An AI Solution for Hotel Parking Problems

Parking lot

For many travelers who drive to vacation hotel destinations, bad parking experiences can get their trip off to a bad start. According to Chris Scheppmann, managing member for the technology services providers EnSight Technologies, a company such as his can scale hardware components to guide hotel guests to the best spots and give that data back to the hotel. By using cameras and analytics software, he says, EnSight can track and scan cars with their cameras for occupancy purposes. By doing this, he says, “We can tell parkers the best direction and traffic flow to find the best parking spot.” In a recent interview with LODGING, Scheppmann spoke about the technology behind EnSight and how the company plans impact the hotel industry.

What advancements made this technology possible?

We’re using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) for detection and recognition to track and scan cars. We’re leveraging layers of these technologies to recognize vehicles that enter parking areas, and we present that data to let parkers know where to park. We share that with the hotel, so they are aware of visiting guests, parking issues, the need for additional parking spaces, and more.

Parking Tech - Chris ScheppmannWhat services was the hotel now using your technology looking for when they found EnSight?

We were able to secure a contract with Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, Calif., which had recently built a subterranean parking structure for self-parkers. They wanted the luxury hotel experience to start before check-in, and didn’t want guests to think about how cumbersome the parking experience is—mainly because they know that when guests get to the check-in desk after a suboptimal parking experience, they’re already frustrated. If guests are self-parking, our technology can guide them quickly to the best place to park, and they’ll start their trip without even thinking about the parking experience.

As the technology becomes more commonplace and gets rolled out to bigger properties, how will it impact hotels’ operations?

We never want guests to talk negatively about the parking experience. Hotels want to make sure that the luxury experience starts before guests check-in. Our technology allows hotels to monitor their drive-through traffic through outlets, including self-park and valet, and we can track personal vehicle usage versus rideshare and other transportation options. Space management and land usage is important, so if hotels can monitor parking trends, they can look to potential alternative uses if guests are parking at certain times.

How do you see this technology evolving?

Machine learning and AI are relatively new, so the applications for object recognition and detection are in their infancy stages. As the technologies mature, we’ll increase our accuracy in counting cars and telling guests where to park. And when the technologies increase, we can potentially drive down the cost. We’ve really focused our efforts on giving people alternatives and smart technology at a lower price.

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Robin McLaughlin is digital editor of LODGING.