Despite the number of people travelling by air looking set to continue increasing every year, there are many challenges facing the aviation industry today.

For while this predicted exponential growth is good news for the industry as a whole, it can provide individual airports with problems.

In fact, while the rise of comparison sites, accessible information and freedom of choice has helped cause this aviation boom, it has also lead to increased consumer expectations.

If this fast growing airborne population isn’t satisfied with one airport they can, more often than not, easily chose to fly from another one.

Terje Vammen, Managing Director New Markets, Aviation and Transportation in Epinion outlines how improving the quality management at all stages of the travel value chain can help airports remain competitive in today's and tomorrow's market.

He said: "The first step is to establish your passengers’ expectations for their travel experience and cater to them, whether it be public transport to the airport or convenient parking, a simple and fast moving check in and security process, and / or a pleasant selection of appropriate restaurants, shops and lounge areas.

"The next step is to truly understand if you are meeting these expectations at each contact point of the travel value chain. As a rule the more developed the airport, the more contact points it will try and establish KPIs for.

"It is therefore important to have a tracking system in place to be able to monitor fluctuations and give early warnings of dips in passenger satisfaction in order to improve quality management.

"This can be done in three ways:

  • Monitor objective targets such as passenger wait time in security.
  • Monitor perceived experience of airport such as how long a passenger thinks they were waiting.
  • Use mystery shoppers to travel through value chain.

"And if you do find a problem traditional market research providers will be able to tell you when and where it is, but you should be looking to use cutting edge technology from companies such as Epinion who can pinpoint the problem, then focus extra monitoring in that area so you can address it.

"The best market research providers should also be able to collate the information and deliver useful reports in the time frames best for you, not for them.

"At Epinion we use Dashboard solutions, an advanced communication platform that allows airport managers to access our reports as the data is uploaded and it works really well by allowing you to receive intelligent real time information that you can use to action change, rather than just be made aware of the situation. 

"You should also look to use a company that offers 24/7 insights – if the market research company you are considering will only collect research on weekdays between 9 and 5 they will be missing out on valuable insight.

"Epinion has conducted more than one million interviews in airports over the years, and as a result have incomparable aviation insight. We know for airports to get ahead they must be able to make good decisions based on the very tight precise observations our service can provide.”

- By Jesper Wilhelmsen

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