April 26 2019  |  Airline & Terminal News

More than half of UK adults find lounges "boring"

By Rachel Debling


Most UK adults want more out of their airport lounge experience, says the new survey

A new poll from YouGov, public opinion and data company, and Spafax reveals the majority of UK adults find airport lounges boring. Nearly one-half of those surveyed online agreed that lounges need updating to "become more interesting," according to a press release from poll sponsor Spafax.

The companies tapped more than 2,100 UK residents 18 years of age or older and polled them on their airport lounge activities. (Of those questioned, 1,256 of those reported visiting an airport lounge in the past.) The resulting report, published April 25, highlighted a few interesting details, including:

  • 33% of UK adults in airport lounges browse the internet on their personal electronic device, while 38% take the time to read
  • 39% agreed they would engage in product sampling within airport lounges; the same percentage also consumes food or drinks provided by lounges
  • 17% expressed an interest in pop-up stores
  • 16% would take advantage of creative brand experiences (test drives, product testing, etc.), with one in three full-time students expressing interest in these types of promotions

Charles Vine, Head of Brand Alliances at Spafax, said in a statement: “The data in this poll makes a strong argument for revamping and zipping up airport lounges with a whopping 57% of adults that have been in an airport lounge agreeing that they're boring. The issue is dead simple – we need to make airport lounges worthwhile places to be in, places where you discover things. This presents a strong opportunity for brands to develop new experiences.

“You have the most sought-after consumers in the world, effectively captive in airport lounges. With sophisticated tastes and busy lives, these passengers are usually inundated with information overload, but in airport lounges, they are reporting down time, where they are receptive.

“The sky is one of the most effective marketing environments and Spafax is on a mission to make airport lounges worthwhile places to be - places where travelers experience new things.”

Survey participants were also asked what they would be interested in shopping for during their visit to a lounge; options included alcohol, health and beauty products, clothing, shoes, watches, and transportation and entertainment tickets. Among the most popular answers were:

  • Alcohol: 28%
  • Health and beauty products: 27 %
  • Transport tickets for their destination (trains, buses, taxis, etc.): 21%

Vine noted: “There is a huge opportunity with high dwell time to take advantage of the moment of repose that passengers have in lounges.

“The survey showed strong showings for pop up stores and innovative brand experiences. The space is ripe for clever, relevant creative thinking. A lounge can be the first time you tried a gin, worked out on a Peloton cycle, bought some West End tickets or bought yourself a Centenary whisky cask. Both the airline and the brand get to benefit and gain wow factor.”

The survey also found that men and women expressed different preferences for offers within airport lounges. For example, over one-third of men said they would be interested in sampling products, while 43% of women said the same.

A nearly equal number of men and women expressed interest in purchasing alcohol, transport tickets, electronics and watches, but 40% of women in the survey said they would purchase health and beauty items within a lounge, compared to a mere 14% of men. Another big difference: a quarter of surveyed women said they would purchase clothes and accessories, while 13% of men said these items would catch their attention.

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