Not All Parking Reservations Platforms Are Created Equal: How to Choose the Right Prebooking Technology


Not All Parking Reservations Platforms Are Created Equal: How to Choose the Right Prebooking Technology

The parking industry has become so inundated with parking reservation tools that it can be difficult for owners to know which will best meet their needs and the needs of their parkers. Parking pre-booking has become an essential element of automated parking, and it seems like every parking technology suite is offering some type of reservation application. The problem is that most of these products are add-ons to other types of technology—PARCS, parking management software, or other technologies. They generally aren’t robust but instead are added more as an afterthought. 


Parking reservations platforms are an essential technology in today’s automated parking world.


When it comes to parking reservations technology, one size does not fit all. Your parking customers aren’t all the same, and your pre-booking tool shouldn’t treat them like they are. You should be able to tailor your reservation technology to meet your unique needs and those of your parkers.


So, how can you find the right parking reservations technology for you and your customers? How can you assure that you won’t end up with buyer’s remorse?


What To Look For

The most important thing to look for when selecting a reservations platform is that it’s customizable. But don’t take the technology provider’s word for it. Make them show you how the customization works and make sure it passes your eye test. 


How can you tell? Have the provider run a simulation that includes the specific points you are interested in. Want to add VIP parking at a premium rate? Have them show you how that would work. Want to promote other services like valet, auto detailing, or EV charging? The provider should be able to demonstrate how that would work as well.


Make sure that the reservations platform you’re considering is also regularly updated. Because most of the pre-booking technology out there has been developed as an add-on to something else, updates are infrequent. Some are never updated. When considering a parking reservations platform, be sure to ask how often the technology is updated and how much it will cost you to upgrade. You don’t want to buy a prebooking platform that’s going to be obsolete in just a few months or years, and you certainly don’t want to have to pay a premium to receive updates when they are made available.


Also, make sure that the customer interface is easy and intuitive for your parking customers. Prebooking isn’t just a valuable service for your customers. It’s also an important resource for you. The more spaces you can sell in advance, the better the chance your parking facilities will be sold to capacity and profitable. 


Similarly, look for a reservations platform that can offer loyalty rewards and manage those rewards for you. There are a variety of ways that rewards programs can be offered. You can offer a sliding scale of points for different types of parking (premium versus standard), or you can offer points for parking add-ons such as valet and detailing services. Those points can be redeemed for free or discounted products. The best reservations technology will allow you to customize your rewards program to meet the unique needs of your parking customers. An effective rewards program should double your return bookings.


You want a reservations platform that can be fully integrated into your existing website and white-labeled. The parkers you are serving through your pre-booking platform are your customers. Not the customers of your PARCS provider or your software provider. The reservations platform they use should direct them to your website, not the website of a parking technology provider. And it should be white-labeled to reflect your branding. When your customers reserve their parking, they should feel like they are working directly with you on your site. 


Finally, for some parking owners, the loyalty program will also increase non-parking revenues. For instance, airport parking loyalty programs provide data about when travelers will be in the terminal and waiting for their flight. Airport administrators can use that information to market directly to travelers, encouraging them to patronize terminal businesses. 


Essential Technology

Parking reservations platforms are an essential technology in today’s automated parking world. It provides certainty to your parking customers, assuring them that they’ll have a parking space waiting when they arrive in your garage or lot. It also helps increase your occupancy and repeat parking rates, making your parking facilities more profitable. 


But it’s essential to find the right reservations technology to meet your needs and the unique needs of your parking customers. By following these simple rules of thumb, you can assure that the parking pre-booking technology meets all your needs, as well as those of your parking customers.


Stephen Prati is Deputy Managing Director of Chauntry. He can be reached at 

Article contributed by:
Stephen Prati, Chauntry
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