Leveraging Data

May 8, 2022

Leveraging Data

Data is an invaluable asset for any organization. For parking operations, data allows us to glean meaningful insights into how our operation is actually functioning, not just how well we think things are going. With this information, we can make impactful, fact-supported decisions instead of relying on gut feelings.

If you’ve never tracked parking data before, it can be overwhelming to decide which metrics to monitor. How do you determine which statistics are most important?

Clearly, data is the wave of the future. Let’s examine how exactly your operation can leverage data to help clients and staff members park smarter.

Metrics to Track

You can approach parking from several different perspectives, all of which provide insight into how efficiently your operation is functioning. Generally speaking, the two most important metrics to keep an eye on are revenue generation and staffing levels. Typically, both are the largest line item categories of any income statement.

With revenue generation, your goal is to maximize revenues. For this metric, you’ll want to keep an eye on:

  • Daily parking activity
  • Monthly parking activity
  • Rate structures and tables
  • Special rates (early bird, afternoon, evening, weekend, etc.)
  • Empty space counts

Staffing levels rely on many of the metrics we mentioned above. Depending on your garage’s activity as alluded to above, you will learn when to staff, when to decrease staff at any point in the day, when to eliminate staff, and so on. This way, you’re maximizing not only your staffing levels but also indirectly your revenues or NOS.

Example Information for Decision-Making

Translating data into meaningful information may take some practice, so let’s review a few example scenarios.

Perhaps the most popular question we get is, “How do I know if my rates are priced competitively?” Keep in mind that you never want to have a completely full garage; ideally, you should be at 95-98% capacity. This shows that your rates are fair but still competitive; if your garage is always full, that information typically suggests your rates may be too low.

Similarly, another way to know if you need to adjust rates is to monitor the number of customers you have throughout the entire day. If, for example, the majority of your customers leave at 2 PM, you could introduce an after-2-PM special to attract more people throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Of course, this scenario isn’t limited to afternoon—you could employ early bird, weekend, event, and other offers, all depending on your operation’s unique needs.

Another scenario ties back into staffing. Since parking can sometimes fluctuate on a day-to-day basis, how do you stay on top of the number of attendants needed each day or hour? The answer, of course, is not as straightforward, but you can use historical data to make informed predictions. For example, your activity data Monday through Thursday may suggest staffing three attendants, and Friday’s data may suggest only two attendants, thus allowing you to staff to match your activity. If this data is not captured and analyzed, eight hours of payroll could be needlessly spent per week.

As you can see from the few examples, the ability to make informed business decisions is invaluable to your parking operation. Rather than guess or rely on gut feelings, you can instead make your next moves based on historical data and trends. Thankfully, this decision is not a be-all and end-all for your operation—if you find your approach isn’t working as expected, you can always make adjustments and measure the results.

Contact us today for more information about the best ways to leverage data to maximize the efficiency of your parking operation.