There’s nothing better than a good night's sleep. Well, unless you have to queue for it.
Our latest quarterly Beyond Report is exploring the often-mysterious world of the luxury airport lounge. Our team of experts have collected and analysed thousands of customer reviews to find out exactly what it is which makes these oases of calm’ so alluring to so many.
Airport Lounges not only operate as their own ecosystem but serve as an important source of ancillary revenue for airports, and an important value add’ to the end-to-end journey of many airline customers – crucial to attracting business and luxury travellers to their premium products.
With well over half of all regular travellers saying they consistently use lounge facilities when they travel1, it’s unsurprising to find that their visitor numbers have recovered rapidly and are often over capacity. Many visitors are either loyalty card members, credit card customers, or travelling in an airline’s premium cabins, however just as many are paying cash for entry and, increasingly, willing to pay more.
But for many, it may be a question of what exactly goes on behind those frosted glass doors that shimmer open to reveal a world of open bars, freshly baked croissants, and aromatherapy massages. A world away from queueing, hard seating, queuing, delays, and queueing again.
The truth is what lies within is varied - in both content and quality. Our data shows that customer satisfaction within the lounge space is a prize that is always up for competition.
With thousands of lounges, in hundreds of airports - many in direct competition with each other, how do they remain competitive? It turns out it's a lot more complicated than which airline you’re flying or which credit card you’re affiliated with, customers are much more discerning than that.
It cannot be overstated that getting the basics right is essential to ensuring your customers return, but to create a competitive edge many in the Lounge space are tempted to champion a USP – a luxury experience like no other. This can take the form of sleep pods, massage chairs, robotic serving staff, global gastronomy, and personal shopping. There is, however, one big problem. Often the amenities that create the highest impact on their customers’ experience can often lead to the most polarising feedback.
Take for example sleeping facilities. Sleep is a precious commodity to anyone who travels often. And when Jetlag and disruption to your sleep cycle affect your health, productivity and, even worse, your holiday – it’s easy to see why. So, when Lounges purport to have the perfect environment to rest and relax in, travellers jump at the chance to grab a power nap. Yet, there is a reason why lie-flat beds and their associated privacy come at a premium both on board and off. Space is expensive; therefore, many lounges can only provide a limited capacity for such an indulgence.
This leads to almost inevitable scheduling conflicts, resulting in those who are well rested providing glowing reviews from their bedside – while those who miss out writing disgruntled posts fuelled with caffeine and sleep deprivation.
The question then becomes – how do you tread the thin line between rejuvenating some customers, while rejecting others?
Clever tech can play a role, with digital waitlists, Bluetooth alerts and sophisticated pre-booking systems. All of which can alleviate the logistical issue. But the key to this is that this isn’t a problem of pure logistics that can be fixed with an API or QR code – but it is a consistent struggle that much of hospitality faces, how do you gauge demand before it happens, how do you read the minds of your customers and preempt their needs to create a truly exceptional experience.
That’s where we come in. Beyond work to provide exactly these insights, based on our passenger sentiment data set, creating, and delivering guidance for Lounges, Airlines and Caterers alike. Pairing this with our in-house development services, we can provide the neat tech solution alongside the human insights that come together to not only help LoungeOperators sleep better at night but their customers too.