Friday 1 September 2017

How are airports transforming to improve business travellers’ experience?

Despite a sluggish 2016, business travel growth is set to go full steam ahead over the next few years, driven by economic buoyancy in emerging markets, a boost in global trade, and fluctuating currencies, according to the latest forecast from the Global Business Travel Association.

For some though, the airport can be the most stressful and unpleasant part of a trip. For business travellers in particular, the airport can be a thorn in their side – a regular part of their working routine which can be unproductive and often eats into personal time.

Thankfully, many terminals across the world are now transforming to better appeal to travellers. In fact, recent research from Collinson Group showed that 53 per cent of travellers now say they enjoy the time they spend in airports. So why is this change in perception occurring?

Expanding the choice of activities for downtime
A big emphasis has been put on expanding retail options, particularly luxury shops and duty-free discounts, as well as creating sanctuaries for passengers to relax ahead of flights. At Dubai International Airport, there are Sleep Pods for weary travellers and a ‘Zen Garden’. Heathrow’s Aspire Lounge has a spa with express treatments, while the airport itself boasts over 20 fashion and luxury brands including Harrods and Louis Vuitton for those who fancy a spot of retail therapy.

Quiet spaces to work away from the crowds
Most airports around the world now have premium lounges where passengers can enjoy quiet, relaxing, connected spaces. No longer trying to sign up to sketchy internet connections, free Wi-Fi allows them to fire off those last-minute emails, transforming ‘dead time’ into productive work. They can also take advantage of the complimentary snacks and drinks, which for those travelling frequently, can also replace subsistence expenses of the departure hall.

Digital push to create a seamless experience
Today’s business travellers expect everything to be available digitally 24/7. To meet this demand, we are seeing a rise in new services such as digital airline tickets, airport apps and digital membership cards for airport lounge access. With an enthusiasm for technology, business travellers value apps, smartphones and digital experiences expecting unique offers, regularly updated digital content and a seamless handover between all channels.

This post was written by Justin Banon, Director, Priority Pass.The Priority Pass team will be at the BusinessTravel Summit Amsterdam and available to discuss business travel trends, and how you can best support your business travellers, at Stand 13.

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