At The BTN Group's recent Innovate conference, the Innovator of the Year, so named by our expert judges, was a supplier that solved pain points for both corporate travelers and their travel managers: SpotHero takes the uncertainty out of finding a parking spot for travelers and helps travel managers capture, see and report on an opaque area of travel spend.
"It takes the average driver 20 minutes to find a [parking] spot," said SpotHero strategic initiatives manager Becca Rabinowitz. "Instead of looking for parking on the street and making circles, you can actually look for parking right in the SpotHero app and all available parking will come up." As Priceline and Hotels Tonight do, SpotHero negotiates discount pricing for excess inventory from lots, garages, airports, office buildings and valet services in 78 U.S. cities. "Parking is a perishable item," she said. "They're happy to [sell it at a discount] because otherwise they wouldn't sell the spot anyway."
Travelers use the app to prepay—they can toggle between personal and corporate credit cards—and to scan a QR code to access and sign out of a spot. SpotHero sends receipts to users' Concur, Certify and Expensify accounts and includes expense notes the traveler has added in the SpotHero app. From the dashboard, travel managers can download parking spend data, including traveler notes, which aid in client-billable expenses. To illustrate savings potential, Rabinowitz's presentation profiled a pilot client whose 3,000 employees made 10,000 parking reservations over 11 months, at an average price of $31. Considering SpotHero's average parking price is $19, that 38 percent in potential savings would have totaled $125,000.
The judges were impressed with SpotHero's ability to capture parking spend, which travelers often pay for in cash. "It's always good to try to get as many types of purchases [as possible] under control as a travel manager. This is a new area, and some of the numbers were pretty impressive," said Travel Tech Consulting president Norm Rose, one of the judges. They also appreciated the data analytics, the variety in inventory, and the discount pricing.