Making Fun a Part of the Parking Equation

By Andrew Sachs, CAPP

When people think of parking, “fun” doesn’t usually come to mind. But it could–and it should.

As parking managers, it’s easy to be dazzled by numbers. How many parkers do you see in a day? How long do they stay? How frequently do they return? How much do they pay?

While these are all important metrics for measuring revenue, there’s more to parking management than black and white balance sheets. Parking can be fun, too–and that fun can boost both customer engagement and employee morale.

At Harbor Park Garage in downtown Baltimore, the management and staff have implemented relatively low-cost programs that deliver high marks on the fun meter. They may not always have a measurable return, but they can have a significant soft impact on both customers and employees.

Programs that up the fun factor can include everything from holiday decorations to simple giveaways. We recently designed a series of cute and funny stickers to hand out to parkers at Harbor Park. They include cartoon crabs and flamingos–both beloved Baltimore icons–and a visual brain teaser designed to make people smile. To up the ante, we create two versions of each sticker: one version is appropriate for children and one is designed to be a little bit risqué for adults.

Feedback has been terrific. The stickers give our staff the opportunity to initiate conversation and build relationships with customers in a setting where most of the transaction is animated. Plus, they help build the Harbor Park brand and make sure the garage sticks in customers’ minds. An enjoyable and memorable experience built on relationships can turn a one-time parker into a regular customer.

And to be honest, the stickers are just plain fun. They make people laugh. And while ROI isn’t measured in giggles, sometimes, they are what matters most.