As part of the 2-day Conference during TrafficInfraTech Expo 2015 / Parking InfraTech Expo, there were panel discussions on Parking Management. The session on Mall Parking had (L –R in the picture above) Nimish K. Sonawala, Managing Director, Skidata (India) Pvt Ltd, Wilfred Menezes, CEO, Omnitec Group, Brett Mathews, CEO (Group), Secure Parking Corporation, Abhishek Bansal, Executive Director, Pacific Malls and Benu Sehgal, Vice President, Mall Head – DLF Place, Delhi discussing how mall owners could provide value added services and utilise latest technologies to give users a very satisfying experience. The panel was chaired by Brett Mathews.
For a visitor to a mall, the parking experience is, in many cases, the first or beginning part of his or her mall experience. Therefore, it is important that the design and traffic engineering aspects and the circulation layout which are the fundamental features of that starting point are planned well. The panel can discuss what the client is looking for in the malls, what the mall owners are looking to get out of operation of the car park and then we would like to explore some of the value added enhancements in the car park technologies that can be made through technology and the physical presentations.
Parking is the most important aspect for any commercial or non-commercial space. Parking is the first interface of a customer with the mall, he experiences parking and then he experiences the mall. If the parking is not good, then the customer may decide not to visit the mall further. The parking entrances have to be very smooth for vehicles to come in. The money taken, the revenue should be collected at the exit, not at the entry point. Collecting the parking charges at the entry delays the entry process. Not only the equipment has to be very good, but also the management system and parking wardens have to be on par and courteous. If the wardens are sloppy, even in the best mall, the customer will have a sloppy experience. Further, we cannot neglect the revenue bucket that parking brings in. It is the most paying revenue with least investment.
DLF is one of our premier customers here in Delhi. They have really been thinking beyond what most customers in terms of what the customer’s parking experience should be and they have always consistently looked to enhance the customer experience into their mall. We have some great car park operators who are working along with them. We, as a technology provider, try to ensure that the kind of experiences that mall owners would like to give to their customers are provided for and are enabled by the technology that we have. The parking lot is the only point of contact with the end customer where the parking revenue is actually generated from the customer and we provide the technology to ensure that this is collected in the most customer friendly manner. We also try to maximise the revenue and the profitability for the malls and car park operators. A broad spectrum of different technologies have been implemented to provide experiences for customers such as cashless transactions. India is a cash driven society. In the rest of the world, around 95% or almost 100% of online retail transactions are on cashless basis. Whereas in India, 80% of online retail is done on cash on delivery basis, a situation unique to India. The situation in parking also is quite similar. A solution to this could be to use prepaid cards as a sort of cashless payment medium, similar to those which have been used so successfully by the mobile phone industry. These cards can also act as loyalty cards for shopping centers and other retail places. Use of prepaid cards will give the customers a better experience and allow mall owners and the operators to work in a cashless environment which is far more efficient in operations.