Airport Dimensions research confirms decline in frequent flyer memberships
Airport Dimensions' new Airport Experience Research — The Transforming Airport Revenue Landscape — highlights the changes in traveller loyalty in the airport over the past few years. The data, released on February 8, finds that passengers have become somewhat disenfranchised in their relationships with airports. The latest survey revealed that 12 percent said they didn’t want a relationship with airports, a slight increase compared to the year prior.
Passengers, the research notes, value effective communication for travelling with a third (33 percent) visiting airport websites for flight status updates and 31 percent looking for other information relevant to their journeys. A quarter also reportedly access an airport’s site to purchase travel services such as parking or travel insurance.
Stephen Hay, Global Strategy Director of Airport Dimensions, said in the release: “In their day-to-day lives, [travellers] are no longer loyal in the same way to brands, products, and services. This shift in attitude can also be seen at the airport, which presents both a challenge and an opportunity.”
“Passengers do want a relationship with the airport but that relationship needs to bring real benefit to them from the moment they begin planning their journey. Getting the proposition right at the lounge, and indeed the wider airport, as our classic passenger mix evolves will be key to success.”
As airports continue to invest in more structured loyalty there has also been an increase in the number of travellers joining airport loyalty programmes (which rose from two percent to 18 percent. The number of people opting to receive communications from the airport also rose from five percent to 19 percent.
Membership in airline frequent flyer programs continues its steady decline, with the number of travellers who were part of such programs dropping from 66 percent in 2019 to 53 percent in 2021, and falling further to 52 percent this year. Almost a fifth (18 percent) no longer have elite flyer status. Younger generations are the ones most likely to reject these programs. Only 40 percent of Gen Z and a half (52 percent) of Millennials are members, compared with 60 percent of boomers and 75 percent of elders.
Appetite for paid-loyalty programs at various price points is growing across all traveller segments. Over half (53 percent) say they would be interested in entry-level loyalty offers that include one fast track pass, priority parking and one drop off as well as five percent discounts at the airport at the cost of $25. Nearly a third (32 percent) say they would be interested in paying as much as $500 for a package that includes unlimited lounge access, fast-track and 10 percent discounts.
The Airport Dimensions Changing Airport Experience survey was conducted with the market research agency Dynata. The research draws from the experiences of more than 8,500 air travellers covering a wide and representative cross-section of demographics.