With over 80% of the world texting, how can valet companies harness this technology for their benefit? The valet industry is one that has been around for years and yet hasn’t changed much as technology has progressed. We still hand the valet the keys to the car while they hand us a ticket about Valet Parking Service. The process has been the same for the last 75+ years.
There have been some successful attempts to add technology to this industry, but they were limited due to a couple of reasons. First, most valet services are small and have limited capital. They don’t have the finances to spend on an expensive system that requires purchasing high-end electronic equipment. Second, there is concern that the valet’s may break, loose, or steal some of the equipment needed for the system. That being said, there are new services, that aren’t expensive and don’t require equipment that are worth looking at.
Adding a technology that allows customers to text for their vehicle can be an incredible benefit to a valet parking company. Here are three reasons one should seriously consider upgrading their system.
Rushes: One issue valets regularly deal with is large groups of people appearing at their booth at the same time without notice. Two minutes prior, they were standing around bored playing Angry Birds on their iPhones. Now they are running like mad-men trying not to collapse from exhaustion in Valet Parking Service. Meanwhile, the customers are angry because a line has formed and they don’t feel they should be waiting because they paid a premium to valet. How do you solve this problem? Provide a system that allows the customers to text ahead for their car. Granted not everyone will text, but even if 50% do, the valets will have those particular cars ready. Customers won’t have to wait as long, and those who arrived to find their car waiting, will leave sooner and happier. Those who didn’t text will also benefit from the decreased wait time.
Wait time: One reason people don’t valet is because of the wait. How many times do we go to a restaurant, mall or night club where the valets have to park so far from the drop-off location that even with no line you still wait 10 minutes for your vehicle? Valet services lose money daily because potential customers choose to self-park instead of valet. It is quicker for them to just walk to their vehicle than wait for the valet. Giving the customer the ability to text before arriving will help capture that lost revenue. With this type of technology, valets can get a heads-up when the client will arrive. The car can be pulled up either to a closer lot or directly in front by the valet’s stand. If cars are parked two or three deep because of limited parking, then having advance notice is critical.
Gaining Clients: Because of the limited number of valet parking companies using this technology, those that do, should use it to their advantage for Valet Parking Service. Texting could be the deciding factor in negotiations with potential clients. From the restaurant’s perspective, would it be preferred to have a valet company that makes their customers stand in the cold for five minutes waiting for their car, or a valet service that has the car ready and warm by the time the customer arrives outside? A company that offers this type of technology should consider charging a premium for the service. Most night clubs, country clubs, and restaurants would be happy to pay for this customer service.
As texting becomes even more mainstream, valet companies are going to have to make the switch. Those that switch first are going to be able to grab more market share before other companies jump on board.
Be sure to look for texting services that don’t charge monthly fees or require equipment that has to be maintained or purchased. Also, confirm they have no contract and a money-back guarantee in case the system doesn’t work as expected. This is the direction that the industry is moving. Those not on board with the changes, will more than likely be left behind.
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