Valet Parking Etiquette: What You Need to Know

Man talks on phone

If you’re not a regular user of valet services, it can feel a little strange using one for the first time. While the valet is there to make your life easier, there’s a lot to take in and plenty of moving parts in a vehicle drop-off area.

Regardless of whether you’ve never used a valet before or you’re an old pro, the next time you know you’re going to an event or venue that offers car valet parking,  follow these tips and stay classy.

Be Prepared

This might sound weird, but if you know there’s going to be valet parking at an upcoming event, take a few minutes to clean out your garbage and wipe the dust off your dashboard.

It might never have crossed your mind to do so before, but you’ll absolutely wish you had that moment you lock eyes with the valet attendant as you slowly approach the station and it suddenly dawns on you that someone else, who will be sitting in your uncleanliness, is seeing for the first time what you’ve become desensitized to.

Also, if you know you’ll be using a valet service, make a stop at the ATM, take out enough cash for how much to tip the valet and tip the valet who parks your car. The only thing worse than pulling up to a sophisticated venue or event in a filthy car is using the valet service and stiffing the valet.

Be Alert as You Enter the Drop-Off Area

The vehicle drop-off area can get pretty hectic when rushes happen, so approach them slowly, look for valets who are directing traffic and follow their directions. Valets know how to keep it moving safely and efficiently.

Secure Your Valuables

High-end hotels, restaurants  with valet parking , bars and parties hire high-end insured and bonded valets you can usually trust, but always secure your valuables out of sight. There is no upside for anyone if something goes missing.

Make Sure You Have Everything With You Before Handing Off Your Car

Know where your phone, wallet, tickets, etc., are before you walk away. Valets are always accommodating and will go back to your car to get what you need, but depending on where the car is parked, how busy it is, and how much of a time constraint you’re under, you might be putting a damper on how your evening starts.

Leave Your Car Running

The drop-off area is a hive of activity and the valet needs to be able to jump in and move your car as soon after you arrive as possible.

To Wait or Not to Wait (For the Valet to Open Your Door for You)

It can get awkward if you pull up to the drop-off area and wait if no valet is coming. A general rule of thumb is that you can reasonably expect the valet at a high-end event or venue to open your door for you, but if you’re using the valet service at your local mall, you’re probably good to get out on your own as soon as you pull up.

Be Extra Mindful When You Get Your Ticket

When the valet hands you your ticket, pay attention and put it in a safe place. If you are staying at a hotel and you lose your ticket, it’s usually not a big deal as the hotel, as the ticket number is likely connected to your room number.

In other situations, you will likely have to show ID, fill out lots of paperwork and spend a lot more time than you’d like to get your car back.

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Reasons to Provide Valet Parking at Your Next Event

More Venue Options

Planning an event to be held at a venue can be a frustrating experience. Availability of a venue on the night of is often just the first of many other criteria it has to meet. Location and availability of parking are other crucial factors that can take a potential venue off your list of possibilities. If there isn’t enough parking at or around the venue, then, as the person responsible, you also have to research alternate locations for your guests to park that aren’t so far away that they burden your guests. You also need to ensure that alternate parking locations don’t require them to walk through unsafe neighbourhoods.

Partnering with a reputable valet service removes all of those concerns and opens up numerous other options for your event.

Valet Parking Shows (Not Tells) Your Guests What They Mean to You

When you have valet parking services available to your guests, especially a service that specializes in high-end luxury events, it’s like giving someone a first-class ticket on a flight or sending a limousine to their home to pick them up. You show that you feel that they are worth it.

Setting the Tone Immediately

Not only does having a professional valet service stationed at the entrance of your home or event venue send a visceral message of class and sophistication, but it also lets your guests know that they are going to be taken care of tonight and that they have nothing to worry about other than experiencing as much joy as they possibly can.

Keep Your Guests Looking Their Best & Preventing Them From A Long Walk in the Holiday Cold

Your guests went through a lot of trouble and invested a lot of time and money to dress up and look as good as they can to attend your event or party. A good host wouldn’t then want them to walk a far distance in their dress clothes and uncomfortable shoes.

This is especially true if that walk has to be done in Ontario in late December. You want your guests to have a great night, not one that starts off that way and ends with a walk back in even colder weather.

Guest & Vehicle Safety

Even if you attended the venue yourself and drove around the area to ensure that there was plenty of available parking and no signs of a bad neighbourhood nearby, it’s impossible to predict how busy it will be on the night of your event in a city like Toronto. It’s also unlikely to know every route someone could take to get in and out of the area and where they might end up parking.

A valet parking service prevents those safety concerns and also protects your guests from getting a parking ticket, or having their vehicle vandalized, towed or stolen and maintain car cleanliness.