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New Tech Helps Parking Facility Owners Boost Revenue And Grow Valuations

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Imagine if the next time you’re wandering the city searching for parking, your phone could seamlessly direct to you a garage full of free parking spots. Then, it could provide you with a digital entry ticket and allow you to pay for parking in seconds with just the push of a button. That future could be right around the corner. 

“When people think of parking lots, the last thing they think of is technology,” One Parking Chief Operating Officer Mark Pratt said. “But there have been many innovations in parking technology in the last five years, and they can lead to a more seamless experience for users and a major boost in value for owners.” 

Despite the rise of ride-sharing apps, the demand for parking is high and expected to hold steady or rise by 2023. As investors chase a dwindling number of assets, parking facility cap rates continue to hover in the range of 5% to 6%, Pratt said. This, paired with increased labor costs, is causing owners of parking facilities to search for fast ways to cut costs, increase automation and boost revenue.  

To solve these challenges, Pratt believes owners should explore the host of new technologies that have been quietly revolutionizing the parking industry for years. 

Parking asset owners have been using Parking and Revenue Control Systems, or PARCS, to reduce the need for parking attendants for over a decade. These PARCS include machines that dispense entry tickets, pay-on-foot devices within businesses that allow customers to pay before they reach their vehicle and remote monitoring devices that can direct drivers back to where they parked. 

“PARCS have become common sights in parking facilities and have gone a long way toward reducing labor costs and streamlining the customer experience,” Pratt said. “But there are new technologies, both currently on the market and on the horizon, that can make an even larger impact on owners’ bottom lines.” 

He explained that new analytics tools, for example, are allowing owners to glean useful insights from the PARCS they already have in place, to help them better manage their facilities, determine their budgets and serve their customers. 

Parking

Along with these tools, new apps are surfacing that allow users to reserve parking spaces in advance, access numerous facilities without the need for a parking ticket and pay automatically when they exit. Pratt cautioned that these apps often come with fees that are typically paid by the parking facility, so owners will need to balance the cost versus the benefits, but he believes that new technology upgrades will pay for themselves in the long run. 

“Convenience is the new currency, and folks are willing to pay for an improved experience,” Pratt said. “These new apps can provide that upgraded experience, which brings repeat visitors and greater profits.” 

Pratt added that there are several apps currently in development that are working to make parking facilities part of the Internet of Things, an expanding network of physical objects and sensors that can digitally “speak” to one another. These apps will not only alert drivers to where they can find parking garages, but also provide up-to-the-minute information on how many spaces each garage has available. He believes that when these apps become available, they won’t just be helpful to owners, but necessary for success in the future. 

“Parking trade show seminars continue to emphasize IoT and the need for parking facilities to appear on the grid with pertinent information,” Pratt said. “We keep hearing, ‘You guys need to tell us how many spaces you have available in your facility before we get there.’ If you don’t appear on the IoT grid, in the minds of many users, you just may not exist.” 

One Parking, in conjunction with a tech partner, has developed a way to push this information to the IoT grid, with the goal of bringing added profits and value to garage asset owners across the country.

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and One Parking. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.