A new study commissioned by loyalty marketing agency ICLP has found that a number of airports are failing to make the most of the commercial opportunities due to a limited understanding of the passengers who pass through their terminals.
The report found that while a fear of security wait times may dissuade passengers to spend time at an airport, a significant percentage of passengers said they would arrive at the airport earlier if they were offered shopping vouchers (56%) or food and drink vouchers (46%).
In addition, while nearly one in five (19%) of those surveyed said that going to the airport is something they do simply because they have to, over half (a substantial 53%) said they actively enjoy visiting the airport. This suggests that there is potential for airports to encourage passengers to spend more time at the terminal before their flight.
Passengers are also open to being tempted to spend more money while in the terminal. More than half of passengers in the survey cited receiving offers in advance of travel as the number one factor that would persuade them to up their spending.
However, in order to encourage behavioral change among their customers, airports need to ensure that the communications they deliver to passengers prior to travel are relevant and personalized as well as timely. Only one third of airport customers feel that the communications they currently receive are relevant to them personally, or based on their preferences and past purchases at the airport. Nearly a quarter of passengers say communications are sent too late (22%) and over a third say they have to spend too much to take advantage of discounts. Only a quarter of passengers perceive them to be of any value (28%).
Mignon Buckingham, managing director of ICLP, said, “Intelligent analysis and use of data together with the right customer relationship management (CRM) and customer loyalty programs means we can gain a real understanding of personal customer preferences. That insight allows airports to increase the influence they have on customer behavior. In turn, this means they can encourage passengers to turn their time at the airport into an experience, rather than just a process of passing through. They have then paved the way for genuine customer engagement, which in turn will drive a rise in revenue.”
A sample of more than 2,900 travelers was used from a survey conducted by independent research agency SSI.