Airport customer experience, between management and execution

Dimitri Coll by Dimitri Coll | Jun 26, 2019

Airports cater to diverse passengers with different profiles, trip purposes, and expectations of what constitutes a stellar airport experience. Customer experience management is the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed expectations and, thus, increase satisfaction, loyalty, advocacy, and revenues all while reducing service costs.

More specifically, airport customer experience is how a customer perceives their interaction with an airport and can be defined as the sum of all the interactions that a passenger has with the airport community. These interactions can be delivered in person, online, self-service booths, or other channels.  Together, these all add up to the critical moments—also known as moments of truth—that create the overall customer experience.

Return on customer experience

In 2016 ACI World demonstrated through the research report Does passenger satisfaction increase airport non-aeronautical revenues?  that customer experience is the single best way to increase non-aeronautical revenues.

Analysis of the ASQ data shows that:

  • An increase of 1% in the number of passengers leads to a growth of non-aeronautical revenue (NAR) ranging from 0.7% to 1%
  • An increase of 1% in the size of the commercial area leads to a growth of NAR of 0.2%
  • An increase of 1% in global passenger satisfaction (as defined in the ASQ Survey) generates, on average, a growth of NAR of 1.5%
Does passenger satisfaction increase airport non-aeronautical revenue?
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Airport customer experience management

Airport customer experience management is a structured concept and system developed by ACI that allows airport management to achieve the highest level of customer experience in the global airport industry. As airports are interlinked with various organizations and companies which have different business objectives and goals, it is very important for all involved parties to have a common view of the overall standard and experience for passengers alike.

To address this challenge, ACI developed the following Airport Customer Experience Model which includes eight key domains:

Airport customer experience execution

Customers have a range of service experiences throughout their daily lives, delivered by other businesses unrelated to airports. These individual interactions shape their overall definition of an outstanding experience.

Airports are tasked with meeting and exceeding passenger expectations through different providers including  airport operators, airlines, ground handlers, retailers, governmental agencies and more

If the management of the experience is crucial the execution is fundamental, a good experience is when:

  • A customer accomplishes their goal with a positive emotion, in accordance with their needs and expectations, and is effortless
  • An airport constantly delivers a good experience over time and meets a customer’s expectations, in accordance with the brand promise

The next ACI Customer Experience Global Summit, taking place from 2– 5 September 2019 in Bali, Indonesia, will provide the airport community at large with the opportunity to understand what drives the customer satisfaction and how to deliver the best experience for all passengers.

Dimitri Coll

Dimitri Coll

Vice President, Airport Customer Experience, ACI World
Dimitri Coll's main responsibility is to manage the ACI ASQ programme, which guides airports toward improving their customer experience excellence across numerous touchpoints of a passenger’s journey. With nearly 20 years of experience in marketing across a variety of industries, he is an expert in product management, customer experience and marketing research.In addition to his work at ACI World, Dimitri teaches marketing research and market analysis at HEC Montreal.
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