Valet parking isn’t just convenient for guests parking in your facility; it’s also a way to add value to your parking service. Valets make parking in your lot, garage, or deck easier for customers and more efficient for your facility, but they can also help you boost profits, as customers are willing to pay more for a premium service.
Customers associate valet parking with a higher level of service. Having a well-dressed and polite valet offer to park customers’ cars enhances their perception of the quality of your facility. This impression of enhanced customer service makes them willing to spend more on your services and also establishes your facility as a go-to place for convenient and safe parking.
To make the right impression on customers, you need to make sure your service looks the part. It’s not enough just to have a staff member at a table taking up keys; your valet service needs to match a customer’s idea of what a valet service looks like. Having proper valet equipment, including podiums, signs, and key boxes, helps establish the image you’re looking for and also takes care of some of the practical aspects of offering valet service.
Essential Parking Supplies
For parking facilities seeking valet parking supplies, here are a few of the necessities:
• Valet Signs – You can’t run a successful valet parking operation if no one knows it’s available. Valet parking signs help draw attention to your garage or lot and let customers know that valet service is available. Not just any sign will do, however.
Your valet sign needs to be large enough that it can be seen from a few hundred yards away. The sign needs to be attractively designed, and the typeface used on the sign should be classy and elegant. Remember, valet parking is a premium service, so you don’t want the signage used to advertise it to look cheap.
The sign should advertise that valet parking is available, and you may wish to have your prices advertised on the sign. With the right sign, you can successfully entice travelers to take advantage of your fast and convenient valet service.
• Valet Podiums – Valet podiums are the point-of-sale for valet transactions. They draw customers’ attention and also give the valet storage space and a writing surface. Valet podiums need to be attractive and sturdy—especially ones located outdoors where they may be exposed to the elements.
Valet supply companies provide both fixed and mobile valet podiums. Fixed podiums are great for permanent spots inside and outdoors. Many come with umbrellas that can provide shade and shelter from light rain for your valets.
Mobile platforms are great for facilities where valets will need to change positions from time to time or for parking facilities that are entirely outdoors. If your facility is outdoors, a mobile podium can be deployed during business hours, and then put away when the facility is closed. This keeps the podium from being stolen or vandalized when it isn’t attended.
• Valet Key Cabinets – Valet key cabinets are a vital component of any parking operation. Valet key cabinets provide valets with a place to securely store customers’ keys. Without the security and organization a valet key cabinet provides, customer vehicles could be stolen or managing the parking lot could become chaotic as valets struggle to find customers’ keys.
Keys aren’t cheap these days, so keeping guests’ keys secure and organized is important. According to Consumer Reports, the average cost of a new key runs between $200 and $500, depending on the make of the owner’s vehicle. Modern car keys have electronic functions, and a new key typically requires specialized programming, which is why they cost so much more than keys once did.
Your valet key cabinet should be sturdily made and have a strong lock to deter theft. On the inside, the cabinet should have hooks with labels that correspond to parking spots in the lot. When valets park a car, they should hang the key on the hook with the corresponding spot label. This makes it easy for valets to find the right key when customers return for their vehicles.
Investing in a dependable and secure valet key cabinet is critical to ensuring that your valet service doesn’t misplace or lose guests’ keys. This is one product that parking lot managers do not want to skimp on purchasing.
• Valet Ticketing – Valet ticketing systems provide customers with identification they can use to quickly pick up their vehicle from the valet service when they’re ready to leave. With a ticket printed with a parking spot number, a customer’s vehicle description, and a customer’s name, valets can quickly identify the vehicle they need to retrieve from the facility.
A ticketing system that also enters this information into a computer application that valets and parking lot management can access is also helpful for quick service and to resolve any disputes that may arise.
• Uniforms – Having a guy in a t-shirt and blue jeans doesn’t exactly portray the image of a premium valet service. Having your employees dress the part is important to giving customers the right impression about your service and facility. Valets should be neatly attired in dress shirts and slacks. For higher-end establishments, a coat and tie may be necessary.
Image is important in a lot of businesses, and valet parking is no exception. A great example of the success that achieving the right look for your valets can provide is Herb Citrin. Citrin is considered to be the father of valet parking, as he established many of the industry standards still used today.
Citrin started a valet parking operation in 1946 in Las Vegas. Other valet services were around at the time, but Citrin’s stood out because of the attention to detail and dress standards he established. Citrin’s business became wildly successful, and today the parking industry recognizes him as one of its greats.
How Valet Parking Enhances Your Business
Some parking facility owners may shy away from offering valet service, believing that hiring employees to offer valet service is an unnecessary cost. Valet service isn’t for every parking lot or garage, but it can benefit many facilities, particularly larger ones.
Valet service can make parking lots more profitable by maximizing parking capacity. By having trained staff in charge of parking cars instead of leaving it to customers, more available space can be opened up for parking use, as valets can park and move vehicles as needed to maximize the use of available space.
Valets also make getting in and out of the parking facility faster for customers, allowing quicker turnover of spots, thus allowing more customers to use the facility. Greater facility usage means higher profits for parking garage owners.
While employing valets costs money, this cost can be offset by charging additional fees to customers to make use of the valet service. Customers who don’t want the hassle of having to park and retrieve their vehicles will gladly pay the additional price.
About a third of big city traffic congestion occurs because of drivers searching for a place to park. Valet parking is one tool for reducing congestion in large urban areas, and it provides parking facility owners with a chance to enhance their profits. It’s a win-win for business owners and cities.
ParkingZone provides parking equipment and related products for private parking facilities, valet services, municipalities, and other businesses and organizations in need of parking-related gear. In business since 1987, ParkingZone prides itself on the quality of its more than 1,700 products from top manufacturers in the parking equipment industry.
Whether you need Gorilla posts, chalk sticks, bollards, delineators, signs, or other custom solutions, ParkingZone is the right spot to find the products your parking facility needs.