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Travel Tech

A recent Skift Trends Report provides some important insight into three key participants in the air-travel segment of any tourism journey. Travellers, airports and airlines all have a central role to play in the travel experience, but each of the three segments are all deeply invested in mobile devices and related services.

Easing Airport Queuing

One of the particularly irritating aspects of the modern airport experience is queueing. This is an aspect of flying and travelling that nearly all tourists will both encounter and revile. Yet it has been difficult, considering the sheer weight of passengers that a contemporary airport has to deal with, to truly address this issue in a satisfactory manner. But the recent technological revolution has diminished this element, and enabled travel-related businesses to make traversing through an airport a more pleasant experience for customers.

Kiosks and self-service screens are emerging in tandem with apps that provides travellers with a wide range of options within an airport environment. Instead of having to rely on the insulating and seemingly inevitable cues and counter-based interactions, airport customers are increasingly shooting through these procedures in a new and technologically efficient manner.

Airport Self-Service

Many airports are building large networks, self-service screens that provide flexibility and efficiency for customers, while gathering valuable data for travel-related companies. Data from Skift indicates that passengers are in fact quite open to providing data as long as it ultimately benefits their travel experience. Almost 75 percent of those surveyed by Skift indeed indicated that this is the case.

Traditionally, timing and location have been extremely important in achieving ideal brand outreach within the airport niche. However, the future of airports will revolve around a multi-screen concept that will have a big impact on this reality. A future in which high-tech beacon-based, geo-fence oriented experiences are essential to airport culture is on the horizon, and this is very much an ethos that can benefit travel-related companies.

Software such as GateGuru can provide information in every airport on the planet regarding restaurants, clubs and other amenities. This enables businesses to be very time-sensitive in the way that they deal with customers in airports. The ability to extend the system to the cabins of planes will help amplify the experience of a significant segment of travellers that intended to utilise mobile devices while on trips. This can also benefit companies by providing the ability to acquire mobile-related data as well.

Targeted Messages

Peter Duffy, easyJet’s commercial director of Customer, Product, and Marketing, recently asserted that utilising such notifications will have a massive influence over the way that the airline industry operates. The ability to provide customers with targeted messages and helpful reminders throughout journeys can potentially make things much easier for consumers. There is also potential for businesses to achieve greater market penetration with their products and services. And this could all be done in a way that is hugely intelligent and sophisticated, without being needlessly intrusive.

Seat-back touchscreens and other similar technology are also becoming more prominent and valuable. The enhanced design and functionality which such technology ofers can be extremely advantageous, and is reflected in the fact that over half of travellers have indicated in surveys that airline device-based interactions are important to them.

The multi-screen space also offers opportunities for members of airline staff. One such example of this is provided by the carrier JetBlue, which already stated that by April 2015 every staff-facing representative of the airline will be armed with a tablet. The idea behind this is to offer point of sales access and document management to an ever more demanding population of passengers. Mobility and flexibility is the underlying value proposition of multi-screen in the contemporary airline marketplace.

Digitalising Check-In

With airline passengers communicating that human interaction is considerably less important to them during check-in and baggage dropping, it is important for companies in this industry to take this on board. Increasingly, experiences such as fine dining and shopping are considered important for airline passengers, ensuring that they enter flights in a relaxed and positive frame of mind. The challenge for airports with regard to this is finding a happy medium, creating a customer service model that works for all passengers, whether they are technologically minded or not.

As access to airport lounges becomes increasingly feasible and popular, there is an onus on companies to react to the desire for a convenient and leisure-based airport experience. Digital and mobile can play a massive role in this evolving environment.

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