For most airports, it is possible to significantly improve ambience without spending a large amount of money. To do this, you first need to get to grips with what causes poor ambience and then work on creating a great ambience.
How do you make airport toilets great?
One of the first things I was told when I started working with airports, was that ultimately passenger satisfaction is all about the toilets.
While it’s true that there is a general correlation between overall satisfaction and the toilet experience, what is very clear is that poor experiences in the toilets are often very strongly linked to passenger overall dissatisfaction. Therefore while it is good to have a great washroom experience, it is essential that the passenger does not have a bad experience.
One of the questions I’m regularly asked is “can you prove a direct link between passenger satisfaction and airport profitability?”
Unfortunately the answer is quite simply “no”. There are too many other variables which dominate the issue such as quality of shopping, attractiveness of shops and restaurants, local culture etc. More importantly it is rare that we see a big improvement in the passenger experience without a complete renovation of the terminal and the commercial environment so it’s very difficult to say that passenger satisfaction was the driving force in improving profitability. Equally it’s an impossible task comparing airports as the passenger experience is not always driven by commercial opportunities.
I recently returned from a trip to South Africa and had the good fortune to visit Upington in the Kalahari desert. I had heard many good things about Upington airport and given its high ASQ score was keen to see what makes it special.
Upington is known for its fruit, wines and the heat – being in the Kalahari temperatures regularly rise to temperatures I normally only experience opening the oven.