Hello Again! Hope you are enjoying reading the GrayMatter blogs! In this blog I will jot down my thoughts on comparison of key drivers that determine car park revenue optimization vis-à-vis those that determine hotel revenue optimization. Why did I think about this?! Good question! Well recently we started working on a revenue analytics project for a car park. I was of the opinion that there would be a strong similarity between bookings and occupancy utilization at hotels compared to car parks; however as we started to get in details of Car Park Revenue Optimization, I realized we were wrong with our assumption. Car Park business is quite different than hotel business, even though they might sound similar conceptually.
Read on to find the comparison based on parameters like demand, market segmentation, channels, advance reservations and ancillary revenues
Car parking is an ancillary product. People first book everything else travel related, and parking is one of the last things they worry. Hence, the pricing doesn’t drive demand as much as it does with hotels.
Exceptional weather or other uncommon events may have huge impact on hotels. In these kinds of situations, the hotels must consider their pricing. For the previously mentioned reason (car parking isn’t the main product), Car Park Revenue Optimization is not often the main concern. In other words, it is less likely that there will be ananomaly that would only affect car parking demand and could be resolved by changing the pricing.
Forecasting no-show rates is a big issue in hospitality industry (to determine appropriate levels of overbooking) but not so much in car parking. In car parks, the no-show rates are typically lower, and overbooking less significant as space needs to be reserved for drive-in transactions. In hotel, people get their refunds (except for cancellation fees if applicable) while today many carparks do not refund cancellations.
Hotels regularly receive group bookings. Group cancellations need to be modelled separately as one cancellation event will cancel several rooms. This differs from car parking that does not necessarily even need the option for booking multiple parking spaces at once.
Hotels have better possibilities to differentiate their product and offer different room categories and services. As a result, there is a large number of rates to pick from while in car park the number of categories of offerings is lower. In Car Park Revenue Optimization, the volume of special products is typically very low. Market segmentation is mainly based on the length of stay.
Nowadays, hotels heavily utilize booking websites that place restrictions on pricing and availability. Hotels may not be allowed to advertise discounts that they do not offer through the booking website and may be required to reserve a certain number of rooms for the website to sell. Booking website commission also plays a role. In all, hotels have a large number of channels compared to carparks, and prices and revenue are not the same across all channels. In car parking, the different channels are not in such a dominant position.
Drive-in traffic constitutes a large part of the total traffic in car parks, while hotels have already shifted most of the bookings to online. This needs to be taken into account in car park revenue optimization. Pre-booking offers much more information that can be utilized in optimization, and the pricing should encourage customers to submit this data.
In hotel revenue optimization, ancillary revenue is also considered (foods, beverages, communication and other charges). They directly depend on the type of the customer booking the room (and hence the rate). In car parking, additional services are very limited.