We at Spark like to think of a parking space as a place where you feel welcome. We even like to compare a parking lot to a convivial hotel lobby, or a welcoming office reception desk, or the hallway of an impressive stately home. All these places have one thing in common: it is where we get our first impression of our destination.

Why then, is it, that parking facilities contrast so bleakly to what we get to see and experience on entering an office building or hotel?

It seems as if companies, institutions and organizations – with their impressive facades, elegant entrances and design lobbies – only care about visitors who enter through the main door. Pity for visitors arriving by car, scooter or bicycle who are – more often than not – welcomed by a parking space that has been given the minimum of attention and usually leads towards an insignificant back entrance.

Photo: Pascal Blanchet

Similarly, we see many city authorities spend much effort and money on trying to attract visitors to their city, promising a unique visitor experience. Typically though, visitors coming by car or motorcycle receive a less than warm welcome, having to search in vain for proper directions to a parking space, or trying to find their way around poorly lit, unsafe, dirty and cramped parking garages, or else trying to decipher the workings of parking meters.

What a missed opportunity! A parking lot is the place where most visits begin and end. It’s where visitors get their first and last(ing) impression. So why aren’t more city authorities and shrewd entrepreneurs making sure that they’re making the difference? Simply by making their visitors feel welcome!

The use of innovative parking technology, clear wayfinding, secure garages with sufficient and sufficiently big parking spaces, easy payment solutions and are effective ways in which to make parking a positive, pleasant, welcoming experience. Why not show that you care for your customers? Turn your parking facility into a value-adding experience!

An attractive destination is an accessible destination. It’s a place which we enjoy going back to.