A Win-Win Parking Solution in Tel Aviv
Everyone in Israel agrees that one of the most difficult and annoying problems with visiting, living or working in big cities such as Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, is the constant and relentless need to look for a parking space.
You have no idea how often people say that they refuse to drive to TLV and avoid hanging out in that fabulous city, purely because they don’t feel like going through the torment of searching for a parking spot on the street, nor do they want to pay a small fortune at a carpark.
So, as the owner and manager of Central Park, a company that specializes in parking management, I knew there was a significant need for parking. However, at the same time, some of our carparks were low-occupancy, especially during the off-peak hours of the day, mostly late afternoons and evenings.
There was an apparent gap between supply and demand, which I knew could be solved with the right marketing concept. I tried to think outside the box in figuring out how to draw customers to our carparks, and enable the customers to benefit from reasonable, affordable prices.
In 2010, we came up with the initiative of joint collaboration with a well-known bank in Israel, “Discount Bank”, in which the bank customers are entitled to free parking benefits at selected Central Park carparks from 4pm to 8am the next morning, as well as throughout the weekend.
The carparks selected are situated in prime locations and central areas of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as in other central cities in Israel. In 2010, Central Park operated 18 indoor and outdoor carparks, containing 4,934 parking spaces. Nowadays, we operate 50 carparks with around 12,500 parking spaces.
The free parking service is provided to all “Discount Key” card holders. The customers are simply asked to swipe their credit card at the carpark’s ticket dispenser in order to enjoy the benefit. The information transfers to the bank systems, which interface with all of our carparks.
The revenue control system identifies the time of entry and exit from the carpark and calculates the total parking hours and their rates, so the payment includes the deduction of the free parking benefit. Of course, all the information is visible to the customer on the screen at the payment station.
The “Discount Key” card is actually the credit card which Discount Bank customers possess that automatically provides them with discounts and benefits in dozens of retail chains, as well as the opportunity to save money while using the card.
Discount Bank’s motivation was clear. Alongside the growing competition in the traditional credit-card market in recent years, an additional threat to banks has arisen in the shape of non-bank cards: cards ordered by consumers directly from the credit companies or from retail brands such as supermarkets.
The Discount Key was launched in an extensive media campaign, supported by a new website and a smartphone app, detailing the range of attractive discounts that the card provides.
Ever since the initial implementation of this initiative in 2010, Discount Bank has been reporting unprecedented success. Just one year after the launch of the service, according to the bank’s data, more than 170,000 “Discount Key” savings accounts had been opened with a total worth of over NIS 25 million. Moreover, the bank customers’ perception of their bank has significantly improved.
Consequently, at Central Park we have witnessed an ever- growing flow of customers to our carparks. As of today, approximately 15percent of the population in Israel has accounts in Discount Bank, so you might have expected the same representation in our facilities. But the “Discount Key” holders’ percentage of our clientele is much higher, and it can skyrocket up to 60 percent on Thursday evenings.
In the 12 years since we started this partnership, it’s been a win-win situation for all parties involved. Everybody benefits: the bank’s reputation has significantly improved and there is a large increase in customer satisfaction. The bank’s clientele gets free parking in central, prime locations in crowded cities, and Central Park gains a constant and steady stream of happy customers to our carparks. as well as Discount bank’s payment for our services.
This free parking in Tel Aviv and the surrounding areas has provided a great solution to a painful and expensive need. Instead of wasting time and energy searching desperately for parking, and rather than pay exorbitant prices at carparks - these lucky customers easily park for free.
Amit Kedem is CEO of Central Park in Tel Aviv. He can be reached at email@example.com