Nov 3, 2022
The pandemic has significantly altered how many industries do business. Over the past two years, the world has seen significant shifts in the supply chain, the economy, and even human behaviors. To no one’s surprise, the parking industry was not immune to these effects either; quarantine and stay-at-home orders have created remote and at-home working. This decreased the demand for parking, and, consequently, parking activity, resulting in shutdowns and closures of parking facilities nationwide. However, as the world rebounds from the pandemic and adapts to “the new normal,” so must the parking industry. But what can facility managers do to address old and new challenges, create a positive customer experience, and generate revenue? Some of these common problems can be addressed by implementing a dynamic message sign.
Dynamic message signs are illuminated signage controlled with software rather than an on/off switch. For the intents and purposes of this article, the term “dynamic message sign” will refer to full-color, variable message LED signs. These signs are programmed and controlled using software to create messages (including images and logos), set up message schedules or playlists, and authorize users to monitor and override scheduled messages remotely. With these signs, virtually any message can be created, ensuring any parker and potential parker is fully informed about the facility and any other information operators would like them to know.
For many parking facility operators, their revenue comes from monthly parking tenants that occupy the building to which the facility resides or is adjacent. As the pandemic has shown us, it is possible for many tenants to be part of mass exodus and take a large amount of your revenue with them. The good news is that parking is beginning to rebound. To capitalize on this opportunity, facility managers should find ways to advertise available parking spaces and ensure competitive rates. If the parking facility is in a high-demand area, such as a business or entertainment district, placing signage adjacent to the facility that advertises monthly parking availability and rates can attract new parkers. In areas of low demand, parking operators may need to create demand by advertising parking specials that appeal to both monthly tenants and transient parkers. In both high- and low-demand scenarios, an excellent way to advertise and attract new tenants is through a dynamic sign.
Before a dynamic message sign can help the parking facility remain competitive, the facility operator should be familiar with their facility’s hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly parking activity (and rates) and the same factors as the facility’s competitors. By observing, researching, and documenting internal and competitors’ parking activity and rates, facility operators can gauge whether their prices are where they should be. If activity is high and the facility is full daily, rates may be too low. And if parking activity is low and the facility is nearly empty, rates may be too high.
Once the research is collected and studied, and a good gauge of parking activity and rates has been established, it’s time to put illuminated signage to work. A dynamic message sign can display nearly any message, logo, or graphic, so the sky is the limit regarding advertising rates with compelling marketing campaigns. With the sign’s interface and software, messaging can be changed at a moment’s notice from any remote location, ensuring the facility remains competitive even if operators aren’t on site.
Parkers should never have to guess where the entrances and exits of a parking facility are, and they should be provided with easy-to-read directions for navigating the facility. Painted arrows on the ground and facility walls are an economical way to do this. However, the most economically viable solution is not always the best one. When parking facilities change traffic flows for various reasons, painted arrows cannot be reversed or altered, causing confusion and the potential for vehicle collisions. Further, these stagnant arrows don’t have the attention-grabbing capabilities of illuminated signage, leaving those who don’t see the painted directional arrows lost. Illuminated signage in clear lines of sight is the best way to ensure directional messages are seen, and traffic flows are maintained. And with a dynamic message sign, the message can be changed at a moment’s notice to accommodate various messages (left arrow, right arrow, down arrows, do not enter, red x, one way, etc.). These signs can also lead parkers to the facility’s exit and to pay stations. Messages such as “card payment only,” “cash payment only,” and “pay station ahead” can also be implemented to lead motorists to the best exit lane for their needs.
Once parkers have reached the exit or pay station, a dynamic message sign can help ease any confusion caused by automated payment systems. Though these systems were developed and implemented to streamline parking payments and minimize human errors, sometimes, without proper instructions, they can confuse motorists and create congestion at the facility’s exit. A dynamic message sign can be installed at automated pay stations and programmed to display specific instructions for completing automated payments, which may include instructions regarding contacting a facility attendant if needed.
A dynamic sign is an incredibly versatile solution that can provide any parking facility with numerous benefits. If you want to learn more about these signs and how they can improve the parking experience for your customers, contact our knowledgeable sales and engineering staff anytime! They are happy to guide you toward the right solution that fits your parking facility’s unique needs.