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PASSENGER SERVICES Last modified on December 18, 2012

Revenue driver: Dublin Airport Authority's new car parking consultancy

Liam Keilthy discovers more about Dublin Airport Authority’s new car park consultancy business.

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has owned, operated and developed international airports for more than 70 years.

In addition to owning and operating Dublin, Shannon and Cork in the Republic of Ireland, it holds a 20% stake in Düsseldorf International Airport and has interests in Larnaca and Paphos in Cyprus.

It has previously been a partner in overseas operations at Birmingham and Hamburg.

DAA is also the parent company of Aer Rianta International (ARI), one of the world’s leading duty free operators generating more than €1 billion in annual sales at 21 international airports in North America, the Caribbean, India, China, Middle East, the Gulf and Cyprus.

And DAA, which receives no financial support from the state despite being wholly owned by the Irish government, has recently added another string to its commercial bow – car park management and consultancy services.

The catalyst for the launch of the new service was the development and operation of Dublin Airport’s new €395 million Terminal 2, which boasts its own 1,600-vehicle multi-storey car park.

The T2 project and car park opening was project managed by the DAA’s internal technical division, consult|daa, and such has been the success of the new facilities that the gateway admits that car parking revenue is now critical to its bottom line.

Indeed, income from the management and provision of 29,000 parking spaces at Dublin Airport now account for 15% of the gateway’s non-aeronautical activities.

“We have developed a set of internal skills and competences about the commercial management of car parks that we feel we can export to other airports overseas through, car parks|daa,” says Dublin Airport Authority’s head of car parks, John Brennan.

“As we heard at the recent ACI World Assembly in Calgary, airports can learn a lot from other airports as nobody knows the business quite like us.

“DAA manages and operates 40,000 parking spaces at our three airports that currently accommodate in excess of three million cars annually, so we know a bit about car parking.

“In fact, I have no doubt that other airports can benefit from our insight, experience and vision when it comes to car park management.”

According to Brennan, specific skills of interest to other airports include:

  • Over six years of online pre-booking services, which today represent 70% of parking sold to customers each year – one of the top four such operators in Europe
  • In-house experience operating a sophisticated revenue growth model to increase parking revenues per originating passenger
  • Retaining and increasing market share in a highly competitive marketplace including 10,000 plus spaces of commercial off-airport operations
  • Deploying leading edge technologies to improve productivity, pre-booking fully integrated ‘in path’ with leading airline reservations systems, number plate recognition for free flow access and egress, credit card in/out, cashier-less operations, smart phone apps for bookings and much more  
  • Driving up value for money and customer satisfaction ratings to ‘best in class’ standards as measured by independent third parties

He notes that examples of initiatives by car parks|daa (www.carparksdaa.com) to increase parking revenues have included the use of an online pre-booking service to offer pomotions targeting business travellers using competing car parks.

“It was a great success,” enthuses Brennan. “We added almost 7,000 customers in one quarter and increased revenues by almost €200,000 for an investment of €65,000.

“Similarly, a ‘two for one’ promotion targeted at holidaymakers using competing car parks during the summer of 2011 increased revenues by €130,000 and bookings by 460 per week for an investment of €35,000.”

He adds that another campaign – a ‘geographic market promotion’ aimed at customers of other airports – increased bookings by 70% and revenues by more than 100% for a spend of €20,000.

“This is a dynamic process involving a strategic approach to the management of the car parking business at Dublin Airport,” says Brennan.

“Our approach encompasses a detailed situational analysis that leads to a better understanding of customer requirements and behaviour which, in turn, drives our product design and pricing, sales channel selection and design. It is also critical to our marketing and communications investment strategy.”

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