Airport Business

MAY 2018

The airport professional's source for airport industry news, articles, events, and careers.

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PARKING By Benét Wilson Valet Parking Offers Attractive Revenue Creation Airport valet parking offers new opportunities to improve the customer experience and increase revenues. Parking is big business for airports as they continue to look toward generating more non-aeronautical revenue to stay in the black. Airports made $9.1 billion in non-aeronautical revenue in 2015 – and $3.7 billion of it came from parking and transportation, according to ACI-NA's 2016 parking survey. Breaking down the numbers for large, medium, small and non-hubs, it's perfectly natural that the lion's share of parking is split between short-term and long-term parking. But valet parking is also seen as an important part of the mix in the three larger airport categories. ACI-NA does the parking survey every three to five years to help airport staff, consultants and others seeking to benchmark an airport's parking operations. The 2016 survey reflects input from 17 U.S. large-hub, 15 U.S. medium-hub, 26 U.S. small-hub, and eight Canadian airports. Seventeen percent of the responding airports said they offered one or more premium parking products, including guaranteed spaces and reservations. Bob Linehart is the COO of the airports division at Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Republic Parking, which oversees operations for 79 airports in North America. He feels valet parking has been on the rise for several reasons. "Number one, the economy is in great shape, so people have more discretionary income to spend on more upscale services like valet parking," said Linehart. Second, people are more busy these days, said Linehart. "It's a real benefit to be able to just drive up to the curb, leave your car and catch your flight," he said. "And when you come back, your car is ready and waiting for you, so that's a convenient thing." Republic Parking helps airports do surveys to see if valet parking is an amenity travelers want. "Valet parking doesn't turn a profit in the first year, so it's really an investment in customer service," said Linehart. "If they choose to offer valet parking, we let airports know that it's an investment for the first year and a half, costing around $200,000 in the first year." That's a big investment, said Linehart. "But we feel that after valet parking has been around for between 18 and 24 months, it's close to breaking even," he said. The ACI-NA parking survey broke down the average revenue per transaction by parking product type and it was no surprise that valet parking came out on top. The breakdown was: large hubs, $73.46; medium hubs, $54.72; small hubs, $127.36; and combined, $77.46. WHAT AIRPORTS ARE DOING Milwaukee's General Mitchell Airport decided this year to start offering valet parking. "We are committed to exploring value-added initiatives that will improve customer service and the parking experience at Milwaukee," said spokeswoman Pat Rowe. "[We] believe valet parking will enhance the level of service options and optimize the overall general parking experience." The airport has 12,008 parking spaces, said Rowe. "The valet operation will have By adding valet service, airports create new options to add more customer amenities. Houston Airport System 36 airportbusiness May 2018

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