Valet parking is a huge convenience for customers and is offered by hospitals, department stores, restaurants, and even some large corporations. Many people are unaware that this service has been around since people rode around on horses. The word itself is from the mid-14th century and means “personal man-servant.” These man-servants took care of their master’s horse, paid his bills, and arranged what clothes he would wear. Today, a valet is simply someone who parks cars but never underestimates the importance of this service.
Not Just for Vehicles
Today, these parking services are offered not just for cars and trucks, but also for bikes and even boats. You can find parking services in more places than you think, and some of these professionals do more than just park people’s cars. Many of them also serve as personal concierges so that guests get the absolute most out of their experiences with the businesses they’re patronizing. And this type of parking offers far more than just having someone park your car for you. It is popular now because it is convenient, super-easy, and costs much less than a lot of people realize.
If you’re wondering when the service started to thrive, think back to Los Angeles in 1946. It was that year when Herb Citrin began his valet business. He certainly didn’t invent the concept, but he is credited with popularizing this type of parking service in all of North America. Certainly added a level of professionalism to the service. By simply parking customers’ cars, he improved customer satisfaction and companies’ bottom line.
Today, the service is even automated and offers software—called computerized valet parking services (CVPSs) – that gives customers a way to make reservations and even get their claim tickets via their smartphones. Simply put, a CVPS allows customers more control over the entire process, and it also reduces the amount of paperwork used and allows the process to run a lot more efficiently. In the beginning, the service operated with paper tickets, payments that usually involved either check or cash only, and paper receipts. Nowadays, everything is done digitally, and therefore, businesses that use a CVPS save paper, time, and money.
The Advantages of a Professional Parking Service
Naturally, professional parking services are offered by most commonly hospitals, restaurants, hotels, and some corporate offices. Some offer the services for free, but most charge a fee for the service. The fees are usually very reasonable. These services enhance a business’s reputation because customers consider them to be higher quality and more professional businesses, which increases the likelihood that customers will utilize the business’ services again in the future.
Today, the CVPS usually involves a kiosk that the customers can use to utilize the service. The business can be operated with or without attendants, although most businesses still have live attendants to help the customers leave their vehicles and retrieve them in the end. If the business chooses not to use attendants, the service is called self-parking, but it is still considered a type of valet parking. One of its many advantages is the fact that in cities where parking is sometimes difficult to find, customers have a much more convenient option and don’t have to find a parking spot themselves.
From Today to Now
To be sure, the evolution of this type of parking proves that it has come a long way since these “man-servants” took care of their masters’ horses and their lives. These days, a third-party company usually handles the parking of the cars, and that company is hired by the business that wants to offer this convenient service to their customers. Some of the many well-known facilities that offer this type of parking to their customers include Stanford University Medical Center in California, many businesses on the Las Vegas Strip, and the Yale-affiliated Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut.
Even when these parking services first became popular, there was always an attendant who would issue a paper ticket, write down where they parked the vehicle, and retrieve payment from the customer at the end of the day. Customers can make the reservation, check-in their vehicle, pay for the services, and even receive a receipt all on their phone. The more important thing is there is no need to download an app. This makes it even more convenient for older customers who may not be all that tech-savvy.
The valet parking business has come a long way since its inception. Today’s CVPS is super-advanced, easy to install, and can be utilized by either iOS or Android smartphones. For the most part, the kiosks are easy to operate and allow customers to enjoy a contactless experience. These parking services are also very profitable for the businesses that choose to use them, so choosing the services is a win-win situation for both parties. Whether you’re a business owner or a customer, this service is one that you’ll enjoy utilizing for many years to come.