As the pandemic recedes and people slowly return to traveling, Parkos, a Digital Platform that helps travelers and airport parking lots connect, is busier than ever. We spoke with Parkos co-founder Arne Bos to understand how e-signing is helping the business meet surging demand.
Tell us about Parkos and its business model
The travel sector has been rapidly digitizing and comparison sites for hotels and airlines have been booming. But while flights and hotel rooms are becoming cheaper and cheaper, parking prices haven't kept up.
"Imagine that you've found a flight for $150, a hotel for $100, but then you have to pay $200 to park your car near an airport. We thought we could do it differently and offer an affordable parking service to start every trip with a positive feeling.
"Our business model is comparable to Uber's and Booking.com. We don't own the parking spaces. Instead, we mediate between the traveler and the parking space provider. We work on a 'no space, no pay basis'. Our revenues come from a percentage of the parking revenue we're able to secure for the operator."
Entrepreneurship is part of the Parkos ethos and Arne is continuously looking for ways to innovate. The parking lot business is very traditional, and Parkos is helping bring an e-commerce mindset to its model.
"Our power lies in our online presence. Parkos is a platform that can connect customers with parking spaces across Europe."
Finding opportunities around the globe
"Our growth is 100% self-funded. When we started Parkos, we saw that the best route to expansion was to get new customers signed up as soon as possible. A rapid onboarding process is essential when you want to land a new customer, which in our case means a parking lot or car park near an airport. The faster we can get new supply online, the quicker we can start earning revenue."
But without a signed contract, the process can't start. Doing business across different cultures, boundaries, and languages can be challenging. It's important that the process of getting an agreement signed doesn't become a business blocker.
"In the beginning, it sometimes took weeks before we could sign a contract with a new vendor. That meant everything was at a standstill. There was often an issue or delay with sending back the contract manually. At some point, we started including a SASE with all the contracts. That helped a bit — but printing and signing an agreement was still a hassle for lots of our customers.
"I once drove from Amsterdam to Dusseldorf to get a contract signed! You can imagine that for us, signed contracts could be a bottleneck. But driving all the way to a foreign country just to get a document signed was not a scalable business model."
"We've been a SignRequest customer for nearly five years. SignRequest removed the barriers to getting contracts signed and we're much more scalable as a result. Pricing was an important reason why we chose SignRequest, plus we needed a multilingual solution because of all the different countries we operate in."
Arne says Parkos started trialing different e-signature solutions, considering issues such as the display and formatting of contracts, the user experience from the customer's perspective, and overall ease of use. SignRequest led the way in every category.
"When I compare digital signing to a manually signed contract, we removed a lot of bottlenecks. We can grow faster, enter new markets more easily. You often get a verbal agreement in sales, but the deal is only done when a new contract is signed.
"Without that we can't go live with the parking lot and can't invoice. That means faster and earlier earnings when we enter a new market."
Arne has a great tip for other SignRequest customers who want to convert prospects to customers faster.
"We really look hard at our processes and how they can be improved to increase conversion. We've tested two options, sending the contract to be signed by the other party first, and sending a contract that we've already signed.
"We've found that sending a contract without pre-signing it leads to a faster action by the customer. It increases the urgency if we still have to sign at our end."