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ICLP research highlights benefit of loyalty programs for airports

The latest research from global loyalty experts ICLP has demonstrated how a better understanding of passenger motives will lead to increased dwell time and spending in the terminal.

While it’s widely accepted that elements such as fear of longer queues or unfamiliarity with the airport are detrimental to dwell time, ICLP’s research has revealed that there are things that airports can do to persuade passengers to spend longer at the terminal.

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

In addition, while nearly one in five (19%) said that going to the airport is something they do simply because they have to, over half (53%) said they actively enjoy visiting the airport. This suggests that there is plenty of scope for airports to invest in strategies that will encourage passengers to build in extra time in the terminal before their flights. 

Passengers can also be tempted to spend more while in the terminal. 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, only 7% of airports surveyed rated a loyalty program among their top priorities, indicating a lack of synergy with passenger desires.

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 maximize 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, where 35 airports and 2,589 passengers were surveyed.

Written by Daniel Symonds

September 7, 2017





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