Every year, IATA conducts an extensive passenger survey. As the airlines' trade association, its objective has always been to identify what passengers — the airlines' customers — want.
But as travel management becomes more traveller centric, travel managers might find it beneficial to look at this year's report for an insight into what their customers — their business travellers — actually value in their air travel experience.
These report highlights the below as specific examples of what travellers are looking for:
- Real time journey information delivered to their personal devices
- Biometric identification to facilitate their travel processes
- Automation of more airport processes
- Waiting times of less than 10 minutes at security/immigration
- Their bags tracked throughout their journey
- A human touch when things go wrong
The IATA survey found that passengers want to be kept informed throughout their journey preferably via their personal device. Receiving information on flight status (82%), baggage (49%) and waiting time at security/immigration (46%) were identified as passengers' top three priorities.
In-air WiFi has been widely anticipated and widely hyped as it's been progressively installed by different carriers but the vision of business travellers using it for emails and leisure travellers using it to stream their own in-flight entertainment is quite different from what the IATA survey found.
Last week's Analysis pointed out that the use of biometrics at airports had to tread a fine line between passengers' desire to travel through an airport as speedily and stress-free as possible and the serious consequence of any potential misuse of personal data.
IATA found that a significant number of travellers seem to be willing to increase the risk of misuse of personal data in exchange for the benefit of travelling more quickly through the airport. The survey shows that most passengers (65%) are willing to share personal data for expedited security and 45% are willing to replace their passports with biometric identification.
The overriding conclusion from the research is that quick passage through the airport contributes hugely to traveller welfare.
As well as cost negotiations managers should perhaps think of such things as enrolling their frequent flyers in expedited airport clearance initiatives such as the US's Global Entry programme or negotiating "fast track" with airlines that use airports which offer the service.
It also means that managers need to ensure a traveller support option whether that be a traditional TMC out-of-hours service or a concierge app which provides automated real-time trip information as well as the ability to chat with a consultant.
Traveller well-being is set only to increase as a consideration for travel managers.