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Using Customer Engagement to Drive Airport Parking Revenue

Posted 10 December 2015, Australia

On-site airport car parking is expanding, however offsite competition is growing even more quickly. With Airport Parking revenue attributing to 41% of non-aeronautical revenue ($3.3bn), how do airports remain ahead of the offsite competition?(1)

Many airports across Europe, Australia and to a lesser extent North America, have been embracing online parking reservations with fantastic results. The most successful of these acknowledge customer engagement as the key to their success.

In this 4 step article, ADVAM explores the key steps to achieving successful customer engagement in order to improve the customers’ experience and maintain the competitive advantage;

1. Know your customer. How well do you know your customers? How to use effective e-commerce strategies to understand who is parking at your airport
2. Communicating with your customer. Using the right tools to communicate and engage with your customers
3. Building the right products. Flexibility to create products that meet customer requirements, increase sales and customer value
4. Offer a superior customer experience. Making sure their experience before, during and after they visit the airport exceeds their expectations

1.Know your customer
As with any e-commerce strategy, the way to achieve maximum results is to ensure that the product being offered, and the way in which customers are engaged, meets their requirements and expectations.

Using the Future Traveller Tribes profiles defined by Amadeus, global travel customers can be segmented into 6 main groups. (1)

Do you recognise any of your customers? The Amadeus Future Traveller Tribe information is a useful overview of the global traveller, however as the mix of customers can change due to a range of factors, it is critical that an airport builds the profiles to suit its customers.

Using the right e-commerce tools such as a reservation platform, enables an airport to collect and continually identify their customers and understand their changing trends.

2. Communicating with your customer
Referring once again to the Amadeus Future Traveller Tribe profiles, typically an airport will have a mix of customers ranging across the ‘Tribes’, and each customer segment, will ideally have their own personalised and relevant communication. For example the Obligation Meeter may want to be communicated with via email or SMS, whereas the Social Capital Seeker would prefer their communication via an App or social platform.

In addition to the way in which the customer is engaged with directly, it is important that the preferred e-commerce platform is visually appealing and enables them to easily navigate through to purchase.

An e-commerce system, such as an online reservation platform, should have the capability to be easily customised to meet corporate brand requirements and the changing needs of the customer.

3. Building products to suit the customer
Although the way that an airport engages with its clients is important, it is crucial that the products offered meet customer demand. The right mix of products will enable a customer to make a quick purchase decision, and special offers can be used to incentivise conversion and create loyalty.

An airport can also maximise revenue by including a range of ‘Added Value’ services to the booking journey. For example, when a customer is making a parking reservation, why not offer additional services such as executive lounge access or a car wash service. For repeat customers the products or offers shown can vary based on usage trends.

4. Offering a superior customer experience through products and infrastructure.
In order to encourage positive engagement and customer loyalty, the overall experience should aim to exceed customer expectations.

The most important elements which define customer experience can be summarised as:
• The quality of products or services and the value the customer receives
• The support offered before, during and after a purchase or other transaction
• The convenience the customer has in interacting with the airport
• How the airport presents itself to the customer
• The way that the airport engages with the customer

The key to providing the best customer service is to concentrate on the points which offer the customer their best experience relative to the airport’s strategic investment, and, their subsequent impact on the airport’s revenue and profitability. When a customer enjoys a superior service they will use the service more frequently and share their positive experiences with others, thereby driving enhanced revenue.

Making the 4 Steps work for your airport
The understanding of these 4 critical steps is the key to beginning an effective e-commerce and customer engagement strategy. Once this strategy is in place the airport will have the platform to increase, not only car park revenue through the upsell of additional services, but the ability to also increase customer loyalty and maintain competitive advantage.

An e-commerce tool, such as a flexible reservation platform, provides the airport with the data to build accurate customer profiles and therefore the ability to tailor highly personalised delivered services and communications.

A reservation platform is not only a tool for airport customers who wish to book their parking space in advance. A reservation platform, when used to its full potential, is a tool to provide the airport with a wealth of in-depth information about its user base. It is this depth of information which then gives the airport the ability to engage with its customers in the most relevant way. Finally it is this accurate form of engagement, which now enables the airport to deliver the additional personalised products to their customers, which previously, they were unaware they even wanted.

Source: (1) http://www.amadeus.com/documents/future-traveller-tribes-2030/amadeus-traveller-tribes-2030-airline-it.pdf

Tags:  airportcustomer experienceknowing your customers