4 Ways Operators Will Benefit From Tomorrow’s ‘Connected Car’
What will this mean for parking operators and how can they benefit today? To find an answer, let’s explore four paradigm shifts that could transform the industry.
1: Consumers don’t care about revenue control; they care about customer experience.
Revenue control is crucial and foundational, but not the end game. As the connected car and innovative technologies come to market, every major parking operator will have solid revenue controls. Leading operators will need new points of differentiation.
By focusing on customer experience as a point of differentiation, operators can earn more money, streamline operations, and make parking more attractive to those who normally take alternative modes of transportation.
Operators that “grow” the entire parking pie, by making the consumer experience better, will win.
2: What worked yesterday
will not work tomorrow.
Build a car, not a faster horse. The future of the parking industry is, perhaps, best described by Henry Ford’s famous quote: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Parking professionals need to recognize that parking in the digital world will work completely differently.
Rather than renovate our marketing, we must innovate it. For example, simply creating an online “early bird special” won’t be enough. Posting
a “$6 for the first 20 minutes” sign on your website won’t make an
Capturing online demand is a completely different game.
For example, one strategy that will work is moving toward
dynamic pricing. Pricing changes based on real-time inventory will yield more revenue and capture demand more efficiently. Operators can find
ways to sell unsold inventory and maximize revenue when facilities are nearing capacity.
To benefit from the connected car and similar technologies, operators will need to reinvent the way they think about selling parking spots.
3: How ‘connectivity’ and ‘discoverability’ will benefit operators
The future of parking technology is all about connectivity. Innovative technologies will create a more “plugged-in” market, and operators can capitalize on that by making their facilities more “discoverable.”
So-called discoverable parking garages are more convenient and recognizable to drivers, which will help operators that embrace connectivity make more money. The connected driver is inclined not only to park at a garage they can find easily, but also to keep coming back if they have a good experience.
Technology, such as mobile apps and connected cars, will empower customers to make informed choices. Operators who embrace these technologies will find more drivers parking in their facilities regularly. Parking professionals must think about ways to differentiate their facilities through the use of innovative technology.
4: Parking operators and restaurant managers have a lot in common.
Thanks to digital technology, the restaurant industry is earning more money than ever before. This is because technology creates opportunities for more profitability through better discoverability, optimized pricing and streamlined operations.
To understand how the parking industry can benefit from innovative technologies like the connected car, let’s take a look at how the restaurant industry has recently benefited from new digital technology.
In several ways, parking facilities resemble restaurants: high fixed costs and perishable inventory, while relying on traditional methods of payment, operations and marketing.
Ten to 15 years ago, restaurants primarily accepted cash, relied on foot traffic and marketed by distributing paper menus. Restaurant managers struggled with employee theft, getting new customers in the door, and handling issues around operations and labor costs.
Yet, each of the past five years the restaurant industry in the U.S. has grown, and is expected to hit $683 billion in sales this year. How did they do it?
One reason is thanks to online ordering companies such as GrubHub. It helps restaurants attract new customers at no additional cost, streamline ordering, and minimize labor costs during busy hours. In doing so, restaurants are more effectively managing their fixed costs and perishable goods. Most important, GrubHub is increasing the number of consumers who choose to order food from a restaurant, because they make doing so easier than ever before.
As a consumer, rather than looking up a number, calling, waiting on hold, providing contact info and paying cash, you can simply open your phone and with a few taps, order food from a restaurant you didn’t know existed before.
If restaurants and diners are benefitting from the GrubHub approach, perhaps parking operators and parkers themselves could benefit in similar ways from new digital technologies.
By embracing technology and focusing on a better parking experience, operators will win by increasing the number of commuters who choose to park at their facility.
Parking Can Benefit From the Future, Today.
The world is changing, fast. To succeed moving forward, it’s not enough for parking operators to focus only on revenue control, rely only on established marketing channels or depend solely on what’s always worked.
By focusing on making life easier for the daily driver, exploring new marketing channels and embracing new technologies, operators have the opportunity to grow the entire parking pie and win by working together.
Mark Lawrence, Co-founder and CEO of SpotHero, can be reached at email@example.com.