The Chevrolet Corvette has its spot inside Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena, but the GamePlan trip planner will help fans find parking spaces outside. (Getty Images)

Trip planner, developed with Waze, routes drivers to their prepaid spots

Some venues will soon have a new tool to help guests ease into parking spots at concerts and sporting events: a trip planner called GamePlan.

The feature was introduced this week by Arrive, a Chicago-based company that helps venues with guest parking through app-based technology. The company partnered with popular navigation app Waze, a Google subsidiary, to develop GamePlan.

“At the end of the day, it’s really about helping fans at venues buy parking in advance, so it’s one less thing they have to worry about on the day of events,” said Dan Roarty, president and chief operating officer of Arrive.

Formerly known as ParkWhiz, the company recently changed its name to Arrive. “We realized that a lot of our business was platform and b2b business. We decided to rebrand our corporate entity,” said Christie Dooley, communications lead for Arrive. The ParkWhiz name remains on the app.

The new branding encompasses the many technologies Arrive uses to help with parking, including buying parking passes before and on game day.

“We provide venues, teams and ticketing platforms with multiple ways to buy parking, through Ticketmaster, through their own team app or venue ties,” Roarty said.

Fans pay in advance when they buy Arrive-powered parking for a venue, and each venue gets a share of that parking revenue, Dooley said.

Waze has a Global Event Partners program that allows venue operators to alert Waze of road closures and detour around the venue, better helping GamePlan work, Dooley said. GamePlan then taps into those road closures and detours, rerouting fans directly to the parking garage, she said.

Arrive works with well over 100 venues in North America,  Roarty said. “Our intent is to roll (GamePlan) out to teams when their seasons begin,” he said.

How GamePlan works once a fans buys parking through Arrive. (Courtesy Arrive)

The GamePlan trip planner was first used for a Pink concert April 26 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. It’s an all-encompassing trip planner using, calculating how much time it will take for guests to leave their starting destinations and how long it will take them to drive to the venue, park and walk in.

“Let’s say you’re going to a show tonight and you buy parking. (Arrive) is going to send you an email. They can tell you from your house to your planned location it’s going to take 38 minutes, so you should leave at 5:20 p.m. to get there when the doors open at 6 p.m.,” said Joe Leung, vice president of parking for Olympia Development of Michigan. The real estate company, which developed Little Caesars Arena, is part of Ilitch Holdings, whose other companies include the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, MLB’s Detroit Tigers and Olympia Entertainment, which owns and operates Detroit’s Fox Theatre and operates a number of other area venues.

Arrive partners with ticketing agencies, including Ticketmaster and StubHub, and prompts ticket websites to ask customers if they want to prepay for parking after buying concert or game tickets. After they buy parking, they get an email telling them to download an app.

On average, data shows that guests open only 9 percent to 15 percent of emails that come from Little Caesars Arena, Leung said. Dooley said the open rate for the GamePlan emails that went out for the Pink concert was 58 percent.

The email gives consumers a link to the Waze-powered app that routes people around traffic congestion or construction. It also helps increase parking revenue at venues by streamlining parking passes.

Little Caesars Arena has worked with ParkWhiz since it opened in 2017 and had its own navigating app before partnering with Waze. From 2017 to 2018, online parking pass sales through ParkWhiz increased 270 percent, from 45,000 transactions to 125,000, Leung said.

With the new trip planner, he projects transactions will shoot up to 300,000 in 2019.

“The increase in revenue has been great. Operationally, if I’ve sold someone an online parking pass, they’re getting directions to my location, they’re bypassing all my competitors,” Leung said. “Other parking operators don’t have the robust online presence that we’ve created here.”

Additionally, Arrive did a study that showed people who bought parking in advance spent 35 percent more on retail and concessions at a venue, Dooley said.