Travelers will spend more if the experience is right

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Happy travelers are more likely to spend their hard-earned money at the airport, according to new research from Collinson.

The company’s findings showed that to increase passenger dwell time and spend, airports and their ecosystem of travel-related businesses and brands must make traveler satisfaction – across the entire journey – key.

The research found that overall, traveler satisfaction with the airport experience is improving. In 2019, 63% of global travelers said that they enjoy the airport experience, a jump of 13% from 2018 when only 50% of travelers said the same. However, there is a significant gulf between traveler satisfaction in Asia and the Middle East compared to the USA and Europe. On average, three in four travellers (74%) across markets like India, China and the UAE enjoy the airport experience, compared to less than half (48%) across markets like the USA, the UK and Germany.

The research also found that happy travelers spend more. Nearly 9 in 10 (88%) travelers who routinely spend over US$200 at the airport said that the airport experience was an enjoyable part of the journey. On the other hand, the least satisfied travelers spend less than US$28, with only 40% of them reporting that they enjoy the airport experience.

Mignon Buckingham, corporate strategy officer at Collinson, said, “It may seem unsurprising that happy customers spend more, but the devil is in the detail. The airport experience is fragmented and relies on an ecosystem of players, including airlines, airport authorities, security and operational service providers, merchants, duty free, retailers, bars and restaurants. Dissatisfaction at any point of the airport journey can trigger a loss in overall satisfaction and have a knock-on impact for all other players.

The research highlighted key opportunities for airports and other businesses to enhance traveler satisfaction and encourage engagement and spend. For instance, travelers want more opportunities to take control and create a smooth, enjoyable trip even before the journey begins, with 70% saying they would consider pre-ordering food and beverage if the option was available.

More than half (53%) of travelers who spend more than US$150 on retail said they did not spend more because of baggage restrictions, and 39% reported that they would spend more if a delivery or collection service was offered.

Collinson’s Airport Journey global report surveyed 6,667 people across 11 countries in the Americas, EMEA and APAC to track evolving traveler preferences and behaviors, and learn more about travelers’ satisfaction with the airport experience.

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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