In our latest edition of Parking Talks we highlighted the topic of Collaboration. The creation of a parking facility typically brings together a host of different players in order to produce an asset that can really add to a customer journey and provide optimal revenue for the owner.
We wanted to know more about how collaborations work in the parking industry and enlisted the help of APCOA CEO, Philippe Op de Beeck, to provide us with his insight.
How Important Do You Personally Think Working Together with Other Companies Is for the Overall Customer Journey?
"We as APCOA are not the owner of the car park so we always operate the car park on behalf of other organizations or other companies or owners and because we do that across all sectors; airports, hotels, universities, cities, shopping centers, hospitals, etc, we need to cooperate first with our clients who own these car parks or a certain service so working with other companies or organizations is part of our business.
What has changed over the last couple of years now, from a consumer point of view, is the whole digital evolution where people are really looking up on the web or the net where to park and what it costs. Integration with external partners (is important), even with the basics like having the right location on Google, being on Parkopedia, the GPS systems of the car manufacturers and having the exact geo-location so if you drive to the car park it is correct, all sound like small things but if not done correctly then people can’t find the proper entrance to the car park for instance. The digital aspect means you have to cooperate with the technology providers, pre-booking platforms, integrating in the automatic city guide systems, integration with valet parking in airports and so we are quite far along already on that and so the next phase will be we start to integrate with other players first in the car space and also in the mobility space.
Fleet companies are also starting to include parking in their overall offer so for instance in a monthly leasing rate, parking provision is included and through (using) technology. Using license plate recognition, or through an RFID tag these fleet cars will be recognized by our car parks and these drivers will have greater convenience because they don’t have to pass by a payment machine and will get automatic entry without a ticket. So for the driver this is a great convenience and also for the company who leases the cars they will save on admin so for them it is an additional service they can offer so everybody should be happy. The same will work with car rental companies and car sharing and all of this is only now really happening because digitally this can be solved whereas in the past this would have been really expensive and involve a lot of people. In our business this would be a no-no because we have very low ticket prices, our average is around 5 euros, so we need to be very careful with costs but digital allows for really exciting things to happen".
Can You Give Us Some Examples of Great Collaborations in Parking?
"We have very successfully integrated existing technologies into our car parks and the best example of this is the automated motorway toll system, Telepass, in Italy. About 800,000 drivers in Italy have an automated system so they have this transponder and we have also installed the transponder in our car parks as well so all Telepass drivers can use our car parks. In Milan for example, more than 60% of the drivers who park with APCOA use the Telepass system so it’s really convenient. The car drives up and the car is recognized, the barrier opens up automatically and the payment goes through the Telepass system.
The second example that goes in the same direction but is newer is Brobizz, it’s the same as the Toll system in Denmark for the bridges but it’s come further. We have integrated into the Brobizz app that a driver can go into our server FLOW, register, and pay using his Brobizz account so again it’s convenient. There are no longer too many tickets and there is no longer the need to pass by the pay and display machine.
The third one (example) is the Volkswagen partnership we have through travipay, our payments platform. VW drivers can get the seamless parking experience through the payments platform. All of these things will accelerate and it will also allow us to integrate additional services to parking, which in the past was not that relevant. We have parking where we have now integrated Amazon delivery walls, where customers can pick up their online orders. It doesn’t affect the parking experience but it increases the relevance of parking and makes parking into something additional and beyond parking. I think if we talk again in 3 years there will be a lot more of this type of service, we can’t what but we see a lot of exciting potential with integration, of mobility partners and of offering additional services. We are about to launch a big mobility integration in one of the big cities in Europe where the parking will be completely integrated into public transport, car sharing, electric scooters, bicycles, etc all through one app and this will all happen where all the parking spots are so it’s a real mobility hub. I know there has been a lot of talk about this mobility hub but this will be the first instance where this will be proven and it is going to go live before the summer".
What Can We Expect from Your Company This Year?
"Cooperation and integration, particularly of the markets. We now have live convenience apps in six countries; UK, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Our focus will be on expanding those and then we launch Poland and Austria before the summer. In countries where we don’t have the app we have a central digital platform. We can hook up any partner, shopping center, anyone who has a loyalty program to this platform as well so we will see a lot of exciting cooperation with other parties going forward".
Check out the Collaborations edition of Parking Talks in full:
About APCOA PARKING Group
APCOA PARKING Group is Europe’s leading parking management company with more than 45 years of industry expertise. APCOA Group’s 5,000 employees manage approximately 1.4 million individual parking spaces at over 9,000 locations in 13 European countries. These include parking spaces at 1,800 city and shopping center locations, 400 hotels, 150 hospitals, and 58 European airports. With its consistent “asset light” business model, APCOA is a trusted partner for private and public real estate owners.
APCOA’s advanced IT platform is the interface between its car parks, business customers, partners, car drivers, and their vehicles. Thus, APCOA is able to offer its business and end customers innovative services and products to improve the efficiency and comfort of their mobility experience. In addition to the company’s customers, these innovative services also create environmental benefits: APCOA actively contributes to reducing CO2 emissions in cities and at traffic intersections by reducing the volume of traffic searching for parking spaces with the aid of digital services and the company’s intelligent traffic management system.