Millions of British holidaymakers are expected to jet off on holiday over the festive season, making it one of the year's busiest periods for airport parking.
With many travellers expected to book their parking at the last-minute, these are our tips to help you get the highest levels of professionalism and service, so you don’t need to worry about your car while you are away.
Use a professional service
Booking with a one-man band over a professional operator might save a few pounds, but you are probably sacrificing secure storage, fully-insured drivers and customer service support. Avoid companies that don't have a landline contact number, clear trading address or good website.
Be wary of too cheap prices
Companies that undercut the market might be saving money by using unsuitable parking facilities such as fields, pub car parks or simply leaving your car on public roads, so be suspicious of very cheap prices and check out the provider fully.
Look for the Park Mark
Only choose operators that display the blue Park Mark logo. This means that their parking facility has been police assessed and is properly managed and maintained with appropriate levels of security and surveillance. An easy way to check out their facility is to use Google Maps.
Read independent reviews
Look for operators who use an independent review service to publish all of their customer reviews. This is a sign that achieving a good customer experience is important to them.
Meet & greet employees
If you are using a meet & greet service check that the company's employees are insured to drive your car on public roads. If you are using a professional service this will never be an issue, however some smaller companies or one-man bands might be saving money by not having the proper business cover.
Check your insurance cover
Damage to cars parked in professional parking facilities is extremely rare (IAPA members have a complaints rate of less than 1%) but if the worst should happen insurance cover for your car is your responsibility rather than the parking operators. However some comprehensive policies exclude damage caused when the car is left with a valet service so, for peace of mind, book with an operator who promises to make good any damage caused when your car is in their care.
Inspect your car in advance
When you arrive back in the UK, your parking provider will ask you to report any new damage before you leave their facility. So that you’re not left red-faced by claiming for existing dents that you simply hadn't seen before, thoroughly check your car before you go on holiday so you can spot fresh scrapes quickly when you return.
Hotels will move your car
If you are booking parking as part of a hotel stay, it is likely your car will be stored at another location. Ask for details of where that is and confirm that it has the Park Mark award, and check that their drivers are insured to move your car.
Book with an IAPA member
The easiest way to make sure you've picked a company that covers all of these points it to booking with a member of the Independent Airport Parking Association (IAPA). All our members are vetted to ensure they provide the highest levels of professionalism and service, so you don’t need to worry about car parking security and insurance. Book with an IAPA member so you can spend more time enjoying your travel plans and less time worrying about your car.
Find an IAPA member here https://www.iapa.me.uk/members.