Airport parking – The S&B UK Way ‘strategies for success’
As I settle into life at Scheidt & Bachmann UK it has given me time to reflect on my past and to decide that joining S&B UK has been a smart play, not just for me but for the greater good of the UK airport parking community. Before joining the organisation I knew that Scheidt & Bachmann were leaders in smart parking solutions and they had a sound knowledge of airport parking but since coming on board I have learnt there is so much more that S&B can offer to enhance the airport parking landscape.
Throughout my five-year tenure at Liverpool John Lennon airport I was responsible for the maximisation of current revenue streams and generation the of new revenue streams. This included the build and rebrand of two premium car parks, implementation of a highly successful revenue management system, commercial negotiation and maximisation of sales and affiliate channels, establishment of a bespoke anti-tailgating solution, evidenced based conversion optimisation of parking booking engines and the creation of a dynamically priced abandoned basket discount solution based on proximity to the airport targeting the taxi business. Yearly parking revenue increased significantly above passenger numbers during my tenure and currently accounts for a large proportion of the airport’s turnover.
One of my career highlights to date is implementing a successful revenue management solution for the car parks (IDeaS’ CPRMS) which helped deliver significant additional revenue in its first year. The implementation took nearly 18 months and saw LJLA join an elite group of airports using the IDeaS revenue management solution including Heathrow, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Wellington, Montreal and Helsinki airports. Revenue management is still the buzz word amongst airport commercial managers yet very few airports have adopted a truly evidenced based approach to product and price management of their parking inventory. LJLA now has a true demand-based dynamic pricing solution which allows the user to manage by exception and focus on the next revenue generating idea outside of pricing. The implementation of this revenue management system was the cornerstone of my success at LJLA and underpinned all future revenue generating ideas.
Dynamic pricing aside, the system revolutionised the way car park occupancies were measured. Most systems used to measure car park occupancy calculate a vehicle in the car park all day, even if they left in the morning for instance. The measure of ‘peak demand’ within the IDeaS system calculates the hour of peak crossover in the car park which can allow a user to consistently and reliably sell more spaces than the car park has in total. This aspect effectively provided more spaces to sell without increasing the size of the car park and yielding to the last space without the need to remove products from sale. The system would automatically influence the removal of certain lengths of stay that weren’t conducive to maximum revenue.
My revenue management journey to date has brought me to the conclusion that a revenue management solution isn’t a magic revenue wand or silver bullet to revenue success but is most definitely a tool that can aide parking managers to achieve targets through demand based pricing, peak capacity management, competing with offsite car parks and allowing an increase in time spent on future strategy and revenue opportunities.
It’s important to note that LJLA’s parking business was over 95% pre-book in 2019. The UK was early adopters to pre-book technology and LJLA was no exception being the first ever client of the Inventive IT pre-book parking platform (bought by ADVAM in 2017). LJLA transitioned to the Aeroparker platform in June 2019, providing me with further experience of the e-commerce platforms in the market. With over 95% of vehicles coming from pre-booked sources, it’s of paramount importance to maximise both sale channels and conversion rate. A revenue management solution can help get the correct price for a stay in a car park product on a specific date but is useless if no one is seeing that price. Expanding the reach of the parking website through enhancing PPC and SEO channels, as well as the strategic use of resellers (often called consolidators) and affiliates is necessary to maximise revenue and compete with offsite car parking competitors.
The regime shift from drive-up to pre-book parking at airports brings with it several unique problems. One of which is that customers are now technology savvy and know where to search for the best deals online. One thing that I found to be essential was the maximisation of the affiliate program and expansion of links directly to the parking website.
Preventing revenue leakage
With all revenue generating plates spinning at once, it’s time to focus on revenue leakage. A significant yet undiagnosed problem in many airport car parks is revenue leakage through tailgating. These occurrences happen when a car follows a paying customer out of the car park without paying the exit fee. These events may show within the barrier system logs but unfortunately the revenue loss isn’t easily recovered. By my calculations, LJLA was leaking more than £30K per year with customers tailgating through the barrier without paying the exit fees. Alongside Vehicle Control Services LTD we devised a solution now known as gate Guardian to tackle this issue and implemented in 2017 with parking charge notices issued to tailgating vehicles and has systematically eradicated tailgating revenue loss at LJLA completely.
Scheidt & Bachmann has the portfolio and expertise that enables you to set up, monitor and deliver on all the above facets of a successful airport parking model matrix and more. This is exciting and I really look forward to sharing with the wider UK airport community.
Scheidt & Bachmann are able to help other airports and their commercial teams to reach excellence when maximising the potential from their parking estates and importantly supply consistency once these levels are met.
Danny will soon be in touch with UK airport contacts to arrange an informal get together to discuss and analyse the options available to them via an informative and consultative approach. Watch this space! :-)