By Gary Means, CAPP
OK, I know in the parking and transportation business we often have to say “no”. No parking at a fire hydrant! No motorcycles in the gated garage! No walking around in the bus when its in motion! No dance parties on the garage roof!
Many of our rules are for our customers’ safety, but we have to admit there are some rules that are still in place because we’ve always done it that way or it’s too much administrative work to do it differently. Some questionable rules might be “no reserved parking,” or “no sharing of permits.” We have an ordinance in Lexington, Ky., that says we can write a citation on a vehicle parked with its keys left in the ignition. Honestly, we ignore that one.
My point is that maybe there are some rules or policies that don’t make sense today or are one-sided, and by that I mean rules that are good for our organization but maybe not so good for the customer.
About a year ago, the Lexington Parking Authority was asked if a Lamborghini car club could park their vehicles in one of our garages for a few days. Lot’s of reasons for a “No!” popped into my head, the least of which was: Do I really want to have more than $7 million worth of Lamborghinis parking in our garage? What if some concrete falls? What if one of them gets keyed? After conversing with my team, we decided to allow this group to park with us–they definitely had the money to pay for the additional reserved rate and hire their own security. We went on to coordinate a wash station for them in the back of the garage and helped find safe places for those arriving by transport to unload safely, and it was a pretty cool experience. Most importantly one of our downtown hotels gained a piece of business that brought in over $20,000 in three days.
The group had a great time in Lexington and I’m sure some of them or their friends will return to our friendly town someday and spend more money.
During this time of uncertainty and change, hopefully this little story might get you thinking about ways your organization might change to create opportunities in your community. BONUS: If you are really into sports cars or just like bright colors, click here to see some of the pics we took while they stayed with us.
Gary Means, CAPP, is executive director of the Lexington & Fayette County, Ky., Parking Authority and chair-elect of IPMI’s Board of Directors.