Leeds Bradford Airport selects Airport Direct Travel as its new pre-book parking partner
Airport Direct Travel (ADT) innovators in airport, travel and parking technology are pleased to announce that Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) has selected ADT as their new pre- book car parking provider.

Airport Direct Travel first started working with Leeds Bradford Airport in 2007 when they introduced an online pre-book travel service that provided visitors to the airport’s website with a one-stop booking service for flights, holidays, hotels, car hire, travel insurance and a range of other travel related products that was geared specifically around the airport’s flying programme.

Following the success of this service and with growing passenger numbers, Leeds Bradford Airport are pleased to be extending their partnership with Airport Direct Travel. The introduction of Airport Direct Travel’s technically advanced pre-book parking platform (CarParkREZ) and its airport centric e-commerce solution (REZ-COM) with built in CRM functionality, will now replace the airport’s current legacy parking platform to support LBA’s sales growth and assist in delivering customer service improvements. With a need to maximise the airport’s ancillary revenues such as car parking, Fast Track, Premier Lounge and retail this new platform will now deliver to those exacting requirements.

Lisa Blenkinsop, Commercial Manager at Leeds Bradford Airport, commented: “Leeds Bradford Airport were looking for not only the best technology in the industry but also a partner that was world renowned for delivering innovative solutions to the airport sector and this is where Airport Direct Travel really stood out from the crowd.

“Airport Direct Travel’s experience, combined with its fresh and innovative approaches to the challenges of tomorrows digital environment really attracted us. ADTs extensive knowledge of the industry was very appealing and considered a key differentiator. With their support and know-how, we are looking forward to delivering an improved customer experience alongside driving our commercial revenue streams.” 

Marc Ive, Director of Airport Direct Travel, commented: “We are very excited to be extending our partnership with Leeds Bradford Airport on this exciting project. Our experience of working with a number of key UK airports has enabled us to gain some very valuable insight and experience across our client base, we will ensure that this helps Leeds Bradford Airport to deliver its objectives. We will apply our industry expertise and experience to help Leeds Bradford to deliver greater revenues whilst simultaneously getting them closer to understanding the specific needs of their customers.”

Photo Caption: Lisa Blenkinsop, Commercial Manager at Leeds Bradford Airport and Marc Ive, Director of Airport Direct Travel celebrate LBA choosing ADT as their new pre- book car parking partner

‘Know thy customer’

The marketplace for pre-book parking continues to grow presenting operators with new earning opportunities.

Many drivers want peace of mind when it comes to parking at their destination, especially those who have an appointment to keep, catch a flight or have tickets for an entertainment event. The answer is pre-booked, or reservation parking, which has been available at airports for over a decade.

Although it started out as a ‘nice to have’ service that was convenient for customers, the increasing popularity of online retailing means that pre-booked parking has become a valuable and important sales channel for airports and other venues that provide parking as an integral part of their offer. Pre-booked parking is increasingly being found at leisure venues, concert arenas, sports stadia and a number of town centre car parks.

Off-street parking operators have long recognised the revenue opportunities of taking pre-payment but a growing number place even more importance on the ability to collect data that can be used to create dialogue with customers who were previously strangers in their car parks. One such operator is National Car Parks (NCP), which is upgrading its pre-book channel for both airport and town centre parking in partnership with Airport Direct Travel (ADT), a specialist in providing pre-book solutions for the travel and parking industries.

“Some customers take parking availability for granted, but others are concerned that they won’t find a space so might miss the start of an event or a show,” says Neil Robson, ADT’s parking services director. “Parking is also perceived to be expensive, particularly in large cities and some venues. By creating an online channel addresses both of these issues and promotes both availability and usually discounted products to optimise capacity levels. Creating an online, on-mobile sales channel for off-street parking will both improve the options presented to the consumer and, if done properly, influence their decision on the type of transport they choose to reach a destination.”

Building a new digital strategy

NCP is being supported by ADT on implementing a new digital strategy that will make its entire and extended product set available online and on mobile. This project is based around the use of ADT’s established CarParkREZ platform.

Phase one, which is now complete, has seen the implementation of a new pre-book platform across NCP’s business to replace the legacy system in situ at Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff and Norwich airports. In addition, the new system has also been tested across a number of off-street car parks in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Brighton and Cardiff. NCP has been impressed enough with CarParkREZ’s positive effect on its business at these locations that it has now decided to roll-out pre-book across its entire parking estate over the coming months.

The decision to implement a new platform was not taken lightly by NCP. A major concern was the sheer volume of active and historic bookings NCP handles. Other factors to consider were the complexity of integrating numerous online consolidators and different makes of parking payment system.

However, NCP’s broader long-term strategy meant the company had identified the need for a significant step forward in its pre-book capability and extending its functionality to support marketing, as well as providing revenue and yield management and supporting its distribution strategy.

Max Crane-Robinson, NCP’s commercial director, says: “Pre-book is a major part of both our plans and those of our partners. As such, we’re busy working on a variety of initiatives that take full advantage of the system’s interfaces and functionality. We are confident that in Airport Direct Travel’s CarParkREZ platform we have the right system to match our aspirations.”

A parking specific pre-book solution
A key factor in NCP’s decision to work with ADT was that the CarParkREZ platform had been built from the ground up specifically to service the parking sector. Crane-Robinson explains that the platform’s parking pedigree means the core system has a level of flexibility that enables rapid product development and delivery. For example, NCP has been able to commission numerous enhancements, in the form of over 100 significant developments to support its specific business model since the system went live just over a year ago.

“We recognise that maximising revenue is also about enhancing the customer experience - from booking a space to collecting their car and leaving the car park and we needed a solution that was significantly more advanced and future proof to meet our aspirations,” says Crane-Robinson. “At NCP we work to ensure that the entire customer experience is hassle-free, that service levels promote a real perception of value for money, and that there is a real synergy between car parking and the other elements of a venue e.g. airports retail, food and beverage estate.”

The challenge of introducing a pre-booking system serving busy airports and town centre car parks the length and breadth of the country also meant NCP needed a technology partner who could work on a large scale, continues Crane-Robinson. “To support our thinking and aspirations in pre-book parking, it was just as important to work with a partner who had the necessary experience and a track record of delivering complex projects as it was to find the best possible system to meet our medium to long-term aspirations. In Airport Direct Travel we found the right partner. ”

The fact that ADT’s experience extends beyond parking and into the travel sector appealed to NCP. “Travel is an incredibly competitive and multi-faceted space to work in,” says Crane Robinson. “ADT’s understanding of the travel industry, its relationships with travel suppliers and technology providers meant the it had a fresh perspective on how we can leverage online technology to benefit not just NCP but our own customers. Our partnership with Airport Direct Travel, and the adoption of its CarParkREZ booking solution, means we’re better positioned than ever to help our clients maximise revenues and profitability through delivering dynamic pricing, digital marketing, primary demand channels and effective cost control relative to revenues”

The benefits of partnerships
Airport Direct Travel works in partnership with Advam, a leading manufacturer of pre-book reservation technology and global card solutions based in Australia, whose status as an international Payment Service Provider (PSP) enables NCP to take advantage of ‘one click to buy’ functionality and competitive price plans for merchant services.

While Advam is well established in the Asian and Australasian markets, ADT has provided insight into the workings of the distinctive, and now mature, European market’s requirements, says Robson. “The ADT-Advam partnership now serves both the largest operator in the UK and in Australia/Asia in the form of NCP and Wilson Parking respectively,” he points out. “Combined NCP and Wilson are offering pre-book on well over 300 sites and expansion plans could see this reach over 1,000 sites by early next year. In addition to the car park operators, over 25 airports are using the pre-book platform in the UK and across both Europe and Asia.”

By working with established technology suppliers NCP has not had to reinvent the wheel, nor has it been forced to take the risk of leading rather than following retail and mass-market consumer online services, Robson says. “Our long standing strategic partnership with Advam means we are able to provide truly worldwide on-demand account management,” he says. “Our inter-connected worldwide customer service teams ensures that our partners benefit from an extensive network of skilled professionals around the clock. This means that the required resource, skill and effort is applied wherever and whenever necessary in order to ensure the smooth delivery of the products and services that we jointly provide”

While ADT is working with NCP, Britain’s largest parking operator, the CarParkREZ platform is flexible enough to work for clients of all sizes, says Robson. “No job is too large or too small, too complex or too challenging for us,” he says. “Our network of decentralised offices, backed by our robust infrastructure, allows us to tackle projects of any size, in any market.”

Working with CarParkREZ
Ensuring there was no disruption to NCP’s day-to-day operations meant that ADT and NCP teams spent a lot of time planning what was seamless migration of the operator’s pre-booking services to CarParkREZ. There is also total integration between the booking system and NCP’s Enterprise Reporting Platform (ERP), which is an Oracle financial and TM1 reporting tool.

Andy Stott, NCP’s head of technology, says: “A move away from any legacy system needs to be approached with meticulous planning and attention to detail. In Airport Direct Travel (ADT) we got this, with the transition process being controlled with composure and expertise.”

Now that the system is live, the operator has been able to increase the number of parking products it can offer online at a greater number of sites. NCP is impressed by an improvement in conversion rates (the number of online visits that turn into purchases) and the total revenues achieved via the new pre-booking platform. “The CarParkREZ’s reservation system offers operators a powerful tariff management tool which allows users to apply fee structures to suit a broad range of product sets,” says Andy Kythreotis, NCP’s head of product and pricing, says. “With over 300 products, and total control of pricing with five tariff structures, time out from the booking, seasonality and occupancy levels, we now have the tools to create almost unlimited pricing structures for revenue management and yielding for every car park across our estate.

“In addition to the normal and flexible tariff settings there is a range of yield management tools to help us maximise revenues. Yield management has gained widespread acceptance within the airline and hotel industries and through leveraging Airport Direct Travel experience in this sector and thanks to the functionality within CarParkREZ, the same tools are available for us to enjoy with flexibility built into the settings for maximum benefit.”