Real-Time Pricing in the Real World

Christina Onesirosan Martinez

The last few years have seen a real explosion in terms of the number of people using mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. As we know, the mobile industry is a fascinating, fast-paced environment where technologies, devices, and companies change every day.

Love them, or hate them, mobile devices are here to stay. So, as is the case with your mother-in-law, you just have to get on with it and embrace them.

It is crucial for parking operators to keep pricing information as up to date as possible because like it or not, many drivers make decisions based on price, and there is nothing worse than arriving at your chosen destination and realizing that the space will now cost you more.

Many of you will scream, “No, constant price changes are not convenient for the driver! They create confusion!” Some of you will be in agreement that dynamic pricing allows for better yield management, which in turn optimizes revenue.

Those in the “green” corner have realized that up-to-date pricing achieves the goal of opening up spaces, reducing unnecessary driving around. This has been seen in San Francisco, where intentionally raised on-street prices (on high-demand blocks) are steering drivers to park on another street or in a neighboring parking lot, opening up prime street spots.

Still not convinced? I’ll leave you with a story that illustrates the value of distributing real-time information about parking pricing:

The operator of a parking lot at a railway station recently agreed to a price change whereby drivers leaving their cars at the station parking lot and continuing their journey by train were entitled to a discount of nearly 50 percent on the posted daily parking rate. All they had to do was purchase the ticket at the counter instead of at the payment machine or online. But this information wasn’t conveyed to customers in real time (as it would be via mobile), and 99 percent of the drivers there didn’t know about it.

The operator is still receiving complaints three weeks later.

 

Super Bowl, Super Parking

Kim Fernandez

Curious about how people park for Super Bowl? We were, and turned to our friends at ParkWhiz, which helps ticketholders reserve parking for the big game, for a little insight.

According to ParkWhiz Senior Vice President, Sales, Dean Bravos:

  • The average price for a 2013 Super Bowl parking space is $135. That’s up from last year’s average price of $118.
  • Tailgaters can expect to pay $108 to $375 for reserved party spots.
  • The most expensive multi-day space the company sold this year was a multi-day RV spot, which went for $1,875. The average RV tailgating space sold for $815, and an all-week space went for a whopping $3,000.
  • Farther away is cheaper. Drivers who were willing to hoof it from 1.07 miles away for the game could reserve spots for just $38.50. And the least expensive parking space this year cost $29.

Bravos says that while the idea of reserved parking is a big hit with football fans, they don’t always think ahead, and his company stays busy selling spots all the way to kickoff.

For more about what Bravos and his company do to plan for Super Bowl Sunday (including security issues), check out this video by NBC News, or this video on an ABC affiliate in Louisiana.