We are currently in an exciting time for the parking industry and parking managers specifically. Finally, technology is entering a space where, for a century, parking management has remained reasonably stagnant. The best part about it is that this technology is available to a range of organizations, not only the most elite shopping districts or enterprise business customers.

Whether through sensors, intelligent signage, or dynamic pricing, every parking manager can bring new technologies to push their entire parking organization forward. Read the five tips below to see how you can evolve your parking management.

  1. Give yourself more (accurate) data

Data needs to be accurate and up-to-date to be useful. Parking managers can have a single person walk around the parking lot with a clipboard recording open and occupied spaces. Hypothetically, let’s say they cover the whole lot in an hour, reporting back that 207 out of 305 spaces are occupied, and even writing down which ones – does this help? The short answer: no. By the time that person returns to the office, any number of factors could change and the only information you would have is that in a specific time window, certain spots were now occupied.

Manual tracking is an out-of-date method. Today, technologies can automatically track which spaces are available and occupied, and report that back in real-time, keeping the parking management office always up to date throughout the day. These data are archived and can be analyzed to reveal valuable trends about which areas of the lot fill up first, when that happens, and how signage in the parking lot could best enhance a customer’s experience.

  1. Give your patrons more data

Once you have this valuable mine of data, its value increases by sharing it. A business’s leadership certainly has a need and use for it, but the most value comes from exposing these data to the driver. Drivers spend several minutes searching for an available parking space near their desired location, before potentially having to give up and find parking further away (or just give up and go back home to order online). While the futile search is a shame, it’s also preventable. With smart parking guidance linked to real-time parking data, a driver knows upon entering the lot whether a spot is open nearby or not, and exactly where to find it. Whether they get their ideal space or have to drive a little further away, they have the benefit of not spending time, energy, or fuel looking in vain.

When a patron receives helpful, welcoming guidance upon their arrival, they begin their overall customer experience on a very positive note. This first impression helps the customer approach the rest of their experience with a positive, can-do approach, leading to higher revenues and higher return-visitor rates.

  1. Improve your pricing

One of the best ways to improve your parking management is through further optimizing your pricing models, which is only possible once you have the right data. When you thoroughly understand your parking availability and trends throughout the day, week, or month, then you can discover new opportunities for pricing optimization. For instance, dynamic pricing models can vary the price of a parking space depending on demand – adjusted by an algorithm based on up-to-the-minute needs or pre-set prices for specific times. Or, spaces that are in higher demand could have higher pricing. The pricing for a parking area can be adjusted to maximize revenue and ensure that fill rates and revenues are maximized.

New technologies like the ClevercitiCard can even automate the arrival and payment process. A regular visitor can arrive with a ClevercitiCard in their vehicle, be guided to the nearest available space, and automatically charged just for the parking time they used. This service reduces another challenge in the parking industry: the confusion of how or where to pay. If an organization is bringing smart parking solutions to help shoppers quickly find a nearby space, it doesn’t make sense to have them locate a kiosk or double-check signs for hours of operation. Giving data directly to drivers eases their parking difficulties and shows a level of investment in their overall experience.

  1. Manage from the cloud

Gone is the day when parking technologies were on isolated systems with no access from the outside world, forcing managers to be on-site to see the data they need, or making integrations with third-party systems complex and expensive. With modern, cloud-first technologies, data are now always accessible: from home or even the beach. When you want to add an innovative third party, you can now do so with a simple API integration – no astronomical costs or extra hardware required.

  1. Do better for the community and the environment

Evolution is about the series of steps it takes to improve from a current iteration toward the ideal. Everyone should be more conscious about the impact our daily lives and processes have on climate change or the environment in general. Each individual person would probably like to drive less for the sake of convenience. Cutting out needless driving in the search for parking also diminishes the emissions that negatively impact the environment and contribute to climate change.

There are also two different ways to look at parking search and its impact on the environment: the grander sense of how emissions negatively affect the natural world but also how the unnecessary search for parking impacts people in the direct vicinity. Increased traffic means more noise and lower air quality for the people living and walking near parking areas. By taking steps to revolutionize the parking process, it lessens this impact. People living in these communities may have a more favorable view towards large businesses or districts that implement smart parking for the increase in living quality, and shoppers might find it more enjoyable to stroll in the area, potentially increasing shopping revenue.

With one simple step, you can help the businesses near your parking facility, improve the lives of shoppers and locals, and start making a positive change for the environment. All of these benefits come when you bring your parking organization into the 21st century.