Meet and greet parking - tips for finding a reputable company

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Meet and greet parking rise in popularity

Demand for airport parking hits a seasonal high during the summer months as families with school children flee the country on their annual summer break.

Loaded down with luggage, and with young children in tow, many parents are now using the facilities of meet and greet parking companies, which offer a convenient parking option for parents not wishing to ferry their children on and off shuttle buses between car parks and terminals.

The meet and greet sector of airport parking has experienced soaring levels of demand over recent years and is no longer seen as a purely business parking option. For parents of small children, the convenience of being able to drive right up to the airport terminal with their children safely strapped into their own car seats, and then unloading luggage and children seems a price worth paying – and these days it’s only a small extra charge over off-site airport parking.

Finding a reputable company

The problem when booking meet and greet parking is that there are lots of options, and a wide range of prices. How do you spot a reputable company?

The following tips may help you find a reliable meet and greet parking company :

Ask friends and relatives for recommendations

Your friends or family may already have used a meet and greet parking company and may be willing to recommend them, just ask.

Forums

You could always ask on a travel forum for recommendations, however, be aware of people who have only one post as they could be working for the company they suggest.

Landline telephone number

Always look for a company that has a landline number as well as a mobile number. A landline number should signify that the company has a ‘real’ office, not just operating from home with a mobile number.

Car park
You may not be given the exact address of the company’s car park but you should be given some indication of where it is and how far from the airport it is.

Many companies just setting up to take advantage of the summer demand don’t have licenced car parks or even planning permission to operate.

Payment

Look for a company that has a secure, online payment system, not one that requires payment in cash on the day – a sure-fire indication that you are not dealing with an established company.

Terms and Conditions

Always read the company’s terms and conditions before booking and check that your car is covered by the company’s insurance while being driven by their drivers.

Airport Valet Parking Contractors Association (AVPCA)

The Airport Valet Parking Contractors Association (AVPCA) was established in early 2011 with a view to cleaning up the parking industry and preventing rogue parking operators from setting up business and taking advantage of unsuspecting air travellers.

AVPCA has strict guidelines for members, which includes members having to demonstrate the following:

  • Members must have planning permission to operate a meet and greet parking company
  • They must be VAT registered
  • All companies must have a land line telephone number
  • They must have registered offices
  • Have up-to-date accounts
  • Conduct CRB checks on their staff and drivers
  • Hold full liability insurance, which must be proved
  • All companies must have a minimum five-year trading history

If you’re in any doubt over the reliability of a meet and greet parking company, walk away and find another. Don’t just book the cheapest, after all, with the exception of your house, your car is probably the most expensive item you own – do you really want to be taking a chance with it?

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