In this industry, an accommodation owner or developer unveils a multi-million dollar refurbishment almost every week. Each refurbishment is designed to ensure that the property is flawlessly presented and provides guests with every conceivable luxury and facility.
The aim is to create an impeccable first impression: for valued guests to be “blown away” by the first class facilities and the quality of the service.
But let’s rewind, how many of those valued guests enter through the car park? Consider this: when they arrive at your car park do they get the same feeling of first class facilities and service?
Could guests arriving at your car park be faced with confusing traffic flow, poor signage, unclear space allocation, faulty parking equipment, dirty? Neglected with a total absence of service? Or even worse, is your car park unsafe?
In May 2014, a shocking incident hit the headlines when three women were injured in a Christchurch-based multi-storey car park. The driver was rushed to Christchurch Hospital with severe injuries after her car punched through the second floor barrier of a car park in Papanui.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the car landed on its roof and the two other women in the car sustained only minor injuries. Although there were no fatalities on this occasion there have been worse incidents, particularly overseas, and the risk is especially present if the car park is not up-to-date with current building standards.
Not only can the property owner be faced with poor reviews from safety-concerned guests or the bad publicity of a tragic incident, they could also face lawsuits and fines.
It is essential that accommodation property car parks, however large or small, are carefully planned, signed, properly maintained and are regularly updated with technology to meet current standards. The involvement of an industry professional is important.
For properties that are being developed, having an expert on board at the car park design stage is vital. In older hotel car parks there is still much that can be done to make the guest experience as pleasant as possible with clear consistent signage and straight forward logical traffic flow.
Design and planning considerations would ideally include a car park coating system that provides slip resistance, is tailored to the structure and meets all necessary specifications.
There is also a huge variety of parking control equipment on the market to meet the needs of all types of car parks from small motels to the most luxurious resorts. Equipment can vary from low tech – such as cable gates and remote controlled bollards – to high tech long range readers, licence plate recognition systems and pay-by-phone technology.
General cleaning and maintenance is also hugely important and should not be overlooked when considering your property’s car park. Not only does it take care of aesthetics but will also help to control noise and traffic levels.
Guests need to be safe and secure, so careful planning needs to go into the selection and placement of security cameras and systems. The design should aim to protect against vandalism and theft, prevent cars exiting without paying and, most importantly to make guest feel cocooned and safe within their chosen accommodation.