Friday 19 January 2018

GUEST BLOG: Why Airport Concierge Services Will Take Off

Wasted airport time is an accepted part of business trips. Travellers often plan to arrive at least two hours before departure, if not three, before international departures. When arriving internationally, they budget time for customs and immigration processes. Connecting flights also require buffer time, especially when they incur security queues.

But what if corporate travel managers could save travellers tens of thousands of airport hours per year?

Airport concierge services solve this. These include lounge access during down time, plus traveller meet-and-greet:

·       Curb-side, then escorting them through fast-track security and accompanying them to their gate.
·       From the arrival gate to the departure gate, including fast-track customs, immigration and security.
·       Gate-side, then accompanying them to the curb with expedited customs and immigration.

Airport concierge services are no secret to corporate travel managers. The services are more than 25 years old, and exist at hundreds of airports around the world.

Some airlines upsell them to first- and business-class passengers as part of the airline's brand. Other airlines own a separate service. In other cases, airports sell their own luxury service.

Most providers, though, are local or regional companies. The question is, with the options and decades of success, why do so few companies use them?

First is the cost. Few travel managers can justify spending hundreds or thousands of extra pounds per trip. Luxury versions of this service easily cost four figures. While they are the exception, they help set an industry perception of luxury service at a luxury price.

Services can be as affordable as £100 per person, or lower for groups. A cost-benefit analysis using travellers’ hourly wages will often justify these rates. For upper management, even moreso.

The biggest hurdle to adoption at these rates is the ease of booking. Today, services are fragmented by airport or region. This makes it difficult to compare value, benefits, procedures, terms and conditions.

Chauffeur services faced the same challenges years ago. Local, independent providers were fragmented with their own websites and policies. This left travellers and corporate travel managers to sort out the best providers. Global professional driver services like Blacklane have overcome this fragmentation. The results are lower costs and a consistent high online and physical experience.

Airport concierge services are undergoing a similar evolution. Global companies serve airports around the world with a simple booking process and clear policies. Providers also work with multi-national companies to serve certain levels of employees and/or particular airports.

They are creating door-to-door trips by combining airport concierge services with chauffeured rides. By covering travellers' first and last miles and the steps in between, they lower stress, reduce transit time, and increase productivity.

This blog was posted by Sascha Meskendahl, Chief Revenue Officer of Blacklane. The company is exhibiting its professional driver and airport concierge services at the Business Travel Show 2018. Please register for your free visitor pass at


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