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Hot topics from Shopping Centre Parking Network

Posted 11 December 2018, Australia

The Shopping Centre Networking event hosted by Parking Network is always an insightful event, bringing together the leaders in shopping centre parking operations from across Europe and sharing insights, new innovations and the latest hot topics from across the globe.

This years’ event was no different. ADVAM hosted several workshops on the benefits of improving the customer journey and how parking can contribute to this change. As ever, this led to lively conversation and we would like to share the ‘hot topics’ that came from the event and these discussions.

Are Parking Reservation platforms relevant to Shopping Centres?

Absolutely (but we would say that)! Reservation or Prebook platforms have typically been used by airports or local governments to manage the occupancy of high demand car parks. This trend is shifting as parking operators in general (including shopping centres) understand the importance of using these platforms to build customer knowledge and engage with customers.

Entertainment venues such as museums and stadiums use these tools to manage peak times and to ensure that valuable customers are able to park when required. Shopping centres are looking at the same model.

Imagine if you could offer a way for premium or loyalty membership customers to reserve and pay for their parking in advance when doing their Christmas Shopping or for hitting the sales? The luxury of having a space guaranteed at these peak times, could potentially be charged at a premium, be given as an incentive for people to stay at the centre longer, or to reward your most valuable customers. See NCP’s Christmas Guide and Westfield Miranda to see how operators are using this in practice.

Taking reservation to the next level and creating a seamless experience

Some shopping centres are taking this even further and harnessing the power of digital wallets and mobile technology (such as Apple Wallet and Google Pay passes) to provide a seamless consumer experience and an integrated platform to engage with their customers.

With the integration of a Reservation platform and digital wallet, the consumer can reserve parking via their mobile, add the pass to their wallet and use their phone to access the shopping centre car park.

Once in the shopping centre, a loyalty scheme linked to the wallet can give the consumer incentives to spend more time and money at the centre via personalised push notifications, driven by the centre and the data intelligence they have on the individual customer.

The centre receives intelligent data on the individual and is able to personalise their engagement with the consumer, increasing consumer spend and loyalty.

How do shopping centres manage staff parking?

As consumers and staff collide, how do you make sure that your valuable customers are able to park closest to the centre and still allow your retail outlet staff members to easily arrive for work on time. You may also want to make sure that staff don’t abuse their parking space, by offering to friends when they’re not at work.

Solutions such as StaffPark enable shopping centres an automated solution to manage the parking for staff of the centre and licensees. Staff simply register with the service online, are approved by the centre or licensee and then by using your preferred access method, can access the parking – when is permitted for them to do so.

If staff are to be charged for parking, this can be paid via auto top-up or even salary sacrifice. Alternatively, a regular invoice can be sent to the Licensee charging them directly for the cost of their staff parking.

What can we offer our premium customers?

A side from the option to prebook mentioned above. Many of the leading shopping centres across the globe already offer a parking account-based program. This enables consumers to register for parking, add their payment card and it removes the hassle of finding a payment machine on exit. Depending on the access method selected, the system can recognise them on arrival and simply charge their account the appropriate amount when they leave.

Shopping centres often use these solutions to not only offer convenience to customers but can link to loyalty programs, provide further offers for inside the centre and drive loyalty through the added convenience. You can see how this in practice at selected Westfield centres across Australia.

Another service which enables you to offer an upgraded service to your premium customers to this is Valet, allowing premium customers to truly receive exceptional service. Linked to the prebook solution, customers can go online, book their slot and conveniently park in a premium spot while their car is looked after. Add on to this value-add services such as car wash or bag collection, and the benefit of this experience will encourage customers to spend more time (and money) at the centre.

Tags:  parking / shopping / shopping centre / ticketless parking