Revenue / 10.05.22
How Can Venues Pre-Sell Parking?
The INTIX weekly Wednesday Wisdom calls are the place to be when it comes to gathering information for your venue or organization. Besides these weekly gatherings and our annual conference, there are very few places where you can tap into the live, collective expertise of an entire ticketing community that is eager to help you succeed.
On a recent call, the topic of best practices to pre-sell parking was raised by Ashley Voorhees, Associate Vice President of Administrative Services for Omaha Performing Arts (O-pa) in Nebraska. O-pa is scheduled to unveil its new live music venue, Steelhouse Omaha, in May 2023 and is hoping to offer parking at nearby city-owned facilities as an upsell with event tickets.
There are of course parking technology solutions including Flash Parking, KIS Technologies and ParkHub that can integrate with various ticketing systems. In other cases, a city or county parking facility may use custom, in-house software, have an unstaffed parking garage or lot, and/or you may simply be unable to align various technologies. Regardless of your situation, there are creative solutions to pre-sell parking together with your event tickets to keep customers smiling. Here are seven helpful tips from our member community:
- Issue hard tickets for parking. If a parking facility you want to partner with has staff at its exit gates, customers can pay using hard parking tickets that you sell in advance and which they hand to an attendant to exit.
“We have a deal with the parking garage across the street,” Lenore Schwartz Heller, Box Office Manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, shared with Wednesday Wisdom participants. “If we have an event, it is $3 to park there. If we have a special event where it is included in the ticket, then I issue hard parking tickets and they present that to the person at the booth when they exit.”
- Get a code from the parking facility, then print it on hard tickets. Arrangements at the garage used by patrons at the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech change depending on attendance numbers. Sometimes it is staffed, and sometimes it is not. Hard tickets are pre-sold for some events when the parking garage is staffed. The Moss Arts Center can purchase passes in advance and sell them. There is also, however, a third option that integrates with their ticketing system.
“Sometimes they will give us one of their numbers for access that we can put on a hard ticket, then the guests can scan [it] to get out of a garage,” Jonathan Boulter, Associate Director of Patron Services, explained. “Through our ticketing system, we have been able to create a ticket number … that will work in the garage.”
- Purchase and distribute parking garage chaser tickets. In this situation, attendees would pull a ticket when entering the parking facility, then collect their chaser ticket at the event. The chaser ticket is then used in place of the original parking ticket to exit. Some organizations set up a table in the lobby to pick up chaser tickets while others tape them to individual subscribers’ seats.
“We do not own a parking garage, but there are three near us. We have contracted with one [of those garages] for years and we sell [parking] as a subscription benefit,” David Winn, Associate Director of Tanglewood Ticketing and Box Office Manager for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, told call participants. “Parking is a problem. They took away one of the best garages and turned it into condominiums … For our subscribers, we get the chaser tickets from the garage, which we pay for. Then during the subscription process, [subscribers] will buy parking as they need it or want it … Those people's chaser tickets will be taped to their chairs [on the night of each event].
- Assign a staff member to help with parking. Christy Grantham, Director of Ticketing at the Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College, shared that they “send our staff to man the parking lot/deck for those hours.”
“We will do the same, we actually will send one of our ushers out to the garage,” Boulter shared, adding that it is more about providing great customer service than an immediate solution to any issues. “We do give them some passes, but a lot of it is just to hit that ‘need help’ button. A lot of times people will get out of their car and then back up the garage [through a backlog of cars] … Typically what happens is once we get that person on the phone, they will just open the garage for whoever is stuck. That is something that we try to provide just for that experience.”
- Get a sponsor for valet parking. Pulling up at the venue, handing your keys to a professional valet and then heading immediately inside to see the show is a great perk to offer your attendees. It adds class to the occasion, keeps traffic flowing and increases the overall event-going experience. Sponsorship of this perk may be attractive to a local car dealer or a car manufacturer, among others. This may enable you to offer it as a complimentary perk for subscribers in addition to pre-selling it as a value-added service.
- Offer codes for parking apps. Multiple venues are using ParkMobile, which helps customers pay for parking without having to feed a meter. They can also reserve spots ahead of time.
“Penn State used the ParkMobile app as well,” Tracy Noll, Director of Sales and Development Services at Pennsylvania State University, shared. “We provide free parking for our events so we can provide a code to enter in the app which provides the patron with a QR code to scan at the garage. Parking then bills us for all the scanned codes.”
- Offer shuttle service. Some venues do not have nearby parking because the lots and garages have been used to construct new buildings or condos. If you are providing free parking that is a hike from the venue, consider offering a shuttle service for your customers.
Our INTIX Wednesday Wisdom calls are open to the ticketing community. We encourage all ticketing professionals to join us at 12 p.m. ET on Wednesdays. Registration is also open for the 44th Annual INTIX Conference and Exhibition, which takes place Jan. 23-26, 2023, in Seattle. It is the largest annual gathering of ticketing professionals, and we can’t wait to see you there!
You May Also Like
Want news like this delivered to your inbox weekly? Subscribe to the Access Weekly newsletter, your ticket to industry excellence.