New research finds 40% of passengers would pick an airport based on its loyalty program

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Research by customer loyalty company ICLP has highlighted how better understanding of what motivates passengers will enable airports to encourage increased dwell time and spend at their terminals.

Potential airport process issues such as fears of longer queues or passengers’ lack of familiarity with the airport are key determinants of dwell time. ICLP’s research has found that airports can have a significant influence when it comes to persuading passengers to spend longer at the terminal.

A substantial percentage (42%) of passengers said they would arrive at the airport earlier if they were offered shopping discounts or food and drink vouchers (46%). Nearly a third (32%) said they would arrive earlier if the airport offered engaging entertainment or exhibitions.

While nearly one in five (19%) of those surveyed said that going to the airport is something they do simply because they must; over half (53%) said they actively enjoy visiting the airport.

Nearly half (45%) of those surveyed said that if they received offers in advance of travel it would persuade them to up their spending. Over a third (35%) said they would feel encouraged to purchase more at the airport if they received air miles, and nearly a quarter (24%) said they would spend more if they could compare the price of goods between inbound and outbound airports.

Discounts are also a key incentive, with both infrequent (43%) and frequent (46%) travelers saying they could be encouraged to spend more by these initiatives.

A significant 40% of passengers said they would choose an airport based on its loyalty or reward program, with 18% saying they would spend more if they had access to a program that was linked to spending at the airport. However, with only 7% of airports rating a loyalty program among their top priorities, it seems that passengers set greater store by loyalty schemes than the airports that serve them.

Mignon Buckingham, managing director of ICLP, said, “Truly meaningful customer relationships are based on identifying and understanding the airport passenger as an individual, and then finding ways to engage that customer.

“As in any other business, airports need to look at efficiency and profitability, but as competition increases and market trends evolve, many struggle to retain this profitability. 

“Since around 40% of airports’ revenues are non-aeronautical, often delivering higher profitability than aeronautical revenues, it’s not surprising that more airports are turning to this industry to maximise commercial success.

“Our survey shows that by engaging intelligently with customers there is potential to increase non-aeronautical revenue at a time when it has never been a more important source of income for airports.”

All data has been taken from the 2017 ICLP airport and passenger surveys, when 35 airports and 2,589 passengers were surveyed.

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Kirstie joined the team in early 2017 and brings writing, communications and client experience with her. Now an assistant editor, she produces content for our magazines and websites. Away from the office, you will find her blogging on her lifestyle website or searching the internet for photos of sausage dogs.

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