This post is part of our ongoing series about improving the airport experience. In our last post, we explored how to improve the airport security experience. In today’s post, we’ll explore how to improve airport customer service while increasing revenues.

Did you know “Almost half of travelers believe a holiday doesn’t start until they have left the airport,” according the Daily Mail? Travelers reported they find their airport experiences more stressful than work and as stressful as moving homes.

Passengers report feeling like air travel is more stressful than workPassengers report feeling like air travel is more stressful than work

How can airports enhance their customer service to help travelers feel calm, confident, and relaxed instead of suffering with their “more stressful than work” anxiety?

The airport: a destination of its own

To enhance the airport experience, airports need to create an experience for their travelers. The airport should feel like the “first step” on their travel adventure! Transform your airport into a fun destination–and the travelers (and their money) will keep coming to you.

How do you transform travelers’ airport experience? A recent report by McKinsey Consulting helps identify the “top ten ways airports fail” to provide praise-worthy customer service. The number one complaint is “Having to wait with nothing to do.”  Four of the top ten complaints specifically targeted the security screening process, so we devoted an entire article to improving the airport security experience.

The Top 10 ways the airport experience fails passengersThe Top 10 ways the airport experience fails passengers

But how can airports address passengers’ number one complaint that they have nothing to do?

Some airports have answered the “nothing to do” complaint by transforming their airport into a true destination. For example, Changi Airport in Singapore features five gardens, free rest areas, shower and spa services, clinics and pharmacies, a supermarket, and a swimming pool with accompanying Jacuzzi—and that’s just in Terminal One. No wonder Changi Airport has been named best airport in the world for six years in a row.

The award-winning Changi airport is a destination on its ownThe award-winning Changi airport is a destination on its own

How can you improve the airport experience without a major transformation?

While your airport might not be able to accommodate movie theatres, pharmacies, and Jacuzzis, there is always room to improve the activities your airport currently offers.

Air passengers’ primary complaint is they have “nothing to do while waiting.” Airports can focus on enhancing their positive features – the unique retail shops and the extensive variety of restaurants offered.

There are subtle ways airports can encourage passengers to indulge in some “retail therapy.” You can transform your airport into an enjoyable first destination on passengers’ itinerary.

Most airport shoppers are impulse buyers

Airport retail provides shoppers with an opportunity to decompress before (and after) their flight, but research has shown that most airport shoppers do not intend to be airport shoppers – most are impulse buyers. With that in mind, airport retailers need to adapt their marketing techniques.

Airport retail is different from everyday brick-and-mortar; most airport shoppers are impulse buyers
Airport retail is different from everyday brick-and-mortar; most airport shoppers are impulse buyers

Emotional appeal is the secret to influencing impulse buyers

What’s the secret to influencing impulse buyers? Emotional appeal says the Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing. In a recent study in Seoul, Korea, researchers found that “the more positive the emotions felt by tourists, the more impulsive buying behavior occurs.”

How can airports get travelers to pause and explore the variety of shops and restaurants when they are usually in a rush to get to their gate?

Airports can help retailers create an environment that “minimizes inherent stress and maintains natural levels of excitement” for passengers, with a focus on “eliminating barriers to purchase,” according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Behavior. Does that sound like a lot to balance? Maybe not.

Creating emotion in shoppers could be as simple as adding a pleasant scent

Creating an emotional connection to customers might be as simple as making your stores smell nice. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have found that scent has a direct connection to emotion.

A pleasant scent has been proven to encourage shoppers stay longer, spend more money, and feel more satisfied with their shopping experience. Many well-known brands have used scent to influence their shoppers. Hurried shoppers in a pleasantly scented environment spent more time than they intended in stores, and as a result their purchase totals increase as well.

Pleasant scents help shoppers spend more time and money in stores
Pleasant scents help shoppers spend more time and money in stores

Most importantly, convincing a browsing customer to convert to an impulse purchaser is all about reaching them with the right message at the right time, and scent is an effective subliminal way to do just that.

Adding a pleasant scent to your airport common areas and retail stores will help travelers feel more relaxed, allowing them to discover there are “lots of things to do” while waiting for their next flight.

With a new luxurious airport scenting program, travelers will appreciate the relaxed atmosphere as a significant improvement in the air travel experience.

Improving customer service increases air passenger satisfaction and spending

Enhancing your airport’s customer service is one of the best ways to increase air passenger satisfaction…and spending. Over 79% of passengers cited customer service as the most important element in creating a great passenger experience in the 2015 ARN Airport Customer survey. And 50% of passengers felt strongly that customer service impacts passenger buying decisions.

Improving customer service increases air passenger satisfaction and spendingImproving customer service increases air passenger satisfaction and spending

If you’re ready to improve your airport’s customer service and watch your revenue soar, contact us today!

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the other articles in this series: In part one, learn about how to improve the airport security experience. Come back tomorrow to read our final article on improving the airport experience!

 

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