A couple of months ago I had a crappy WiFi experience at a major international airport. I needed to find a Vodafone store so I jumped onto the airport’s free WiFi hoping to search their website. I handed over some mandatory personal details, endured an onslaught of vague error messages and eventually connected… only to find the service was so slow that it was unusable. To make matters worse, the airport had clearly invested in a great app that had indoor maps—maps that could have lead me to the store I was seeking—but I couldn’t download it. 

People remember bad airport experiences like this because it adds to the stress of travelling. It’s not inconsequential. 

Offering customers quality, free WiFi shouldn’t be hard and it shouldn’t be costing your airport. If done correctly you will see a return in revenue or visitor satisfaction, hopefully both. 

Here are some of your options:

  1. Offer your WiFi completely free: Customers will love you but the business needs to agree that WiFi satisfaction will form part of your overall visitor satisfaction strategy and that it comes at a price.
  2. Advertiser supported: Probably the most common model where usually one advertiser sponsors the service and displays an ad to the customer before they connect.
  3. Free + Paid: This is when you provide a free service that has some form of limitation, while also offering a premium, paid service that is faster and unrestricted. I dislike this option for a number of reasons but one in particular: the moment you ask customers to pay for a premium WiFi service, you better deliver on it and provide the round-the-clock support it needs. 
  4. Insights: If you place value on knowing more about your customers, consider this option where you ask a customer for details before they connect such as their age, post code or flight number. Alternatively, you can ask them to complete a quick 1 or 2 question survey. Based on the data they enter you can also personalise the experience for them.
  5. Email: This is when you ask customers to opt-in to your mailing list, permitting you to email them at a later date. If combined with the above Insights model, it can be quite powerful but you may annoy customers in the process and end up with a lot of useless, fake data.
  6. Social: This is when you get users to connect using their social account, such as Facebook. You might do this to entice the customer to ‘like’ your airport’s Facebook page but you can also use it to gain insights into your customers based on the details they’ve already shared with Facebook. Consider the privacy implications as you might be matching WiFi data with identifiable data. 
  7. Vendor controlled: My least preferred option. This is when you hand all control over to a specialised WiFi vendor to manage your service. The vendor may pay you a commission on advertising they sell but you lose so much control and you'll outgrow this model quickly. It's better to pick from the other options above. 

You can combine many of these options and no matter which you choose you’ll need to consider speed, time or bandwidth restrictions to maintain quality of service. 

How are you rating for WiFi in your latest ASQ/DKMA/passenger surveys? 

Michael Meloni
+61 410 223 843

United Airlines social media disaster shows it's time for brands to think beyond the office

My article about United Airlines social media disaster this week has been featured on LinkedIn Pulse. Click here to read it.

People were enraged about passenger dress standards and the airline was left trying to pick up the pieces. What went wrong and what can they do to stop it from happening again?

Some of the comments are heated but I standby my point.

Web round up

Digital innovation and the passenger experience - a view from three airports

The theme: seamless travel.

The data behind French airports websites

Phil Rouin has some interesting insights on French airports websites.

2017 China tourism marketing opportunities

George Cao runs through where the opportunities are for 2017 China tourism marketing.

The Schiphol developer portal opens airport data

Airports own a lot of great data that is of benefit to their customers and the community but unlike public transport, it's rare to find them sharing it openly. Schiphol has decided to do just that. Bravo. 

Qantas Accelerator program

Qantas is teaming up with startups who are trying to make travel experiences better or disrupt the industry.

easyJet places disruptive thinking at the heart of its digital strategy

Also working closely with startups is EasyJet

Branson waves goodbye to Virgin America

Sunsetting the Virgin America brand can't have been an easy decision for Alaska Airlines. Here Branson reminisces about just how strong it was. 

And then he gets angry at the Virgin Atlantic Seattle launch

AirAsia plans to go fully cashless; stresses digitisation

A very brief look at how AirAsia is digitising their service. 

The brains behind the FlyDelta app maps

International Airport Review interview LocusLabs, the creators of the mapping solution at the heart of the FlyDelta app

Secret Gallery: Vienna Airport celebrates Austrian culture

I love when airports step beyond advertising and theming and consider the value of art in the terminal. 

From economics to equality - why companies (and Qantas) speak up on the big issues

There’s been a lot of discussion in Australia over the past few days about whether companies (and CEOs, in particular) should express a view on social issues. Alan Joyce in particular has copped a lot of criticism but as he points out in this article, all businesses have a role to play in social awareness. I agree!

Like this issue of PassengerWise? Feel free to share it. Seen it but not yet subscribed for future issues? You can do so easily here.

You can also
read past issues here.

The PassengerWise newsletter is curated by Michael Meloni. You can learn more about Michael at
http://www.passengerwise.com/about/ or contact him at michael@passengerwise.com