How existing Wi-Fi services can be integrated into a smart data strategy to provide travelers with enhanced satisfaction while generating much needed income for airport operators.
Cancelled flights, record lows for both international and domestic travel, longer wait times due to enhanced cleaning regulations – these are just a few of the hardships shared by airports around the world since the beginning of the global pandemic. Yet, airports must remain open to serve those who still have a necessity or a desire to travel on commercial airlines. This inevitably comes with the need to maintain various services that travelers expect to have available at any airport, including restaurants, gift shops, car rentals and more. During more prosperous economic times, these services represent a valuable source of revenue for airport operators and service providers. However, during the current environment where most consumers continue to avoid or at least minimize any type of travel unless absolutely necessary, maintaining airport operations and services has become an increasingly costly task with significantly less revenue being generated.
This circumstance places airport operators in an unenviable position of having to keep services and amenities open to cater to the few travelers still willing to fly, while finding sufficient funds to support operations and somehow achieve a reasonable level of profit. Fortunately, in this digital era where virtually every consumer travels with at least one smart device, an airport's existing Wi-Fi service offers the potential to tap into the latest advances in experience personalization that can not only boost satisfaction rates, but that also maximize the performance of much needed revenue streams. By taking advantage of new innovations in the field of "smart data" technology, airports are now able to transform their Wi-Fi offerings from being a required amenity with little ROI potential, into a powerful source of analytical information on each traveler- offering detailed insight into their unique interests and preferences. Armed with such rich data analytics, here are just a few ways that a smart data-backed Wi-Fi and business plan strategy can lead to more profitable and efficient airport operations:
Catering to The Future of Digitalized Traveler Experiences
As with virtually all consumer-based industries, the travel sector has been increasingly under pressure to adapt to a predominately mobile world where the benefits of instant, personalized service have set the new standard in delivering consumer satisfaction. Simply offering a mobile app with a few features does not fully resolve the demand for instant service that today's consumers expect to be tailored to their unique preferences. However, a mobile app on a smart device that is connected to airport Wi-Fi has the opportunity to promote interactions that align with each traveler's individual interests during their airport stay. This is where a smart data platform integrated with an existing Wi-Fi network demonstrates its immense value.
After a traveler opts into the service, an advanced smart data solution will automatically compile demographic and psychographic analytics that are available online and that are instantly stored in a profile that is created for each traveler. This can include details on marital status, income level, hobby interests, active memberships and much more. Once a traveler connects to an airport's Wi-Fi, a smart data platform will then automatically access such profiles to identify which available services and promotions most closely resemble a specific traveler's lifestyle preferences. For example, a traveler with a preference for Italian food can instantly receive a notification for half-price appetizers that may tip a decision to eat onsite into the airport's favor. Those that regularly enjoy coffee or alcoholic beverages prior to a flight can be sent push notifications on the latest specials to entice a purchase. With many travelers eventually seeking a flight to return home, an invitation to visit an airport's souvenir shop can also serve as a welcome suggestion for those wanting to purchase gifts for loved ones and friends.
A primary advantage of a smart data platform therefore is that it removes the guess work from promoting airport amenities to potential customers. Each promotion sent is always first automatically matched to relevant traveler profiles to ensure that any marketing campaign is shared with appropriate target audiences. This limits the risk of turning travelers off from reading promotional messaging with offers that they have little interest in. Crucially, it ensures that any marketing effort designed to capture more revenue has the highest probability of success- resulting in a steady flow of income needed to keep airports operational, while providing each traveler with a uniquely satisfying experience that will increase their likelihood of returning to the same airport for future flights.
As any airport operator can attest to, smart devices have long been a common sight at airports with travelers navigating between gates seemingly always focused on their screens. However, this behavior creates the opportunity for airports to monetize their Wi-Fi services at a time when it is needed most by the industry. Each Wi-Fi login generates a mass of data that can be used to understand precisely what appeals to a specific traveler. By adding a smart data solution to their existing Wi-Fi network, an airport can finally sift through such metrics in a timely manner and can begin to tailor experiences and boost revenue-earning opportunities from the very moment that a traveler arrives.
Boost Your Bottom Line With Localized Advertising
As locations that serve as the first point of contact for travelers visiting a new area, airports have another advantage in being able to generate additional revenues by simply serving as a source for local experience recommendations. Those visiting an unfamiliar location will want to quickly gain their bearings on what nearby services or attractions align with their travel plans. The adoption of an advanced smart data solution can also seamlessly cater to this need by again leveraging profile analytics to identify which local experiences or services are likely being sought out by each individual traveler. Examples may include a family with an interest in visiting nearby theme parks, a couple seeking to find out details on tour guides or a business traveler wanting to learn what their options are to stay in shape while away from home.
Leading smart data solution providers are able to leverage strategic partnerships to provide instant access to a wide range of local advertising offers that can match any traveler interest. Significantly, such services eliminate the need to contract third-party ad publishers, resulting in more revenue generated from subsequent sales going back to airport operators. From pushing recommendations for hotel accommodations depending on traveler budgets, to offering advice on where to purchase swimwear that matches a traveler's personal style, each promotional offer will always reflect a person's current needs based on their location to maximize sales conversions. Each ad click also represents a vital injection of revenue that can keep airport operations funded and business profitable.
Give Your Airport an Edge in an Increasingly Competitive Market
Despite the ongoing slowdown in travel, opportunities still remain for airports to generate revenue streams that are essential to keeping operations open and flowing seamlessly. By adopting a digitalized marketing approach that is backed by advanced smart data technology, airport operators can instantly tap into the growing trend of service personalization that is now prevalent in many other consumer-based industries and that travelers are increasingly expecting to find at airports around the world. With today's airport travelers no longer content with a one size fits all experience, a smart data solution ensures that each traveler is treated as an individual and that their unique needs are always addressed. In today's market environment where personalization is an increasingly competitive factor, a smart data platform further boost's an airport's ability to attract more return travelers while always ensuring that such repeat business always leads to even greater revenue growth results.
Sandy James serves as Director of Business Development- North America for Zoox Smart Data, a leading international provider of big data customer profile technology that monetizes existing Wi-Fi networks while providing the latest in personalized service. Sandy has more than 30 years of experience in working with information technology and has industry-proven expertise in technical analysis, product development, strategic planning and client relations. Sandy forms an essential part of Zoox's global leadership team with her in-depth knowledge of serving the big data needs for several vertical markets, including travel, hospitality, retail, casino and healthcare industries.