Notes from the British Parking Awards 2019
I’ve just been to the British Parking Awards. The event was launched by Parking Review in 2002 to celebrate what is best in parking. The sell-out event attracted about 650 people.
For about 10 years I was a judge and, although retired, I still get invited back. Unfortunately, I missed the last couple of years, because the event coincided with PIE, and was keen to see how things have changed.
By the time you read this, the first Parking Today awards will have happened, and differences are obvious. First, London is a free-standing event. This is possible because the event’s status means sponsors are queuing up to add their names, and dollars, to the event.
This year there are no fewer than 18 sponsors. One, Chipside, is the event sponsor, the others sponsoring the 17 separate categories of award.
To make the event flow, the organizers hired the delightful Shappi Khorsandi, as host. You may not have heard of her, but over here she’s an A-list comedienne. Her style could be described as “naughty but nice”; managing to reduce the audience to tears of laughter without a single swear word.
There are awards for technology, and new and refurbished structures, plus prizes for teams and individuals, both those with a lifetime of service and bright young things just started on a career and already impressing with their talent.
There were 125 entries, not including those for prizes like the lifetime awards, where you can’t be nominated.
Nominally, there were 17 award categories, but the main sponsor added three more, and the jury added another. Further, there were some joint awards so, in total, no less than 25 prizes were handed out.
I won’t bore you with the full lists. Google British Parking Awards 2019 if you want to know, but one or two stand out. Bank Park is a charity, so all surpluses are donated to local causes. And if that isn’t serving the community, I don’t know what is.
Perhaps the most import type of award is those for the people on the front line, those who serve day in and day out dealing with and fixing stuff at the point where our customers meet us.
So, what can PT take from this for its future events?
• Sponsorship allows a much better event to be organized. As the event grows, so will the support.
• Get the audience to take the day seriously, let the men get their suits and ties out of the pawn shop and women put on their diamonds and party frocks. T shirts and sneakers or corporate wear doesn’t do it.
• And finally, don’t get carried away. The BPA Awards have expanded to 17 categories in an attempt to be inclusive. Havering over winners, plus “extras,” increased the number of winners by nearly 50 percent making the whole event just a bit too long.
Peter Guest: Parking Today’s UK Consultant and Editor-at-Large of all things British, European, Middle Eastern and Indian. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org