Stick Together – The Parking Management Conference 2010

Stick together. Now there’s something you don’t hear everyday in the parking industry!

We were both at the Parking Management Conference www.parkingmanagers.co.uk this week and I have to say that I think it was a great event with some genuinely thoughtful and insightful content. We had talks from a number of excellent speakers from around the industry, and for me, the talks about emerging technologies and excellence in customer services really went down well.

After bumping into Mark Moran on the tube (and shamelessly plugging the blog) we made our way into Chelsea FC for tea and coffee and our first round of networking. It was interesting to see a high representation from Pay by Phone companies, and I think this clearly shows a shift in the way we pay and our move towards cashless parking. I will be writing more about cashless parking soon as its something I’m passionate about and I also mentioned in the very first blog, but it is coming, fast!

If im honest, which is the point of a blog, I wasn’t blown away by all the presentations, but I think that I may be a little unfair as its a tricky thing to do and I have a lot of respect for anyone who has the nerve to get up and present. If I could give any constructive criticism then I think that simply telling people to ‘be better’ or ‘do more’ is a little vague and an easy solution would be to simply add something to the end of that statement that lets people understand what you mean, an example is a great way to portray your message.

Harry Clarke from RingGo gave a great presentation about new technologies and how we should embrace data and bow to the all powerful smart phone. There’s no doubt we will see the smart phone affect the way we all do business in the immediate future and become more important in all our lives. As a quick note, fair play to Harry for openly discussing the negative comments that the RingGo app has received on iTunes, he was honest about it and made another great point about the fact that these things cost money and someone has to pay!

Adam Bidder also gave an excellent presentation about making the most from valuable spaces and how exceptional customer services should be the core of any operation, and interestingly how each car park is unique and has its own DNA. I think Parking DNA is a great buzz word and something we will hear more about soon.

Neil Herron’s presentation on his innovative kerbside booking system was genuinely interesting and its a very clever bit of kit, that’s a perfect example of finding a unique solution to a big problem.

And finally Ian Taylor gave an insight into ways we can consider smarter management, but for me, he made a key point that really summed up things and made me think about the parking industry, it was simply “Stick Together”. We are guilty of being a bit broken at times and all working from different angles, but the reason why we all subscribe to things like Parking Review and go to the Parking Management conference is not just for business, but to meet like minded people and share our experiences.

We all know the parking industry has its odd perceptions from the outside world and maybe this means we feel more of a community when we are together. Whatever the reason, I think that meeting regularly and sharing ideas on best practice and being as open and honest as we can with each other will mean we can really make a difference and raise the bar just a little higher.

Thanks to Mark and the Conference team for another great event, its the Parking Awards 2011 next and Fraser is going for Young Parking Professional so fingers crossed. See you there.

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