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Author image Allison Howard

Posted by Allison Howard
August 21, 2020

We all know that COVID-19 has changed our world and impacted individuals and businesses in ways we have never seen. The parking industry, like hotels, restaurants, and airlines, saw this impact play out quickly and aggressively – if people are ordered to stay home and do not feel safe leaving their homes, they do not park.

The good news is the trend towards driving is slowly rebounding and parking, a major revenue source for building owners, may come back stronger than it was before. A recent statistic from Apple’s Mobility Trend’s Report shows that Washington, DC has experienced an 11% increase in driving, while also showing a 62% reduction in public transportation usage.

So, how do parking operators get back to business while ensuring its customers are not only safe but feel confident in the way their safety is being addressed? Colonial Parking, a DC metro area owned and operated business, has implemented new safety guidelines and protocols, while also turning to innovative technologies to serve its clients and customers.

Social Distancing Specialized by Garage

Colonial Parking immediately mandated masks, increased sanitation efforts, and placed social distancing floor markers at queue points and guideline signage around garages, but we knew that wasn’t enough.

Different parking facilities serve different purposes; a resident garage operates much differently than one serving a hotel or retail space. We diligently reviewed each garage-type to assess the number of contact points between staff, customers, and their belongings. Keeping in mind things like automated garages versus manual or valet versus self-park, we then developed a step-by-step guide and trained our employees on how to prioritize and maintain safety at each garage type.

Limiting Touchpoints

As part of our evaluation, we worked to minimize touchpoints between customers and employees, as well as customers and the parking equipment. Valeted locations expanded self-park options and, in many cases, stopped valeting cars altogether.

Emphasis was placed on promoting existing contactless payment options, like monthly parking and our online reservation platform Preferred Parker Reservations. Expansion of contactless payment options, like tap-and-pay credit cards, Apple, and Google pay, became a top priority and were implemented wherever feasible.

Serving Through Collaboration and Adaptation

Colonial Parking also looked at how we can serve our customers and clients in different ways. In May, for example, our team introduced Curbside Assist at four mixed-use office and retail garages in Maryland. We partnered with property management to streamline their curbside pick-up efforts by helping customers easily find their merchants, keep the lanes moving, and maintaining social distancing.

The world is changing and in order to continue to thrive parking, operators must change too. At Colonial Parking, we are meeting hurdles head-on and are committed to constantly adapting, evolving, and innovating to serve and protect both our customers and clients.


(Above: Solomon, a Colonial Parking Shift Manager, and 29 year Colonial veteran, has been extra busy. He’s ensuring all surfaces that customers come in contact with at our US Patent & Trademark Office garage are regularly cleaned and sanitized. Regular sanitation is just one piece of our safety efforts.)


About Colonial Parking: Colonial Parking manages 280 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.

Ready to Work With Colonial?