Customer Engagement at Airports

ap_pax2Customer engagement at airports is taking off! The world’s airports are increasingly turning to intelligent technologies such as mobile apps and geo-location services, to help improve their customer experience.

Creating these capabilities to “engage connected customers” is the number one priority for the majority of the world’s leading airports and we will now see a rapid increase in the introduction of mobile and social media apps, delivering a more personalised & rewarding customer experience.

Keeping passengers informed about their flight status and wait times has always been the primary driver for airports providing mobile apps. Now, airports are looking at new ways to use mobile technology to engage customers and specifically drive retail sales through customer loyalty programmes. Similarly, customer tracking & geo-location has been seen a means for reducing passenger congestion. New “way-finding” services are set to become commonplace on mobile devices, allowing passengers to receive highly targeted retailer offers based on their exact location within the airport itself.

Airport operators are investing in the ‘intelligent airport’ to improve the passenger experience in the most operationally efficient manner. It is also clear there is a strong desire among operators to work together with all their stakeholders, including airlines and airport retailers, to create a better customer experience.

This transition to the ‘intelligent airport’ must, however, be set against the commercial reality of a cut in operators IT spending as a percentage of their overall revenues. This decline in spending reinforces the need for any customer engagement solution to drive measurable additional sales, within the growing areas of mobile technology and geo-location services.

To further facilitate the transition to the ‘intelligent airport, a CODB must be central to their understanding of the data that the customer provides. This includes their preferences, their travel and from past activities, their behavior. The difference being that the customer has ‘opted-in’ to providing this data. The change is subtle but critical – the customer knowingly participates on a quid pro quo basis – there’s something of value in it for the customer. The significant challenge to the future of the ‘intelligent airport’ will be allowing all CODB data to be open to the customer to update, modify or even delete, up to opting-out.