Property owners and managers are always looking for opportunities to increase the value of – and earnings from – their existing portfolios. As a result of the current economic climate we are noticing a larger number of refurbishment projects being undertaken. Faced with increasing population and growth in vehicle usage, many retail centres with car parks designed ten or more years ago, are finding it difficult to provide sufficient and high quality parking for their clientele. Car parks are beginning to be recognized as an integral part of the property, rather than an add-on service. Therefore, ease of access and availability of spaces can be major deciders for customers choosing to shop at a particular centre. It is not uncommon for a customer to drive for 30 minutes to shop at a stress free location.
Additional issues arise when the shopping centre is located in the vicinity of office buildings and public transport hubs, resulting in valuable parking spaces being taken by local workers and commuters.
We all know the old cliché, “the car park is your customer’s first and last contact with your business”. Driving around a dark concrete shell for half an hour looking for a parking space need not be how customers perceive your centre.
Parking Consultants International’s experienced consultants have assisted many clients in creating more value within their portfolios in addition to attracting and retaining more clientele. Depending on the nature of the property, PCI would perform a review of the car park identifying all areas that could benefit from improvement and refurbishment, such as layout design and traffic flow, signage, lighting, painting, line marking, level and area identification and technology. For example, electronic parking guidance systems are becoming increasingly popular in large and boutique centres in order to assist customers in finding available spaces more quickly and efficiently (and consequently improving space utilisation, turnover and thus revenues for the owner).