Upgrade the airport experience

11 December 2018

Being part of an enriched “check-in to gate” customer journey means more opportunities for airport retailers to connect with high-value travellers


International aviation is experiencing a period of unprecedented growth. On paper, the numbers seem to promise a golden growth opportunity for airport retailers. More than 4 billion people flew in 2017[1], and 2018 will see even more use of the world’s airports. If these are international travellers, on average they will spend three hours in the airport.[2]

But does the reality of the airport experience live up to the promise? More passengers mean more crowding and noise, more queues and more stress. Instead of happy customers, ready to buy, airport retailers can find themselves dealing with hassled travellers at the end of their tether.


There is a better way

At Collinson, we believe travel should be a pleasure, not an endurance test. We created Priority Pass, the original and market leading airport experiences programme, so that travellers who might not have a business class ticket could still enjoy a business class experience at the airport. The idea quickly captured hearts and minds: since we launched Priority Pass in 1992, the programme has grown to encompass more than 1200 airport lounge, dining and spa experiences, in more than 500 cities across 143 countries.


Upgrade the airport experience | Priority Pass | Collinson

Thinking “outside the lounge”

We continually invest in the in-lounge experience, adding new features to help guests work, play or relax. But we are also thinking ambitiously about how we can improve the airport customer journey to provide more of a premium “check-in-to-gate” customer experience. 

For one, we’ve been adding more airport dining experiences outside the lounge to offer travellers more choice. But the key enabler for the enriched airport customer journey is the Priority Pass app on smartphones. When we first launched the app, it was an enhanced digital ID card that members could use to get into lounges and check their entitlements. Since then, we’ve updated the app to give members a better airport experience.

The latest version of the Priority Pass app introduces indoor mapping and wayfinding to guide members through the airport. The app makes it easy to find what you’re looking for: to locate a retailer, amenity, restaurant and bar or lounge, members simply input their desired destination and the app will map the route from start to finish.


Make an offer the customer can’t refuse

Now, with our airport merchant partners we are rolling out the next stage of our vision for an enriched “check-in-to-gate” customer experience. Priority Pass offers are designed to make spending time at the airport more rewarding, with special discounts, value adds or gifts with purchase from leading lifestyle, spa and dining brands. 

The offers are promoted on the Priority Pass app and website. To take advantage, the member simply downloads an offer code from the Priority Pass app and presents it at the merchant partner’s outlet. It’s as simple as that.

Offers make sense to travellers: more than a third say they would actually be prepared to spend more time at the airport if they received discounts on fashion (39%) and food and drink (41%). Almost half (47%) of travellers say they would feel encouraged to spend more if they received offers or discounts in advance of travelling.[3]

For merchant partners, the scheme brings the ability to propose offers direct to the discerning frequent travellers who are Priority Pass members, bringing opportunities to drive volume and revenues. So far, together we have launched more than 800 offers around the world and we expect this number to grow rapidly as more retailers see the value in being part of an enriched airport experience.


Be part of it

We are always happy to talk to airport retailers – and indeed any other stakeholders in the airport customer journey – about how we can give travellers better airport experiences. If you share our vision of an enriched airport experience, please get in touch.


get in touch

[1]IATA global passenger traffic results for 2017

[2]ACI Airport Council International, 2015.

[3]Collinson Airport Survey, 2018.