted concession revenue and overall improved customer satisfaction. In a post COVID-19 environment, businesses will protect customers and staff by instilling processes that avoid cash changing hands.
Allow guests to pay for parking in advance.
Another immediate solution for optimized parking payments in the post-COVID-19 environment is promoting digital transactions that are made in advance. By offering prepaid parking options paired with integrated onsite authentication, event venues give fans an opportunity to securely purchase barcode-based passes form their own devices. These are then scanned and validated on site; no contact required. Additionally, the quick validation speeds up parking ingress and weeds out invalid and duplicate passes – with the latter often becoming a notable source of protected revenue. Reserved parking guides staffing requirements and traffic control.
Understand your demand.
No one knows what the “new normal” in event operations will look like as the pandemic plateaus. The best thing any event venue can do now is to equip themselves with tools that will help them monitor and measure performance- day by day, week by week, year by year. Business intelligence tools provide the predictive and prescriptive analytics that enlighten operations teams on discernible trends over time, while informing decisions before, during, and after every event.
Parking is often an after-thought and a struggle. Some say it’s about the journey. Some say it’s about the destination. “It’s about parking,” said nobody. By catering closely to consumers’ growing and changing needs, event venues will undoubtedly profit from revealing a modernized parking experience to their returning fans.