Offstreet For Campuses: Solving Guest Parking Challenges
Like any good thing, the road to more efficient parking operations is paved with challenges, and a unique set of challenges seem to erupt from guest parking.
In conversations with partners and campuses across North America, we’re hearing a number of guest parking factors consistently stumping parking managers and creating a roadblock in their path to a fully digital, and one day, frictionless, campus.
Challenge #1: Administering Guest Permits
It’s not uncommon for departments on campus to request validated or complimentary parking for their guests. In some cases, departments want to pay for the parking of a guest lecturer. In others, departments want to provide parking for a special event, such as a group of VIP’s coming to campus for a lunch meeting.
Providing departments and their guests with a seamless virtual permit, that doesn’t require the parker to enter any payment information, is a major challenge for most campuses.
Because of this, many campus parking operations are still relying on traditional processes, such as coupon codes or physical passes, to administer guest permits.
Challenge #2: Most Guest Permits Are Highly Unique
In a lot of cases, the reason campuses decide to maintain their traditional process for guest permits isn’t because it’s an ideal solution - it’s because each use case is highly unique and it’s difficult to find a solution that can accommodate different types of guest permits.
For instance, contractors may be authorized to park anywhere on campus, but only for a 6 month period and only 5 vehicles can be on campus at a time. This may differ from department guests who are restricted to parking in a specific location.
Challenge #3: Implementing New Solutions Isn’t Quick & Easy
There’s a lot that goes into the implementation of a new solution. Between doing research, scheduling calls, setting up demos and then submitting requests to purchasing and going through procurement, the process for adding new vendors isn’t always quick.
Not to mention additional considerations such as change management, creating department buy-in, updating marketing and communications, onboarding, and more.
Unfortunately, this is always going to be a challenge when making changes. That being said, it’s totally worth it for the right solution.
Speaking of, how do you come to the right solution? Let’s talk about the path forward and possible solutions for the guest parking challenges many campuses are facing.
The Path Forward
Solution #1: Status-Quo
If the administrative lift to implement a new solution is too daunting, campuses parking operations can choose to carry on with their current processes.
This is typically a short-term solution as it will prevent an increase in operational efficiency long-term.
Solution #2: Explore Options With An Existing Vendor
If maintaining the status-quo isn’t an option, many campuses will explore the options available to them through their existing vendors.
At Offstreet, we’re big believers in deriving as much value as we can out of a single product, but it’s not always possible.
When moving forward with this solution, parking managers are usually settling for a “workaround” or incomplete solution that doesn’t solve all of the challenges listed above and/or ends up hindering the parker experience.
Solution #3: Explore A New Solution
Let’s face it, technology is disrupting the parking industry, as it is with many others, and there are a lot of options out there when it comes to exploring new solutions.
As discussed in the sections above, guest parking on campuses presents a pretty unique set of challenges, so ensuring the new solution can accommodate those needs is critical.
We recommend finding a specialized solution and working with companies that are open to bringing in these kinds of partners. In our experience, being everything to everyone doesn’t always result in the best solutions.
Offstreet for Campuses
Picture this - it's 2019 and your campus is bustling with students and staff, and your lots are pretty full at any given time. Susan, who's been with your department for 20 years, is tired of managing physical passes and dealing with all the day-to-day requests that seem to come up, preventing her from getting other tasks done. You've been discussing implementing technology and exploring new processes, but it's time to take it a step further and make the investment.
Fast forward to today - you've already implemented digital enforcement, whether it's LPR cameras, using a digital enforcement app, or both. Major use cases, such as students and staff, public parking, etc. have transitioned to virtual permits, but there are still a handful of use cases you haven’t been able to find a solution for.
That's where Offstreet comes in. Our one-click virtual permit solution makes it easy to provide a virtual permit for any use case on campus where the parker is not paying for the session. Maybe the department wants to sponsor a guest speaker, or contractors are entitled to 5 vehicles on campus at any given time for a 6-month project. It's all handled seamlessly through Offstreet - no downloading an app or entering payment information required. We aren’t exagge