Knowing your customer is one of the fundamental aspects of branding and marketing, one that can be applied to businesses worldwide. Parking is no exception: knowing who uses your facility can provide valuable insight into the needs and expectations of your customers, helping you to optimise both the operations of the car park, and the services on offer.
In ParkCloud's experience, pre-booking systems have revealed themselves to be a key source of this valuable customer knowledge. ParkCloud’s reservation system can include as much or as little information as needed: from basics such as dates and times, to the more obscure, such as city of residence, reason for using the facility or car model – you can capture all these details during booking, creating a database of valuable information about who your customers really are.
I don't need pre-booking, do I?
Whilst knowing how many Land Rover vs. Volkswagen Golf owners use your car park may seem trivial at first, this information can be put to good use, alongside other statistics you can draw from advance bookings: vehicle types, duration of stay, service used, provenance and destination and parking times can all be gleaned.
What types of cars are parked? How does the layout of the facility help customers with large/small cars? Are there electric cars using the facility, could charging points be an added bonus for them?
Long stays or short stays: which is your facility attracting? Is this due to proximity to a station, a shopping centre, an attraction, an airport? Knowing popular visit durations tells you where your prices can be higher or lower, and where being competitive is most or least important.
Business or leisure: are your customers taking their time, or is efficiency their first priority? If the latter, why not offer a valet parking service to those who are prepared to pay for the comfort and practicality during their business trip?
Provenance: are parkers coming from far? How far can you reach with your advertising and still reach interested parkers? Is the neighbouring city/province actually providing you with half your customers?
Popular times and days of arrival/departure: are you busier at the weekend or during the week? Optimising staff levels around the use of your facility not only means you save on wages, but also that customers' needs are met more efficiently. Knowing when your facility is most popular also gives you a target for marketing and promotional offers, such as discounted prices during your quieter periods, or special prices for weekend stays. Presenting each aspect of your service to the customer that is most interested in it means increased traffic and improved passenger experience, all just from pre-booking.
With any ParkCloud partnership comes access to the company's specially developed booking management interface, ParkCloud.net, which offers an array of reports, statistics and charts that answer many of the questions posed above.
Making the connection
For ParkCloud, the information gained online has proved key for many of the company's partners: marketing campaigns, operational efficiency and facility improvements have all benefitted from converting the raw data into knowledge from advance bookings. ParkCloud's >Direct reservations product, which provides a fully-integrated pre-booking system and management service, has developed to support access to this information, making it a focus point in the development of collaborations between ParkCloud and partners.