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Assessing Customer Needs and Preferences 13 plate numbers to determine the vehicle owner's place of residence and the market area from which the airport is attracting customers--particularly at airports that attract passengers from multiple states. Stated preference surveys. Stated preference surveys are a method of data collection used to determine how customers might behave in the future under varying conditions. The survey recipient is provided with tradeoffs from which to choose related to one or more topics of interest, which, when analyzed together with demographic information, allow the develop- ment of predictive tools for the variables surveyed. Stated preference surveys could be applied to the airport parking program, for example, to analyze the potential impacts of changes to public parking fees. Stated preference surveys could be used to determine parking price sen- sitivity by various passenger groups, to estimate the change in the number of parking cus- tomers and revenue that would be gained or lost at various parking rates, and the modes to or from which passengers would divert. Stated preference surveys may be administered at the air- port by intercepting customers or by distributing invitation cards to customers to participate in an online survey. Stated preference surveys are valuable for predicting customer respon- siveness to changes in products or services or the development of new products being consid- ered, particularly when potential demand or financial impacts may be significant. This type of survey should be conducted on an as-needed basis. Designing and conducting such surveys require specialized skills and experience. Experience Airport operations staff, customer service staff, and public relations staff often have an inher- ent understanding of customer needs and preferences because of their day-to-day involvement with the parking program and contact with customers. Based on operational issues and their experience with the public, these staff members often are able to identify when the peak periods of demand occur for various customer groups (e.g., business and non-business travelers) and the products preferred by particular customer groups. Staff members answering questions, responding to customer complaints, and reviewing customer satisfaction cards can offer valu- able insight on certain topics. This insight may be useful in relation to product improvement or development, as input to data collection methodologies, or in validating data analysis results.