NYC Parking Shifts from Coupons to Reservations

NYC Parking

One reason the NYC parking market is unique is because operators tend to have a larger marketing budget than in other cities. A popular marketing technique that some NYC parking operators use is to offer discounted parking coupons online to drive business and revenue.

The problem with this strategy is, demand for NYC parking coupons is on the decline. Drivers’ interest in printing out a coupon to get discounted parking is dropping steadily.

 

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Google trends: “NYC parking coupons”

 

How are NYC parking operators dealing with this shift? We looked at some of the biggest parking companies in NYC to examine how they are–or are not–changing their business tactics in response to the decreasing interest in parking coupons in NYC.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of offering coupons or an online reservation platform for both NYC parking operators and consumers? Which companies use which strategies? Do consumers even still want parking coupons?

To help answer these questions, we did the research and aggregated the information for you here. There are three major categories that parking companies fall into: those that still rely exclusively on coupons, those that use both coupons and an online reservation platform, and those that have gone fully digital and only use online reservations.

Read on to discover how the trends for coupons and online reservations are changing, and what companies are doing to stay competitive.

 

Which Operators Are Still Using Coupons Exclusively?

Some parking companies in NYC rely only on coupons and drive-up customers to bring business to their facilities.

NYC Parking Coupon

We analyzed the major parking operators in NYC and found that only two offer coupons but not reservations online:

  1. iPark | 86 NYC facilities
  2. GGMC | 40+ NYC facilities

Clearly, relying only on coupons is no longer the most popular way to drive business. To break down why interest in parking coupons is declining, we look at the pros and cons of coupons for both drivers and and operators.

What are the pros and cons of coupons for NYC drivers?

DRIVERS
PROS
  1. Time flexibility. Coupons offer cheaper rates than drive-up, and can be applied to any time window rather than a specific time.
  2. Low commitment. Drivers can print out the coupon but are not tied down to parking in your facility if their plans change, or if they find cheaper alternative parking.
CONS
  1. Printing. Needing a print out of the coupon is inconvenient.
  2. No space guarantee. While with a coupon a price is guaranteed, a space is not. If a driver arrives with a coupon in hand but your facility is already full, they will have no choice but to park somewhere else.

The benefits sound great for customers, but do they outweigh the costs? How does offering discount coupons online impact your parking operations?

What are the pros and cons of coupons for NYC operators?

OPERATORS
PROS
  1. Awareness. Coupons provide an easy means to generate interest in your facilities. If drivers see your coupons posted online, they may choose to park with you because they have found a price they like.
CONS
  1. No brand loyalty. Presenting parking as a bargain hunt means that customers will always be looking for the cheapest deal, consequently minimizing the chances they will return to your facility consistently.
  2. No guaranteed purchase. Even if drivers download a coupon, they may never park at your facility if they find a cheaper spot on the street or at another garage.
  3. Constant upkeep. Coupons require frequent updating and changing: expired coupons must be exchanged with new ones, and you must keep up with new deals, times, and prices that you could offer at each of your facilities.

 

Many Operators Have Abandoned Coupons In Favor of Online Reservation Platforms

Leading NYC parking companies are choosing to use online reservations as an alternative to discount coupons.

After studying the most prominent parking companies in NYC, we found five operators that have gone fully digital in favor of online reservations, and no longer offer coupons:

  1. Laz Parking | 19+ NYC facilities
  2. Propark America | 20 NYC facilities
  3. ParkItNY | 31 NYC facilities
  4. Impark | 50+ NYC facilities
  5. GMC | 56 NYC facilities

 

Parking App Google TrendsGoogle trends: “parking app”

 

As the above chart displays, interest in parking apps is on a steady rise, and many parking companies are already taking notice. To more clearly understand the growing interest in online reservation platforms, we look at the pros and cons of online reservations for both drivers and operators.

What are the pros and cons of an online reservation platform for NYC drivers?

DRIVERS
PROS
  1. Guaranteed spot. They have peace of mind knowing they will not need to waste time circling the area looking for a space.
  2. Guaranteed price. Drivers appreciate that the price is quoted and paid for ahead of time, so there are no surprises at the garage.
  3. Pre-pay. Customers can plan and pay in advance, an advantage for both everyday use and when traveling in unfamiliar locations.
  4. Quick exit. Reservations can provide a convenient and streamlined entry and exit experience for drivers at your facilities, especially when paired with a redemption technology such as a scanner.
CONS
  1. Commitment. Once booked, drivers are committed to the spot and must contact the reservation company to cancel…but most people would not even consider this step a barrier to entry.

With apparently few disadvantages for drivers, how does partnering with a reservation platform fare for you, the operator?

What are the pros and cons of an online reservation platform for NYC operators?

OPERATORS
PROS
  1. Increased revenue. Online reservations are better at generating revenue than coupons, since a driver must purchase ahead of time.
  2. Optimized spaces. When customers reserve a spot and prepay online, there is a higher level of commitment and they are more likely to follow through and park at your facility.
  3. Flexible rates. While switching your drive-up rate can be a hassle (often requiring new signage and registration), you can change online rates with one click based on current demand. This price flexibility empowers you to keep spots in your facilities filled, even at times when demand is typically low.
CONS

NYC Parking Garage

 

Some Operators Offer Both Coupons and Reservations to Capture the Full Spectrum of Online Demand

If you’re still hesitant about the value of online reservations, there’s no harm in capturing online demand with both coupons and a reservation platform. After our research, we found eight NYC companies that do just that:

  1. Icon Parking | 200+ NYC facilities
  2. Central Parking | 179+ NYC facilities
  3. Quik Park | 125+ NYC facilities
  4. Champion Parking | 43 NYC facilities
  5. Manhattan Parking Group | 77 NYC facilities
  6. Edison ParkFast | 21 NYC facilities
  7. Rapid Park | 32 NYC facilities
  8. Alliance Parking | 23 NYC facilities

These companies make use of both channels, bringing in some business through discounted coupons while still being able to control their online rate with a reservation platform.

 

Verdict: The NYC Parking Market Is Shifting Towards Reservations. Will You Keep Up?

If you examine consumer demand, operator trends, and the pros and cons together, it appears that in most cases online reservations are the new discount coupons.

Many NYC parking operators are already on board. According to our research, we only found two major companies using coupons exclusively. On the other hand, 13 of the biggest parking companies in NYC are bringing in customers with online reservations.

Drivers prefer the ability to book parking like they do restaurants, air travel, and hotels: via web and mobile platforms. You can capitalize on this lifestyle shift by listing your facility on an online marketplace instead of, or in addition to, offering discount coupons.

You wouldn’t need to use company resources to build or market the platform because drivers are already using it. As online reservations continue to revolutionize the parking industry in NYC and beyond, using this additional channel could be the key to moving your business forward.

Who will be the next company to take advantage of the change towards mobile reservations? You don’t want to be the last one left holding the bag of parking coupons.

 

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