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  • Writer's pictureEmma Ulmer

Offstreet for Campuses: Reducing Friction in the Guest Experience

Universities and colleges manage thousands of special guests each year. In many cases, special guests are coming to campus at the invitation of a department or event. Despite this being a constant occurrence, parking teams have yet to find a simple solution that allows them to easily administer and manage temporary guest parking permits.

Today's blog post discusses the challenges associated with special guest parking and the solutions Offstreet offers to improve the overall efficiency and experience of parking on campus. Let's dive in!

What is 'Friction'?

Ensuring a positive parking experience for special guests is crucial. 'Friction' describes any unnecessary steps that the parker has to take/do in order to get from A to B.

For example, a 'frictionless' operation is one where a guest drives to campus, parks their vehicle, attends their event, and leaves without having to interact with any people or equipment. The process is completely automated.

Although many operations are moving towards this model, it's easier said than done. Common points of friction in the event parking processes include:

  • Picking up a physical pass from the parking office

  • Printing a decal

  • Finding and entering a code in a pay station

  • Pulling a ticket from a gated system

  • Downloading an app

  • Entering credit card information

Technology is intersecting virtually every industry and consumer expectations are rising. One of the main problems with unnecessary friction is that it can negatively impact the guest experience and overall satisfaction while visiting campus.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could provide guests with a simple, frictionless way to register for parking?

Benefits of Reducing Friction

Reducing friction in the guest parking experience on campuses can offer several benefits to both the visitors and the institution itself. Here are three key reasons why campuses should consider making guest parking more convenient:

Improved Efficiency and Customer Experience

Digital parking permits eliminate the need for physical stickers or hangtags, making it much more convenient for both guests and campus staff. Visitors can easily apply for and receive digital permits online, eliminating the need to wait in line or receive permits through traditional mail. Campus administrators can also manage and verify permits more efficiently through digital systems, reducing paperwork and administrative overhead. This streamlined process saves time for all parties involved, creating a more efficient and user-friendly experience.

Increased Flexibility and Real-Time Updates

Digital permits provide the flexibility to make real-time updates and adjustments. If a guest's plans change, they can easily modify their permit or request an extension online without the need for physical replacements. Additionally, campuses can use digital systems to quickly update parking policies, designate temporary parking areas, or communicate important information to permit holders, enhancing the adaptability and responsiveness of the parking system.

Sustainability and Cost-Savings

Transitioning to digital parking permits aligns with sustainability goals and reduces the environmental impact associated with producing and disposing of physical permits. It also eliminates the cost of printing and distributing physical permits and reduces the risk of theft or misuse. Digital permits can be easily tracked and monitored, reducing fraudulent activity. The cost savings from adopting digital permits can be redirected towards improving other aspects of campus infrastructure or services.

In summary, replacing physical parking permits with digital permits offers enhanced convenience, flexibility, and efficiency for both campus visitors and administrators. This transition not only reduces friction in the guest parking experience but also contributes to sustainability efforts and cost savings, making it a win-win for campus operations as a whole.

How Campuses Are Using Offstreet To Reduce Friction

While many campuses have moved to digital payments, digital permits, LPR or other enforcement software, and have slowly started reducing hardware and gates, there are still a handful of use cases where friction is extremely present in the customer experience:

  • Parking on campus for special events

  • Short-term permits for sponsored guests or department guests

  • Parking permits for contractors and maintenance workers

  • ... and more!

Offstreet equips campuses with a simple, digital solution for guest parking. No need to download an app, create a user account, or enter payment information. If a guest is receiving a validated permit, the only required information is their license plate number.

Not only is this simpler for guests, eliminating time-consuming steps such as printing/retrieving a decal or entering their credit card information unnecessarily, but it's also easier and more efficient for the parking team.

How To Use Offstreet For Event Parking:

  1. Department/event host submits Event Request Form through the parking office

  2. Parking team reviews event details; assuming request is approved, the event link is generated in Offstreet

  3. The link and/or QR code is shared with the department/event host to distribute to attendees

  4. Attendees can register for parking in advance or upon arrival; the parking team can actively monitor demand and adjust usage limits as necessary

  5. All plate data is sent to the campuses enforcement software in real time through a secure API integration

Are you looking to simplify special guest parking on campus? Schedule a call with an Offstreet team member today!

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