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4 Ways Your Airport Can Support Passenger Loyalty

4 Apr 2024
Sarah Marks

The best customers don’t just buy from you once — they come back time and time again, building lifetime value and boosting your airport’s revenue.

Here are some statistics that prove it:

  • A mere 5% increase in customer retention correlates with at least a 25-95% increase in profit.
  • The likelihood of converting an existing customer is 60-70%, a figure much higher than the 5-20% chance of acquiring a new customer.
  • Acquiring new customers is expensive — five times as much as retaining existing customers.
  • 88% of customers will likely make repeat purchases with companies that offer good customer service, and 75% will forgive a mistake if they receive excellent customer service.
  • Around 50% of previously loyal customers have left a company for a competitor who was able to stay more relevant and better satisfy their needs.

The best customer loyalty strategies create brand ambassadors who will build awareness and credibility by spreading the word about your products and services. This is important because 88% of consumers worldwide trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising.

All these figures indicate that the best way to build customer loyalty and develop strong relationships with your airport passengers is to ensure they have a first-class experience across all touchpoints with your airport — from the moment they land on your website, landing pages or social media page to the end of the customer lifecycle.

We’ll show you how to build passenger loyalty and customer satisfaction while sharing some of our top marketing tips for you to implement.

1. Use travel marketing to support customer loyalty

The common image of an airport is one where passengers take off for and arrive at their destinations. But what about the airport as a source of travel planning or even purchase? As Victoria Wallace, Chief Digital Officer at Rezcomm, said in one of our Travel Marketing webinars, “it’s not necessarily natural for passengers to automatically know that they can buy their flight from the airport.”

Sean Staff, Marketing Consultant within the airport industry, agreed: “From our perspective, the battle is always that so many customers don’t know they can fly to all sorts of destinations from these regional airports. So for us, it starts with awareness from a travel marketing point of view. If you can get it right, get the awareness out and get the passengers in, then it’s just about that customer journey; making sure to support the customer every single step of the way through the booking process, before travel, at the airport and on return. If you can complement a good passenger journey with strong destination and product marketing, you’re onto a winner.”

How can your airport help? Travel marketing, also known as destination marketing, might be the key.

Make sure your Flight Search widget is highly visible

Both Victoria and Sean highlight the importance of increasing awareness of your flights and travel products, and one of the best ways to do that is with Rezcomm’s Flight Search Widget. Ensure the widget is highly visible on your airport website and landing pages, with a strong Call-to-Action (CTA) button that encourages passengers to book.

Create inspirational blog content and optimised landing pages

Another way you can increase awareness of Flight Search is by creating inspirational content on your airport blog about the destinations passengers can fly to — optimised for search engines.

Consider also building dedicated landing pages for each destination, optimising them with your Flight Search Widget and a CTA button so that anyone who lands on your page from an organic search or paid advertisement can quickly and easily book.

Shout about flight bookings on social media

Social media campaigns are vital in raising awareness of your airport’s direct flight bookings. Remember, most people won’t initially think of booking flights with an airport — they’ll go to an online travel agent or airlines’ website instead. However, if they know they can book their entire journey with you, i.e. flights, hotels, parking, lounge, etc. and that you’ll take care of everything, it simplifies the process and makes it far more appealing to book with your airport, winning customers’ loyalty.

Create engaging content on social media that shows customers where they can fly to and highlights your latest offers. Use a Social Media Scheduler to save time and automatically schedule your content in just a few clicks.

Use email marketing to target existing customers

Don’t assume that customers who have previously booked parking or airport lounge reservations with you will know they can also book flights with your airport. Instead, use Rezcomm’s email marketing module to tell them that they can book their entire journey with your airport the next time they want to go on holiday, including flights, hotels, holidays, parking, lounge, fast track, pre-order F&B, retail products and everything in between. Then, add an incentive – ‘thanks for booking parking with us, next time book flights & get 10% off.’

It’s a great way to raise awareness, gain customers’ loyalty and increase the chances of them spending more money with your airport and it has the strongest ROI of any marketing channel, returning $40 for every $1 invested!

2. Increase customer loyalty with personalised marketing

Did you know 56% of consumers will likely become repeat buyers following personalised experiences? With this in mind, it’s time for your airport to prioritise personalisation in its travel marketing strategy to support passenger loyalty.

Of course, to personalise travel marketing and the passenger experience, you need access to your customer’s data and their marketing permissions. Your airport can achieve this by prompting customers to give their marketing permission at checkout. Even if this proves unsuccessful, or a customer arrives at your airport having not booked anything via your airport ecommerce website, you can still collect their marketing permissions with our WiFi Data Capture and KPI & Feedback Systems Deliver personalisation across all marketing channels and in a variety of ways, including:

  • Targeted destination content and offers via email marketing
  • Cross-sells and upsells during the booking journey and post-purchase
  • Instant offers at the airport sent via SMS or push notifications
  • Checking in with passengers via SMS at the airport to gather feedback
  • Rewarding passengers with money-off products and services they’ve shown interest in

Personalisation will boost your airport marketing efforts, enabling you to drive more revenue from targeting passengers with the products, services and offers they’re most interested in. But it’ll also help your airport build strong relationships with its customers, who will feel like you know them as individuals and value the effort you put into creating a tailored experience, which will keep them loyal.

3. Reward customer loyalty

A great experience at an airport establishes trust in a passenger. As a result, customers are more likely to book with the airport again and want the airport to take care of their journey from start to finish. But it never hurts to take the extra step to secure valuable customer loyalty with a rewards scheme.

Rezcomm has a Members and Rewards module which makes building a unique loyalty, reward or referral scheme for airports easy. We’ll implement your preferences and rules to create specific reward workflows tailored to your business.

Gatwick Airport customer loyalty case study

Gatwick Airport is an excellent example of an airport that uses its rewards to increase passenger loyalty and raise awareness of its flight bookings. It previously ran a campaign that offered free fast track to passengers who booked directly with the airport to thank them for their loyalty.

“myGatwick is an airport loyalty scheme which is quite different from a traditional loyalty scheme in terms of accumulating points, unlocking rewards over time, and those rewards being a vehicle for the airport to reward lifetime value of customers at various thresholds,” said Andrew Williamson, Commercial Product Manager at London Gatwick Airport. “This is more about instant rewards. We want our customers who are travelling through Gatwick Airport to log onto the myGatwick portal, which is free to join. It’s free to be part of because that’s our shop window for showcasing. It’s somewhere our retail partners and third-party product providers can place their products to say, we want to reward your loyalty each time you fly.

“There’s definitely a good opportunity here. If we can bundle these products in free for flight search, and we can treat the customer like royalty and help to give the best possible experience on the outbound and then the inbound journey, that’s going to really help build both customer loyalty and advocacy. Customers will choose to go through Gatwick Airport.

When a customer has a great experience at Gatwick, next they think about searching for a flight they are likely to visit the airport website to find out where they might travel next, and where the airport can inspire them to travel. For all those reasons, loyalty really is a key part of what we work towards at Gatwick.”

4. Develop loyalty as a competitive advantage

Consider this: when you’ve got a lot of other airports to compete with in your region, all offering flights to the same destinations at similar prices, what will help you win passengers and their loyalty?

Creating the best possible passenger experience will make your airport the airport of choice. Providing flexibility and a seamless, intuitive booking experience with Flight Search, personalised travel marketing communications and a unique reward programme will support passenger loyalty and drive non-aeronautical revenue for your airport.

Boost passenger loyalty with Rezcomm

With the right marketing strategies and a well thought out rewards program, your airport can build passengers’ trust, win loyalty, and become their airport of choice. Rezcomm can help bring these elements together to increase customer loyalty. Download our brochure, watch our video, or book a meeting to discover all the benefits of working with Rezcomm.