AIRPORTS ARE busy places. Not only do administrators want to make sure that the experience is comfortable and runs efficiently for their passengers, visitors themselves want to make the most of the time they are waiting for a flight.
There are a host of opportunities available through new tech that can boost engagement between customers and providers and the future will see this being used to ever greater degrees for the benefit of both parties.
Millions of people fly each year and they spend on average a couple of hours checking in and waiting for their flight. That doesn’t include the number of visitors who are there to pick up or see off travellers. There is the potential here to raise the level of service to exceptional standards but also to encourage better trade at the same time as boosting brand collateral.
How Airports Can Engage Customers
There’s no doubt that providing a more personal experience to passengers flying form one location to another is important. This has been made possible by recent advances in technology, especially the widespread availability of cloud services, beacon technology, Wi-Fi in conjunction with various smart devices such as mobile phones and tablets.
In the future, airports will be utilising this technology a lot more efficiently, enabling them to deliver a better customer service and giving retail outlets the chance to attract greater footfall and bring in greater sales revenue.
Personalising a Journey
There are two major components to a traveller’s airport experience:
What happens when they arrive and how they find their way to their flight is of primary concern to travellers? They may want information on where to find parking, be able to pay for it on their mobile phones, check whether there are any flight delays and a whole host of other things. Services such as interactive wayfinding is now being introduced at many airports around the world and is making life a lot easier for passengers.
There are also the amenities that are available at any airport, not just the duty-free stores but restaurants, cafes and other locations that can benefit from attracting more custom. Being able to reach out to potential consumers as they pass by and instantly send them highly targeted information about possible discounts or promotions will undoubtedly improve sales and engagement.
How passenger engagement works is vitally important to the future development of airport IT infrastructure. Beacons that interact with mobile devices, for example, can be used to pinpoint locations and give directions, as well as highlighting attractions such as food courts and shopping opportunities including any promotions these may have. It can highlight areas of disabled access and show were friends and family are located in the airport.
Beacon technology can help do this to a very high degree which means that all possibilities are on the table. It could be that individual airports are only going to be limited by their own imaginations. The key is that it provides strong benefits for all sides, from the airport and retail businesses to the passengers themselves.
Flight Check In
Check in can be a frustrating experience for travellers, especially if they are pushed for time. Linking all this with mobile devices and services can help manage security issues, get passengers to the right location on time and improve the speed of check in processes from the moment an individual gets to the airport to the time they board a plane.
This can be highly personalised and certainly will be in the future. If a passenger is arriving late and needs to rush to check in, they don’t want to be bombarded with personal messages concerning the best places to get a drink or buy a bottle of wine. If they have arrived in good time, location services can highlight which locations they are more likely to want, providing incentives to individuals that are geared towards their behaviour and not defined by a blanket approach.
Reviews and Push Notifications
With smartphone technology and developments such as Beacons, you get a strong service combination that is useful to the traveller. They can receive push notifications for a variety of actions from getting the best deal on a particular product to making sure they don’t miss their check in. They can easily pull up reviews for what they are buying or check out the place they are planning to have a coffee.
Real Time Promotions
Real time promotions are generally easier to deliver when you have the right personal information to hand. Businesses on the airport premises will be able to tailor promotions in real time to people passing by and encourage them to spend more by having greater relevance. Mixing data with information from social media platforms can also help target more effectively.
Augmented reality has been around for quite a while but is set for greater success with the development of beacon technology and uniform connectivity. Passengers will be able to switch on their mobiles and tablets and get immediate directions or useful information on screen when they point their camera at different areas of the airport.
For businesses, the whole concept of integration of smart technology is going to revolutionise how they perform. To date, many use apps to allow easier check in and getting flight details but more are now starting to see the benefit of driving several concepts together to make the customer experience more rounded and responsive.
It’s no longer about getting passengers from A to B as efficiently as possible but how to engage each individual personally and create the kind of experience that delivers brand value and customer satisfaction in equal measures. As we become at ease with our mobile devices and what they can achieve, you can expect the integrations of technology and marketing and operation strategies to respond accordingly.
Airports are a prime location for this kind of approach and many major organisations are beginning to embrace it. This not only makes flying a more enjoyable experience, it makes it secure, efficient and highly enjoyable for all concerned.