Big Data and the Best Sandwich


Market Survey.Colonial Blog

Pounding the Pavement and Working the Phones

While we may not have a Guinness Book of World Records entry with our name next to it, we believe we have the most comprehensive and up-to-date database of parking facility rates available in the region.  Collecting this data is no small feat and involves a lot of legwork, but we are passionate about providing our clients a well-researched data set of competitive rates, both monthly and daily, to accurately inform both planning and pricing at any point in time.

“I know all the garages near mine,” explains Gachou Deneke, a downtown Project Manager with Colonial Parking®. “You tend to get an eye for when one of your competitor’s rates change because you see them every single month. I collect all the data and it also helps me know my area, what businesses are parking where.  While collecting this data, I get a complete sense of the geography which helps me know my customers better… and the best lunch spots in town.”

In the field, we have 50 Project Managers evaluating the DC landscape each and every month. They visit every garage within a 1-2 block radius of their locations, noting transient rates and updating our extensive database—they often perform surveys at lunch time.

Some involved in our monthly and quarterly surveys have it a little easier. Mark Hollingsworth, a Colonial Customer Care Associate, completes his survey from his desk in our Georgetown offices.  Responding to a calendar tickler, Mark begins the process each month of logging competitive monthly rates for over 640 of our competitors. “I have a list of them all and every month I check their websites and see if the rates have changed,” he tells us. “I check for all kinds of different rates, regular, reserved, tandem. If they’ve changed, I update the system so that everyone in the company knows.”

Fruits of our Labor

All of the data collected is stored in an internal database, accessible to all Colonial® employees. “We use this information daily,” explains Vice President and General Manager, Rich Rosenberger. “It helps us in a variety of ways. If I’m looking at revenue opportunities for a client’s location and think that a rate increase would be the best option, I want to make sure it’s not going to drive our parkers to a different location. So I check to see where the competition is currently priced.  If we notice a large amount of our early bird parkers have suddenly started parking around the corner, we can review the competitive survey and determine that a particular competitor dropped their early bird rate by three dollars. From there, we know what type of action is necessary.”

All this information is not just used reactively, we can use it to be proactive in the way we manage our clients’ assets. For example, our managers can receive notifications when a nearby location’s rate changes and make decisions on the impact of the rate change before it becomes a concern.  We also leverage our database in predicting future demand for parking within new developments during the planning stages—a service that more and more clients are asking for.

Results

Colonial Parking’s competitive rate database is an appreciating asset.  As analytical tools improve and the democratization of data continues, this asset will inform more and more decisions.  We think that one day our data collection burden may be lessened by technology as well, but in the meantime, we like that our Project Managers keep a constant eye on the competition and they absolutely know the best sandwich places in town.

–Allison Howard
Communications Manager

 

About Colonial Parking: Colonial Parking manages 240 plus parking locations in the Washington, DC area. We are dedicated to providing exceptional service to both our customers and clients, as well as hiring trusted and driven employees that exude our integrity and accountability. We would be happy to review your project, be it large or small.