FC Valet

Hotel Valet Parking Procedures

August 26, 2021

There are two types of parking: valet parking and self-parking. Self-parking requires a guest to find a place to park their own vehicle. Valet parking is a single drop-off and pick-up point conveniently located outside an entrance. Guests hand off their keys to a professional parking assistant who secures their vehicle for them and retrieves it before their departure.  

Self-parking requires finding open spaces, checking time limits, worrying about theft or towing. After traveling to get to your hotel, the last thing your guest needs is to navigate the maze of parking in their new location. Since hotel patrons stay overnight and perhaps for several days, in-house valet parking becomes an essential service. In most urban centers, overnight parking is prohibitively expensive or difficult to find, and the last thing you want guests to worry about is where their cars or rentals will end up for the evening. 

Hotel valet parking lets guests hand off the hassles of parking immediately and gives them more time to enjoy the other facilities your hotel has to offer. Guests can then write reviews about the hotel bar or swimming pool rather than the parking garage. 

Valet parking is thus an expected and valued amenity at any fine hotel. But how does it actually work, and how can you integrate it into your hotel? The rest of this article will explain how valet parking works from both the consumer and business point of view, and then how to bring it into your hotel operations. 

What are the hotel valet parking procedures for a guest?

  • Step 1: Pull up in the lane in front of the hotel entrance by a podium with uniformed attendants and signage demarcating a valet drop-off zone.
  • Step 2: Greeted warmly by an attendant that will open the car doors for the guest and their company.
  • Step 3: The hotel valet attendant will aid anyone who needs assistance in exiting the vehicle and with any mobility devices such as walkers, canes and wheelchairs.
  • Step 4: Luggage will be unloaded by the attendant.
  • Step 5: The guest should double-check that they have remembered all their belongings. If they leave something in the car they can text or call the valet desk to retrieve it for them.
  • Step 6: Ask for directions to the concierge or check-in desk and enter the lobby. Under bad weather conditions, the valet will escort the guests inside under an umbrella to keep them dry and safe.
  • Step 7: The valet will then drive the vehicle safely to the hotel’s designated area and secure it. The guest will either keep a ticket stub matching their keys or it will be automated on their mobile device.
  • Step 8: As the guest prepares to depart, they can notify the valet through text to ready their vehicle so by the time they exit the lobby it will be waiting directly outside.
  • Step 9: It is customary to tip the valet for their service. Some prefer to tip both valets, at drop-off and pick-up, while others wait until they retrieve their vehicle and leave a larger sum to be split between attendants.

The user-experience of valet parking is one of accessibility, convenience and luxury. It establishes the first impression and smooths any ruffled feathers from traveling. Satisfied guests make for satisfied managers, thus the rest of the article will focus on what valet parking procedures look like from the operations side and how to establish them at your hotel. 

What does it take to successfully run a hotel valet parking service?

Richard Raskin managed some of the biggest valet operations in Los Angeles, with a staff of 120 parking attendants at the Century Plaza Hotel. He oversaw valet parking for the Golden Globe Awards and the Carousel of Hope charity ball. Raskin used his decades of experience to write a brief on ‘Successful Management of a Valet Operation.’ He outlines the importance of having parking spaces close to the drop-off point for speedier retrievals, maintaining high staff levels during peak hours and removing hazards in parking garages to avoid flat tires or scrapes. 

But at the end of the day, Raskin argues “it’s service that counts. That well-mannered valet in front of the restaurant on a bitter cold evening is what makes valet patrons feel special.” At the core, the most essential component in valet parking services is not having the flashiest uniforms or a marble podium; it is about getting the right people for the job.  

Hotels often hire third-party valet services that have already established vigorous recruiting and training standards. First Class Valet, for example, has 23 years of experience establishing valet parking procedures at hotels, restaurants, hospitals, country clubs and more. FC Valet has a recruiting program that focuses on the highest level of service and hospitality, not simply driving capability. The company uses a proactive quality control program consisting of background checks and in-depth driving records. After passing the screening process, valet attendants go through an educational program at AAA and Forbes standards, practical instruction and a field training period. These recruitment and training mechanisms secure employees who can meet the highest of hotel hospitality standards. 

How can technology streamline hotel valet parking procedures?

FC Valet also uses an adaptive staffing model that combines online scheduling, GPS verified time clocks and on-call staff to ensure maximum efficiency. Data-based staffing ensures there is ample staff at peak hours of guest arrival and no waste during lulls.  

Text-retrieval technology is another organizational must that benefits guests and management alike. The ability to text ahead lets hotel patrons avoid retrieval wait times and gives them peace of mind to make it to their dinner reservations and airport departures on time. Two-way text communication also enables the valet to retrieve left-behind luggage or belongings for the guest at their request. 

How can valet services integrate into your hotel?

Hotel valet parking attendants are an essential addition to your hotel’s front-line hospitality team. As a valet opens the door and greets your guest, they can work in tandem with the bell desk as they load the guests’ belongings onto luggage carts. The bellhop can then continue on to take the luggage up to the rooms as the valet secures the car. Or the valet attendant can replace this service altogether and aid the guest with unloading their luggage. The valet attendants can then direct the guest to the concierge or check-in desk. 

Valet attendants help with wayfinding and directions. They are trained to answer any questions guests may have on directions, where to check-in and next steps. A valet station helps unify all the hotel amenities offered in the lobby. Valets prevent congestion and traffic blocking the hotel entrance, aid bellhops with removing luggage and help direct guests to the next personnel for their needs. Valet professionals are the very first point of contact for hotel guests and their first luxury as they hand over the hassle of parking. 

Companies like FC Valet enroll their employees and management in their client’s service training programs to ensure that their standards of hospitality are being met. Putting drivers through your hotel’s training guarantees that the company culture and values of your hotel are being exemplified to guests before they even walk through the front door. 

Operationalize Valet Parking at Your Hotel Today

Research in urban centers found that in peak hours, 30-50% of total traffic was related to trying to find parking. Traffic, congestion and frustration over no convenient available spots is not how you want your guests to start their stay. Valet services turn your hotel entrance into a streamlined, chic experience. 

Contact FC Valet to find out how they can bring optimized valet parking services to your hotel. The essentials of training, staffing and implementing the latest in parking technology are all handled for you, hassle-free. Hiring a valet service means bringing in parking and hospitality experts to your hotel team.

Please call or send a message today to find out how FC Valet can help improve your guests’ experience!

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