Frequent flyers want to use smartphones to maintain control over their journey at all times, new research shows. But are airports ready to meet the needs of today’s connected travelers?
Nearly all travelers today carry a phone, and usually, it’s a smartphone loaded with travel apps, according to the 2014 SITA/Air Transport World survey. Of travelers with smartphones, 76 percent use airline apps, and 43 percent of those travelers said the mobile apps “made a definite improvement to their travel.”
“A Great Opportunity”
Mobile technologies “present a great opportunity for airlines and airports to engage directly with their passengers to provide efficient services throughout the journey,” according to SITA’s Chief Executive Officer Francesco Violante.
Many airports are awakening to the opportunity by swiftly ramping investments in mobile app development, beacons, Near Field Communication (NFC) and other technologies to assist their travelers.
Another SITA study, the 2014 Airport IT Trends survey, reveals:
- 60 percent of airports will offer geo-location by 2017, providing turn-by-turn navigation so travelers can easily find the terminals, shops, restaurants, and airport services they need;
- 49 percent of airports are considering supporting NFC by 2017, which could make it a snap for travelers to purchase goods and services using their smartphones throughout the airport;
- 33 percent of airports plan to deploy Apple iBeacons within three years, to serve relevant information and offers to travelers based on their current location at the airport;
- A whopping 86 percent of airports will invest in self-service processes by 2017, such as multi-service kiosks, self-baggage drop and self-boarding.
A Native Mobile App Can Help You Help Passengers
A native, location-aware mobile app, combined with technologies such as geo-fencing, Wi-Fi, and beacons, can help airports keep travelers more informed and less stressed. And when travelers are less stressed, they have more time and energy to visit restaurants, shops, and services. That’s good for passengers—and it’s good for the airport’s bottom line.
For example, an airport’s custom, location-aware app can help arriving passengers easily find available parking spots, while wayfinding capabilities can give travelers turn-by-turn directions to an airport restaurant that offers healthful food options.
Such sophisticated, native mobile apps are more affordable and easier to develop, deploy and update than ever before. See our eBook on Harnessing the App Lifecycle for more information.