Post-Pandemic and The Parking Revenue: How Can Revenues be Maximized?
By Cynthia Lang, CAPP, MPA
On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization announced the first report on COVID-19. Within 90 days, in March 2020, COVID-19 had been declared a global pandemic. No one could have anticipated what followed and the changes that would be made across many facets of our work and personal lives. Fast forward to today, we now live in a world that has seen changes across hundreds of Industries, parking include. How do we recover?
Prior to the pandemic, those of us operating garages and open lots never dreamed that business operation as we knew it would come to a halt. Established businesses closed, employees were sent home, and we operated almost in a shelter-in-place mentality. Revenues that were steady from the segment of parkers driving to work dropped significantly. A garage used by employees coming to work and needing to park could see some revenue, but other employees that could telework left a void for paid parking and a loss of revenue.
Over the next two years, our garages were all but empty. Those employees that were sent home to telework but failed to cancel their monthly parking continued to be billed with no hopes of collecting as the garage was managed by a third-party company with no legal authority to enforce collection. This mentality of virtual workers resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in loss of revenue. As parking professionals, we leaned toward ways to make parking convenient for customers. These conveniences include integrating virtual and onsite payment options, the use of access cards, or the ability to set up monthly reoccurring payments as some options. None of these can override the individual moral compass of an individual who refuses to pay and knows there are no repercussions if he or she does not.
As we move forward from the pandemic, how do we maximize parking revenues with many employees now working virtually and corporate leased buildings not being renewed or sold? What are others in the industry seeing in their cities? What changes are you making to increase or maintain your parking revenues in garages? Is there a better way?