The role of parking is changing. Innovative mobility offerings – including electric vehicles and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) – are transforming what users want from parking. Meanwhile, new payment habits and technologies are continuing to shape how customers and operators interact.
Staying on top of these current and near-future changes is crucial for anyone in the industry. As such, in this article, I outline eight of the key trends currently affecting parking – and some that operators should be prepared for in the near future.
1. Knowing the User is Crucial
To optimise opportunities to create value for all players, parking operators need to know their users. In this way, parking’s increased recognition of who their customers are and what their intentions are for their trip as a whole has become one of the industry’s most critical recent trends.
Parking has always been largely impersonal and anonymous. However, the use of customer insights – data about how long customers stay, how often they park, and the purpose of their visit – can facilitate the delivery of value to both the user and industry. Meanwhile, payment card tokenisation is also driving operators’ deeper knowledge of their customers.
2. Customers Want Greater Flexibility in Payments
The twenty-first century has seen the proliferation of different methods that consumers use to pay for goods and services: through contactless, eCommerce, and in-app mobile platforms. Yet, parking still evokes the image of rummaging around in your pocket for loose change.
This, though, is now changing. Users expect the same flexibility and choice to pay for parking as they enjoy elsewhere. Already back in 2017, the AA found that the majority of UK users (64 %) were reporting frustration with having to look for exact change when parking. However, since then, the number of people living without cash has soared – meaning alternative electronic payment options are vital.
3. Price is Not Everything: The Growth of Value-Added Services
Whilst the means of payment are changing, pricing is taking on a different significance. No longer is the cheapest option always the winner; parking isn’t just a commodity, because if the experience is vastly superior to another location, people are willing to pay more in return.
Greater security, more space, personalised perks, and valued-added offers for products and services are all things that enhance the value proposition for your customers. Meanwhile, a frictionless payment experience without hassle or stress is something that drivers are willing to look around for.
4. Transparency is the Name of the Game
Recent years have seen the growth of websites and apps that offer price comparisons for parking options, as well as real-time updates on capacity. The effect has been to make transparency one of the central virtues for parking operators.
Now, parking solutions can be widely browsed before use through platforms and technologies such as Parkopedia and Smart Parking. In this way, customers can know that a cheaper (or more convenient) space exists just around the corner – something they may not have otherwise known.
Meanwhile, smart parking technologies such as these will allow unused spaces to be filled, too.
5. In-Vehicle Payments
Once upon a time, parking payments took place at the machine or at the service desk, but nowhere else. However, the increasing sophistication of dashboard navigation and entertainment devices is facilitating the move to in-vehicle payments.
The two largest catalysts for this are currently electric vehicle charging and parking – powered largely by satnav systems. Yet, it is only a matter of time before in-vehicle payment can be used for other purposes too: for fuel, car washing, and even car maintenance and drive-through orders. According to one research report, in-vehicle spending could reach €3.100 ($3,500) per car annually by 2025.
6. Integration and Cooperation are On the Rise
The technological developments in parking – in payments, customer insights, and tokenisation – have enabled greater cooperation between different stakeholders. The off-street parking process has long been integrated with different players, including local retailers, councils, and payment providers. However, on-street parking is now starting to catch up with this cooperative mindset.
Here, for example, parking offerings integrated with retailer promotions play a role in council-driven schemes for urban regeneration and boosting the local economy. The parking industry’s cooperation with public and private players is only set to accelerate.
7. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Continues to Gather Pace
Mobility-as-a-Service (or MaaS) is one of the biggest stories in mobility right now – and it is potentially paradigm-shifting. By defining an integrated system in which various forms of transport are accessible on demand, MaaS moves us away from models of personally-owned modes of transport. Parking needs to reckon with its challenge and adapt to the demands of this new world.
In this context, there is a need for greater standardisation in terms of the ways that parking operators can communicate their information – their price and capacity – to the providers and partners within the broader MaaS system. However, there is also the demand to track the single user across the whole of the mobility network, which enables further data-led insights into their behaviour.
Note: The trend towards electric vehicles also plays a huge role in parking and MaaS. Parking locations must evolve as hubs for a variety of EVs by providing the right charging technology. And they need to create transparent pricing structures that tie in with their frameworks (and their MaaS partners).
8. Tokenisation is Changing Parking Payment Technology
With continued development in the integration of mobility services, there is a growing need for payment card tokenisation. This allows the same user to be recognised through their payment card across different channels: online or in person, or across services within a MaaS network.
However, tokenisation is reaching new levels of sophistication. For example, that same payment card can now be recognised, without compromising its security, across unrelated merchants within CCV’s payment environment. By tracking user behaviour in this way, tokenisation enables parking to take advantage of integration by adding value within a much larger commercial network.
Conclusion: Trends in Parking
It’s an exciting time in parking – with transformations shaking up all aspects of the industry.
These transformations are all elements of a more fundamental trend gaining speed across the industry. That’s the integration of parking within its wider contexts – within different forms and networks of mobility, within larger commercial landscapes, and within the developments in payment technology.
Do you want to know more about our end-to-end payment solutions in parking? Please contact Lorena Dias Lopes, International Partner Manager at CCV on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +31622769394.