Omni-channel and multi-channel selling strategies have been in use for quite some time now and the terms are often used as synonyms. Though they have distinctly different meanings, their definitions have been muddled and many parking operators either lack understanding or have rejected the strategies altogether, discarding them as having nothing to do with parking.
But today’s consumer expects that the best companies will provide them with a convenient and seamless buying experience, and if your parking operation isn’t meeting this expectation it might be time to rethink your selling strategy! Here’s a simple explanation.
Multi-channel, much like cross-channel selling, is when a company provides their customer with a variety of ways (multiple channels) to purchase their product. A parking operator might provide opportunities to book a reservation on channels such as a branded website, parking aggregator website, mobile app, Facebook reservation button, through email campaigns or a customer service reservation phone line. Each of these channels can and should be seen as a separate campaign, managed and tracked individually.
Omni-channel selling takes multi-channel selling to the next level by providing a seamless, continuous, consistent customer experience on all the channels provided, as well as on any device. The customer can begin a purchase on one channel such as a website using their laptop, then continue completely uninterrupted on a smartphone, in a physical store or on a customer service phone line and on any of the multiple channels available! This is where multi-channel and omni-channel intersect and become very powerful.
Although parking industry technology has lagged behind the rest of travel-related technology, the last few years it has been catching up quickly. While parking and travel technology outside the US is typically ten to twenty years ahead of the US, especially in Europe, the US is making strides at keeping pace.
With new parking solutions, companies and software rolling out at every juncture, you can be sure that if you’re not keeping up, your competitors will. If you have not already made the shift, the time is now.
Many parking software providers offer the latest in parking reservations, wayfinding, mobile prepay and parking locator functions, but there are very few who have a fully comprehensive, integrated parking reservation system offering omni-channel functionality.
Do the research and take the time to find a parking software provider that will meet the demands and expectations of your customer. The most advanced systems will have at a minimum these features: