COVID-19 has disrupted no sector more than travel, tourism, and entertainment. Airport operations have shut down, which has had a tremendous impact on the number of passengers visiting airports and revenue growth.
According to a report released on 15th June 2020, passenger numbers have declined by 62.6 percent since the start of lockdowns. Experts also estimate that airlines could lose approximately $314 billion in revenue in the year 2020.
With the enormous losses and considering the extreme decline in travel, airlines have to prepare for the new normal, post-COVID-19. Airports will have to concentrate more on passenger experience and find ways of winning trust by minimizing the risk of COVID-19.
In this article, we’ll discuss how the aviation industry can adopt effective solutions for improving airport passenger experience to rebuild confidence in air travel.
1. Implement Smooth Passenger Experience
Congestion had been a significant concern in most airports even before the COVID-19 spread. It was common to find lengthy queues in passport desks, boarding areas, check-in points, and security checks. Even post-COVID-19, it will be almost impossible to avoid these crowds unless the airports develop a smooth passenger flow management system.
A sound passenger flow management system can include the number of travelers you expect at the airport every time. It should show how to manage movement in and out of the airport. A comprehensive system can include floor markings showing where each passenger should stand at every point of contact.
Better still, involve your employees in implementing a smooth passenger experience. You can do this by sharing the acceptable rules to ensure that passengers observe high levels of hygiene and keep a safe social distance. Please note that there will always be issues of passengers flouting the rules, and because of this, employees should have clear ways of dealing with arising problems.
Also, ensure you set up temporary health stations. The uncertainty around COVID-19 means passengers can develop symptoms at the most unlikely time, and it could be at any point in the airport. If an emergency happens, it is in the customers’ best interest to have a nearby first-aid and isolation area where you can cater to their needs before professional help arrives.
This way, you place the airline as a trusted travel companion that cares for customers and employees by showing concern. Remember that information spreads quickly, and you never know who is watching and sending reviews or referrals. Post-COVID-19, passengers will prefer businesses that embrace their feelings and stay committed to their needs.
Also read how Tatvam helped Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in creating an exceptional passenger experience.
2. Use of Technology and Automation
Automation in the airline industry has been a dream waiting to happen for quite some time now. In the past, there have been talks to introduce robots in the aviation industry and make them prevalent by the year 2030. This is because there is a need to improve services and add more contact-less interactions.
Thanks to COVID-19, technology, and automation will be a reality sooner than later. If airports adopt artificial intelligence and chatbots, most human interactions in queues will reduce. By using robots to provide information about bookings, offering security, cleaning and sanitizing, and transporting customer luggage, the risk of spreading COVID-19 through crowding reduces by over 50%.
However, the decision to implement technology and automation will depend on robot vs. human interaction. Passenger satisfaction is of utmost importance, and technology should reassure customers of their safety and encourage them to travel again.
3. Improve Your Infection Detection System
In the fight against COVID-19, one thing experts agree on is that infection detection is the most effective method of reducing the spread of the virus. And as airports resume operations, detecting infections will be highly important in reducing the spread of disease from one country to another.
Temperature checks are essential, but how can airports ensure asymptomatic patients do not interact with healthy people? Here is a probable case scenario that airports can use as a road map.
Imagine you are traveling from destination A to B, and the airport allows you to check-in from home hours before your travel time. The airport’s protocol is to send your booking details and indicate places you have visited in recent days.
You send the details, and the airport processes your data. The results show you have been to a high-risk area, and the airport advises you to visit a nearby health facility for tests. You visit the health facility and follow the directives of the airport to check-in with your luggage.
Tests are done, and you get a clear pass to travel. The airport facilitates immigration and security clearance from the health facility, and everything you need to board the plane is complete. You pick the next ride to the airport and head straight to the flight.
It is almost impossible to spread the virus across the airport if you look at how fast and efficient the infection detection system works. When you use an effective method, you minimize the spread of COVID-19 and still improve overall passenger experiences.
4. Develop a Smart Feedback Analysis System
COVID-19 has indeed kept you out of touch with your customers for a few months now. But if you are keen on customer sentiments, you can still reach out with messages of empathy to show you think about them and even care. The efforts may not look like much, but the effect can be numerous positive reviews that facilitate your comeback after reopening.
But how will you know what customers are saying about your business online? Well, that is where smart feedback analysis tools come in.
Using sentiments analysis tools, you know where your customers are hanging out on the internet and what they are saying about your business. Sentiment analysis tools show positive, negative, and neutral comments about your business. The tools will help you maximize on available opportunities and rectify issues concerning the negative comments.
A smart feedback analysis system like Tatvam is the monitor that will show the impact of the COVID-19 on the aviation industry.
Customers hold diverse needs, and it is important to anticipate their move post-COVID-19. Minimizing the risk of the virus is essential, and customer feedback tools could help you create an effective health and safety plan. The strategy may not give you a direct positive growth but can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 globally.
If you want to talk to someone about how Tatvam could work in your company, book a free demo now!
Tim works as the VP of Sales and Marketing at NetServ Applications and oversees the development and client relationships for NetServs’ proprietary product Tatvam. Tatvam is a Customer Feedback Analytics product that leverages technologies like Machine Learning and AI to help companies monitor and improve their customer experience. Tim both manages the product log and the development teams to ensure they are consistently innovating and delivering a true value-add product, as well as continuously works with Tatvam customers to help them improve their data strategies and customer experiences.