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parking industry exposition 2022

3 Hot Topics of Conversation with Parking Operators at PIE 2022

Earlier this month, our co-founders Ethan Glass and Nate Dunning visited the Biggest Little City in the World, Reno, for Parking Industry Exposition 2022.

To say it was time well spent is an understatement. Ethan & Nate had non-stop productive conversations with clients and prospects and enjoyed walking the bustling expo hall, as well.

In fact, you could say that the show left them speechless…. Ethan lost his voice halfway through. Thankfully, some of our incredible partners stepped in to help us pitch.

While spending time in sessions, on the expo floor, and in meetings, we identified three hot topics that everyone was buzzing about: gateless parking, scan-to-pay, and parking in an economic downturn

Gateless Parking

In this terrific blog post by Premium Parking, gateless parking is defined as:

Gateless means that there are no barriers like gate arms or physical parking tags. Parkers register; usually with their license plate number, right after parking their vehicle. This contrasts with the current situation where a vehicle pays for parking when leaving the facility. [source]

While at PIE, we were unsurprised to hear talk of cloud-based, integrated gateless parking solutions as a priority for operators.

Gateless parking, when stacked up against the traditional method of employing a gate or door that a customer activates by pulling a ticket, using mobile credentials, etc., shows clear benefits: 

  • It’s less expensive to install and maintain than a gate.
  • It provides a better customer experience, with no physical barriers to entry.
  • It’s cloud-based and flexible, so parking operators can integrate data collected from the gateless parking solution into their business intelligence tool to paint a rich picture of what’s happening in their facility at any given time.

We agree with the thought leaders who we spoke with on this topic that gateless parking will become as increasingly important part of the providing a premium customer experience in off-street facilities, and that the data collected from these solutions is invaluable.

Scan-to-Pay

To piggyback on the trend of gateless parking, scan-to-pay is what’s on every operator’s lips right now, and for good reason.

As we’ve written previously, there’s an urgency to implement technology that facilitates the preferred payment methods of today’s parker, particularly in the commuter segment.

With the combined generational cohorts of Millennials and Gen Z making up 72% of the world’s workforce by 2029, and with 65% of Millennials and 57% of Gen Z having used a digital wallet in 2021, enabling mobile payments is critical to providing the customer experience necessary to retain these valuable customers.

This may look like a customer parking for work, an event, travel, or a multitude of other instances pulling up to a facility and use the QR code on posted signage to pay, or transacting with the digital wallet in their mobile device in a gateless or gated facility.

You can check out the article for more info:

Parking in an Economic Downturn

Parking has been, historically, a recession-proof industry.

The affects of the pandemic encouraged parking companies all along the supply chain to batten down the hatches and prepare for disaster. But the industry persevered, despite the impact of stay-at-home orders, travel bans, and mass event cancellations.

This is due to adaptability and flexibility, which technological innovation enables.

Right now, a lot of the world is concerned about rising inflation and an impending downturn. At PIE 2022, we heard a variety of perspectives on how this could impact parking.

One of these perspectives, which we agree with, is this:

We can expect customer behavioral patterns to shift and preferences for parking to change with economic shifts, especially after a traumatic event such as a pandemic. Parking operators can use data and business intelligence to keep their fingers on the pulse of these patterns and preferences.

Now that companies are used to cutting costs and allowing employees to work from home, what can we expect to see happen with commuter revenue? Will leisure travel continue to pick up, and how will that impact rates at on-airport and off-airport facilities?

By partnering with technology companies, operators can unlock new ways to help people locate, pay for, and access parking that keep us nimble in responding to trends as they emerge.

In a word, PIE was…

Powerful. What a fruitful, and fun, show! Bravo to our friends at Parking Today for pulling off a fantastic event with excellent attendees and ample opportunities to connect. Can’t wait for next year.

Sarah Becherer

Sarah is the Vice President of Growth at Ocra. Her aim is to help people and businesses operate to their full potential through meaningful content powered by by creativity, empathy, and shared experience. Her non-parking interests include making pasta, exchanging postcards, studying French, accumulating tattoos, and exploring unfamiliar places.

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