The Sincerest form of Flattery


The Sincerest form of Flattery

About six months ago we coined the term “The Parking Experience.” Our goal was to convince an industry that really didn’t consider its customers. The parking marketplace had changed, but the industry hadn’t changed along with it.

Back in the day, a garage operator would show up, open the doors and then leap back so they wouldn’t be run down by the customers rushing to fill the spaces in his lot. There was no reason to really consider the wants, needs, and yes feelings of the parkers. If they wanted to go somewhere, they had to park.

I received a news release the other day. The first words were “Parking is a necessary evil.” “Evil” are we. If we consider ourselves “evil” then what must our customers think. At a seminar a few weeks ago, a PEO got up and said that he was “the most hated person in the room.” He didn’t get a lot of laughs, because we all knew it was true.

Our industry has a world class public relations problem and I felt it was time to do something about it. So, we came up with “The Parking Experience” and are promoting it everywhere we can. The goal is to get the industry thinking about making the parker’s experience a positive one. The theme of the upcoming Parking Industry Exhibition is “The Parking Experience.” Most of the seminars and exhibits will be focused on customers.

Something must be working.

We are seeing tweet after tweet, organization after organization, supplier after supplier, operator after operator talking about “The Parking Experience.” Its all for the good.

To make a change, we first have to start talking about it. We have to get the idea that parking is “evil” out of our minds before we can get it out of our customers’. We have to work towards getting our enforcement officers at least to tolerated, or respected, and away from hated.

Studies have shown that 60% of the people who take Uber and Lyft rather than driving because they don’t want to suffer through finding, using and paying for parking. It considerably increases their stress level. That’s our fault. We have the tools to reduce that stress, we have to start using them.

Keep those “Parking Experience” conversations going. If you include PT, we will spread your ideas as well as ours. Together we can change the parking world, one customer at a time.


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. A “guest” called to complain that her vehicle was vandalized in the City owned airport parking lot that I manage. She was upset that she still had to pay for parking. She was not asking for compensation for her damaged vehicle, just the parking fee. I told her that she would have had to pay at any lot in the city. Then I said, “But, we are at the airport and we think about customer service from the time you pull into our garage, through security, to your flight, return, and back to exit the garage. ” I refunded her $63. She will have to pay at least a $500 deductible to her Audi A8. That’s my guest’s experience.

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