Luxury valet parking at Bob Hope Airport falls flat

Apparently, no one is willing to plunk down $14,600 a year for a private valet parking spot at Bob Hope Airport.

After only about 40 days as the parking contractor at Bob Hope Airport, Standard Parking this week recommended that officials put the brakes on the top two levels of valet service, contending the pricey amenities had failed to catch on with customers.

The recommendation covers the Black Diamond and Platinum levels of valet parking, the former of which includes a reserved, extra wide, covered space available at any time — for $14,600 a year.

The Black Diamond valet service debuted in December 2009.

“We’ve had no takers since the product was introduced,” said Clint Joy, vice president of operations for Standard, which took over parking operations from Central Parking last month.

Speaking to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday, Joy also said drivers have used the Platinum valet parking, which costs decidedly less at $31 a day — but not many of them.

The authority has been grappling for months with how to stem declining parking revenues, which are a vital source of income for the airport.

Joy recommended the “Gold” valet service, which costs $21 a day, be enhanced, perhaps with a “frequent parker” program.

Similar to a frequent flier program, it would let Standard identify each driver so employees could address them by name.

An enhancement that’s already in place is a shortened average wait time for valet customers picking up their vehicles, Joy said.

Customers wait an average of three minutes now that Standard has taken over the service, he said.

“Prior to that, it was closer to seven or eight minutes,” he added.

Standard representatives also outlined possible ways to increase revenue, such as an online parking reservation system available through a third-party provider.

As part of the online service, the airport would designate a certain number of parking spaces near the terminal that would be available by reservation.

Drivers would pay a premium for the service, said Pamela Brown, vice president of business development for Standard, adding that it could either be a flat fee or calculated on a per-day basis.

Brown said the reservation system would cost the airport $2 per permit.

At other airports, the online service has filled spaces mid-week and generates a couple thousand dollars a month, Brown said.

“It’s been a very popular convenience,” she said.

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