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Looking at “Day-of-Travel” Through a Wider Lens

“Day of travel” used to refer to our airport-specific activities such as parking, checking-in, boarding, deplaning, and baggage claim. But today, everything passengers do before, at, and after the airport is part of an upcoming journey.

All trip-related activities, from booking flights to exiting the destination airport, can potentially enhance trip memories and influence the next adventure.

Personal Experiences Redefined with a 360 Approach

The spaces we move through at the beginning of a trip impact our entire travel experience. Elevating these areas into data-rich intelligent spaces to inspire and guide visitors can enhance the passenger journey from start to finish.

Whether on the ground or in-flight, industry leaders want travel to be more than a means to an end. Using spatial data to improve discoverability and deliver accurate, up-to-the-minute information makes passengers more confident about navigating the airports they’ll visit. Applying spatial data also shows the benefits of shifting the industry narrative from serving people during fixed travel windows to viewing the passenger journey through a wider lens of multiple touchpoints before and after the airport.

Looking at door-to-door passenger touchpoints from 30,000 ft (pun intended) spotlights how digital indoor mapping & interactive wayfinding technologies improve traveler interactions with airports and airlines at every stage of the passenger journey.

Pre-trip prep 

For many, travel begins with the first thought of taking a trip. Will it be an island destination or a local weekend getaway? Who’s traveling, when, and for how long? Are there any travel restrictions or obligations to prove clearance?

Everyone plans a trip their own way. Some collect volumes of information to minimize the unknown. Others comfortably adapt on the go – they head out happily armed with the basics, ready to manage whatever comes next. Yet, regardless of planning style, all travelers benefit from having access to reliable, real-time, and accurate information, especially in the current public health context.

Using spatial data to develop detailed online interactive maps meets the needs of all kinds of travelers. Whether they have time to spare and explore the airport or are in a hurry to catch their flight, everyone benefits from access to real-time data. Here are two reasons why:

  1. Passengers can only buy what they can find. Digital maps with location-based search functionality tell travelers which concessions are where, when they are open, what items are available at each store, and menu choices for various restaurants. Deeper integration gives airports and airlines the unique opportunity to promote ancillary purchases via the digital map.
  2. Passengers can only buy what they have time to find. Dynamic routing that displays live walk times and the shortest (or most accessible) routes reassure travelers that they have time to visit concessions. Studies show stress-free travelers spend more on non-aeronautical items.

Digital maps don’t have to live only on an airport website, either. Activating airport directories with digital maps (bonus points if it has a QR code to transfer to mobile!) or embedding airport maps directly within airline apps makes airports more discoverable and creates a better travel experience.

For planners, spontaneous travelers, and styles in between, knowledge is empowering and reassuring.

To the boarding gate! 

From the moment they clear security to when they settle into their seat on the plane, each touchpoint is an opportunity to craft interactions with dynamic, intuitive technology that helps people discover everything your spaces offer. Airlines and airports can leverage the power of map-engagement analytics to unlock the value of user data and make every interaction with their passengers count even more.

Those who didn’t check-in online and print their boarding passes prior to arrival will appreciate step-by-step walking directions from entry doors to counters or self-service kiosks. And location-based prompts can show them where to print bag tags and then the fastest route to security.

Today’s airport terminals present numerous opportunities to discover and sample local culture, shopping, and dining beyond boarding gates. Indoor wayfinding raises awareness of all amenities – including what exists beyond someone’s sightlines. Dynamic digital maps can immediately answer questions that may have once prevented someone from exploring the airport, encouraging them to wander confidently.

?

  • How far is my boarding gate from security?
  • Where is the nearest open restroom?
  • Are there more food options ahead?
  • Do any restaurants have contactless ordering and delivery?
  • Can I make it there and back in time for my flight?

Information that’s easy to find is easy to use. Contextual search, robust maps, and step-by-step navigation enable people to spend less time seeking and more time doing.

Pleasant layovers and seamless connections

From bathrooms to personal protective equipment vending machines to ice cream stores to art exhibits, these points of interest (POI) are crucial to delivering positive experiences. And assuming travelers can find these airport amenities and features, they can also be the difference between a pleasant or stressful layover!

For travelers with long layovers and time to scroll through detailed maps, wandering the airport can be fun. Highlighting entertainment spots or sit-down dining options increase passenger smiles and concession revenue. Many airlines offer private lounges reserved for their frequent fliers. Partnering with airport teams to highlight club locations and step-by-step directions on their digital maps can increase ROI on this elite, passenger-facing perk.

Contextual search and wayfinding can transform layovers into mini vacations by encouraging people waiting for their next flight to explore airport concessions and special features, delivering huge potential revenue share model initiatives for airline and airport partners.

“Welcome to _____, where the local time is _____.”

The flight attendant’s standard arrival greeting, welcoming passengers, and confirming local time signals the next touchpoint in the end-to-end passenger journey: the destination airport.

Some travelers familiarize themselves with their arrival airport during pre-planning; others wait until they deplane. In both cases, accurate navigation requires real-time information. Access to dynamic maps and search options helps people quickly orient to the airport based on their arrival gate, direct them to nearby amenities, and lead them to customs or baggage claim. QR codes linked to step-by-step routes guide passengers to rental car agencies, ground transportation, train platforms, or pick-up locations. Integrating customer-facing features into airline or airport apps, such as a pop-up window linking users to rideshare sites, can increase downloads and usage.

Collaborations between airports, airlines, and their partners are notable and necessary. Every aviation entity can impact the passenger journey. Airport teams, airline leaders, and even aircraft manufacturers can use real-time information to improve travel. In March 2021, industry leader Airbus released their new B2C app Tripset, designed to support travelers during every leg of the journey. The app provides valuable information passengers need as they return to the skies, including displaying destination-relevant health and safety guidelines to lists of open attractions in the city.

The 360-degree, door-to-door view of the passenger experience is the detailed blueprint for customer satisfaction and efficient operations. Atrius’ single source of truth platform transforms existing data streams into contextual, passenger-facing travel tools. Shifting our day of travel perspective from airport-only activities to travel experiences is how we view the passenger journey through a wider lens.

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