How event awareness drives accurate demand forecasts for parking businesses

Published on September 14, 2021
Edut Birger
Marketing Associate

Whether you manage an independent lot, oversee operations at a stadium parking lot, or manage hundreds of parking locations across different areas, there’s been a huge resurgence in parking demand as restrictions ease and events become a part of everyday life again.

If you’re looking to better plan for real-world demand, you need to be looking at events. Here’s why, and how.

Institutional knowledge and manual search will no longer cut it 

Many parking companies rely on legacy knowledge around local events or manually searching for events near them. Currently parking companies are either using their teams' individual information on the local events happening on any given week or they have a team dedicated to googling for events for the week or month coming up. Most businesses know that when an event like a baseball game occurs near them, their demand will likely be impacted. The problem is that there are often significantly more events occurring than businesses realize, as well as types of events most companies don't think to search for. 

Why event awareness is important 

It's simple: it’s about scale. Using event data from a company like PredictHQ enables you to  be event aware so you can decrease the time and cost your team is spending on surfacing events, while knowing about all upcoming impactful events.

Event data can have immense benefits for parking businesses. By using event-based demand data, you can improve your strategy around: 

  • Getting actionable insights into what events are causing demand surges for parking spots, so you can better predict sales and revenue expectations. For instance, if you see huge surges in demand whenever there are concerts near your lots, you can expect that concerts in the future will result in increased sales. Once you know that, you can improve your customer’s experience by offering them things like concert passes or other incentives that matter to them. 

  • Take a more strategic and information approach around reserved parking. The average lead time for PredictHQ’s scheduled attendance-based events is around 4 months. Having access to details about an event going on 4 months before it is scheduled to occur can help you plan more in advance for how much of your inventory you want to set aside as reserved parking, which is typically more margin rich.  

  • Understanding your parking lots’ relationship with venues. Venues are locations where events take place, such as a stadium, concert hall, arena, building or other type of physical location where events take place. For example: Madison Square Garden is a multi-purpose indoor arena in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. Our system records and links events to venues such as NBA matches or concerts at Madison Square Garden.

  • Being notified about event postponements in advance. Events are directly correlated to demand for parking spots, so a cancelled or rescheduled event will affect your inventory, staffing, and pricing needs. 

  • Capitalizing on marketing opportunities when you know that events are–or aren't– happening. If you see a lull in demand due to lack of events, you can lower your rates, advertise local attractions, and find other ways to encourage event drivers to be everyday drivers.

  • Optimize your site selection by identifying high traffic areas with a high volume of events to help with expansion plans and customer segmentation.

  • Knowing when events start and end. Not only knowing the impactful events, but also the specific times at which you can expect customers to be entering or vacating your lots lets you get even more specific around your operations strategies. 

  • More accurately assess and measure location performance. If both Garage A & Garage B bring in equal revenue, but Garage B has half the amount of traffic in the area - which is doing better? By having more insights, you can have a more accurate pulse on performance.

  • Although many garages and parking companies have a generally strong idea of the percentage of spots they’ll sell when big events are happening near them, having access to granular information like predicted attendance for events will improve accuracy and help forecast profitability. 

The value of event data to parking businesses 

If you have incomplete event data, your parking business will apply incorrect pricing rules. Imagine you own and manage an independent parking lot near Levi’s stadium, where the San Francisco 49ers are based. When a game is happening, you charge $30 for parking due to increased demand, otherwise you charge $10. 

If that game gets postponed or cancelled without you being made aware, not only are you overcharging and driving potential customers elsewhere, but you could possibly be undercharging on the actual rescheduled date as well. This not only affects your bottom line, but it also impacts the experience and satisfaction of your customers. 

You might know about big sporting events, but what about other events taking place at the same venues, like expos and charity events? These large-scale events motivate people to get out and about, and directly influence parking demand. Not only that, but clusters of smaller events that create a "perfect storm of demand" can often bring in as much, if not more demand than larger events such as sports games. PredictHQ aggregates data on events across 19 categories so you’re never surprised by an impactful event.  

Customers don’t want to be surprised by price surges or lack of parking spaces. Knowing ahead of time that you’ll see more or less demand is key.