Apps and airports. Challenges for 2018.
Just eight years ago, in 2007, smart devices appeared in our lives breaking the limits of communication and changing it forever.
In scarcely 8 years, smartphones have become from a luxury item into a commodity. According to Google Barometer, mobile use represents a 23,3% of the media consumption, with more than 8 hours of using a week. Furthermore, a 77% of smartphone users assert that they have conducted a first search through its smartphone when shopping. Smartphones are already a extension of the user and a permanent accessory. Biggest businesses know it, and they are taking a part.
Anytime, anywhere. That´s the new client order. Smartphones and its applications are transforming our expectations; our way of communicate; of thinking and, of course, our way of travel.
How can airports and airlines take advantage of this new reality? How can the user receive a better service experience? These are two questions that biggest airports and airlines have already in mind -if they haven’t resolved yet- Gesualdo Bertellotti, CEO in Tictapps, assets “Adapting web content to mobile screens is no longer enough. Mobile user has become demanding, and wants to be surprised. Looking out for covering the informative needings it’s just the first step. We have to go beyond. We have to seek for unique and different solutions, which add an extra value to the travel and improve the users’ experiences.”
In fact, looking for new ways of user engagement through mobile solutions has become a popular topic within the sector in the past few years. Biggest airport summits have dedicated plenty of time to this theme. The implementing of mobile solutions that extend the flight experience and optimize the airport administration is a must item on the airports’ agenda nowadays. And this it’s just the beginning.
As an example, we can take the app powered by Tictapps for Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 / Corporación América, one of the biggest airport groups worldwide, with more than 58 airports under its management. From this case, we can feature some of the most important points to keep in mind in order to develop an informative, useful and experiential airport app.
- Integrate and optimize the primary services: being able to find the flight data, boarding gates, or baggage carousels with your app should be a must. “These functions are the app’s spine. The first step when you airport wants to go mobile is to integrate your news and services in an easy-to-use and easy-to-access platform, as smartphones are” Bertellotti declares “After this, you have to work on developing functions that actually add an extra value to your services. The goal isn’t bringing to the user’s fingertips every service available at the airport, but to deliver them in an awesome way.”
- Consider all your market: airports are a huge scenario when it comes to users. We can find people from different cultures, ages, and socioeconomic levels. Furthermore, people inside the airports speaks different languages. For these reasons, if we want to develop an app we should bear in mind it to be easy, intuitive and straight in its use. “Smartphones, as airports, have a non specific target. That’s why we should simplify in order to success.” Bertellotti states.
- Seek for the experience: as we stated before, information services are merely utilitarian.They are reached, sought, used and forgotten. Experiences lives forever. We should develop our app under this maximum. Giving flight and travel details is necessary, for sure. But we must understand that if we want to be remembered we have to give users an extra value. Reward programs that increase engagement; tailored promotions that come straight through push notifications at the right moment, to the right person; touristic ideas that amplify the airport services; event where-to-rent-a-car recommendations! There is where the app’s magic resides.
- Don’t forget to monetize: “Seeing the app as an user’s tool and not as a business machine is a main error “ Bertellotti affirms. Apps are able to generate cross-marketing and product up-sales. They are a unique weapon to add value through different sources. Freemium apps, for instance, offer limited services to users, that are able to access to them for free until a limit. After, when they are engaged, they can uploaded improvements by paying if they want to get extra services. An example of this could be the free Internet access: with a limited speed and data service, users can access to the net while waiting at the airport and, if the dwell time results to be longer than expected, they can pay to improve the bandwidth and see, for example, and HD movie from their device.
Airports must think in apps as a new commerce source. As an space in where they can communicate and sell. With a significative number of downloads and traffic, apps are also a perfect place where the different airport’s stakeholders can converge. Apps are tools able to access directly and straight to users. Machines for information, advertise and sells. A rentable and virtualized space that, nowadays, is the only “always-prime-time” media.
Posted by María Murillo