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Divvy unlocks city hotels for commuter parking

December 12, 2016

Divvy founder and CEO Nick Austin, has struck a deal with some hotels that will allow commuters to use their unused parking spaces. Photo: Supplied

Commuters in search of a city centre parking spot will soon be able to check into hotel car parking – without having to pay for a bed – after a deal between a major hotel group and parking app company Divvy Parking.

Nearly 200 hotel car spaces around the Sydney CBD are now available for casual parking, with the number expected to grow to between 3000 and 4000 over the next three to four months across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Drivers are able to book by the hour, or for longer blocks of time. The rates are being touted as up to 80 per cent cheaper than standard parking stations, as drivers who book for an eight-hour stay would be able to leave and re-enter the hotel multiple times.

“At some times during the week, up to 70 per cent of a hotel car park may be sitting vacant,” said Nick Austin, the founder and chief executive of Divvy Parking, a platform set up to connect parkers with unused spaces in commercial buildings. “So it makes sense to make better use of an asset that is so expensive to build and maintain.

“It’s a win-win for everyone – the owner of the hotel who can make use of a new income stream, the commuter who gets better access to affordable parking, and the cities themselves by alleviating pressure on on-street parking.”

The deal came about after Divvy Parking sold 40 per cent of its business to the NRMA, which has a history of working closely with the hotel industry. Its first hotel client is TFE Hotels which owns Adina, Travelodge and Vibe properties around Australia, with other hotel companies now approaching Divvy to come on board.

TFE Hotels chief executive Rachel Argaman said the deal made the most of unused car spaces and effectively shared ”an increasingly scarce resource in the city”.

”We’re looking forward to rolling the solution out across our portfolio and also implementing new services on the platform that will delight our guests,” she said.

The move has been welcomed by the parking industry generally as part of a whole raft of advances made possible by technology to create more parking in cities.

Lorraine Duffy, head of Parking Australia, said anything that made parking easier was to be applauded. “I think that’s important, irrespective of whether it’s Divvy or any other parking operator,” she said.

“There’s a whole range of different types of parking now and it’s important to ensure that we provide the best experience we can for the driver, and help ease congestion.

”The main thing with using technology is to get people to plan their trips when coming into the city in advance, as even that alone helps.”

The parking spots in hotels were generally 25-35 per cent cheaper than spaces in regular car parks. For some people, like those who drive into the city for work, drive out for a business meeting, and then drive back in, the saving could be closer to 80 per cent as those who park in hotels can come and go as they please.

“The rates depend on the location – for instance an area in high demand like Barangaroo will be more expensive – and the times of the day,” Mr Austin said. “But more competition is always a great thing as far as we see it, bringing better outcomes for everyone driving around the CBD or transport hubs.”

The company began with a $2.5 million investment last year from high-net-worth individuals and has deals already with commercial real estate owners GPT, which owns the MLC Centre in Sydney, shopping centres and industrial parks, AMP, Mirvac and DEXUS, the biggest office property owner in Australia, with Sydney’s Australia Square part of its portfolio.

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