2017 NPA Expo & Valet Olympics Highlights

The National Valet Olympics is a skills competition representing valet teams from both the public and private sectors. This year’s biennial competition showcased the professionalism and speed of front-line employees serving parkers throughout North America.

The 2017 National Valet Olympics was held at the Palm Beach Convention Center in Palm Springs, CA. The teams competed in four events:

  • Key Box Challenge
  • Luggage Load
  • Precision Parking
  • Valet Relay

Valet OlympicsAfter two days of competition, the National Parking Association crowned Towne Park’s Twain Frazier as the nation’s Best Valet.  The team from Towne Park also came in first overall. The Annapolis-based valet company took home the Herb Citrin Trophy, named for the late “father of valet parking” and the founder/owner of Valet Parking Service.

LAZ Parking based in Hartford, CT, was the second place team overall and in third place was Advanced Parking ConceptsVerona, NJ. Coming in fourth place was Aristocrat/Ambassador ValetSt. Louis. MO. In addition to the skills competition, NPA Convention attendees participated in the Valet Olympics by voting for the valet team with the best uniform—won by LAZ Parking. Advanced Parking Concepts won team with the best attitude.

“Through the Olympic trials and the National Valet Olympics itself, competing teams built morale and instilled the spirit of friendly competition,” said NPA President Christine Banning, CAE. The Valet Olympics concluded with an award lunch, and competing companies shared best practices.

2017 Valet Parking Podium Buying Guide

Tips for Purchasing Valet Parking Podiums

If you’re in the market for new parking equipment, you know that most likely you’re about to spend a good chunk of change.  You also know the choices you make are ones you’ll have to live with for years to come.  That’s why it’s vital to make an informed decision that’s the perfect fit for your parking operation and your budget.

The Valet Spot has a wealth of information for you on most major pieces of parking equipment, from podiums and delineator parking signs to key boxes and valet tickets. Not only does this information come from years of designing and testing parking equipment, this information comes from industry insiders who have used and dealt with every conceivable kind of parking service for more years than most people could shake a stick at.  And while these posts may not make your decision any easier, they certainly will help you make a smarter one.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Valet Parking Podium

1. Size

The “right” size of valet podium depends on how many customers you provide service during your busiest time of the season and the amount of space that will be available at the locations the podium will be used. With a properly sized valet podium, you will realize the time and cost-saving benefits of having faster customer service and lower equipment maintenance and replacement costs.  Simply put, having the right size of valet podium leads to cost savings and a smooth running valet parking operation. On the flip side, an undersized valet podium not only increases wait times, it runs the risk of being overloaded leading to costly repairs or replacements.

The most common standard valet podium size is 24″ x 48″, but your needs may vary depending on how much storage and display space is available.

2. Weight

After size and style, the weight of valet podium is typically the largest deciding factor. Though at first glance it might seem they would be similar, there are significant differences between the weight of most parking podiums. Some podiums are designed to be lightweight and portable where others are designed to stay at one location but can easily be moved around. There are also podiums that are pretty much designed to be stationary.

Currently, the lightest weight valet podium on the market is the Portable Valet Podium at 70 lbs.

3. Style, Design & Finish

Style and design can do as much for a cafe, hotel, restaurant or bar as good service, food and drinks can. This is true even when it comes to the outside of the establishment. First impressions mean everything and the valet podium is usually one of the first things a customer encounters. That’s why it’s important to have a valet podium that reflects the pride you take in your business. The same goes for parking garages, airport valet service, mall valet service and any other establishment that is parking your car. Just ask yourself….would you feel safe handing your keys over to a valet parking operation that did not look 100% professional?

4. Quality & Durability

There are various types of valet podiums made for all types of weather conditions. In order to get the maximum longevity out of your podium, it’s important to pick the right type of podium for the conditions it will be in. Will it be inside or outside the majority of the time? Are you located on the coast where corrosion is a factor? We took all these things into account when developing our podiums designed for harsh environments.

That’s why we created a comparison guide to help you decide which podium is right for you. Click here to download a pdf version of the guide.

Valet Podium Comparison Guide

 

Makers of high-quality podiums like The Valet Spot have a reputation for quality that we’re obligated to maintain. One of the main indicators of meeting a high standard of quality is ensuring that our product performance exceeds your expectations. Make sure you are purchasing a podium that has a reputation for being reliable from a company that stands behind their product.

Do you have any other questions about valet podiums and their differences?  What are you looking for in a new valet podium?  Let us know!

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The Valet Spot is the Official Sponsor of the 2017 Valet Olympics!

We are proud to announce The Valet Spot is the official sponsor of the 2017 National Valet Olympics! If you are attending this year’s show you will have a chance to see some of our products in action.

The 66th National Parking Association (NPA) & Exposition will be taking place in conjunction with the biennial 2017 National Valet Olympics October 2nd-5th at the Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel in Palm Springs, CA.

The Valet Olympics is an international skills competition where valet teams of four from valet parking companies across the nation showcase their professionalism and skills in hopes of winning the coveted Herb Citron trophy.

On Wednesday, October 4th, teams will compete in the Key Jumble and Luggage Load. On Thursday, October 5th, teams will compete in the Precision Parking and Valet Relay. The Valet Olympics will conclude with a Valet Olympics award ceremony and lunch.

In 2015 the competing valet teams were from the following parking companies: Advanced Parking Concepts, Ameripark, LAZ Parking, Parksman Parking, Towne Park, Ultimate Hospitality and Universal Parking.

The Valet Olympics allow valet parking companies to showcase their professionalism on a national stage by competing against peers in the valet parking sector, building staff morale and instilling the spirit of friendly competition.

In 2015 the National Parking Association (NPA) crowned AmeriPark’s Katie Richards as the nation’s Best Valet. The team from AmeriPark also came in first overall. The Atlanta-based valet and self-parking company took home the Herb Citrin Trophy.

Advanced Parking Concepts, based in Verona, NJ, was the second place team overall and in third place was Ultimate Parking of Boston, MA. In addition to the skills competition, NPA Convention attendees participated in the Valet Olympics by voting for the valet team that was best dressed and displayed the best attitude. The winner of both those awards was Advanced Parking Concepts.

The Valet Olympics are presented by NPA’s Valet Council, the Valet Olympics Committee and NPA’s Convention Program Planning Committee.

For more information on the National Valet Olympics and the 2017 NPA Convention & Exposition, go to www.npaconvention.org/2017/

Why Every Wedding Venue Should Offer Valet Service

 

Just like hotels and restaurants wedding venues usually offer valet parking, and if they don’t they should. You’ve got the venue, flowers, food and drinks all set for the wedding season, but one crucial component to a successful wedding is often overlooked, valet parking and transportation services. Every bride wants every little thing to go right on her special day and having guests have parking issues before or after the event is the last thing she wants to worry about. Optional valet service is definitely a factor when a bride is choosing a wedding venue.

There are many benefits to valet service at a wedding venue:

  • Add’s elegance  – The bride and groom put a lot of work into their special day, and more than likely, so have their guests. Many will have bought new outfits and gifts, some have even bought plane tickets and rented cars to get there. Valet service at the wedding add’s that touch of elegance and let’s the guests know their attendance is appreciated.
  • It saves time – Often having a lack of it is a huge issue for wedding planners. Sometimes you need to move guests from the wedding to the reception venue quickly or clear out a venue for another party. Valets are a quick and efficient way to ensure nobody misses a minute of your ceremony or reception, and that one party does not delay another. This is a risk you run when your guests don’t exit in a timely manner.
  • Increases safety – Weddings almost always have elderly guests attending, having highly trained professionals helping them in and out of their vehicles can prevent a potential accident.

A wedding is a special day and a bride and groom want the best of everything. Valet parking service is an efficient, affordable solution to many issues that can arise on this joyful yet hectic day. A valet is the first and last point of contact when guests attend the ceremony. Valet service at a wedding venue ensures that guests leave with a lasting, positive impression.

The Valet Spot designed a portable valet podium specifically with wedding venues in mind. It has an interchangeable front sign that can be customized for each wedding and folds for easy transportation and storage. It also has an easy grip handle and only weighs 70 lbs.

 

How to Care for Your Valet Podium

How to Care for Your Podium

Proper maintenance will ensure you get the maximum life out of your valet podium. Here are a few tips on valet parking podium maintenance that will keep your podium operating like it did the day you bought it.

Surface

Wipe down the surface of your podium with soap and water and dry properly with a chamois. Once dry wipe Valet Podium Maintenance Tipsdown once more with a dry microfiber towel.

Handles

Tighten all handles monthly to ensure hardware does not become loose and fall off.

Casters

Don’t roll your podium while the casters are locked. If you are moving your podium across rough terrain make sure the casters do not get stuck in any large holes or gaps to prevent them from getting stuck and breaking off.

LED’s

Don’t charge the battery at the same time as running your LED’s. Do not allow the battery to get wet.

Rust

Rust is an important issue to address quickly. We recommend using Rust-Oleum and touch up paint as preventative maintenance.

Door

If you are having issues with the small spring latch that connects to your door feel free to call us for a replacement.

Drawer Tracks

We spray your drawer tracks with White Lightening Grease before we ship and recommend spraying yours every 2 months.

Internal Drawer Tracks

Internal drawer tracks need to be tightened an average of once a month depending on use to keep the screws from loosening and falling off.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steels need to be cleaned for aesthetic considerations and to preserve corrosion resistance. Stainless Stainless Steel Valet Podiumsteel is protected from corrosion by a thin layer of chromium oxide. Oxygen from the atmosphere combines with the chromium in the stainless steel to form this passive chromium oxide film that protects from further corrosion. Any contamination of the surface by dirt, or other material, hinders this passivation process and traps corrosive agents, reducing corrosion protection. Thus, some form of routine cleaning is necessary to preserve the appearance and integrity of the surface. Stainless steels are easily cleaned by many different methods. They actually thrive with frequent cleaning, and, unlike some other materials, it is impossible to “wear out” stainless steel by excessive cleaning.

1. Use the proper tools

  • Non-abrasive tools, like soft cloths and plastic scouring pads
  • Stainless steel pads (scrub in direction of polishing marks)

2. Clean with the polish lines or “grain”

  • Scrub in a motion parallel to the lines when visible lines are present
  • Use a microfiber cloth or plastic scouring pad when grain cannot be seen

3. Use alkaline, alkaline chlorinated or non-chloride containing cleaners

  • Ask your supplier for an alternative if your present cleaner contains chlorides
  • Avoid cleaners containing quaternary salts to avoid pitting and rusting

4. Treat your water

  • Reduce deposits by softening hard water
  • Install filters to remove distasteful and corrosive elements

5. Rinse, rinse, rinse

  • Rinse and wipe equipment and supplies if chlorinated cleaners are used, dry immediately
  • Wipe off standing water as soon as possible, especially when it contains cleaning agents

6. Never use hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid) on stainless steel

7. Regularly restore/passivate stainless steel

Why Every Hospitality Company Should Offer Valet Parking

SignatureParking 3

 

Whatever type of hospitality venture you may be setting up, you should think carefully about how guests will be arriving and the first impression that you want them to have about your business.

One of the best possible ways to make a strong impression is with valet parking. Here are five reasons why offering valet parking makes a lot of sense:

1. FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE EVERYTHING!!!

Most people make their first impressions of a business within 3 to 5 seconds of arriving at the establishment, that’s usually in the parking lot. Because of this, it’s advisable to find ways to make a great first impression with your customer.

2. GET CUSTOMERS INTO THE BUSINESS FASTER

Do you want prospective customers worrying about where they should park their car, becoming frustrated, and deciding to go elsewhere with their business? Remove indecision from the process by ensuring that when they arrive a valet collects the car keys from them, and safely parks their car for them. This way, the prospective customer can walk directly into the hotel lobby and start their experience on a positive note.

3. PORTABLE VALET PODIUMS OFFER FLEXIBLE PARKING ORGANIZATION

When purchasing a valet podium, it is a good idea to choose one that is made from steel and has heavy duty casters so that it can easily be moved depending on the location or the event being held. This ensures that however the place is organized for the evening, the valet operation can be placed in the most convenient location for guests and visitors. Valet podiums can hold anywhere from 50 keys up to 200 keys which makes them able to handle valet parking at major events.

4. A COURTEOUS CONVENIENCE

Not every customer will be used to dealing with valets and having their vehicle parked for them. Only certain restaurants, hotels and other types of businesses offer this sort of luxurious experience. It is useful to have friendly, courteous valet staff.

5. CONTROL PARKING SPACES

Depending on how many spaces are available in the parking lot, it is possible to end up with customers parking in spaces that are reserved or designated for another use. This sort of situation needs to be avoided or customers can receive fines or even be towed. Simplifying the process when arriving at the business creates a smoother customer experience and ensures parking spaces are used properly.

Valet parking is a service which separates average businesses from the ones that go the extra mile for their customers. Offering valet parking ensures that your business will be remembered for all the right reasons.

How Parking Signs Help Valet Parking Operation’s Run Smoothly

Rolls Royce parked at Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida. Photo taken at 14th of November 2009

Parking Signs Help Every Business.

First impressions are everything, the customer experience a business creates for itself begins on the very first interaction. Usually that’s when they are researching your business or product online. However, often times the first interaction a customer has with your business is in the parking lot, that’s why parking signs are key.

Keeping your parking lot free of traffic and moving in the right direction is extremely important for any business. Whether your parking area could use valet parking signs or directional parking signs the use of parking signs will decrease customer frustration and increase revenue.

Having parking signs in the parking lot of your business help’s visitors avoid parking frustrations so they are not the first thing your customers experience. The proper signs will decrease traffic, increase parking revenue and make your valet parking operation run like a well oiled machine.

Valet Parking Signs

Valet parking signs immediately inform your visitors valet parking is an option. When customers enter your business’ parking lot, they have just had there first interaction with your business. Once they’re in your parking lot, it’s up to you to create a positive valet parking experience by having visible valet parking signs and fast, friendly valet service.

Valet parking signs will also assist your employees by directing vehicles to the drop off points that are designated at the lobby or entrance of your establishment.

●Stop Here for Valet (with stop sign)

●Valet

valet-delineator-parking-sign

Directional Parking Signs

Directional parking signs, with valet parking messages and arrows that lead to your parking lot, are essential signs that literally drive people to your door. These parking signs are also useful if valet parking is available at your facility.

Business parking lots can become busy. The best way to keep traffic moving in the right direction is by displaying directional parking signs. Directional signs keep the traffic in parking lots flowing smoothly and cut down driver frustration for those who are new to visiting your business.

These types of signs will let your visitors know exactly which way they need to drive. Directional parking signs include:

●Valet Parking (with arrow)

●Pull Forward (with arrow)

●Valet Parking & Self Parking (with arrow)

directional-valet-parking-signs

Custom Parking Signs

Add custom signage
Add custom signage

Entrance and Exit Signs 

Similar to the use of parking ahead signs, entrance and exit signs help to control the flow of traffic in your parking lot. By giving drivers clear direction, you can avoid mini traffic jams caused by cars going the wrong way or preforming U-turns.

Speed Limit Signs

Speed limit signs aren’t only for the street. Drivers looking for open parking spots or moving through private drives can easily lose track of their speed and become dangers to other people and property.

Posting speed limit signs, along with installing speed control devices like speed bumps, help to remind drivers that they are no longer on the open road, and that slower speeds should be observed.

Stop Signs

In addition to other traffic control measures, stop signs can prevent unsafe driving practices in your lot. Drivers will be less inclined to speed if they see an upcoming stop sign, and if used near loading zones, they can give delivery trucks an opportunity to enter and exit the loading dock.

Stop signs can also be posted at the exit of your lot. This reminds drivers to check the traffic around them, and to look for any nearby pedestrians that do not see vehicles leaving your parking lot.

 

Do Customers Prefer Car Dealerships with Valet Service?

Valet Joyride

How do customers really feel about valet service? One can argue the convenience of valet service at a car dealership or any other business for that matter will bring in additional customers. On the other hand, we have all seen Ferris Bueller’s Day off and had the image of our own personal vehicle being treated like the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT in the movie.

Fortunately Lexus took the initiative to hire Kelton Research to perform a survey on consumer parking habits and concerns. The press release after the survey is filled with great insights on the valet industry and even includes a perspective from the originator of the valet parking industry Herb Citron.

TORRANCE, Calif., Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ — It’s no longer just for red carpets and country clubs. As greater convenience becomes a factor in our increasingly active lives, valet parking is now on hand at health clubs, hair salons, sporting events, doctors’ offices, even grocery stores and cinemas. For many, it’s fast becoming a way of life.

So what happens once a car disappears into “Valet Land?” What are the insider secrets valets don’t share with anyone? And what should savvy drivers know before turning over their keys to them?

To answer these questions and more, Lexus has chosen the launch of its all-new ES 350 luxury sedan to introduce The Lexus ES Insider’s Guide to Valet Parking — an entertaining and informative behind-the-scenes look at the world of valet parking. The 38-page guide, which is available for free download at www.LexusValetGuide.com, also includes results from a nationwide valet parking survey commissioned by the automaker.

According to the National Parking Association, an estimated 200,000 men and women currently work as parking attendants in the United States.

“Valet parking is a common ritual, but there’s not much information about it,” said Bob Carter, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “The guide has actually turned into a bit of an homage to parking attendants everywhere and uncovered both humorous and useful information for drivers.”

Which car features excite valets the most? What’s considered a good tip? Who gets the coveted upfront spot and why? It’s all in the guide.

To examine regional differences on the valet scene, Lexus also dispatched journalist David Hochman to report on parking habits and traditions in four cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York. Hochman even spent a day “under cover” as a parking attendant at an upscale shopping center in Los Angeles, where he learned valet lingo (such as “Jewel Case,” the premier parking spot) and the valet’s mantra: “Smile, open door, greet, give ticket, rinse, repeat.”

The guide also offers valuable advice from Herb Citrin, 83, a legend among parking attendants for having introduced the uniforms, the white-glove service and the name “valet parking” in the 1940s, and who has safely parked thousands upon thousands of vehicles.

Citrin is happy to report that 99.99 times out of a 100, valet attendants abide by the same basic principle he introduced at the first of what would become tens of thousands of valet-parking locations across America. “You give us your car,” Citrin says with a proud smile any car owner would find reassuring, “We get it back to you safely.” Although he does admit it’s the one that got away that still haunts him.

It was the summer of 1965, and Citrin got a frantic call from a garage manager at a restaurant in Marina del Rey, Calif. “One of our valets forgot to set the brake on a vintage 1937 luxury coupe in what kids used to call ‘cherry condition,'” recalls Citrin, now a consultant for Valet Parking Services in Los Angeles, a company he founded in 1946. “It rolled down an incline and ended up in 15 feet of seawater.”

Fortunately, mishaps like that occur once in a lifetime, if that. As John Van Horn, editor and publisher of Parking Today, an industry trade magazine, puts it, “Most valets are exceptional drivers because all they do is drive cars all day.”
The Survey — What Americans Nationwide Have to Say

On average, 61% of Americans use valet parking, according to a wide-ranging survey on parking habits and concerns conducted exclusively for the Lexus guide by Kelton Research.

The survey also found that Americans tip valets an average of $3 per vehicle, and 73 percent are confident that when they tip, they are tipping the right person the right amount. For most of us, manners matter most as the vast majority of Americans (87 %) feel that the friendliness and politeness of the valet is the biggest factor in determining how large a tip one should leave.

Nationally, North easterners rely on valet parking the most (only 27 % of them say they never use a valet). And, surprisingly, speed isn’t much of a factor in customer satisfaction, the survey found. Americans are willing to wait up to an average of nine minutes for the valet to return their cars before becoming impatient, though younger drivers (ages 18 to 34) will wait only five minutes before getting antsy.

In all the figures proved that offering valet service is a good idea for the majority of auto dealerships.

Parking Management Market Industry Forecast 2016-2021

Parking Management Industry Forecast

 Parking Management Industry Overview

MarketsandMarkets forecasts that the Global Parking Management Market is estimated to grow from USD 3.03billion in 2016 to USD 5.00billion by 2021, at an estimated CAGR of 10.6%. An increase in the number of vehicles across the world is impelling the demand for an effective system to find solutions to parking concerns. The issues of traffic congestion are rising at alarming rates across the world, impelling the need for effective and flexible park-assist solutions. According to industry data, 30% of traffic congestion occurs due to vehicle drivers struggling to find parking space. This, in turn, is magnifying the necessity of smart and efficient parking systems and valet parking operations. Today’s intelligent parking management systems are capable of providing convenience to the drivers, as well as simplifying and automating the business operation and administrative functions of the parking site owners.

The escalating adoption of park-assist systems at avenues such as corporate campuses, airports, and shopping complexes, among others is projected to energize the market growth.

Parking Management Growth Projections

The table to the right highlights the expected parking management revenue from 2014 to 2024. The parking management market is estimated to grow from $1,517.6 million in 2014 to $8,630.76 million in 2019.

Why is Parking Technology Triggering Growth?

Parking management systems are apt for the smart transportation environment. It automates the parking management functions by providing solutions such as access control, revenue management, parking enforcement and permit management, security and surveillance, automated valet parking, and parking guidance and slot management. These solutions result in efficient parking management in terms of automating and easing parking payment method for the vehicle drivers, saving their time, and also increasing vehicle holding capacity of the parking garage.

The high growth rate in the registration of new cars will open the window of opportunities for parking management business. The ongoing and upcoming smart city projects will create room for intelligent parking management systems across the nation.

The market is expected to grow in tandem with the growth in vehicle ownerships and parking facilities development. Need for smooth traffic flow, business benefits to the parking site operators, and decreasing hardware and connectivity costs are the key drivers for the parking management industry.

 

Parking Management Technology AdvancementParking Technology Advancements

The ongoing and upcoming smart city projects are creating business opportunities for smart parking management systems nationwide. License Plate Recognition based technologies are gaining high popularity in the parking management sector. The major License Plate recognition based parking management solutions such as Automatic Vehicle Identification and Pay-by-Plate are expected to experience high adoption rate reducing the market share of the traditional technologies used in parking access control and parking revenue management.

The world is moving towards intelligent transportation systems, which is broadening the space for smarter ways of parking. With advanced parking management systems, the parking spots operators can offer their customers various parking conveniences such as minimal time wastage, cashless and contactless payment options, enhanced vehicle security, and options for pre-booking parking spots. The parking management systems are also useful for ensuring security through vehicle and cargo surveillance, vehicle registration, and dynamic parking tariff management. These customer-centric and business operation-centric advantages are making parking management system extremely lucrative. The major companies who are focusing on the parking management sector are Parking Technology Services, StreetLine, ParkWhiz, SpotHero, ParkingPandaLuxe, T2 Systems, SKIDATA, and various others.

The NPA Annual Convention & Expo

attracting an audience (1)

The 65th Annual NPA Convention & Exposition is coming up fast! Parking companies and parking professionals nationwide are gearing up for the event. The NPA Convention & Expo highlights innovative products and services in the parking industry for 2017 and is one of the premier events for connecting with industry leaders in the parking industry.

Our sales team from The Valet Spot will be attending the event to showcase some the most innovative and advanced valet podiums ever designed. We can’t wait to showcase the new Marine Grade Valet Podium and the Stainless Steel Valet Podium. These podiums are revolutionizing the quality standards and look of the valet parking industry. Stop by and see us at booth #928.

This event takes place September 19th-22nd in the south’s largest city Atlanta, GA. Home to a former Olympic games, one of the busiest airports in the U.S., and massive companies like Coca-Cola and CNN Atlanta is the economic giant of the Deep South.

There’s a lot of rich history in Atlanta and plenty to see.Top Things to Do in Atlanta

NPA is the fastest growing parking association in North America. Find out more about the National Parking Association. For the latest news from the National Parking Association, follow them at #NPAExpo.