Message from the Director General

Angela Gittens by Angela Gittens | Jul 2, 2019

Dear Member,

Airports are tasked with meeting and exceeding passenger expectations through different providers, from the airport operator, airlines, ground handlers, retailers, governmental agencies, etc., that come together under one airport community.

At the same time, airports cater to diverse passengers with different profiles, trip purposes and expectations. Customers have a range of service experiences in their daily lives, delivered by other businesses such as markets, banks, online retail, coffee shops, restaurants and much more. Their individual interactions shape their overall definition of what constitutes an outstanding service experience.

As such, it is under the theme of “One airport community; Many passenger journeys,” that ACI and over 400 airport experts will reconvene for the second annual ACI Customer Experience Global Summit, held in partnership with PT Angkasa Pura I (Persero), from 2–5 September 2019, in Bali, Indonesia.

The event has several features. The 2 and 3 September will be dedicated to ASQ members; a training day on 2 September will be devoted to the day-to-day running, implementation, and management of the suite of Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Surveys, and a forum on 3 September will focus on key findings and learnings from ASQ, and how the programme can continue to be enhanced.

On 4 and 5 September, we will hold an exciting conference open to all registrants, with a line-up of key speakers from inside and outside of our industry who will provide valuable insights on best practices and emerging trends in the customer experience.

We will also take the occasion to welcome our 2018 ASQ Awards winners and Director General’s Roll of Excellence inductees, to receive their recognition and celebrate with their peers at the Awards Gala dinner. What’s more, the Summit will introduce the new ACI Customer Experience Accreditation programme ceremony.

This won’t be the only ACI event dedicated to helping airport operators understand, meet, and exceed the ever-changing needs of their customers this fall. The Trinity Forum, the world’s most influential airport commercial revenues conference, will take place this year in Doha, Qatar from 30–31 October 2019, and will focus on: “Reimagining the Trinity’s role in a phygital world.”

Digital transformation is happening in all industries. For airports, it involves transforming established processes and services to improve their operations to deliver a better experience to all passengers and customers.

With the extensive use of smartphones, tablets and laptops, the internet of things – as well as in-store touchpoints such as kiosks and magic mirrors – passengers now have different ways of interacting directly with businesses and purchasing goods. The border between the physical and the digital has blurred, and customers are increasingly navigating both worlds.

As such, airports are catering to the needs of their customers by offering ‘phygital’ experiences. As the name suggests, phygital is a concept that describes the blending of digital experiences with physical ones, taking the best aspects from each space to create the optimal customer experience. While digital retail offers immediacy, for instance, immersion, and speed, physical retail offers the human experience and a more sensorial experience.

From the viewpoint of the passenger, a phygital experience may just mean a more personalized and individual experience, one that also offers a seamless flow through the airport

Embracing the phygital helps airports to develop new revenue streams that are in line with evolving passenger needs and to gain a competitive advantage. Customer experience is crucial for an airport and ACI’s Research Report has shown that an increase in passenger satisfaction, as defined in the ASQ Survey, generates growth in non-aeronautical revenue.

The challenge and opportunity for airports and airport retailers worldwide, is to safeguard and develop the commercial side of airports by evolving in step with customer expectations. This involves forging innovative business partnerships and developing new revenue streams and commercial models that embrace the digitalization of airports – including the phygital.

All of this will be explored at the Trinity Forum, a joint venture between The Moodie Davitt Report, ACI World and ACI Asia-Pacific. It will be jointly hosted by Hamad International Airport, Qatar Airways and Qatar Duty Free. Key topics at The Trinity Forum will include: reimagining the airport commercial model, demographic challenges and online competition, new shopping frontiers, and the power of the trinity partnership, among other pertinent topics.

I look forward to welcoming you to both Bali and Doha this fall, as we place the customer experience at the center of our business.

Angela Gittens

Angela Gittens

Director General, ACI World
Angela Gittens began her tenure as Director General of ACI World in 2008. She was formerly airport CEO for Miami and Atlanta and Deputy at San Francisco International Airport. In other roles, Gittens led HNTB Corporation’s airport business and strategic planning practice and, at TBI Airport Management, she oversaw the transition to private ownership of London Luton Airport and managed operations contracts at several airports in the US and Canada. She is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and has served on numerous aviation industry boards and committees.
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