Vehicle Services & Customer Loyalty Programs Drive Up Parking Revenue

Kimberly Kaiser
Published in: 

Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, KY, and Jacksonville International Airport in Florida are making life simpler for travelers by introducing new services at their parking garages.

At Blue Grass, customers can now have their vehicles detailed while they're away. Basic detailing is $40 per car ($45 per SUV/truck) and includes hand washing, window cleaning, interior vacuuming, tire cleaning and interior dash and console cleaning. An upgraded package for $130 per car ($160 per SUV/truck) adds hand waxing, stain removal of carpets and seats, bug removal, dash and console polishing and leather seat conditioning. Both options are only available to customers using the valet parking service provided by Republic Parking.

"Our main goal was to provide something that was more for the convenience of our customers," explains Brian Ellestad, deputy director, Air Service & Community Relations at Blue Grass Airport. "We realize our customers lead very busy lives, and we just wanted to provide a service that would help them."

The detailing packages have been well-received by customers since they became available in June, reports Don Barrett, regional vice president for Republic Parking. After fielding many requests for such services, the company considered three local detailing companies. One of the main reasons Republic chose Ultimate Mobile Detailing was its use of special products that require less than one gallon of water per vehicle, notes Barrett.

When customers pull into the valet parking stand at Blue Grass, they can choose one of the two detailing options described earlier. "From that point, they are done and don't have to worry about it. It's all up to our staff to arrange with Ultimate Mobile Detailing," Barrett says. Detailing service typically occurs on the day a customer is expected to return.

Customer response has been overwhelmingly positive. "They are very happy that we are now able to provide this service to them," Barrett reports. "We've gotten nothing but positive feedback. It saves customers time. When they are out of town all week on business, one of the last things they want to do is worry about washing their car themselves or taking it somewhere when they need to be spending time with their families."

Blue Grass and Republic are currently exploring the option of offering onsite oil change services as well.

"We're really working for the convenience of the customer," explains Ellestad. "It's just another way for the customers to take care of some of the more daily routine items in their lives."

Corporate Perks

Jacksonville International also rolled out an ancillary parking service in June. Its new Corporate Parking Program provides reserved parking space close to the terminal for companies and frequent business travelers, explains Nancy Coppen, parking administrator for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA).

The Corporate Parking Program includes its own entrance and exit, and currently has 46 individual parking spots. Each member of the program is given an access card. The cards, notes Coppen, are fully transferable; so when members aren't using their cards, they can pass them along to a coworker or friend. The access card will only allow one car at a time into the corporate parking lot.

The monthly fee - currently $150 - is automatically billed on the first business day of the month to members' credit cards. A refundable card deposit is also required.

Companies, explains Republic Parking vice president John Leavens, are welcome to share passes among multiple employees. "One company bought three passes, and they're trying it out to see how it works for their people who travel every week," relates Coppen. The convenience of reserved parking is a perk for employees, and the company saves money compared to the airport's hourly garage at $16 per day, she explains.

Proximity to the terminal is also a selling point. "A lot of people like to be near the terminal without having to ride the bus or having to do a lot of walking. We are about 200 feet from the terminal, so you just park and come right on in," explains Coppen.

The Corporate Parking Program currently shares a lot with prearranged limos, but neither service impedes the other, she relates.

Facts & Figures

Project: Car Detailing Services

Location: Blue Grass Airport, Lexington, KY

Customer Cost: $40/car for Basic Detailing

Managed By: Republic Parking System

Benefits: Provides customers with an often-requested service

Project: Corporate Parking Program

Location: Jacksonville (FL) International Airport

Details: Customers pay $150 per month for reserved parking close to the terminal; access cards are fully transferable

After two months in business, the lot is 50% occupied, reports Leavens. In June, approximately 99 days of parking were used; 63 days were used in the first half of July.

JAA is also developing a Frequent Parker Program for customers in its public parking facilities. The program will award earn points toward free self-parking, and members will be able to enter and exit the parking facilities via express lanes, explains Coppen. The program will allow users to open designated entrance and exit gates with a parking pass; parking fees will be automatically charged to members' credit cards. Customers will be able to manage their free parking points online and print their own receipts from work or home, she notes.

Thanks Again

Republic Parking also offers a customer affinity program at a number of the other airports where it provides parking services.

The program, provided with a company called Thanks Again, allows airport tenants such as gift shops and restaurants to offer airline miles to customers, explains Chris Howley, executive vice president, Republic Parking. Earning thresholds can be set to drive business to certain parts of the facility, which increases incremental revenue and offers something off-site parking services cannot provide, Howley adds.

The program has been rolled out at airports in Anchorage, AK; Gulfport, MS; Sonoma, CA; Tallahassee, FL; and Columbia, SC. Republic is actively promoting the program to airport executives in Chattanooga, TN; Lexington, KY; Dayton, OH; and several other cities.

"Customers are getting added value for parking," notes Howley. "If you encourage patrons to use the parking garage with a higher rate, it generates a great return on your parking revenue."

Republic does not manage offsite parking facilities to avoid competing with the company's client airports, he notes. By allowing customers to earn miles for parking, Republic provides clients with an advantage over offsite parking. "By parking onsite you can gain airline miles," Howley explains. "Airlines love it because their frequent customers have more miles to use. It helps everyone all the way through the program."

According to Howley, airports have become better marketers in the last few years. "If the airports are successful, we're successful," he relates. "Part of our job is helping them to be successful by bringing these value-added services and programs."


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