Boston Pushes App with Free Parking Bonus


Boston Pushes App with Free Parking Bonus

The city of Boston has announced that smartphone users who download the ParkBoston app with receive two hours of free metered parking this holiday season. The parking bonus is offered as an incentive to purchase the app.

No doubt, Boston city leaders are hoping to increase their numbers, and saw the busy shopping days of Christmas as a great time to get more users.

“ParkBoston is a customer service enhancement that allows people to pay by smart phone to park in metered spaces on all local City of Boston streets,” said Boston Transportation Commissioner Gina N. Fiandaca.  “We are pleased that we were able to just recently complete the full implementation of the project to provide this innovative amenity to Boston’s residents and visitors during this busy time of year.”

Everywhere I go, I can get something free or discounted for downloading an app. A taco shop where I eat frequently will give me a free taco; my dentist will give me a chance to win an gift certificate. I haven’t downloaded either app. The reason is that the taco is a one-time thing. After I eat my free taco, I’ll just have an app I don’t use and need to delete. And a chance to win a gift card isn’t enough of a reason for me to visit the app store, either.

I think it’s a great idea to give people a reason to download your app, but once they do, the real benefit has to be obvious and practical. The app itself must be easy to use and truly helpful. That’s the only way to keep people from enjoying their prize and deleting the app the next day.

I’d be curious to see what the retention rates are for this type of promotion. Maybe a staggered reward system would keep people attached to their apps longer and give them a chance to see the app’s usefulness. Perhaps Boston could offer two free hours a month for the first three months? Maybe that sounds like a lot of free parking to give away, but for all the time and money they have spent on ParkBoston, it could be a worthwhile investment to get users hooked.


Read the press release here.

Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Just simple old fashioned marketing that has been around for a long time.

    The provision of parking is there primarily for shoppers and visitors yet in this day and age driven by technology and consumerism, very few Municipalities have a regular and effective marketing plan in place to constantly promote and develop their service offer.

    Marketing is not that effective if it is just a one off or one in a while event and so many of the traditional parking organisations just haven’t got a clue and as result have to work alot harder and achieve less.

    Happy Christmas and New Year

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