Preventing Car Park Abuse in Tourist Hubs and Camping Sites

With summer in full swing, tourist attractions across the UK – from national landmarks and theme parks to beaches and campsites – are usually at full capacity, placing significant pressure on their parking facilities. Unfortunately, with this upswing in activity comes an increase in the number of holidaymakers abusing the car parks of tourist hubs, as everyone joins the fight for available space.

How can landowners and their busy facility and operational teams deal with this misuse? Here, we’ll delve into the options available to tackle ongoing abuse and prevent it impacting takings across a host of popular tourist locations and campsites.

The issue of non-genuine visitors

Sites with their own car park may experience problems associated with non-genuine customers and motorists using their parking facilities, leaving legitimate paying customers to look elsewhere to park their vehicles, while others enjoy the space at the company’s expense. The frustration experienced by the customer is equal only to the dismay felt by the business and tourist attraction at large, who are losing custom as a result of this domino effect. If you’re one of these businesses feeling the pain, you’re not alone.

This was a major issue faced by Wye Valley Visitor Centre. A thriving tourist spot since 1981, the Visitor Centre boasts attractions such as the ‘aMazing Hedge Puzzle’, a butterfly zoo, miniature golf, and a laser tag battleground, alongside a café and outdoor picnic area. However, non-customers were taking advantage of the tourist hubs’ available parking, dramatically reducing spaces for loyal customers.

During the 2017 August bank holiday, a staggering 50% of vehicles in their car park belonged to people not actually visiting Wye Valley. Whilst the management team at the Visitor Centre were keen to ensure they didn’t affect genuine customers’ experience, they knew they had to tackle their issues with parking abuse to protect both the reputation of the centre and hard earned revenue.

Discover how we helped the team at Wye Valley Visitor Centre, here >

Or, if you’re having your own issues with parking misuse and abuse in your tourist centre or camping site, read on for a range of suggestions which can help.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras

A by-product of motorists misusing these areas is a reduction in revenue for sites with paid parking. Installing technology to track who has and hasn’t paid provides far more control and is the first step in enforcing your rules on site. ANPR solutions provide reliable and effective automatic parking management so you can keep track of who enters and exits your site, payments made and much more, to ensure proper usage.

ANPR is used for many different applications, including security, theft prevention, and lost ticket fraud, all of which can help to increase revenue generation. The technology allows landowners and site managers to monitor the duration of stay too, guarding against overnight parking for instance (unless authorised of course) or staying all day when you don’t see a single penny from their visit. The system does all the hard work, ensuring motorists intending to use your site’s facilities can enter seamlessly whilst deterring non-genuine customers. Even better, your business can say goodbye to the all-too-common customer complaints and time-stealing admin often associated with trying to manage car park abuse on your own.

Improved payment solutions

After travelling long distances to get to their destination, holidaymakers want nothing more than to be able to park their car with minimal fuss and get on with their holiday. So, what can tourist hubs and campsite managers do to implement a parking process that will help people get their holidays off to the perfect start? Convenience plays a massive part in both ensuring maximum parking payments but also enhancing and streamlining the customer experience. Luckily, the use of ANPR technology makes this easier than ever.

Cashless solutions (payments made by card, phone or online) are particularly hassle-free and circumvent some frustrations associated with traditional methods, such as the need to find physical machines, queue to make payment, recall vehicle details accurately and provide the right change.

Why not go one better by implementing good2go, an online payment option that allows motorists to pay simply by driving into your site and parking up. When ANPR is integrated with good2go software, the driver doesn’t need to think about paying at all. Instead, following a simple online registration, cameras capture in/out times and automatically deduct payment on exit, triggering an SMS to confirm the sum paid.

It’s the ultimate stress-free, frictionless parking solution and alongside being an effective barrier to abuse, it also optimises site throughput/flow, delivers a far smoother customer experience without any need to queue or scramble for change and can really boost revenues.

Other options…

Another possibility when looking at ways to eradicate abuse is the use of terminal machines within your facility. A quick and easy solution, genuine customers simply type in a few details and the ANPR system validates them as an ‘authorised’ visitor. Fully customisable to your site, any motorists not using your facilities that fail to register will be very effectively identified and could receive a Parking Charge Notice to deter future abuse.

With the increase in visitor numbers, car parks can suffer from congestion, which only adds to the confusion. Improving the signage in places where it’s needed most can help with the flow and direction of traffic, ensuring that traffic is constantly moving, freeing up space and minimising any bottlenecks in the process.

Whilst more traditional, ANPR blended barriers can control entry for pre-registered users only and manned solutions are also worth consideration, depending on how your facility operates. Either way, drop-off zones, periods of immunity and a host of other aspects can be incorporated to ensure the final solution is perfect for your site and the customers you serve.

No matter which application you opt for, ANPR technology can give you back control of your site and accurately identify those not adhering to your rules. For more information on how you can tackle abuse and misuse can be prevented across tourism sites – Click Here >

Installing ANPR is incredibly effective at protecting holidaymakers from being forced out by non-paying customers, ensuring they have a space to park once they’ve arrived. Having to look elsewhere for a space can be frustrating, placing the onus on parking managers to alleviate these problems. We understand that navigating the maze of car park management options can be daunting but we can help.


ParkingEye is the market-leading provider of ANPR on private land. Looking to prevent misuse and abuse in your site? Head over to our car park management solutions page for more information, and get in touch with us today!

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