Airports have a lot of passengers going through them, but these aren’t the airport’s customers – they’re the airline’s customers. As a result airports frequently know little about their passengers. And that’s a wasted marketing opportunity.
Does someone buy food before their flight? Do they arrive by Uber or do they park? Are they someone that shops, or maybe gets a massage? Knowing who your best customers are, and what to market to them is key to increasing spend across the airport.
Since airports generally take not just rent payments from vendors but a percentage of spending as well, that’s good for their bottom line. Moreover, the more successful businesses are in the airport, the better businesses the airport can attract and the higher lease rates they can command. That in turn helps to keep landing fees low. Together with sharing airport revenue with airlines helps attract air service.
It’s a virtuous cycle, and using data to understand passengers is certainly a better strategy than following Chicago O’Hare’s and Dallas Fort-Worth’s lead in removing moving walkways, inconveniencing passengers in hopes they’ll wander into more stores along their journey through the terminal.
Thanks Again helps airports to better understand their customers. When they work with an airport so that spend with merchants across the airport earns a mile per dollar spent, they’re really getting customers to register their credit cards and allowing their airport spend to be tracked and traced to a single customer. Four years ago I interviewed their CEO. I’ve always been surprised that the business hasn’t been more successful than it is. They should be expanding to shopping malls, because mall owners have the same challenge and opportunity that airports have.
A newer player in the space of bringing intelligence to bear on the airport shopping experience is Collinson Group, which you know as the company behind Priority Pass. They aren’t working with airports directly on this project, but they’ve been slowly building out an infrastructure to capture data about customers and use that to effectively market more and more services.
For instance a little over a year ago they launched Priority Pass offers, which are discounts for purchases you might make in the airport. You generate an offer code within the app or when logged into the Priority Pass website. This helps drive more business to an airport vendor, and also generates information about what services you tend to purchase.
Now they’ve announced the new “Collinson Airport Alliance” which is meant to connect different experiences and products across the airport into an integrated database, marketing tool, and delivery vehicle.
- Bring more services onto a common platform
- Let passengers access those services within a single app, regardless of which app they use.
Initially this brings together:
- Club lounge network Priority Pass
- Food ordering service Grab
- Retail and duty free shopping app Inflyter
What’s different for now is I expect to see Grab integrated into the Priority Pass app. They’re starting with companies where Collinson has an equity investment. However they tell me this may open up more broadly, and that they “are actively tracking start up businesses and operators contributing to the evolving passenger experience across the airport and over time look forward to welcoming new members to the alliance.”
Bringing more airport vendors on the platform means better customer data – with a broader view and greater understanding of each customer, in order to better tailor offers that move the needle on sales – and cross-marketing to existing customers. Wouldn’t it be great if you could pick up pre-ordered food nearby the lounge you’re headed to and get a discount on the meal?