Innovation demands change—it’s why industries of all kinds, including parking, don’t rely on the same processes forever. While major changes may not happen year over year, each year presents its own set of challenges and opportunities that make it memorable. From valuable customer feedback to implementing new technologies, parking has seen its share of excitement in 2018; let’s review how this year went and explore some trends we expect to see in 2019.
2018 in Review
Technology was at the forefront of change for the parking industry in 2018; nearly every piece of automation that emerged was created with the goal of easing the parking experience for monthly and transient parkers—making it a “non event” so they could go about their day without worrying about where they parked.
A significant number of technological innovations either emerged or became more prevalent. These include, among other things:
- Mobile payment options and Bluetooth integration is rendering cash and physical credit cards obsolete.
- Gateless garages for faster facility access. These garages are usually accompanied by a mobile payment option to make entrance and exit as seamless as possible.
- Virtual tickets for daily parkers. Rather than needing to carry around a physical ticket, parkers can now use virtual tickets; these make it much easier for people to enter, exit, and pay for the time they spend in a garage.
- E-reservations through parking apps like SpotHero or Parking Panda. These apps help transient parkers to evaluate their parking options before they travel to their destination instead of driving around aimlessly looking for the best price or location.
Looking Forward to 2019: New Parking Trends
If 2018 was a year of technological advances, 2019 will be the year of customer satisfaction and convenience. Not only do we predict that the trends listed above will continue to flourish across the country, but we also expect that they’ll be further refined to ensure ease of customer use. Regardless of the kind of parking technology that emerges, each has the same goal: to make it easier for people for park.
With the rise of automation, too, will come a new discussion in 2019: autonomous vehicles. Since some companies have been working on these cars for years, self-driving cars will likely become more prevalent in major cities. Included in this discussion will be how to handle the rise of these cars through safety or other relevant laws, as well as where they will drop off and pick up customers. For example, will we use designated parking hubs or drop-off lanes? It’s yet to be seen, as this conversation is just gaining steam; we look forward to seeing where this discussion goes.
In addition to focusing on customer satisfaction, new technologies in parking garages give us the opportunity to examine and analyze newer and better metrics for measuring the performance of a parking facility. When reviewed regularly, these metrics help us discover opportunities for improving our operations, which simultaneously increases customer satisfaction.
Of course, how you improve customer satisfaction depends entirely on what your customers are looking for. In this case, we suggest you gather honest feedback to see where you are doing well and where you are missing the mark. If you find that your operation may need a larger overhaul to provide better service, consider connecting with a parking management company to help you achieve your goals.
Penn Parking is the industry-leading parking management solution for the MD|DC|VA area. With over 35 years of experience and a passion for offering innovative solutions, we’re the area’s best parking service provider. Contact us today for more information about parking management solutions for your business.