Airports have seen a whirl of change in recent decades.
Airport competition has spiked as a result of economic fluctuations, fuel price instability, increased technology and rising customer savvy. Modern airports continue to evolve from mere airline operation terminals to vibrant centers of commerce, seeking to provide an answer to the traveler’s every need and desire. Airport terminals are abuzz with the trendiest eateries and retail outlets, mom nursing pods, sleeping pods, movie theaters, yoga rooms and more, as airports discover the value of non-aeronautic revenue and how to leverage it to regain lost airline revenue.
Airport Parking Ranks High
Outside the terminal is no different. Airports glean impressive revenues from land fees, rental car outlets, and fixed base operators (FBOs), but for most airports parking is one of the top two revenue-generating ancillary services, second only to airlines. According to the most recent data at Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA), 41 percent of non-aeronautic revenue was generated by parking/ground transportation.
As airports are faced with finding new ways to drive revenue, increase customer loyalty and compete with off-airport parking and rideshare, they grapple with making parking operations more nimble in the digital space and accessible to passengers. The parking customer experience must be competitive as well, offering a smooth and quick experience. Since parking is the beginning and end of every trip, the customer experience should be the easiest part.
Reservations on Airport Websites
For most airports, there is one golden opportunity that continues to be overlooked: the airport website. As airports evolve, so should their websites. The airport website of yesteryear is strictly informational, providing such logistics as flight status, directions to the airport, airport site map, construction updates, passenger drop-off and pick-up information and parking instructions. Can an airport website offer more? Of course, and here’s how.
Airport websites can and should be used to generate revenue and create repeat customers. After all, parking is usually the last thing remembered, usually on the way to the airport. Simply adding a parking online reservation page will not only remind the customer of their parking need and capture them early in the travel process, but will also enhance the customer experience by providing quick and easy parking reservations. Embedding parking reservations & loyalty on an airport website will also:
- Capture the customer early, before they drive to the airport
- Direct the parking customer to the airport before the competition
- Secure an online payment, allowing for a no-cash transaction
- Provide a better customer experience, endearing the customer to the airport
- Create customer “stickiness” through loyalty
The highest ranking and most innovative airports around the globe have discovered the secret of adding parking reservations to their websites. In Europe and other parts of the world it is typical for an air traveler booking to be accompanied by a parking reservation. North American airports are catching-on and now taking a more proactive approach to parking as a revenue driver.
In the US, airports such as Reagan Airport, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Airport and LaGuardia are leading the way with this simple initiative, the reservation being only two or three clicks away from the home page. These high ranking airports are reaping the benefits of powering their websites to generate parking revenue.
Making the Switch
Because airports are usually considered publicly owned utilities, they are owned and managed by local or state government entities. Decisions must be made through proper channels but one such as this can provide an opportunity for airport parking growth. Working with the parking management company and/or reservation software provider is the most efficient route to making a website change. The reservation software should be fully integrated with the website and/or PARCS Company.
It’s a new day, and airports must make every effort to stay ahead of the competitive curve. Adding airport parking reservations to an airport website is a simple solution with the potential for great reward.