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Tuesday , 26 September 2023

Enhancing Customer Experience in Mall Parking

Q: If a mall had been used only for retail purpose, would the mall be commercially more benefitted?

Abhishek Bansal: There is only a certain amount of retail area the government allows you and within that area you have to have a certain amount for parking. Secondly, if you don’t have parking, the retail will not work, so that is the basic principle.

Q. Do you look at parking as a business, or just an auxiliary service?

Abhishek Bansal: It is a business as well as an auxiliary service. It is an auxiliary service because your retailer is dependent on that, but with the kind of revenue it brings in, it is also a proper business vertical. That is the reason we want to enhance the user experience so that we can ask the customer to pay better.

Q. As a customer, generally I try to watch one movie in a month in the hall and I see that the budget of parking is substantially high. I pay thousand rupees for three tickets, whereas I pay sixty to seventy rupees for three hours of parking, so at times it dissuades me from watching a movie in a hall, I think its better I wait for the movie to come on TV.

Benu Sehgal: My question to you is, would you like to take your family to a place which is crowded, which is not convenient? You have to always pay for convenience and comfort. We turn on the air conditioner when we feel hot, the heater when we feel cold. But when it comes to parking, why do we feel so much pain to pay for it? This is something that Indians have to learn, we should learn to pay for convenience and comfort. Nothing comes for free; if you are thinking of a good evening with your family, if you are paying for the entertainment, please pay for the car park as well. This is my request to everybody. This is the only way we can build a smart city. Parking is never expensive, rather it is a convenience, a revenue bucket but it is not unreasonable, The mall owner has paid a lot to acquire that place, so the charges collected is not unreasonable.

Q. Parking charges on Saturdays, Sundays and other holidays are very high compared to working days.

Brett Mathews: Brett Mathews: This situation in parking is similar to the sectors. For example, in hotels during weekends rates go up. Also, often on the weekends or during peak season, airline fares are higher than the weekdays and off-season. On other days, like during some festivals, rates go high up according to the demand. It is simple economics and as demand is high on weekends, the prices are slightly higher, it’s the business so it is responding to the demand and supply factors. The problem we have is the concept of thinking that free parking is a god given right for us. But parking can no longer be free because it has an economic cost and it has an economic value. It is the same as any other piece of real estate; somewhere down the line, it has rent and capital improvement value. So any developer who is building a parking station for a residential tower, office block or mall, has to look at those parameters.

Q: I have seen in Taiwan or maybe it is also used in some other countries, they have tags for parking whereas in India we have paper tickets. Is it because of the cost?

Nimish Sonawala: You are talking about the chip coin based on RFID technology which became popular in the 1990’s and we saw a lot of that implementation in the Far East. Since then it has not been much favoured by equipment suppliers as well as customers, mainly because of the cost of tags, the key tags. It is reusable so people are very happy using it for the first time and in principle it is very good and most equipment suppliers moved to that at one point of time. What happened was that the number of people who lost these chips or RFID tags was quite large and thus the cost associated with this became quite high in the long run. Due to this it became easier to use parking tickets which is anyway used for a much shorter period of time. RFID tags are useful for repeat customers like contract parking customers.

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