Why pre-book when there are plenty of spaces to fill demand?

In early 2011 Inventive IT launched a parking pre-booking and online distribution system, Altitude.

From going live we have signed up 3 airports in the UK and have a number of others lined up to come on board within the next 12 months.

During our meetings with airports all over the world, the same question comes up time and again, ‘Why do we need pre-booking when we have ample spaces and our customers will be guaranteed a space 100% of the time?’

Many airports are hesitant to install a pre-booking system when a car park only achieves 80% occupancy. In practical terms, a pre-book parking systems offer much more than just reserving a space.

Increasing Revenue

In the UK and now more so in Europe, many airports break the parking up in to "products". You can create a "Premium Parking" product for spaces closest to the airport. Once set up airports can manage the prices of each product independently. Either through price changes or the introduction of booking fees. This is one good way to increase parking revenue.

Up sell Your Products

Another benefit of having a pre-booking system is being able to up sell other ancillary products such as fast lane passes and exec lounges with parking.  Our clients have seen that an average of 15% of customers buy an upgrade when pre booking and 10% upgrade their parking product during the booking process.

Increasing Your Customer Reach

By offering a pre booking solution and integrating with 3rd party distributors this significantly increases the airports reach, introducing new customers and cannibalising the customers of competitors; by offering airport parking at the point of sale of flight products and through travel agency websites.

This was one of the driving factors behind the UK airports offering pre book. The number of offsite competitors was increasing and began to provide a pre book service so to compete and bring customers back to the airport; pre booking was implemented for onsite airport parking.

Increase Demand

Airports can set up marketing campaigns to increase demand during a period of low sales. Customers can also take advantage of being able to sign up to membership schemes and receive associated discounts. Booking confirmation emails can also have vouchers for coffee and food promotions in the airport.

Improved User Experience

Besides the obvious benefits to the airport of forward occupancy and cash flow visibility, a pre booking system can also provide an enhanced customer experience when combined with systems such as automatic number plate recognition. 

So to sum up my answer; parking not only offers your customers a guaranteed space and an improved user experience but it gives you, the airport an additional tool to grow revenue and the ability to manage parking operations through a centralised system.

The UK has been at the forefront of airport parking pre-booking and today parking revenues can account for up to 60% of an airports overall revenue. It is only a matter of time before other markets catch up and now is a better time than ever to act as competitors push to establish themselves as a credible alternative to onsite parking.

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