Wim Braakman, manager Traffic Management at RAI Amsterdam
"PARKING IS PART OF OUR CUSTOMER JOURNEY."
RAI Amsterdam is one of the largest exhibition and congress organizations in the Netherlands. The goal: bringing people together, connecting and inspiring by organizing and facilitating meaningful encounters. IP Parking takes care of all hardware and software in the five parking garages at the RAI. The sixth garage is currently under development and is expected to be operational by the end of 2019.
"Around 2010 we needed a webshop for reservations, and we wanted to work with license plate recognition. At the time, IP Parking was the only company that could facilitate this. They have always been the strongest when it comes to innovation. Over the years, parking garages have been added around the RAI, which has intensified the collaboration with IP.
WHICH ASPECTS IN THE PARKING AREA ARE IMPORTANT FOR THE RAI?
In particular, the fast entry is essential for us. RAI Amsterdam is located next to the motorway exit, so if cars do not enter our garages quickly enough, this may result in traffic jams on the A10; something we naturally want to prevent. For this reason, the RAI long ago opted for ticketless entry. That was new at the time, but WPS (the former IP Parking) went along with it. In addition to a fast inflow, I think it is important to be able to offer users of our parking garages the possibility to pay in advance. The fact is that nobody likes paying for parking, especially after a fun day out. Via the webshop module of IP Parking that is implemented in our website, the payment moment can already take place in advance. That means we are talking about 10,000 to 15,000 reservations per year.
CAN VISITORS TO THE CENTER OF AMSTERDAM ALSO PARK AT YOUR PLACE?
Yes, there is a great need for this because of the fact that the municipality of Amsterdam is busy making the city center car-free. People who come to Amsterdam by car are encouraged to park on the outskirts of the city and travel to the city center by public transport. We contribute to this by deploying our remaining capacity. That is about more than 100,000 P + R visitors per year. There are days when we even have more than 1,000 P + R cars. On days when we need all parking places for our own visitors, our garages are not accessible to P + R visitors.
THE NHOW AMSTERDAM RAI HOTEL WAS RECENTLY OPENED WHERE IP PARKING WILL ARRANGE THE SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE FOR PARKING. WHERE IS THE NEED HERE?
Within the nhow concept, parking must become part of the customer journey. The ticketless concept of IP Parking fits in perfectly with this. The core of the system is license plate recognition. With the arrival of this new garage, the innovative character of IP Parking is again evident. I want to have different products that make parking at the RAI even more flexible. Think of cards with which the hotel garage can be driven in and out, but not in and out of the RAI garages, and vice versa or both. IP Parking is currently trying to get the most out of the flexibility of the software. That makes our collaboration interesting.
WHAT COULD IMPROVE IP PARKING?
We are basically very satisfied with IP Parking, but what we want to challenge them in is the piece of customization on the software side. Where IP Parking leads the way when it comes to hardware, I notice that the software is still traditionally designed for entry and exit with a ticket. This causes inconveniences, because RAI Amsterdam applies entry and exit on license plate. For example, the user receives messages on the display such as 'take out your ticket' while no ticket is inserted. As a result, the lead we have with license plate recognition is not always practical. I would like to see more customization in that area. With a view to the payment terminals, I want to be able to determine the menus myself and adjust reports, personalized per user. Despite that, IP Parking in this conservative business is the party that is the most forward-looking relative to others.
WHICH TRENDS AND DEVELOPMENTS IN THE FIELD OF PARKING WOULD YOU LIKE TO APPLY AT THE RAI?
I see many possibilities in the residual capacity model. There are days when the capacity of the RAI garages has reached their limit. In that case, RAI visitors must also move to other locations. At the same time it happens that these other locations divert to our garages when we have places left. I would like it if a smooth reciprocal cooperation arises, in which parking products from each other can also be used. So that we can use each other's capacity without too much effort. I believe that IP Parking can play a role here like no other. "Said Wim Braakman.