about whether a close-in spot might be available,
particularly during peak business travel times.
Just starting to catch on at airports, reserved
parking also can take the form of membership
systems. Travelers, mostly those who fly frequently
for business, pay a monthly or annual fee to
“belong” to a specific parking lot, which usually
has its own ramps and entry/exit gates just for
those in the system. They arrive at the airport,
use a members-only card or automatic vehicle
identification (AVI) tag (sometimes the same one
issued by the state for tolls) to gain entrance, and
know there will be a space in that area available
for their vehicle. They then normally pay a
premium rate for the space itself.
Charles Billera, general manager of Canopy
Airport Parking in Denver, said his reservations
system is easy to use. “The reservations system
allows our guests to go onto our website and book
a guaranteed parking reservation in advance of
a trip,” he explained. Canopy’s 46-acre property
hosts 500 indoor valet spaces, 1,000 covered self-park spaces, and 2,700 open-air self-park spots.
In addition, the company operates 14 biodiesel,
hybrid and compressed natural gas shuttle buses
to and from the airport.
“Customers are able to plan ahead, book a
reservation, and secure a spot,” he said. “The
operator captures the customer who books the
reservation, and that guest is, in turn, more apt to
park with us moving forward. It also allows better
planning for the operator to manage occupancy at
That’s a key part of the trends toward
reservations and dynamic pricing: using one
or both systems allows operators to maintain
an ideal ratio of occupied to available spots,
ensuring that spaces are always available for
those willing to either reserve them or pay a
premium rate during busy times.
Studies have shown that close to half of non-aeronautical airport revenues comes from parking
and ground transportation. Further, many large
hub airports already have embraced some form
of reserved parking. That doesn’t always mean
going online to save a space — many airports have
established the membership model of reserved
parking and say it’s quite successful.
Rick Decker, assistant manager of parking
operations at Minneapolis/St. Paul International,
said business at his eParkElite system has grown
steadily since it was launched three years ago.
“This is a reserved area inside our short-term
parking area,” he explained. “eParkElite members
pay a monthly fee and premium parking rates for