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Is your car park ready for the Christmas shopping rush?

Can you hear the jingle bells? Black Friday and Christmas are almost here which means that many shopping centres, supermarkets, retail parks, and all other shopping and leisure destinations should already be well underway with preparations.

One aspect however that is often overlooked during this preparation period is your car parking facility – is it ready for the inevitable increase in custom that comes with this festive time of year?

We sat down with Ocean Parking’s Director of Parking Strategy, Gary Lee, to discover his top tips for successfully managing your car park at Christmas.

Liaise with local stakeholders

By now, it is likely you will have already had at least a couple of discussions about your plans with your local council, as well as police and fire service representatives. However, it is also worth considering speaking to your local town commerce teams and charity organisations, such as The Samaritans, along with local homeless charities.

A conversation advising them of your site’s intentions during the festive period will certainly be welcome. You should let them know if the site will be closing early on Christmas Eve and provide essential keyholder contact information for any issues that may arise during this time.

I would also recommend speaking to your local transport authority with regards to traffic management around your site during busy periods. If, for example, there is a set of lights that you would like on green for that little bit longer, a conversation might just usher any decisions along.

Get essentials in early

With the festive period often comes cold weather so ensure you have everything you need to deal with any issues within your car park. I would recommend the following: grit, grit bins, shovels, gloves, masks, goggles, cones, cone bars, first aid kits, entry column tickets, receipt rolls, pens, xerox paper, etc.

If you have on-site vehicles, make sure these are roadworthy and there are no MOTs or services due over the busy period.

I would also recommend getting a few extra warm high-visibility jackets in, as well as scarves, gloves and portable hand warmers if your car park is manned – your team will thank you!

Arrange maintenance cover for parking equipment

If you don’t already have 24/7/365 maintenance cover with your equipment manufacturer, I would recommend arranging this as soon as possible to avoid any parking equipment issues over the holidays.

If you do have cover, double-check your Terms and Conditions, and it’s worth speaking to your provider to ask what they have in place for the days in the lead-up and in-between Christmas and New Year.

Arrange cash collections

Speak to your cash-in transit provider and arrange collections ahead of time to avoid any cash sitting in your pay stations for long periods of time and invalidating your insurance policy.


Do you have enough cover over the festive period? I would recommend doubling, or even tripling up for the week before the big day.

If you use a competent car park management company, such as Ocean Parking, they should have already considered extra cover for busy periods and can provide you with a copy of the roster for peace of mind.


It would be prudent to examine the drains within your car parking facility, as well as any external drainage that may affect the flow of rainwater, to ensure they are clear of debris and ready to run freely in the event of adverse weather.

With the recent weather extremes, I would recommend doing this now to ensure that your car park is both usable for the busy periods and free from issues during any Christmastime closures.

Consider support

If this all sounds a lot, then it is worth considering the assistance of a car park management company, like Ocean Parking. Many of the points I have noted here will already have been thought about and taken care of, leaving you with complete peace of mind and time to focus on other things during the busy festive season.

A car park management company can also help you to futureproof your car park facility with the use of technology such as solar canopies, more EV points, wider bays, physical special bay management and joined up payment systems. All of which are customer-focused additions which can provide tangible benefits to any car park.

If you would like further advice, or information on how Ocean Parking can help improve your facility through our safe, smart and fair car park management services, then please get in touch via or the Ocean Parking contact form.

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Is your car park ready for the Christmas shopping rush?