Colleges and universities are all about creating positive experiences on campus, everything from designing academic programs to hosting fun events. But nothing creates a better first and lasting impression than a smooth and easy parking experience—for students, faculty and visitors. 

That’s where digital payments come in. With the help of modern technology, there’s no more waiting for parking attendants or trekking across parking lots to pay. That’s right. Arriving at, parking on, and exiting campus can actually be flexible and convenient for drivers, and streamlined and efficient for the institution.

Here are five ways colleges and universities can use the latest technology to improve campus parking.


1. Mobile Apps – Do-It-Yourself Parking


Mobile apps give drivers control over their parking experience with a safe and easy way to pay for and manage parking sessions. Busy college students, faculty members and visitors can download an app, enter the license plate, select the duration, and pay straight from their mobile phone. No more relying on pay stations, permits, and easy-to-lose paper tickets. Now it’s quick do-it-yourself parking every time. 

Students in particular get hooked on the convenience of mobile app features, such as opting in to text reminders or app-notifications when parking is expiring and the ability to extend time remotely. These are invaluable assets when a study session, class or exam runs overtime!


2. Virtual Points-of-Sale – The App Alternative


While mobile apps make life easier for repeat parkers, not everyone wants to download (yet) another app on their phone—especially if you’re parking just this once. Rather not download? Virtual points-of-sale allow you to pay with a quick tap, which scans the QR code so you can be on your way. Drivers simply scan a QR code located on-site and a guest checkout page loads on their phone.

With contactless guest checkout, it’s as if drivers have a parking machine right on their phone. There’s no app download, account creation, or management holding things up. In fact, the tap is so easy that by the end of 2023, 1.6 billion global consumers are expected to pay via digital wallet at the point-of-sale, and by 2025, QR code payment users are forecasted to exceed 2.2 billion users. 

With virtual points-of-sale, all forms of payment are accepted, including digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal, and all credit cards. Drivers simply select their preferred payment method, and parking payments are automatically streamlined. 


3. Promo Codes and Validations – Your Virtual Friend


You can use promo codes and validations to make parking effortless by offering friendly discounts and free parking to specific groups, like visitors coming to campus for a conference. These codes are delivered by email or text and redeemed through mobile apps or virtual points-of-sale. 

Planning a volunteer night? Consider offering discounted or free parking with special promo codes. Hosting a sporting event? Parking services can (create and) share game-day codes based on the school’s unique needs. 


4. Flexible Parking Passes – The New Standard


Colleges and universities already offer flexible course scheduling, so why not build flexibility into parking, too? New flexible parking passes let students choose how and when to park according to their changing needs. For instance, they can opt for a hybrid of daily and semester parking by prepaying for a FlexPass, a pack of discounted parking credits to be redeemed at their convenience.  

Pssst…Did you know? HONK brought to market the parking industry’s first-of-its-kind digital flexpass called HONKPASS and yes, we are proud to share it with colleges and universities. (Learn about it here!)


5. Parking Rate Adaptability – Get Real


Drivers are not the only ones who benefit from parking technology. Modern payment software empowers parking operators, too. They now have the ability to adapt and edit rates and zones in real-time depending on what’s happening on campus. 

Campus parking services can adjust rates based on demand, seasonality, events, and any factors that impact parking needs. With this level of flexibility and control, colleges and universities have the freedom to optimize their parking operation, ensuring it’s always running smoothly for everyone on campus. 


Does your college or university need a tech parking boost? Join hundreds of institutions across North America that are using HONK to make parking on campus smoother, faster, and more convenient. Connect with a member of our team today!


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