Hotels need to have sufficient spaces in their car parks to allow their guests to park with ease. The last thing that hoteliers need is car parks which are overflowing and cause paying guests a headache. Luxury hotels and low-cost motels alike can suffer reputational damage if there is not enough parking spots or if available spaces are located too far away from the accommodation. That said, many hotels have spare capacity in their car parks which means that a resource is going to waste. Keeping lots of spaces free in case visitors make a booking is not always the most sound business policy, after all.
So, what can hoteliers and managers do to monetise their parking resources without allowing them to be overrun by motorists who are not guests of the establishment? In fact, there are several ways that will make a difference depending on the location of the hotel, the sort of customers who might like to park there and the number of spaces available.
Car Parking Reservation Systems
Today’s smart technology does not just come down to the ways in which car parks can be monitored. Although cameras that can read license plates are very useful, smart systems now also help to manage car parks using artificial intelligence. Let’s say, for example, that your hotel currently uses an online booking system for its rooms. When a room is reserved by a guest, the booking system could also ask whether a parking bay will be required or not. Of course, most guests will arrive by car these days but not everyone. If your hotel is close to a railway or airport hub, for example, then it is just as likely they’ll arrive by foot or taxi.
With a reservation system you will be able to more accurately predict how much spare capacity you will have in your car park. A simple calculation based on the numbers of rooms you have booked won’t always give you the certainty you need. Car park reservation systems can then be deployed to offer parking to paying customers who want to take up the slack. For example, you could easily discover that when your hotel is 80 per cent full, the car park is still running at only 60 per cent capacity. That’d mean you can release up to 40 per cent of your bays through an online reservation system to non-guests. This could go up even more if you only make the bays available after the usual check-out time when your guests should have departed.
Whether you choose to sell your available bays yourself or through specialist parking brokers doesn’t really matter. What counts is that those spaces are not being left empty when they could be earning an income for the hotel.
Renting Car Parking Spaces to Local Businesses
One of the simplest methods for generating an income from your car park is to rent free spaces to a local businesses on a long-term basis. Simply place a sign up saying that these spaces are reserved for employees of the given firm and, so long as these are ones furthest from your reception area, they will generate a monthly income without interfering with your guests. Ideally, you will still have enough capacity to have your car park cope even when the hotel is full.
With a smart booking system, you should be able to tell when your car park is likely to be at its busiest, however. In this situation, you could always have some flexibility built into your contract with the business you are renting to. For example, you could ensure that they need to find somewhere else to park for a set number of days each year so long as you can give some notice period. With a license plate recognition system, you will be able to monitor if such an agreement is being honoured while also ensuring that only approved vehicles use the bays in question and that they are not, in effect, sublet.
Automated Hotel Car Parking For Increased Revenues
These days, the level of automation available in car park technology means that very little human management is needed. Like other areas of automation, the primary reason for it is increased profitability. Given that there is an initial outlay that is required for things like automatic number plate recognition systems, they need to offer a significant return on their investment. In most cases, such automated systems do so by working seamlessly day and night to confirm the length of time a car has been parked, whether or not the driver has parked in the correct bay assigned to them, whether they have parked for longer than they were permitted and if additional charges should be applied.
Given that online bookings of spare parking spaces can be automated, too, taking additional payments from the data held by your monitoring technology becomes straightforward. Part of the terms and conditions of some hotels’ car parking policies means that surcharges can be applied for infringements, such as overstays. Again, all of this can be handled without any management time or human oversight. In other words, there are few onward costs to consider when an investment in high-quality automated car parking systems has been made.
Flexible Cashless Pay Stations
Some hotels which are located close to a visitor attraction or a natural place of beauty will find their best option is to offer short-term parking availability in proportion to the number of the spaces. This means that advanced booking systems won’t necessarily always come into their own, especially if visitors tend to turn up on impulse, perhaps because the weather happens to be fine. In such situations, hoteliers can make use of cashless pay stations to manage their parking revenue. While discouraging vandalism and theft, unlike pay stations that take cash, ones that carry out transactions from cards or smartphones provide all of the flexibility motorists need. Indeed, once a hotel guest has been assigned their room, they can be given an override code to use at the pay station or even have their initial payment refunded while non-guests still need to pay.
Advance Access have experience in installing car park systems for hotels. Last year we were contracted to provide an end to end Parking Management System for the Skylon Hotel, Dublin. The client approached Advance Access as their Car Park was being taken advantage of by staff of local businesses and match day attendees. A lack of public parking in the area was a main contributing factor. The project involved introducing Automatic Barriers at Entry & Exit points along with state-of-the-art Ticket and Pay Station Terminals. This enabled the Sklyon Hotel to offer it’s own patrons suitable parking along with their accommodation.