Guest Post by Matt Andrews, Branch Manager, ABM

As we adapt to the ongoing impact of living with COVID-19, parking operators must shift their priorities. While safety has always been a concern, the focus has traditionally been on preventing accidents. Now, operators must also consider the health of their customers and employees. Operators have to incorporate new protocols and salvage what they can of lost revenue, all while responding to factors they have no control over: business closures, customer behavior, and changing government guidance.

Incorporate Health into Your Operational Plan

Customers are looking to you to maintain cleaner touchpoints and accommodate social distancing in your lot or garage. Your cleaning program must be more visible than it has been previously and incorporate disinfection practices that adhere to guidance from respected health organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). You need ongoing, reliable access to disinfection supplies and chemicals, knowledge of cleaning and disinfection best practices, and signage to promote safe social distancing.

The Time Is Now for Technology Upgrades

Implementing technology upgrades (like mobile payment solutions) allows you to give customers greater peace of mind, reduce labor utilization, and make smarter operational decisions. Contactless payments reduce the number of touchpoints customers interact with and makes the parking experience more convenient in the process. With more customers choosing a self-serve payment option, you don’t need to have as many parking attendants on staff or traditional expensive cash pay stations.

Mobile payment systems, along with parking intelligence software, provide a wealth of granular data that you can leverage to prevent cost overruns and effectively address customer needs. Are some entrances more active than others? Are certain zones of the parking facility attracting more customers because they’re near businesses that are open, while other spaces aren’t? Being able to answer these questions enables you to proactively implement disinfection and social distancing protocols, thereby increasing customer satisfaction.

Raw data (e.g., occupancy rates, length of visits, and number of monthly vs. transient customers) can be translated into actionable operational plans that reduce costs, encourage customer retention, and maximize average revenue per space.

Rely on Expertise to Stay Agile

The stakes are high for parking operators who must still deliver revenue while also mitigating risk. An experienced vendor will bring key elements to help your facility adapt as the pandemic continues to unfold: a platform of flexible technologies and the ability to implement new systems as they evolve; best practices that are working elsewhere; the ability to make data-driven decisions; and an attentiveness to the latest guidance from health organizations and the government.

Matt Andrews is Branch Manager, ABM.