Free Parking

This week, the plan was NOT to talk about parking, let alone free parking, but here we are. Also, this has nothing to do with the game of Monopoly, but it does have everything to do with making a customer-facing statement that is subtle, yet probably will not go un-noticed.

In certain places, people are more polite about parking and don’t take the primo parking spots. Or, at least that is my observation in the burbs (in the city, you are on your own – it’s a dog-eat dog world.) But, if you are NOT in the city and you own one of these types of businesses, you might have confidence in making these design decisions or asking for special favors from your landlord. And, if you are in the city, and can offer something special, just for your customers…it will be rewarded.

  • Restaurants should leave spaces for take out, fly-by and pick up customers right in front – for the most part – people adhere to this rule as a courtesy.
  • Retailers that are next to restaurants, should ask for, and get, specially marked spaces to leave room for the quick in and out customer of the say, for example, phone store vs. the lingering for at least the hour, dine in, dinner patron (when the restaurant lot is totally full, these remain empty!)
  • Grocers often have designated spaces for more than just the required handicapped spots, adding things like lunch cafe visitors, expectant moms and the employee of the month – overall, a feel good message to the shoppers.
  • Valet spots should be far away, leaving the space for self-parkers closer to the hotel…it’s only a side benefit for the health care expenses that there is rarely an overweight, out of shape valet.

Pick your offer, turn it into a customer benefit and make a difference; you will likely see some kind of change in the habits of your clients and customers.

Near us, the hospital has revised their parking situation and they now offer free parking, up to 30 minutes in the garage, or with a stamp from your Doc. That said, valet parking is also free, and that is right at the front entrance; so, I am not sure what they think they’re really doing to add value. What I did notice, however, is that the lot was nearly completely available and since it is under cover, that was a nice benefit on a 94 degree, sunny bright day. I will be back.

~ Dawn aka Hat Girl

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