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How to increase Passport app utilization

As mobile pay for parking continues to rise in popularity, more cities and universities are adopting the Passport Parking app or a personalized, city-branded app to digitize their operations and to offer a convenient payment option to their residents, visitors and students. Mobile transitions have been so successful that some cities have upgraded their operations to include mobile-pay-only parking zones. While the benefits of upgrading to a digital parking solution are clear, how do you ensure that the app is successfully deployed and used?

To help you understand how to get your parkers to go mobile and to increase your city’s app utilization, we have compiled a list of the top strategies used by some of the most successful cities and universities:

Update Signage

Updating your signage seems like an obvious solution, but this simple task can make a world of difference in your mobile adoption rates. When evaluating your signage, you should take a few things into consideration. 

  • Are signs placed in areas where parkers can see them? We recommend one sign for every five spaces, decals on meters and decals on pay stations. 
  • Do the signs clearly spell out all the different ways to pay? We recommend highlighting the app name and logo. 
  • Do the signs highlight how to pay with a smartphone? We recommend prominently displaying the zone number. 

Signage with these components helps promote your mobile parking option and can help generate more mobile transactions. 

As an example, about a year after the launch of Asbury Park’s branded app, the city worked with the Passport marketing team to install new signs and paystation decals around the city. Over the following six months, app utilization nearly doubled to just under 50% with an average of 35,000 mobile transactions a month. As a result, Asbury Park experienced an 86% increase in mobile parking transactions from its first to second year using the branded parking app, and revenue increased 19% from the previous year. 

Coupon Codes and Tiered Wallet

The Passport Parking app features discounting capabilities that many of our clients have found useful when trying to increase app adoption. By offering discounted parking through a code or a tiered wallet, many cities and universities have been able to entice parkers to download and use the mobile application.

Take, for instance, Drexel University. The school’s app utilization had plateaued in June 2019 around 30%, and the team was looking for ways to increase usage. The parking team promoted Passport’s wallet feature which allowed the end-user to load money to their in-app wallet. Drexel enticed students to load money to the app by creating a tiered wallet where they could, for example, load $60 and get $80 worth of parking. The university also used the coupon code features for discounted or free parking to drive more adoption. Now, the university sees anywhere from 45%-55% app utilization during the school year.

Utilize Passport’s Marketing Packages

Passport offers marketing packages and has a dedicated marketing team that will work with you to not only develop signage, but also create other promotional pieces or campaigns to spread the word about mobile pay parking. 

Grand Rapids, MI, for example, worked closely with Passport leading up to launch and the months afterward to promote the app. They developed everything from a how-to video and radio advertisements, to give away items like t-shirts, coasters and coffee mugs to name a few. Promoting the app has helped Grand Rapids reach 70% app utilization and transaction count grew over 218% from 2018 to 2019.  

PR and Advertising Campaigns

For a more successful launch, we encourage clients to build out public relations and advertising campaigns to promote mobile pay parking.

Parking Kitty, in Portland, OR, launched in May 2017 and attracted resident and media attention with an integrated marketing campaign. At launch, street teams of brand ambassadors promoted the app by wearing branded t-shirts and passing out flyers. Public relations efforts garnered media attention about the app, and radio campaigns plus signage throughout the city ensured that drivers were aware of the new convenient way to park. Portland took their efforts one step further, however, and partnered with Portland rapper, MoShow. The self-proclaimed “cat-rapper” is a social media celebrity. Portland Bureau of Transportation hired him to make the “iAmMoShow – Parking Kitty” music video to promote the app and it now has over 23,000  views on YouTube. Since launching the app, Parking Kitty accounts for 37% of all parking transactions across the city.

To learn more about how you can increase your app utilization or to learn about Passport’s parking app contact your client success representative today.