Chattanooga (CHA) Proud


Chattanooga (CHA) Proud

During my more than 20 years of parking there have been many times that I have felt like the Johnny Cash song, “I’ve Been Everywhere.” As the lyric states, “Listen, I’ve traveled every road in this here land,” though for me it feels like every airport in this here land. While I have seen the parking operations in some of the largest airports in the U.S. and abroad (and it is easy to be impressed with their grandness and beauty of design), it is my hometown regional airport that always makes me smile and I notice something new each time I park there.

The Chattanooga Airport is impressive for many reasons, including its Solar Farm, Water Quality Demonstration Project, TESLA EV Power Stations, LEED Certification, and a brand new 1,300 space parking deck. But for me it is their attention to the “little things” that really sets them apart. For instance, when I arrive at the airport the parking area landscaping is always well maintained, with no trash, no graffiti, and the lighting is always excellent. 

However, just a few weeks ago upon returning a rental car, I noticed that each time I walked by the pay-on-foot machine, it would make an announcement reminding parking patrons to pay for their ticket prior to getting to their vehicle. I had been in and out of the facility hundreds of times, but it was the first time I noticed this small but wonderful way to communicate with patrons. Something as simple as a motion detector on the equipment that triggers a friendly (and helpful) message. It is these “little things” that make all the difference during someone’s travel experience. 

Why Do Small Things Matter?

Small actions are what make up our attitude and behavior. Small things grow and become more efficient over time. The little things we overlook will build into big ones. But it is also the small things in life that go unnoticed or unappreciated because we think they’re either insignificant or we take them for granted. 

We live in a culture that celebrates big accomplishments. But what if we made it a habit to embrace and celebrate the small things? Real things are happening all around us while we’re waiting for the big thing we hope will give us some sort of grand recognition or celebration of achievement. The truth is that often the things that matter most are the small ones. 

While the automated announcement reminding a parking patron to pay for their parking before they leave was not a life-changing event, it did change my perspective. Sometimes, what seems small to you is huge to someone else. It’s all about perspective. If I was new to parking in an airport and was not aware that there are no cashiers, this announcement would help me to understand what I needed to do before I attempted to exit and experience a possible delay or frustration trying to make payment. Not to mention the additional pressure I’d feel at the exit when people were lining up behind me. 

While the big picture is important, you could be missing out on the small-yet-important details that will increase customer retention. Details matter to customers and clients. Paying attention to those details can keep your parking operation running. But most important, it provides your customers with a positive experience even if they are not even aware of it. 

The Most Commonly Overlooked Small Things

Parking managers, owners, and operators are often so preoccupied with the bigger picture that they often overlook the smaller issues that occur when running an operation. Unfortunately, this can be a costly mistake. After all, the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.” Any parking operation that ignores the details is likely to suffer in the long run. To make sure you are taking everything into account, look at some of the most commonly overlooked areas:

Staff Recognition: Whether you have a handful of employees or thousands, it is important to recognize the ways they contribute to your operation. It is as simple as thanking them for their efforts, highlighting their achievements, and just letting them know you appreciate them.

Professional Services: All operations have regulations they need to adhere to, and there can be a lot of red tape to contend with. Managing the day-to-day business of your operation can be difficult. However, taking the time to sort out your accountancy, insurance, and legal services will meet your organization’s needs to function safely and within the relevant legislative requirements.

Cleanliness: Maintaining your parking operation may seem obvious, but so many don’t realize value. As well as making the operation more harmonious for your customers and staff, it is also about making it safer. This is particularly important if someone were to be injured. If you are shown to be running an untidy, dirty, or dangerous place, you could face serious consequences or costly damages. 

Investing in your Network: Most operations rely on technology to function, so it is vital that your network and technology needs are always met. Whether you need an in-house communication system to operate, or you rely on a phone network to connect with clients and customers, ensure you’re working with reliable partners and providers. While cheaper services may be available, you’re relying on this connectivity to function, so it’s worth investing in the best service you can get.

Ensuring Communications are Well Developed: It’s important to make sure that your team can communicate with one another, professionally, reliably, and at a moment’s notice. As remote work becomes even more common, make sure your intra-office communication networks are up to the task. Luckily, with a VOIP business phone service, you’ll find this process easier to deal with. Installing easy communications with worthwhile devices and streamlined software not only takes the hassle out of communication, but also resolves downtime entirely.

Giving Kudos

So, in summary, I would like personally to take a moment to give kudos to the team that helps make the Chattanooga Airport, my hometown hub, such a great and amazing experience for me. But I also want to thank all of those airport parking operators and their staff for all they’ve done to help get me and my millions of fellow travelers each year where we are going.

Katherine Beaty, VP of Implementation, TEZ Technology, can be reached at


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Katherine Beaty
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