During our Airport Parking Network Event workshops and discussions focused on the many current and upcoming trends in the airport parking niche. In our latest Parking Talks, we invited Andy from Car & Away, Ben from ParkVia, Ed from Parking Sense and Arne from Parkos to share their insight into key trends, and how parking managers can prepare.
Ben, What Do You Think Is Driving Airport Parking Trends?
“That’s a really big question, but we are noticing that consumers are getting more sophisticated and more. It’s not something being driven by airport parking, or even airport parking aggregators, it’s being driven by wider technological advancements. Consumers are used to buying from Amazon where they can complete their transaction with a one or a two-click purchase, and so they bring that level of expectation and demand when they are shopping for airport parking.
“Aside from increasing consumer demand there are other technological advances threatening airport parking, and I am talking about ride-sharing in particular. What this has done, and what this will continue to do, is increase the level of sophistication that is required for airport parking to keep going. It is a major threat, but it is also a major opportunity, and it is something we can see ourselves and other aggregators tapping into.”
Andy, What Are Your Thoughts on the Impact of Uber?
“Uber wasn’t around 5-10 years ago, but now they are a prolific brand that people go to first when trying to get from A to B. But with the increase in demand for journeys from the airport to downtown, there is increasing pressure on airport infrastructure, and trying to configure a ground access model to support this is a question on everyone’s minds. I think it’s a case of trying to figure out how that fits in with the flow of all the other transportation demands. From our internal sources, we recognize that Uber has taken a significant chunk of the car rental market, which typically supported one-way journeys from the airport to downtown. In this way, Uber is replacing a mobility format with a new solution that perhaps works better for a consumer who no longer needs to queue up to rent a car but can simply hail a ride and get downtown in an Uber.”
It Sounds as Though the Appeal of Uber Lies in How Easy the Process Is. Arne, How Important a Trend Do You Think Frictionless Parking Is?
“What we see is that people are really looking to make a reservation easily. This means that seamless booking is really important, and so that is what we at Parkos are focusing on. People are always in a hurry and we see when people go online, they don’t want to spend hours looking for a parking spot, so we help them make the parking spot booking process easy and transparent.”
Ben, Do You Agree with Arne about Making the Online Booking Process Easier?
“I think we are going to see, especially in the next two years, much quicker adoption of e-commerce technology in particular, and marketing technology in a broader sense.
“One of the other trends that we see coming is voice and natural language processing as an interface, basically chatbots and methods of interfacing with machines that don’t rely on ticking boxes on a screen. Again, it is something that is coming from the eCommerce sector where it has been more widely adopted. As it is becoming more widely adopted it is more important for everybody to be aware of how they can get the most out of voice, how they can even be in voice, and how they can be using a chatbot.”
In Terms of Airport Parking Infrastructure, What Impact Does Seamless Parking Have, Andy?
“The seamless capability of parking, to drive my car up, drop it quickly and go, is becoming more of the trend, and certainly there are airports in the UK that are developing their meet and greet services to be self-service. This puts less pressure on the airport, from a resourcing perspective, and gives more flexibility to the customer who is now able to leave their car and drop their keys. From this point, the airport can then more effectively manage their capacity, because they have access to the keys and can block park the car without having to be there to receive the customer of the keys. So I think the whole seamless car parking experience is being driven through automation.
”Another exciting thing which we have seen as a trend is how robotics can be used to move and park cars behind the scenes. They help manage the movement of cars and make it possible to block park cars without having the keys. Now, this is new, I think it is innovative, it’s out there and it is just starting to happen now. Again it is trying to make as much use of the space whilst recognizing that people don’t want to leave their keys.”
Automation Clearly Has Benefits for the Customer and Airport Parking Infrastructure, but Are There Any Repercussions? Ed, What’s Your Take on This Parking Trend?
“So we are really in a golden age of civil infrastructure. And the parking experience today is very different from what it was 15 years ago. We can book parking spaces and airport parking online, we can monitor spaces using security cameras, we can pay for parking online, and when we arrive at a parking facility lights guide us to empty parking spaces. So this is all very powerful, but these great benefits come with a real risk, and that risk is security threats.
“Already, we are starting to see a growth in cities being attacked by cyber terrorists. Estimates last year were that 80 cities in the United States were attacked, and that is up from 53 the year before. You might think what can happen with parking? Well, if you think about it, when we automate parking we put inside gates, or parking guidance or PARCS systems, all these things are built on hardware but they are enabled by software. More often than not, that software is connected to the internet, and as soon as something is connected to the internet is has an attack surface. So if you think about what could happen when people attacked and penetrated parking software, they are able to open gates or close gates and lock people into the facility or prevent people from entering. They can also change the signs to say something derogatory or infiltrate payment systems to siphon off credit cards. So these are all things that will put you on the front page of the newspaper for all the wrong reasons.”
Do you want to find out more about airport parking trends? Watch the Parking Talks video below for more thoughts from Andy, Arne, Ben, and Ed: