top of page

Key Takeaways From the "Impact and Recovery Planning for Parking" Webinar

Updated: May 8, 2022

Key takeaways from our webinar, "The COVID-19 Impact and Recovery Planning for Parking: Data, Tech, and Opportunities". Featuring Dan Roarty, President and COO of Arrive Roamy Valera, CEO of PaybyPhone Rick West, CEO of Millennium Garages and West FSI Ben Martel, CEO of Inugo. Hosted by Wen Sang, CEO of Smarking. Access the full webinar session recording.

The current state of the parking industry

At Smarking, we've been publishing high-level insights daily, here's what we're seeing from across the market. The chat below shows about 900 offsite parking locations and the dynamics in terms of the monthly parker's transactions year-over-year 2020 compared to 2019, starting February 29th, up until April 21.

Before the National Emergency was declared there was a year-over-year increase but right after, on March 13th, the volume went down to about 75% meaning that we're retaining about 25% of the volume compared to the same time period last year 2019. The good news is that we did stabilize at that level. Most weekdays, It's clear that essential workers are still using parking structures and we absolutely need to keep them open and controlled.

Besides off-street locations, we also support municipalities and monitor on-street locations as well. As you can see below on the left, the on-street daily peak occupancy also dropped significantly. Right now, we're in-between 5-10% on daily basis which impacts the cities significantly.

Below on the right, is a view of off-street activity and revenue, which has dropped even more than monthly parkers.

It's it's clear that after a full week of declining in the last week of March, we reached about 5 to 10% of the regular volume. While it's too early to tell, the good news is that yesterday and the day before it seems like it's picking up a little bit. Some early indicators that we may come back to normal hopefully soon, and we will continue to monitor these data and share with industry.

Parking leaders estimate a slow curve of recovery

Overall, leaders estimate that the parking industry will recover about 60% of transient volume by the end of the year, compared to 2019. Event venues and airports have a longer road ahead. There will most likely be a stepping stone approach, where slowly business start to re-open, by sector and region, not all at once.

"I think we'll see sequential improvements in business sector by sector, region by region. Parking might benefit in the sense that people may start to prefer their own transportation, versus public transit or ride share options, but to balance that, there may be an increase in people working from home after this.” - Dan Roarty

In the short term, Rick West, COO of Millennium Garages, forecasts that May will be the same as April, which is at 25% of monthly revenue and they are at 12% of their 2019 volume for transient parkers.

"We're forecasting June at 30% of volume for monthly parking. We set a policy that if you've already paid for parking, we'll give you credits, which helps us smooth out our budgeting. Once we hit July, we estimate a 10% increase per month." - Rick West

At an international level, governments are first looking at businesses that have the highest economic impact, with the lowest transmission risk. Such as manufacturing businesses first and restaurants and similar business models last. So those at the tail-end that had the fastest decline, may see a slower incline, but it is growing.

Consumer behaviors will change, and parking professionals need to use this time to prepare

The real question is how will consumers react, what long-term behavioral changes can we anticipate? Even if the cities start to re-open, company work from home policies and peoples behavior may stay the same as a precautionary. For valet, even if we show customers that we're sanitizing their cars, there is going to be a behavior change. Trust has been broken.

"We need actively displayed programs that helps consumers re-build trust, like cleansing, prop the doors open, introduce contactless payment solutions. As clear and frictionless as possible." - Ben Martel

In parking, programs are typically sold by the month and by the use, but as people change their work patterns, there is going to need to be more parking programs, prorate options, digital credentials, etc. There's an increased need to be more flexible, provide more choices, and communicate more with your customer base. Technology is going to play a big role in that. Take that friction out.

"Communicate to the general public, don’t take it for granted that people know that you’re open. We put out a press release so that people knew that we're parking 1,000 essential workers a day. We've seen monthly parking go down, but it's increasing on the transient side." - Rick West

For commercial properties, think about how peoples behaviors will change in the workplace. Businesses may stagger start times at the office simply to stagger the use of the elevator. Recovery is dependent on how people accommodate to social distancing and their level of comfort.