TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring UK-based airport parking metasearch site Parkat.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
We are a convenience driven airport car parking website. With quick, simple intuitive steps, we provide our users with a large variety of car parking services and supporting information. Simply put, we are the "search engine" for airport car parking in the UK.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
The funding received to design, build and execute the project was supplied by ATMEDIA.co, founders of Parkat.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Parkat was born through the lack of "true" airport comparison services available on the web. Most services are company specific and do not offer a large variety of services. Parkat is striving to change this.
We are effectively aiming to become the number one airport car parking comparison website. Unlike other websites, we are independent thus allowing us to convey "true impartial status".
Describe the business, core products and services?
As previously mentioned we are a comparison website. We provide users with various types of airport car parking services. These include long stay, short stay, meet and greet and park and ride services.
We also provide other convenience based features to help our users identify how reliable, secure and popular a given car park is. We then build on this by providing location and mobility information. This is then tailored to the user's whereabouts and final destination.
We even go as far as to provide estimated distance, duration and fuel costs from user specified location.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Our user scope covers anyone who wants to use air travel without the pre and post headaches of transit. As you can appreciate when flying the problems are not "in flight", they are the "getting there on time" or "getting all your luggage there" etc.
Naturally taking your own vehicle eradicates these problems and allows people to have more control over the whole process adding convenience and peace of mind.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Having conducted numerous surveys and reports what we found was many users wanted more from a parking service. They wanted it to be quick and snappy with as little input as possible. With Parkat you can fully book a service within five simple steps.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
Although I cannot comment in specifics (due to company policy) what I can say is the Parkat infrastructure is distinctly partitioned allowing for a very robust and effective revenue and strategy model.
In regards to profitability, Parkat is a long-term investment. We are not expecting an instant turnover. However what you will find we Parkat will never use banner ads to generate revenue. We feel this can be obstructive and frustrating from a users perspective thus defeating our mission statement.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Parkat is founded by ATMEDIA, a reputable and innovative digital agency. Naturally, this provides a good solid foundation for our development, as the ATMEDIA team are specialists in digital marketing, web development, search engine management/ optimisation, online pr and social media. We feel the key to success is to know and appreciate your area of expertise, ATMEDIA allows us to do this.
- Being passionate is great but here at the Parkat headquarters we have collectively decided we can no longer hide our weakness for perfection. This is formally known as OCD! We have come to this conclusion as an average works outing normally consists of work, Star Wars and a ardent discussion on the latest IE bug!
- We have found a niche market where the current parking websites do not provide an independent and impartial comparison service. We compare without being biased towards a particular provider giving our users a true and accurate reflection of the cheapest parking deals.
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
- Naturally, the current economic recession has greatly affected both businesses and individuals alike. This essentially means people have to prioritise their earnings thus influencing their spending habits. Parkat tackles this by providing a plethora of parking services in one neat and tidy search allowing our users to quickly and easily identify the best deals. This essentially means users do not have to sacrifice such amenities.
Surprisingly we were never discouraged when taking on the Parkat project. Fortunately, a lot of the initial research phases had been thoroughly analysed and corroborated by the ATMEDIA team therefore we didn't really experience such conflicts.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
With the right key performance indicators in place and the current encouraging feedback received, we foresee Parkat being successful. As with all startup websites, initial success is unpredictable, however, we have a number of systems in place to create a successful, maintainable and lively web service.
Quite simply, Parkat is striving to provide a concise system, which provides our users with a variety of convenience based features.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.