How airport parking facilities can compete with ride-sharing apps
Ride-sharing services are eroding parking revenue at 30+ of the top airports nationally, and are quickly gaining market share. How can airport and off-airport parking operators compete with these alternative transportation powerhouses?
Ride-Sharing Apps Are
Spending on Airport Advertising
Apps such as Uber and Lyft are aggressively advertising to travelers at airports to encourage them to “ride” rather than drive and park. This Lyft ad is offering travelers $50 not to park next time they go to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport:
American Airlines, for example, has partnered with Uber to “create a door-to-door streamlined service to help customers get from home or work to the airport and back,” a press release says. When travelers purchase American Airlines tickets online, they are prompted to set a phone reminder to get Uber service when they land. Its passengers also are being shown Uber ads, such as these, right after they land:
These Uber ads offer travelers their first ride to the airport for $20 off, which often will end up being free.
Many airports now have designated ride-share pickup areas to make it even easier for travelers to find their Lyft and Uber drivers.
To top it off, Lyft is running its first national TV campaign to try, as it says, “to convince Americans that owning a car sucks.” If people don’t own cars in the first place, how will they park at the airport?
The Future is Not as Bleak as
it Seems for Airport Parking
Despite the huge efforts of ride-sharing services to cannibalize the airport parking business, parking companies still have a leg up when it comes to one key factor: price.
Aren’t travelers getting a better deal when they use a ride-sharing app than when they drive and park at the airport?
That’s what ride-sharing companies would like us to think, but it’s not always the case.
Ride-Sharing vs. Parking:
Cost Comparison for Airports
Parking at the airport is often more cost-effective than using a ride-sharing service. The chart below shows the situations when it’s cheaper to ride-share and when it’s cheaper to park at LAX airport in Los Angeles. You’ll find the results surprising.
It is more cost-effective to park at LAX than to ride share 80% of the time. If you’re going away for less than five days, it always makes sense to drive and park.
Distance from the airport also plays a big role in the affordability of ride-sharing. Travelers who live more than 20 miles from LAX should always drive and park, rather than use a ride-sharing service.
The data above doesn't even take into account two major costs of ride-sharing: surge-pricing and vehicle upgrades. If they’re traveling with a family or large luggage, many people choose to take so-called XL vehicles to the airport. Here is the same cost comparison data for LAX with an XL ride-share vehicle:
If you were planning on taking an XL ride share to LAX, think again. It’s cheaper to park at the airport 93% of the time in this scenario.
See How Parking at Your Airport
Matches Up Against Ride-Sharing
We at SpotHero, a parking reservation service, have compiled these same data for 25 airport locations around the country, and are sharing them with the industry. We published a spreadsheet –“SpotHero Getting To The Airport Guide: Ride Sharing vs. Drive & Park” – so you can explore the data yourself. (To access it, start by going to blog.spothero.com/2016/05/12/airport-parking-vs-ride-share-calculator.)
Once at the price comparison spreadsheet, you can toggle among:
Ride-Share vs. Ride-Share XL
You also can request a customized version of these data with your own rates or a PDF of the graph for your airport on SpotHero’s airport resources page (parkingexec.com/airports). For the live links, go on line to Parking Today magazine’s digital version at www.parkingtoday.com.
Contact Suzannah Rubinstein, Senior B2B Marketing Specialist for SpotHero, at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article originally appeared on the company’s ParkingExec.com website.