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Airport Digital Experience Strategy: Connecting three key goals

Data-driven transformation to enhance customer experience, staff productivity, and revenue generation.

Digital technologies are shaping travel trends and pushing airports to re-imagine the way they operate. The opportunities are immense. But where do airports begin their journey and what can they achieve through digital transformation?

In our previous post, we discussed how a digital strategy can help design memorable customer experiences centered around trust. And, it can do more – improve staff productivity and increase revenue too. Common building blocks, designed to harness and optimize data, can drive all three aims.

Improve staff efficiency

A cornerstone of a digital transformation program is seamless access to trusted data on multiple channels, for stakeholders, when they need it. When implemented, it enables self-service options for passengers, which meets their needs for convenience, thus winning trust. Viewed from the lens of productivity, it reduces staff effort in answering questions or brings the right data to their fingertips for providing accurate responses faster. Simple wins. But that’s just the beginning.

Airports are deploying digital technologies for more sophisticated impact. Tokyo’s Narita Airport has smart toilets that cut maintenance work and plans to introduce facial detection to free up staff time from checking passports. Timely measures which amplify passenger convenience, as Japan gets ready to serve more travelers for the 2020 Olympics.

Boost revenue

Travelers today want seamless experiences designed around their phones. But different stakeholders in the travel landscape – airlines, retailers, service providers – operate in silos, making passengers move through 10-12 different apps to search, book, and travel. Think apps for taxi, weather, destination information, hotels, etc. By linking these pieces for easy data exchange, airports can better serve passengers and create new economic opportunities.

For instance, integrate a taxi rental service onto the airport app. This opens up a new income stream and offers passengers the additional service while retaining them within your app or website. Or use passengers’ booking details to serve them tailored offers before they reach the terminal, thus nudging planned purchases. The possibilities are many.

The triad of success

The three goals are distinct yet connected – clusters of benefits arising from the same strategy. To reach them, airports can choose a starting point suited to their operating conditions. At AtomX, we have built an AI-enabled chatbot and wayfinding solution for a European airport to boost both customer experience and staff productivity. By engaging travelers on digital channels, we are helping another airport understand customer needs at the arrival terminal. The airport can then offer the right mix of products and services to drive retail and build high-quality relevant experiences.

A digital transformation initiative can bring about a step-change in the way airports function. When done right, it benefits not just passengers, but other stakeholders too – staff, partners, even local and virtual communities. And at the heart of it all is smart data sharing. Airports already have a wealth of data. Let’s put it to work.

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