Airport Dimensions has identified a number of new ‘tribes’ based on the type of experience passengers seek across the airport journey.

New tribes range from those looking for utility and efficiency to experience seekers, said Airport Dimensions, based on the findings of its new airport experience research The Transforming Airport Revenue Landscape.

While traditional definitions that are applied to travellers – such the classic ‘business’ versus ‘leisure’, ‘millennial’ versus ‘boomer’ – remain useful, airports need to dissect and analyse who their customers are and what they really want from their airport experience in greater depth if they are to really understand them, the company stressed.

Members of the group Airport Dimensions calls ‘Premiers’, which represents 21% of the airport travel community, are looking for the best the airport can provide and are happy to spend more, with 87% of them satisfied with their airport experience. The ‘Affluents’ account for 18% of travellers, and take a balanced approach to what they spend and the experience they expect. They are also happy with the airport experience, with 86% saying they were satisfied.

‘Streamliners’ (3% of travellers) want and are willing to pay for efficiency across their journey, with 79% satisfied with the airport experience.

Airport Dimensions findings showed the lowest levels of satisfaction among the segments least willing to spend money. ‘Wayfinders’ (11%) look for low-cost utility and under half (47%) are happy. Just over half (58%) of the ‘Aspiring’ group (17% of travellers) say they are satisfied. Members of this group seek a balance of utility and experience but are less ready to spend than their ‘Streamliner’ counterparts. Similarly, under two thirds (62%) of what Airport Dimensions refers to as ‘Explorers’ – who seek low budget experience and make up 29% of travellers – say they are satisfied.

Time spent at the airport also varies, with Premiers spending on average 15% of their time shopping, compared with the 10% spent by Wayfinders. Members of the latter are much more likely to head to the gate, and pass 21% of their time there, than Premiers, who cut it much more finely and are there for just 8% of their time. Interestingly, the amount of time spent in lounges is not dissimilar – 10% for Wayfinders and 12% for Premiers.

Stephen Hay, global strategy director of Airport Dimensions, said; “Airports must be more adroit at capturing and analysing data about their customers, in order to understand them and tailor the experience for the right customer at the right time. A business traveller on a Friday night may also be a traveller flying with their family on Saturday morning, so a sophisticated approach is required to understand their needs and wants.

“Differentiations based on age group or class of travel, for example, are of course still helpful. However, as norms continue to change post-pandemic, our definitions need to change too as boundaries blur. By really understanding the passenger’s motivation on the day, the modern airport can improve the experience of the contemporary traveller, whoever they are, and drive new revenue”

The Airport Dimensions Changing Airport Experience survey was conducted in partnership with market research agency Dynata. The research draws from the experiences of more than 8,500 air travellers covering a wide and representative cross-section of demographics and markets, Airport Dimensions said.

Image: Airport Dimensions