Exclusive: How to optimize airport parking

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A speaker at Passenger Terminal Conference 2020, Neil Corr of IDeaS Revenue Solutions outlines what he believes the future holds for airport parking and how airports can use it to drive revenue growth and enhance the passenger experience.

Tell us more about your presentation at PTX and why visitors should attend
I’m going to be discussing the key trends shaping airport parking, the convergence of technology in our daily lives, and the disruption it’s driving in mobility and travel. The internet, wi-fi, apps, mobile phones, smart devices, virtual assistants – technologies are merging at a pace unlike anything we’ve seen before. As a result, today’s consumers not only expect, but demand, digitally delivered, tailored products and services and seamless, personalized and positive travel experiences. 


The big drivers in this revolution have been the shift of businesses moving to the cloud, the collection of a mind-boggling amount of raw data, and the artificial intelligence that can collect, convert, and process this data into new opportunities for commercial teams to optimize one, if not the most significant, of non-aeronautical revenue streams at the airport. Delegates should attend this session to learn how companies like IDeaS Revenue Solutions can help tackle parking challenges with revenue science and provide practical and innovative ways to manage this convergence in the airport’s technology eco-system.

How can airports ensure their parking offering remains competitive?
One of the key areas I’ll be exploring is how to leverage data – historical data, real-time transactional data, competitor pricing and even online reputation – to ensure pricing for parking is consumer-centric. It’s not just about dynamic pricing in parking, it’s about demand-based pricing that aligns with consumer behaviors, expectations and values.

How can they better use data from parking bookings? What types of services can be developed as a result of this data?
Integrating an e-commerce platform for parking with an automated revenue management system is a win-win for both the traveler and the airport. Travelers receive discounts for advanced purchase, along with faster service, the ability to lock in a space in their preferred terminal location, and peace of mind that a space will be waiting for them upon arrival. The airport receives accurate demand forecasts, the ability to predict and manage space utilization, and optimal pricing and data that empowers sales and marketing teams to further segment and personalize the parking offering to travelers.

Tell us more about a recent airport parking project you have worked on and how the airport improved/optimized parking operations
We recently completed a case study on our work with Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.  The airport’s commercial leaders made the decision to invest in revenue management technology to jump-start their pre-book parking business and grow a revenue stream that would help fund new infrastructure development. The results were immediate and significant – in the first year after launching the system, parking reservations were up 467% year-on-year, and the airport achieved 12.2% parking revenue growth, despite losing 15% of capacity to construction during the same period.

IDeaS also recently announced new partnerships with Zurich Airport and Bristol Airport.

How can dynamic pricing tools help airports increase revenue from parking?
It’s important to note that not all dynamic pricing tools are the same. Business intelligence (BI) tools are great for reporting, but still require human minds to do all the heavy lifting and computing. Parking reservation systems are also a vital asset in an airport’s technology eco-system and may support rate changes themselves, but these toolsets are still largely reactionary, rules-based, and unable to process big data.

Airports can build revenue by harnessing data and predictive analytics to understand parking demand and make the best use of their available capacity by being able to determine product and price availability based on the arrival date and duration of stay of travelers.

IDeaS’ Car Park Revenue Management System has the ability to process millions of data points from parking access revenue control systems (PARCS), reservation systems, and competitor prices and uses proprietary controls that uniquely understand the optimal booking horizons, length of stay and price in combination. Removing the focus from price alone and prioritizing optimal revenue per available space (RevPAS) ultimately drives the best revenue outcome.

This can drive revenue growth in a number of ways, including:

  • Using competitive pricing to attract new travelers who wouldn’t normally consider parking at the airport
  • Shifting demand from one parking facility to another to make the best use of all capacity
  • Enabling the business to be more strategic, achieve operational efficiencies, and develop targeted sales and marketing campaigns to help drive the business in periods of low demand

How do you believe the parking landscape at airports will change in the near future?
Airport executives from around the world are continuing to build infrastructure to keep pace with projected passenger growth and relying on revenue from parking to fund that investment. Meanwhile, parking leaders must juggle changing parking capacity due to this construction and respond to pressure from competing transport modes. Airports must invest in technology that helps their parking business stay ahead of the competition, predict and optimize space utilization, and maximize parking revenue.

And what about the long-term future?
There will continue to be breakthroughs in the use of data with new integrations, new data sources and enhanced automation. Predictive analytics – using data to forecast what should happen – will quickly be surpassed, or at least, complemented by, the concept of prescriptive analytics, harnessing intelligent data in a way that shapes the best possible outcome.

What measures should airports put in place now to help them adapt to changes?Airports should be putting systems into place that leverage technology to convert data into business decisions. Strategically, any company not investing in the right technology components to enable real-time decision making will eventually become irrelevant.

Which one piece of technology do you believe will be the most disruptive to the parking sector for airports?Obviously, I’m biased, but revenue management has for over 30 years been achieving demonstrable success in optimizing revenue across airlines, car rental, hotels and now, in the last 15 years with IDeaS, in parking. A revenue management system can sit at the heart of the technology eco-system, deliver thousands of automated, daily decisions that drive customer satisfaction, optimize space, and maximize revenues in parking.

Does more need to be done by airports to better meet customers’ parking requirements?
Most airports across the world are implementing passenger experience focused initiatives, but many fail to consider that the passenger journey begins well before they enter the terminal door, or even enter the parking facility. Providing choice and value to the consumer while they are researching and planning their trip is the starting point of a mutually beneficial relationship.

Which airports are leading the way in terms of offering the ideal parking solution?
Heathrow Airport was at the forefront of innovation in parking, having implemented revenue management technology 15 years ago. It continues to invest in its people, processes and technology to achieve sustainable, year-on-year revenue growth. Heathrow is joined by the likes of Helsinki, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Wellington airports, and more recently, many others, in embracing revenue management technology to optimize their parking businesses.

Neil Corr is senior account executive at IDeaS Revenue Solutions. 


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