“The Sharing Economy and The Airbnb Challenge” session, slated for Tuesday, May 3, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at AIM 2016, will examine how services like Airbnb can provide owner/operators with a chance to make significant ancillary income by way of unused real estate. Alex Enchin, founder of WhereiPark, Jaja Jackson, head of multifamily housing partnerships at Airbnb, and David Ordal, CEO of Everbooked, are tapped as panelists.

Enchin’s firm works with approximately 100 apartment communities in Toronto, Calgary, and Ottawa, Canada, to rent unused parking spaces to non-residents. We recently asked Enchin to weigh in on parking trends at apartment communities in Canada and the ancillary income opportunities presented by declining car ownership.

Alex Enchin

Alex Enchin

In Canada, are the number of vacant parking spots that apartment communities have rising, and if so why is that the case? Is there a similar trend in the U.S.?

Enchin: We have seen a gradual increase in vacant parking spots at apartment communities. There is a statistic that shocked me the first time I heard it, which is “vehicles are parked 94 percent of the time.”

I think this is noteworthy because in recent years, we have seen the proliferation of car-sharing services such as ZipCar and Car2Go. Part of their success must be attributed to people realizing that they don’t need to own a car, so long as they have access to one. I think another key factor has been the explosion of Uber and Lyft. The convenience and affordability of these app-based services have made getting from Point A to Point B a really user-friendly experience.

The last factor is millennials, who have shown across many industries a tendency to gravitate away from ownership and towards on-demand access.

For all of these reasons, we are seeing increased parking vacancy rates in communities.

Are the number of total parking spaces decreasing at new developments in Canada, and if so, what do you attribute that to?

Enchin: We are definitely seeing fewer parking spaces being built in new developments as a result of the same factors mentioned above. Municipalities are slowly realizing that old parking ratios are no longer applicable and are adjusting their parking mandates downward, accordingly.

Generally speaking, how much of an untapped ancillary revenue opportunity do vacant parking spaces represent for multifamily communities in North America?

Enchin: We believe there is a really exciting opportunity here, one that we are pursuing relentlessly. There number of vacant parking spaces in multifamily communities is staggering in aggregate. Realistically, many of them are not relevant or in desirable locations, such as urban centers, near commercial hubs, etc.

To put things in perspective, at some of our communities in Toronto, we’ve been able to add 25 to 30 new parkers at a single community and generate as much as $5,300 in incremental parking revenue. There are no marginal costs to allowing a few extra people to drive in and out of your garage twice daily, so the revenue we generate on behalf of our clients is nearly 100 percent profit.

This year’s AIM conference is highly focused on improving the resident user experience. In instances in which a resident is letting one of your client communities temporarily lease his or her assigned parking spot, does that resident get a slice of the resulting revenue?

Enchin: Good question. We really don’t lease out spaces that belong to residents. We work with the owner of the community or the property management firm or, in some cases, both. The spaces we lease out are not assigned to residents of the community, but rather idle spaces that are owned by management and are currently not being utilized.

AIM 2016 also will feature another automobile-centric session: “Parked Cars, Electric Cars and Driverless Cars – The Future of Auto Technology and Rental Communities,” which will take place from 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. on Monday, May 2. To get a full grasp of AIM 2016 and its focus on improving the user experience of prospects and residents, dig into the complete schedule of sessions and workshops.

Be sure to register for AIM 2016, and book your hotel room. And look for updates on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Aimconf.com about the conference, speakers and the annual AIM Video Awards.

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